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Joined: Feb 2008
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bfez, you mention that you own the 2 DVD Higginson course. My Higginson course consists of 4 DVD's Wonder if mine is newer, or if he has a couple different products that he is or has been selling.

I purchased mine at a lecture he presented in Raleigh, NC in February of this year.

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Originally posted by TryingToPlay:
bfez, you mention that you own the 2 DVD Higginson course. My Higginson course consists of 4 DVD's Wonder if mine is newer, or if he has a couple different products that he is or has been selling.
Mine has four, also, as well as a listening CD.


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BTW, if you ever re-join PM, I am sure you don't have to "disguise" yourself with a different screen name.
I'll use mArKb. No one will ever know...


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Sorry, two boxes of 2 DVD's each. 72 lessons in all. I bought mine at his demonstration in Orlando, FL.


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Also, I have the CD for listening.
has thought about using any of the above
I was hoping to see comments on possible methods for learning songs, timing, etc., and see if anyone here has used other available software to produce sheet music or to slow down the song.

I know that Notation creates sheet music from MIDI files and that Slowblast will slow MIDI files down. I just ordered the Band-in-a Box upgrade for 2008 in order to convert .mp3 files to MIDI files. The literature says that it can now interpret Chords from .mp3 files, but time will tel.


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Originally posted by TryingToPlay:
What was you piano playing experience prior to PM?
TryToPlay,
I had regular classical lessons for 10 years until my mid-teens, but I didn't like to practice at all. I was somewhere around grade 6-8. I had minimal theory. I couldn't play by ear to save my life until PM. I re-started the piano last July after a 30-year gap.


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To all existing or potential Higginson students:

I've been disappointed that there is no Higginson forum -- no place to discuss techniques, questions, hints, concerns, ideas, etc. specific to Higginson.

So I created one. Please visit and let's see if we can develop a meeting place specific to Higginson -- in some small way equivalent to the valuable forums that exist for Sudnow and PM.

It's ready for your posts. If you're interested, please visit and join.

http://www.tryingtoplay.info
Lenny

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Sorry, I had to edit...too many busy bodies.

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New Tunes Update:

Starting around the first of August, I thought I'd try playing some new tunes. I was thinking that perhaps the techniques I'd learned up to this point would allow me to do a decent job with tunes somewhat similar in structure to the three I've learned so far in the course (slow ballads -- arpeggio arrangements). For the first few days I fooled around with Tammy. Higginson gives a couple tips regarding this tune in his lesson 61, so it wasn't 100% unassisted. I spent a few days with it (w/o great success) and then thought I'd try Danny Boy. So for perhaps a week I spent time w/ both Tammy and Danny Boy. Danny Boy is a lovely melody and I decided I'd concentrate on it. At this point, I guess I've spent about 2 weeks on it. When I play it for myself, it sounds sort of OK; when I record it, I realize it sounds terrible -- so many unintended pauses. It seems like regardless of how slowly I play it, I cannot maintain steady tempo. Kind of maddening. I had this problem before I ever started the course and I continue to have it -- although for some reason, I do much better with the tunes specifically taught in the course. Don't know if that is primarily because I've spent much more time with those, or if there is something else going on.

I would have thought that I'd make better Danny Boy progress than I have. I'm continually confronted with the reality that, for most folks -- and certainly for me, playing the piano is a tough skill to acquire.

On a somewhat different note, I'm a bit disappointed about the fact that -- up to now, at least -- there has been very little activity on the Higginson forum, http://www.tryingtoplay.info. Not clear if there are just insufficient Higginson students, or if it's just that not enough folks know about it (or think it would be worthwhile). Dave Jr. has written to me to say that he will be monitoring it, and hopefully responding to questions. So in any case, I'll keep it up for a few more months waiting to see if any significant interest and activity develops.

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Hi - I'm a full-time private teacher in piano and I have some comments on the Higginson piano method.

This is the third year I have been using it in my studio. I teach several classes for adults using this method. (I also supplement most of my private students' lessons - teens and adults - with the techniques from his method.)

I do have some students, primarily singers, who are quite happy with learning the accompaniment part. And of course if you're planning on playing in an ensemble or with a singer, well - heaven help you if you try to play the melody, the singer will fire you! :-) BUT most people, of course, want to play the melody.

David Higginson DOES include instruction on incorporating the melody - on Disc 4. You have to know, for example, that if you have learned the accompaniment to Silent Night in the first part of the course, you have to jump ahead to lesson 62 to see how to incorporate the melody.

Depending on the song you choose, incorporating the melody can be a complex task - you may need an assist with a teacher to get satisfying results. But I am a champion of this course as far as giving people the tools to think and to play the way professional musicians do.

After 35 years of teaching, this is the best "learn to play quickly" method I have ever seen. It does produce good-sounding results in a short period of time, and in the long run it gives you command of a real understanding of how chords work, and big working chord vocabulary. At $289 it's a bargain --- for that price you could only get about 9 private lessons with me before you'd be shelling out more money. (Of course I'm worth it wink

My 99 cents --- I highly recommend the course.


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I am commenting here to bring this topic back up to the top for a moment.

I also highly recommend this course for those wishing to learn how to play "by ear".


Don

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Don, I visited the Higginson website this morning and went to the samples that were there. I was impressed by what I heard. I wasn't impressed by the cost of the course and the difficulty some people have in making contact with the course admin.

Is it possible to learn anything from the cheaper prices course booklets without all the DVD demonstration and huge costs?

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Ragtime:

I am not familiar with anything other than the DVD course. As far as I know, the only place you get the instruction of how to play the solo versions of the music is within the DVDs.

This is a very professionally done piece of software and you will not be disappointed with the content. It will absolutely explain thoroughly how to play music by knowing the chords associated with it.

It is not easy and it is not quick but it is thorough. If you do what he says to do and do not rush through it, you will be able to play the pieces on the DVD.

Oh, btw ... I am not sure what all the fuss is about support. There really is no reason to have to contact them. Everything is very well explained. However, I did contact them about some more advanced techniques and received a prompt courteous response.

Last edited by dmd; 02/14/10 09:01 AM.

Don

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This has been a very interesting thread to read through. Though I am not involved in this particular course, I may have a couple of ideas that could be of help (we can ALL help each other with different perspectives, just as with any form of problem solving, this situation might benefit from "more eyes" on the problem).

Over the years, I have been in and out of the Sudnow method, tried other methods, but keep coming back to Sudnow. That does not make this particular method better or worse than any other, but simply the best match for my particular learning style. There are quite a few good to excellent approaches to teaching yourself to play piano these days, and that is a very good thing - especially since we all have at least slightly (often very...) different learning styles, needs, and interests.

In this thread, I have read of people struggling to play a piece of music smoothly and without error. With regard to the "smoothly" part, Sudnow does provide one piece of advice that has worked for me and might help some in this thread. He says to always practice perfectly and on time. He says to practice as slowly as necessary to execute perfectly, and the ideal is to not teach your hands to make mistakes - by not making mistakes. In reality, this is an ideal that I seriously doubt has been achieved consistently by anybody at any level of playing piano. In my personal experience playing guitar professionally, the pro learns to quickly recover from a mistake in such a way as to not attract attention to the mistake. Pros do this all the time. So beating ourselves up for making a mistake is not a good thing, but learning to recover from it is. Sudnow is not saying to ignore mistakes, but instead to practice with such intention and care as to not introduce them. There is a difference between "practice" and "performance". In "practice", avoid mistakes where possible by:

1. Stop when you make a mistake and then attend to the problem area carefully and slowly so as to play through it without mistakes.
2. Practice on time, perfectly, as slowly as necessary to avoid making mistakes and then attend to #1 when you do.

Somebody else pointed out that the Higginson DVDs are complete to the point that they are self-contained, and therefore do not require interaction with the author. Maybe that is why there might be little activity in that forum. That is how Sudnow designed his method too. I have not been involved in the Sudnow forums for years, but though those are nice, supportive people over there (or were when I was involved). I found that, for my personal needs, the forums were really more of a distraction than helpful (but that is just me and not a reflection on the people in those forums). I tend to do much better listening to the CDs of the seminar and then simply doing what they say. In the forums, I could easily get distracted as people posted about this and that alternative approach or method or otherwise deviate from what Sudnow himself had been saying in the recorded seminar. I have been doing MUCH better on my own because Sudnow's "dogmatic" direct approach to how to learn just seems to suit what I need to stay involved and motivated..

Finally, perseverance is paramount to success. As Sudnow says in his seminar, this is a "hardy skill" and it takes consistent effort over a period of years to achieve success. You had better relax and enjoy the journey or you will never get there. Then, when you "get there", you see how much farther you can go, and begin to realize this is a lifetime journey with no end in sight. If you learn to enjoy the journey, then it becomes a regular part of your life and enriches it. If you don't accept the journey aspect of it, then you will be forever frustrated with your seeming lack of progress.

I hope that is helpful...

Tony


Last edited by TonyB; 02/14/10 09:54 AM.

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[quote=TonyBFinally, perseverance is paramount to success. As Sudnow says in his seminar, this is a "hardy skill" and it takes consistent effort over a period of years to achieve success. You had better relax and enjoy the journey or you will never get there. Then, when you "get there", you see how much farther you can go, and begin to realize this is a lifetime journey with no end in sight. If you learn to enjoy the journey, then it becomes a regular part of your life and enriches it. If you don't accept the journey aspect of it, then you will be forever frustrated with your seeming lack of progress.[/quote]

This is so very true. When I first started with the piano (5 years ago) I had a vision of a level of skill that I wished to achieve. I have surpassed that long ago and see that there is so much more I can achieve. There have been many moments along the way where I had to shift gears a litle in order to feel that I was moving in the right direction. I have a room full of dvds, courses, methods, etc ... Some good, some not so good. However, I have always enjoyed the journey and that is of paramount importance. I now have no particular goal whatsoever. I just keep "doing things" and trying to play things that I enjoy playing. I am far from an accomplished pianist but I enjoy what I am doing.

The best advice I can give the beginner is the same as you will hear over and over....

Play slowly and on time. The rhythm of the music is the most important element. Sure, you have to play the correct notes. But if you miss as note here and there, it may go unnoticed. If the RHYTHM is broken, you can throw everything else away. Play as slowly as you need to in order to play ON TIME.




Don

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