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#1170399 - 03/28/09 05:00 PM Re: Alfred's Basic and All in One Adult Piano Course Book #2 [Re: Wrenn]  
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AWTPP,

Your performance of L & B was great! Keep the recordings coming smile

Wrenn,

Welcome; perhaps practicing scales would improve your coordination while doing "thumb under" maneuvers.

As a note on my progress:

I gave myself the pass on Hava Nagila. I spent around 15-20 hours total practicing it yet never played it to my satisfaction. However, I did reach the point where I felt I had "learned" the piece and that it was time to move on. I spent about a day and a half playing the next one, Space Shuttle Blues, and this morning gave myself the pass on it. I am now working on the Olympic Procession.

As a note on SSB: it is an introduction to the second inversion and has a "feel" similar to L & B. I did not find it hard to master and I don't think its worth recording.


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#1170407 - 03/28/09 05:04 PM Re: Alfred's Basic and All in One Adult Piano Course Book #2 [Re: Waltz]  
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So, I did make a recording of Hava Nagila. In no way do I endorse this as being the "proper" way of playing the song but it was all I could muster out of myself:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rv5PZqiUnvw

As an additional note: I did not do the repeats (the odds of making an error are much, much higher having to do everything twice with a camera menacingly gazing upon you smile )


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#1170769 - 03/29/09 12:34 PM Re: Alfred's Basic and All in One Adult Piano Course Book #2 [Re: Waltz]  
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Hi guys and gals Im back, and I have no idea where thoes crazy glyphs in my last two posts came from.

Wrenn Welcome to the group. Figure out, if you havnt already, how to make a recording of your playing and post it to the forum. Its always great to hear how others are progressing.

Waltz Great job on Hava Nagila, Im glad you went ahead and posted a recording! Youre right about the increased difficulty of playing such a piece with the repeats. What I especiallly like about your recording was the ending; the way you quickly jumped to a fast tempo for the final bars. I had been quickening the tempo at that point, but not to the extent that you did. I really like the way yours sounds and will try to incorporate that in my own playing of H.N. next time I run through this piece (its on my list of things to periodically practice).

Undone


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#1170808 - 03/29/09 01:52 PM Re: Alfred's Basic and All in One Adult Piano Course Book #2 [Re: Undone]  
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Wow, thanks Undone! I had expected a negative response. Are you still on the Waltz? How is it coming?


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#1171449 - 03/30/09 02:39 PM Re: Alfred's Basic and All in One Adult Piano Course Book #2 [Re: jrcallan]  
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Originally Posted by jrcallan
Sounds great. How'd you record from your AP 200?


The process is simpler than I am about to make it sound.

1. I record the piece using the Casio's onboard recorder. This is an iterative step that, in the case of L&B, took, oh, about 30 takes (a couple of which were better than the one I eventually kept, but oh well, my standards fell as the takes accumulated).

2. When I get a take I want to record, I connect the Casio to a laptop using a MIDI to USB cable (got mine off Amazon for like $9).

3. When I push "play" on the recording, the Casio transmits MIDI (electronic) signals to the laptop. In order to record those, you need some software on the laptop to capture those signals. There are lots of freeware pieces out there that do this (and other parts of this process). But I use Pianissimo, a relatively low-cost virtual piano, to receive the signals and save as a MIDI file.

4. When you have a MIDI, you then need a tool that translates those signals into piano (or harpsichord, or banjo, or what have you) sounds. Pianissimo makes this easy, providing settings that change the sound of the piano in countless ways. I usually leave the defaults in place and say "Mix down to Mp3." And a few seconds later, I have my mp3.

Here I describe how I did this before, in case you are interested in freeware tools and recommendations:

A Note to Myself on recording piano

Pretty much everything I know, I got from here:

How to Record Piano


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#1171455 - 03/30/09 02:44 PM Re: Alfred's Basic and All in One Adult Piano Course Book #2 [Re: Always Wanted to Play Piano]  
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One more thing just occurred to me on recording piano... if your onboard piano sounds are fine, and if you have a good laptop for AV purposes, you will be able to use the line-in mechanism on the laptop, and record sounds that way. Audiophiles bristle at this, and worry that resulting recordings might have static in them. I've heard AnthonyB's recordings straight off his Kawai digital piano, and I think they sound great.

Which means, among other things, audiophiles would (correctly) say I am not one of them. It also means his piano inherently sounds better than mine, but I didn't buy the Ap-200 because it has great sounds.


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#1171544 - 03/30/09 05:35 PM Re: Alfred's Basic and All in One Adult Piano Course Book #2 [Re: Waltz]  
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Originally Posted by Waltz
Wow, thanks Undone! I had expected a negative response. Are you still on the Waltz? How is it coming?


Well Waltz, thanks for asking. As a matter of fact I just checked this one off in my piano diary last night. Im still not completely satisfied with my recording (but then who ever is). I know that I could do better, especially in the area of dynamics, given some more time and practice (and Ill probably do just that in the fullness of time). But for now Im giving myself a pass on this number and proceeding on to other things. Heres the recording that I made last night:

http://www.box.net/shared/kjc2ceagag

Undone


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#1171548 - 03/30/09 05:40 PM Re: Alfred's Basic and All in One Adult Piano Course Book #2 [Re: Undone]  
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AWTPP - Hey, I wish I had things that easy smile I don't have a laptop and my keyboard is two floors removed from my computer. So I have to record it on the keyboard, make a recording of this on a mini-disk, then transfer it to my computer. This is why I usually save up a bunch of recordings on a memory stick pluged into the keyboard and then spend some time on a weekend moving them to my computer.

Undone


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#1171602 - 03/30/09 07:15 PM Re: Alfred's Basic and All in One Adult Piano Course Book #2 [Re: Undone]  
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Beautifully played Undone --- and what a pleasant sounding song. I can hardly wait to start it. Relative to other selections did you find this one to be difficult? (I remember you and TTigg discussing its apparent difficult appearance early in this thread)


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#1171620 - 03/30/09 07:51 PM Re: Alfred's Basic and All in One Adult Piano Course Book #2 [Re: Waltz]  
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AWTPP:

Thanks for the answer in detail. I'm interested because I've had the AP-45, predecessor to your piano, for a year and a half. I just love it. I practice at 5:00 a.m. with headphones. I also have a Kawai UST-7 acoustic, but you can see why I use the AP-45 for practice at that hour of the morning in a South Philadelphia row home. Nonetheless, I love the keyboard feel of the AP-45 and the basic piano sound is great. I will try recording on the AP-45, then dumping the file to my computer. I have several sample sets, including Garritan Steinway (terrific), Steinberg Grand Piano II, and Art Vista 2. They're all great fun, though I have a vague preference for the newer approved Steinway.

Thanks, and all the best with the Ap-200.

Last edited by jrcallan; 03/30/09 07:51 PM.

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#1171635 - 03/30/09 08:26 PM Re: Alfred's Basic and All in One Adult Piano Course Book #2 [Re: jrcallan]  
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Knowing that you have a (very nice, might I add) Kawai acoustic, and yet still enjoy playing your Ap-45 gives me some solace. I felt like I would grow out of the Ap-200 with time, but you are suggesting to me that, if I ever do, it's much further out on the time horizon than I first supposed.

As to the sound, the Ap-200 speakers are wimpy, for me. I do enjoy it with the headphones.

I've heard good recordings sampled with that Steinway.

(Sorry to the rest of you for the derail on this topic...)


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#1172480 - 04/01/09 08:24 AM Re: Alfred's Basic and All in One Adult Piano Course Book #2 [Re: Waltz]  
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Originally Posted by Waltz
Beautifully played Undone --- and what a pleasant sounding song. I can hardly wait to start it. Relative to other selections did you find this one to be difficult? (I remember you and TTigg discussing its apparent difficult appearance early in this thread)


It didn’t take me as long as I originally thought it might. I don’t know whether this means it’s less difficult then I first imagined or if it’s just taking me less time to complete some of the more difficult pieces in book 2 now that I’m nearing the end (aka improvement) smile . One thing for sure, its shorter then some of the others I’ve been playing recently and that makes it easier to get a good recording.

Undone


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#1173232 - 04/02/09 01:45 PM Re: Alfred's Basic and All in One Adult Piano Course Book #2 [Re: Undone]  
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I lol'd at the aka improvement but we really should expect gradual improvement as we go along. . . I often wonder what would happen if I revisited my nemesis La Bamba these days. . . I think I will keep it only a hypothetical

I finished the Olympic Procession and have moved on to Choral (or whatever, won't spend long here wink ).

I made a poor recording of Olympic Procession. After recording several times carefully and making minor errors (which obviously can't be excused on camera) I became burdened with both frustration and epinephrine and decided to quit at the first tolerable rendition. I'll post it on youtube later and here.

Hope everyone is doing well smile

W


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#1173282 - 04/02/09 02:53 PM Re: Alfred's Basic and All in One Adult Piano Course Book #2 [Re: Waltz]  
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I was looking at one of the Alfred books on amazon.com. They let you look inside the book.
On the "back cover" it shows this diagram, which purports to guide you through the many available books in the Alfred series.

I'm ruling out the Young Beginner (I'm not young) and the All-In-One Sacred Course (not interested in sacred music). But that still leaves 7 tracks.

But I can't make any sense of it. Can anyone help? Which book(s) should I buy?
  • Young Beginner - Prep Course
  • Beginner - Alfred's Basic
  • Beginner - All-In-One Course
  • Beginner - All-In-One Sacred Course
  • Beginner - Group Piano Course
  • Late Beginner - Alfred's Basic
  • Late Beginner - Chord Approach
  • Late Beginner - Adult Piano Course
  • Late Beginner - All-In-One Adult Piano Course

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#1173369 - 04/02/09 04:42 PM Re: Alfred's Basic and All in One Adult Piano Course Book #2 [Re: Horwinkle]  
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Unless you only want to play from a fake book (chord approach), you probably want the "All-in-one Adult Piano Course". That's what most of us are using. The first 5 books you mentioned are intended for kids, although some adults do use them.


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#1173389 - 04/02/09 05:10 PM Re: Alfred's Basic and All in One Adult Piano Course Book #2 [Re: mom3gram]  
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My "performance" of Olympic Procession (please don't laugh):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n_oHpaQre8E


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#1173430 - 04/02/09 06:15 PM Re: Alfred's Basic and All in One Adult Piano Course Book #2 [Re: mom3gram]  
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Thanks for the reply.

What confuses me is the mix of "books" and "levels" on the chart.

Originally Posted by mom3gram
Unless you only want to play from a fake book (chord approach), you probably want the "All-in-one Adult Piano Course". That's what most of us are using.

That was what I was guessing. I can do that (chords/fakes). Unfortunately, that's the bulk of of my experience. I'm just now getting "serious".

Originally Posted by mom3gram
The first 5 books you mentioned are intended for kids, although some adults do use them.

Okay, that knocks out 6 of the 9 tiers.

I take it that you're suggesting the last item on the chart ... "Later Beginner/All-In-One Adult Piano Course"?

BTW, just how much of a beginner do you need to be for these books. Since I have several years of (self-taught) experience, will these books be too basic?

#1173440 - 04/02/09 06:39 PM Re: Alfred's Basic and All in One Adult Piano Course Book #2 [Re: Horwinkle]  
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Yes, that's the one.

How well do you read the bass clef? It's been said that after finishing all three Adult All-in-one books that you will be somewhere in the early intermediate level. I'm only on book 1 myself, but I started from scratch. You might be able to start with Book 2 or Book 3, but your best bet would be to look at them in your local music store to see which book looks like it would not be too easy for you.


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#1173459 - 04/02/09 07:24 PM Re: Alfred's Basic and All in One Adult Piano Course Book #2 [Re: mom3gram]  
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Horwinkle,

http://www.youtube.com/user/PianoNoobAlexMan

The above link has videos to most pieces in Book 1 and Book 2 and a few from Book 3. Check out some of the videos to see both where you stand in terms of skill and if the Books fit your goals.

Best,

W


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#1173501 - 04/02/09 08:58 PM Re: Alfred's Basic and All in One Adult Piano Course Book #2 [Re: mom3gram]  
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Originally Posted by Waltz
http://www.youtube.com/user/PianoNoobAlexMan
The above link has videos to most pieces in Book 1 and Book 2 and a few from Book 3. Check out some of the videos to see both where you stand in terms of skill and if the Books fit your goals.

Good thought, Waltz. Thanks.

Originally Posted by mom3gram
Yes, that's the one.
How well do you read the bass clef? It's been said that after finishing all three Adult All-in-one books that you will be somewhere in the early intermediate level. I'm only on book 1 myself, but I started from scratch. You might be able to start with Book 2 or Book 3, but your best bet would be to look at them in your local music store to see which book looks like it would not be too easy for you.


My reading of the bass clef is almost as good as the treble clef.
Here's my comfort range.
[Linked Image]
I especially have trouble with notes written far above the bass clef
(or far below the treble, though that's a bit less common).
[Linked Image]

Thanks for replying, mom3gram.

#1174886 - 04/05/09 01:32 PM Re: Alfred's Basic and All in One Adult Piano Course Book #2 [Re: Horwinkle]  
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Horwinkle – one other thing I’d suggest about purchasing one of the Alfred’s Adult books: Just buy the one you think is right for your current level and don’t get the next one in the series right away. They come out with new edditions from time to time and by the time your done with one, you may find they have a “new and improved” version out for the next level.

Waltz – no laughing here. I think you played the majority of “Olympic Procession” very well (I can remember having a hard time getting thoes left hand jumps down). The retardando could be a little more gradual, and you may want to take a closer look at some of the timing in the final part that follows. But that’s just this hack’s opinion.

Undone


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#1175631 - 04/06/09 04:33 PM Re: Alfred's Basic and All in One Adult Piano Course Book #2 [Re: Undone]  
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Undone,

Everything you named is the reason I thought my performance stank (plus I sped through one triplet). I think the "left hand jumps" (plus the second inversion chords) were the main technique to be learned so I suppose I won't rerecord.

As a note on my progress:

I have passed Farewell to Thee and am currently on Black Forest Polka (which I really like). In the past, FTT had received harsh reviews on this forum (and I can certainly understand why). It was not so bad however and it certainly drives home the distinctions in playing and reading first versus second inversions. I won't make a recording of FTT since it's not that "musical" (at least to me). I plan on making one of BFP once I finish.

Happy Monday everyone!

W


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#1175684 - 04/06/09 06:14 PM Re: Alfred's Basic and All in One Adult Piano Course Book #2 [Re: Waltz]  
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Tried to post this earlier, but I had to re-encode the Mp3. It's a rushed, slightly sloppy version of the Hungarian Rhapsody #2 theme. And there is one jump in there I still have trouble with, where the RH thumb crosses under #4 (ring finger). But it's good enough for me to move on, so I will.

http://www.box.net/shared/62yq62gg72


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#1175746 - 04/06/09 08:04 PM Re: Alfred's Basic and All in One Adult Piano Course Book #2 [Re: Always Wanted to Play Piano]  
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AWTPP,

Great job on the Rhapsody! If I were to offer any criticism (which I hope doesn't offend), I would have put slightly more emphasis on the third beat of each measure. Besides that, your performance was very enjoyable. I think Alexander's Ragtime Band is next for you. I did not care for that song but it does not take that long to learn.


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#1175834 - 04/06/09 10:56 PM Re: Alfred's Basic and All in One Adult Piano Course Book #2 [Re: Waltz]  
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Thank you, Waltz. No offense at all, in fact, I think you for taking the time to give it a listen. Yes, I hear what you are saying, and you are absolutely right.

Morning Has Broken is next for me, followed by Alexander's. I'll have to take your word that Alexander's comes quickly... my early tinkering with it has been slow going.


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Blogging my family's piano learning experiences: http://aw2pp.blogspot.com/
#1175948 - 04/07/09 06:48 AM Re: Alfred's Basic and All in One Adult Piano Course Book #2 [Re: Always Wanted to Play Piano]  
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I'm mucking around with Light and Blue and Hungarian Rhapsody at the moment. I like the last section of rhapsody but not the first for some reason. So far in book two my favourite pieces are Bridal Chorus, Overture and Guantanamera. I still need to work on the last one, I think I must have some kind of sheet music specific dyslexia cause I keep missing when the broken chords change in places like the 7th measure ;-)

Is anyone else learning on a keyboard rather than a piano? I was wondering how the touch sensitivity of a keyboard like my Yamaha PSR-e413 compares to a real piano (obviously really bad ;_) and whether its worth turning it on. So far I have turned it off, figuring learning the notes is hard enough without also having to control the velocity when hitting the keys.

#1175967 - 04/07/09 07:45 AM Re: Alfred's Basic and All in One Adult Piano Course Book #2 [Re: Wrenn]  
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AWTPP – I’ll second that “Great job!” on Hungarian Rhapsody #2. If you feel like just “goofing off” sometime, you can have a lot of fun with this piece. There have been a number of parodies done on this selection; things like changing the timing, adding exaggerated hesitations, speeding up like crazy in some parts, etc. Well beyond our ability, but fun none the less, is Victor Borge’s version: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aajtw30-YG0

Wrenn – I’m learning on a keyboard; a Yamaha YPG-625. I think the weighted keys are crucial. I’ve played both “real” pianos and non-weighted keyboards in the past and there was no way I could practice on a non-weighted KB and then use what I’d learned on a piano. I don’t know how the key action on your model compares with the one I’m using however.

Undone


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#1175981 - 04/07/09 08:23 AM Re: Alfred's Basic and All in One Adult Piano Course Book #2 [Re: Undone]  
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Hello Book Two Folks:

I have just a small number of pieces left in the All-In-One Book One. Can you give me a summary of what to expect in Book Two? Are the pieces interesting? What are your personal reactions to Book 2 versus Book 1? Does Book 2 sustain your interest? Any major significant hurdles involved in Book 2 that you can think of?

Thanks!

Ang

#1175984 - 04/07/09 08:28 AM Re: Alfred's Basic and All in One Adult Piano Course Book #2 [Re: Wrenn]  
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Originally Posted by Wrenn
....

Is anyone else learning on a keyboard rather than a piano? I was wondering how the touch sensitivity of a keyboard like my Yamaha PSR-e413 compares to a real piano (obviously really bad ;_) and whether its worth turning it on. So far I have turned it off, figuring learning the notes is hard enough without also having to control the velocity when hitting the keys.


I'm not familiar with that particular keyboard, it says Graded Soft Touch on the product page, so I'm guessing it is similar to my Yamaha NP-30 which uses the same moniker for the touch. If so it's better than synth-touch (no resistance or feel at all) but not like an acoustic piano. Still a big part of learning to play is learning to control dynamics and touch on each note and (at least in my opinion, but I'm pretty much a beginner) enabling the touch will assist you in that goal. Still the touch is going to be different on a real piano, but the control you have to develop is going to be similar.


Kenny A. Chaffin
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"Strive on with Awareness" - Siddhartha Gautama
#1176115 - 04/07/09 01:34 PM Re: Alfred's Basic and All in One Adult Piano Course Book #2 [Re: angelojf]  
Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 707
Waltz Offline
500 Post Club Member
Waltz  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 707
Massachusetts
Originally Posted by angelojf
Hello Book Two Folks:

I have just a small number of pieces left in the All-In-One Book One. Can you give me a summary of what to expect in Book Two? Are the pieces interesting? What are your personal reactions to Book 2 versus Book 1? Does Book 2 sustain your interest? Any major significant hurdles involved in Book 2 that you can think of?

Thanks!

Ang


Book 2 has been much different than Book 1 for me. Book 1 was more of an introduction of how to play the piano. Book 2 assumes you can already play basic piano and successively introduces new technical skills in each piece. To me, Book 2 (along with perhaps the Entertainer/Amazing Grace from 1) is where the "real" piano music begins with the Alfred piano series. In practical terms this means the pieces will take much, much longer to master yet are more engaging. (of course what I say here I'll probably say regarding Book 2 once I move on to Book 3). Hurry up and finish Book 1 so you can join us here smile

W


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