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Originally Posted by mooshinator
The CD contains both the piano portion and accompanying music, which is very annoying if you are checking to make sure you are playing correctly.

Luckily, the two portions are separated out so that the piano portion is played over the right channel and the accompaniment is played over the left channel. If you disable your left channel, you can hear only the piano portion.

This makes it *much* easier to use the CD for checking your playing.


Great !!

Thank you for clearing that up.

I disconnected my left speaker and now I hear the piano part clearly.

One puzzling thing though ... I cannot seem to access pieces numbered above 83. Have you experienced this also or do you suppose that is some problem with my equipment ?

UPDATE: Whoops ... after further investigation, I noticed on the CD it indicates that the examples are only shown through page 143. So that includes the piece numbered 83 but omits the remaining ones. Seems odd. I wonder why they numbered them in the book and then didn't include them on the CD.

UPDATE: I called the Alfred company and they said I have a older version of the CD and a new version of the course book. They are going to send me the newer version of the CD.
Problem solved.



Last edited by dmd; 02/08/10 03:17 PM.

Don

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Hi Everyone - well I am officially moving on from Book 1. I bought Book 2 and put Book 1 into the piano bench, where all honored sheet music goes to gather dust.

I started Book 1 in May, and just finished a week ago, so that's about 9 months I guess. I did skip "Entertainer" because as many times as my son has learned that song, I thought it would drive me to the mental ward to have to learn it myself. I also skipped "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands" because I can't stand that song. I learned every other song in the book though, including "Amazing Grace," which I played at a public recital in November and had a tragic case of nerves that I wouldn't wish on anyone. But I certainly did learn the piece.

I'll be 45 on my birthday this year (9/11), and hanging in there with piano. Never learned piano before. I practice in the morning from 5 to 6, before everyone is awake, just me and the dogs in the basement on my Yamaha P90. It's very calming and wonderful way to start the day.

I don't know why I continue, other than loving doing it. It's abundantly clear to me that I am on the lean end of the musical ability spectrum, and sometimes I do get discouraged. For example, it has taken me a month to learn "Rainbow Connection" from the Greatest Hits book. Why is that song so hard for me? I don't know. But I am trying to reject preconceived expectations, and just move through the experience to derive pleasure from it.

My teacher also has me in Piano Adventures (Basic) series currently working level 3A, and John Thompson Modern Level One. I love both of those series in addition to the Alfred AIO books. Also Hanon (I'm up to exercise 7) and the Alfred Scales book (major scales, so far C, G, D, A, F, and B flat). Actually I spend more time in those other books than the AIO, because my teacher likes them better.

Well enough rambling. It's a snowy day in Connecticut and I think I'll go play piano and watch the flakes fall. Maybe I'll check in to the AIO Book 2 thread in the next couple of days.

Peace to all...


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Nguyen - congratulations on your accomplishment! It seems we are at a similar level in our musical journey. I wish you the very best with yours.

Interestingly, you mentioned your teacher coming to your house, and your child. My entry point was also a child - my son. He had taken lessons for four years, and in the earlier days, it was me, by his side, day in and day out, making sure he sat there for 30 minutes every day and did his best.

One day I realized I could read all the notes on the grand staff, and understood rudimentary theory. At which point I asked myself - why not me? At that same time I found this thread on Piano World, and my journey began. Now my son (age 12) and I take lessons from the same teacher, and I wouldn't trade our Wednesday night lessons together for anything.

Best of luck with PA, as we exchanged messages on the other thread. I'm with mom3gram, PA 3B is for me very challenging stuff. I am on "Campbells are Coming" and "Tarantella" about 1/3 way through 3A, and it challenges me. (My son is right now finishing up 3B and he is a much better player than me...)

I'll jump into the PA thread should you decide to start it up...


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Well, I just had my first piano lesson. I hadn't planned on taking lessons until I finished the first book.

Anyway...

It was a 45 minute lesson and it went really well. She's going to have me stay in Alfred's AIO book. She said she hadn't seen it before and she was really happy with it when she looked through the book.

We reviewed what I've done up to page 90. I was somewhat nervous and couldn't play as smoothly. She constantly corrected the way I hold my right hand. She's having me redo some things I've already done.

Next week I have to play Standing In the Need of Prayer without music. Play my own version of Happy Birthday, improvising with chords in my left hand. Plus replay some songs to make them smoother and she has me doing some of those Hanon exercises.

I'm glad we're staying in the Alfred book!


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Originally Posted by Zenobe
For example, it has taken me a month to learn "Rainbow Connection" from the Greatest Hits book. Why is that song so hard for me? I don't know. But I am trying to reject preconceived expectations, and just move through the experience to derive pleasure from it.


IMO, that song is very hard for where it's placed in the book. It seems that the Greatest Hits songs don't push you any further *conceptually* than the corresponding spot in the primary book, but the songs are much more difficult in the sense that they are longer and have less predictable patterns.

I started learning it at the beginning of January and although I play it pretty well now I am still not 100% happy with my ability to play it consistently at varied tempos so I am still perfecting.

So anyway you are not alone, I am finding the song pretty hard, as well. smile

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Well done Zenobe, congratulations on moving on to Book 2.

GracieCat, looks like we'll be comparing lessons. I just returned from my 3rd lesson. I have switched from 30 min. every week to 60 min. every other week due to scheduling issues. It was 3 weeks since my last lesson because he had to cancel my last one. This one was 90 minutes because part of it was a make up lesson. He passed me on Lavender's Blue (finally rid of that one! I'll NEVER play it again!!) skipped London Bridge and Michael Row the Boat Ashore, passed me on Blow the Man Down and Lone Star Waltz. I had a couple mistakes in each but he is not looking for perfection, just a good understanding and ability to demonstrate the concepts being taught.

Then it all went bad. I had been working on Cafe Vienna and while I didn't do terrible I did have some problems with hands together. We then started Lullaby and I didn't have the rhythm right. I was playing it like I remember it and he pointed out that it is written slightly different than it is typically played. He insisted we do it "correctly as written' and it threw me off. So we worked on counting and playing and I have a lot of trouble with that. That's an area I need a lot of work on. We then moved on to Rock It Away and that one seems like it will be fairly easy to get.

We wrapped up my lesson with starting to work on some scales and he gave me C, F and G to work on both hands separate and hands together. Hands together will be a challenge! So, I am up to page 96ish but it will be 2 weeks before my next lesson. I have a lot of work to do before then!



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Originally Posted by Zenobe
Hi Everyone - well I am officially moving on from Book 1. I bought Book 2 and put Book 1 into the piano bench, where all honored sheet music goes to gather dust.
Zenobe, congratulations to you too. I have decided to go back to 2a but will wait and see what she thinks. I will join you in book 2 and look forward to seeing in a future PA thread.


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Congratulations, Zenobe!

I rather like your statement about "being on the lean end of the musical ability spectrum", since that describes me perfectly. When I was a kid in school, I was asked to just move my lips when the class was singing. I also wonder why I enjoy piano so much when I clearly don't have the talent for it, and all I can think of is that I enjoy a challenge. :-)

Hope to see you in the Book 2 thread soon.

GracieCat and Doug, good luck with your new lessons. It sounds like you are doing great!


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Doug F, you are exactly where I'm at. At home, I can play Cafe Vienna, but I have problems here and there. I also pause at certain places.

I've played through Lullaby a couple of times and I thought I wasn't counting that second measure right. Glad you said something. I just pulled out the book and counted it slowly.

Rock It Away does seem easier. It has a different sound to it. That's as far as I worked on my own. I never really finished off these 3 songs yet.

I think the correction I have to make with my right hand is going to keep me from moving ahead for a little while. I'm playing with the finger joints (not knuckles) on my right hand up high. She said the tops of my hands need to be level.

Flat like this.

Not like this.

I went to a recital they had back at Christmas and I saw her other piano students holding their hands down flat like that. I thought it was weird. I thought we were suppose to hold them like we were cupping a ball. How are you holding your hands?


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Originally Posted by GracieCat

I think the correction I have to make with my right hand is going to keep me from moving ahead for a little while. I'm playing with the finger joints (not knuckles) on my right hand up high. She said the tops of my hands need to be level.

Flat like this.

Not like this.

I went to a recital they had back at Christmas and I saw her other piano students holding their hands down flat like that. I thought it was weird. I thought we were suppose to hold them like we were cupping a ball. How are you holding your hands?


How ironic.

I got the same hand correction yesterday myself. He said I was holding my hand and fingers too curved, and I should flatten them out. He demonstrated it to me and was holding his fingers even flatter than your 'Flat like this' picture. He asked if I was a 'typist' because he said he sees that with people with formal typing/keyboarding training. I have not had any typing/keyboarding training but I do spend my days in a cube with my "other" keyboard.

He explained that it will make it easier to play smoothly and will help reach the black keys as we move into using them.


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Congratulations to Nguyen and Zenobe on finishing the book!!!

I am nearly with you. My teacher was pretty happy with both Entertainer and Amazing Grace on Monday, but I am not too happy with them yet, so I keep practising them. They are getting there, and I can see the end in sight!

I have entered myself for Step 2 exam with London college of music, and that will be happening week commencing April 19th. It is not too difficult, and I love doing the exercises. I can feel that my left hand is quite week, and I am trying to work more on it. The scales are pretty easy - I will have to do one octave in C,D and G major, both hands together. I have been learning two octaves on my own before I got the idea of the exam...

So, I think couple of weeks and I will be starting Book 2. I have my last lesson this month on Monday, and I think I might be starting Book 2 by the end of this month or March 1st (just to have round date).


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The hand positions shown by GracieCat don't seem that radically different to me. It does look like the angle of the arm relative to the keyboard are different in the two prictures. The 'flat' hand has the elbows slightly elevated from parallel, which is how I was instructed. The cupped hands appear to have the arm ascending to the keyboard. Perhaps that is what is lending to the exaggerated arch? I tried an experiemnt holding my hand in position and moving my elbow up and down. My hand appears to compress or arch in response. Not an expert.

Have you ever fozen up for the teacher? I had an issue with playing 'Lullaby' in session where I made a mistake. But it was a new mistake, one I had not anticipated from practice. I make many mistakes, varied and absurd, in solo practise. I work them out. So I do not typically make a whole new fresh mistakes once I get into session. When I did it, my anxiety instantly shot through the roof. My confidence plummeted and dropped through the floor. I cold not recompose myself and get back to playing the song. At all. I just froze on it. Now my teacher is not scary to me, she is helpful and freindly. I never had that problem before. But there I was - just stuck. I had to beg off the tune and do something different in order to move on.

Thoughts?



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Captain Zero, that was my first practice, and I didn't play that well at all compared to how I do at home. I would describe my playing for her as rough and disjointed. At home it's smooth when I move forward to the next section. I expected to make mistakes but it was tough to have my songs flow smoothly. I have played for my neighbor and another friend and both those times my fingers felt heavy and I had a hard time figuring out how to play a simple F cord. smile Nerves take a little time to work through. That's ok.

DougF, my teacher said the wrist and top of the hand is flat. I agree. Flatter than the picture I showed. She put a little cup on top of my hand and said it shouldn't fall off when I play. I had my hand up and tilted to the sides. This change has hindered my playing some and will take time to correct.

gintarac, good luck on your exam and on starting a new book.


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Originally Posted by gintarec
Congratulations to Nguyen and Zenobe on finishing the book!!!

...I have entered myself for Step 2 exam with London college of music, and that will be happening week commencing April 19th...
Thanks gintarec. I look forward to your graduation. Best of luck with your exam.


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Working on Amazing Grace, so I'll be joining all the people above in book 2 soon. I'm still waiting for book 2 to arrive, but my teacher let me borrow her version. Also, the first 33 pages of book 2 (except 3-4) are on Google Books, should anyone need it: http://books.google.nl/books?id=vmw...0CAkQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=&f=false

Looking through the contents, there's not one song I want to play, but I don't know most of them either.

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Thanks for the link Physics. It's nice to see what's in the next book.

Good luck on book #2! Finishing the 1st book is a big accomplishment.


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I have some questions for those of you who are working through this book WITH A TEACHER.

First ... How well do you have to play the piece before moving on ?

Second ... How big a role does dynamics and phrasing in the decision to move on ?

Third ... After you have "mastered" a piece, do you revisit it periodically and bring it back up to speed ?


Thanks for any input you may have.


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I have a teacher and she has passed me on each assigned song every week except one. It will come as no surprise that the song was the infamous Blow the man down!!! I was asked to play that for another week to improve the timing. My teacher always gives me feedback regarding dynamics/timing/phrasing after I have played a song, so she certainly doesn't expect perfection before I get to move to another song. I think she treats the Alfred pieces as "teaching tools." As long as I appear to understand the aim of the lesson, she allows me to move on. I am also playing a sonatina from Bastien's first sonatina book. For that piece, she does expect perfection. I have been working on the first movement for three weeks now and she just, last week, said I should begin work on the second movement.
I do play old songs again and again, mostly because it is gratifying to see my progress with them. The only one I don't replay is Can Can. I just Can't Can't play that song ever again (and my family thanks me for that too!!! smile


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Hello, I am new here. I am also new to piano, and musical instruments for that matter.

Now for a little about me: allow me a moment to warm up my sympathy orchestra of violins...I always dreamed of playing piano since I was just a small thing. I never had one, nor did I know anyone who did. Now decades later... in a single afternoon two weeks ago I got it into my head I HAD to have a piano. I bought the Yamaha Clavinova that saturday. I immediately ordered the Alfred's all in one course from amazon more on accident than by any referral (by the way, I really like it). The next day I went iceskating, broke the scaphoid in my wrist. It was bitter irony, especially when I consider that I have never broken a bone in life before this. It's been two weeks now, and at least five more to go before I have full use of my hand to begin learning piano with the Alfred books.

Until then, I will be reading all of the good advice found here to help me prepare.

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tnew, sorry to hear you aren't able to start playing yet. How frustrating!! But, there are many things you can do before you start. Start reading through the book and learn the notes on both the treble and bass staffs. Learn the note values. Here are some on-line videos that will help you get going before you ever touch the keys.

http://pianolessons.com/
http://www.teoria.com/exercises/
http://www.piano-lesson-online.com/more-about-music.php
http://musictheory.net/

You can always start practicing with your other hand too. smile Good luck!

dmd, (before I had a teacher) I moved on when I had the song smooth and up to tempo. I always go back and revisit the older songs, and that's when I pay closer attention to the dynamics. It's really hard for me to apply the dynamics when I'm concentrating so hard on where my fingers need to go. Know what I mean? Also, I just had a my first lesson, and I wasn't able to play as well there and I couldn't properly play the dynamics because of my nerves. She passed me on a bunch of old stuff that wasn't played perfectly. At this point, I don't really know what she'll expect before she lets me move on.

Moving on doesn't mean you can't go back and polish pieces. I personally would just feel so stagnant if I had to polish only one simple song completely before I turned the page to go on. How many times can I play Blow The Man Down before I explode? LOL Frankly, the piece doesn't sound very musical and I have it polished now. I moved on before I had it polished though.


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