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#1324067 - 12/12/09 03:43 PM best book for adult beginner  
Joined: Sep 2009
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zxczxc12345 Offline
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zxczxc12345  Offline
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hi, in opening my christmas present on the 25th which is a new digital piano. i cannot play at all and i wont be able to afford real piano lessons with an instructor. can anyone recommend a good book for beginners? im interested in playing classics even if they are easy versions. i dont want to learn a lot of crappy songs from the 60's or something. i understand a little bit about music because ive been playing the guitar for about a year.

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#1324225 - 12/12/09 09:14 PM Re: best book for adult beginner [Re: zxczxc12345]  
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Janlo Offline
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Originally Posted by zxczxc12345
im interested in playing classics even if they are easy versions. i dont want to learn a lot of crappy songs from the 60's or something. i understand a little bit about music because ive been playing the guitar for about a year.

I would suggest John Thompson's Modern Course For The Piano: The First Grade Book. The red book. (There's a green book, Adult Piano Course, but get the red one.) His series has more classical music than others, and less of the usual piano book fare for beginners. Others say it's somewhat accelerated but if you've been playing the guitar for a year, it might be just what you're looking for. I used it (and Book 2) for lessons about fifteen years ago and am beginning again with it now.

ETA: There's a newer edition of the Thompson book which comes with a CD but the CD is really awful, so awful it's funny. Just be aware... But usually, I think it is preferable to get editions of beginning piano books which include a cd. Soon you might look into the Alfred Masterwork Editions, with cd, of various composers, e.g. Bach's Anna Magdalena Notebook at Amazon

Last edited by Janlo; 12/12/09 09:49 PM.

Started self-teaching 10/09 with JT for only 3 months.
Beginning again 4/11 with JT & A's AIO.
#1324263 - 12/12/09 11:01 PM Re: best book for adult beginner [Re: zxczxc12345]  
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Gabe Offline
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I just started recently and I'm finding "My First Book of Classical Miusic" both challenging, manageable and beautiful with simplified classical pieces. And only six bucks. Rated "easy Piano Arrangements"

"Burgmuller, Czerny & Hanon" has great, musical exercises - some originally used or written by Beethoven. Good incentive to practice.

Last edited by Gabe; 12/12/09 11:05 PM.

Baldwin Hamilton 243
#1324409 - 12/13/09 10:21 AM Re: best book for adult beginner [Re: Gabe]  
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PianoManUK Offline
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Both the options above are excellent books however progress will be a little slower if you don't have a teacher. The other option would be to go for an online piano course which would have the benefit of demonstration videos. They are more expensive at around $39.99 but offer so much more than just a book and is still only the cost of a couple of private lessons with a professional. I recently reviewed one called "Piano For All" which is an excellent course for the adult learner and includes 300 videos.
I won't post the link in here to it because I don't know if that's breaking forum rules or not but check my signature if you want to find out more about it.

Hope that helps.

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#1324528 - 12/13/09 02:53 PM Re: best book for adult beginner [Re: PianoManUK]  
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limavady Offline
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What about the Piano handbook by Humphries? I think on amazon for less than 20. It isn't like this book will teach you everything, although it seems to try to do just that but because of that it's somehow more of an outline you could use for then getting additional material on the things he covers in each chapter. Still it does have some nice pieces included to play; Greensleeves near the beginning and then also Bach's Prelude in C and the first section of Fur Elise as well as Satie, Mozart and chopin among others. Also with a cd with most of the examples or pieces. It's a good book i think but like i mentioned you could almost write an entire book on each chapter he covers. The key to being able to learn from this method; books like this as opposed to a teacher is if you yourself are a natural teacher and able to play both roles, teacher and student.

#1325089 - 12/14/09 11:19 AM Re: best book for adult beginner [Re: Janlo]  
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dadof5 Offline
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Hi Janlo,
Is that a recommendation against the Adult Piano Course? If so, why? Why do you prefer the red book to the green book?

Thanks,
Kevin

#1325105 - 12/14/09 12:12 PM Re: best book for adult beginner [Re: dadof5]  
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crusadar Offline
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The Alfred's course Books 1,2 & 3 are well supported on PW, just check the threads. There are some corny pieces to get through but each has to be treated as an exercise introducing new technique or theory, etc.. The books are well presented and printed which is a big plus, something lacking in a number of other publications. To stave off boredom there's lots of other music at all levels to play alongside the course, some published under the Alfred's titles.

#1325142 - 12/14/09 01:05 PM Re: best book for adult beginner [Re: dadof5]  
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Janlo Offline
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Janlo  Offline
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Originally Posted by dadof5
Hi Janlo,
Is that a recommendation against the Adult Piano Course? If so, why? Why do you prefer the red book to the green book?




Okay, pros & cons of the red book vs. the green, but first a preamble:

Sixteen years ago my teacher started me with the preparatory book Teaching Little Fingers To Play. It's a good little book of not many pages, a good place to begin, but not absolutely necessary. I then went on to the red books along with a "Thompson-Hanon Book 1" aka Hanon Studies: Book One of technical exercises, which I also recommend. I moved from NYC and stopped lessons when I was probably a third of the way through Book 2. Fifteen years later I am beginning again and started with the first red book. Then I borrowed the green book from a friend and made a comparison - ending up ordering it to supplement what I have. I would recommend having both of them. Again, I recommend Thompson's method books if you prefer more classical music rather than more popular selections. As you progress in his series the selections become more entirely classical.

The first red book has 50 lesson pieces which include some titles which appeal more to children - but these are not your usual children's songs, I'm really referring to the names he gives the pieces. It also includes three pages of technical drills in the back of the book - a good introduction to Hanon exercises. In the first red book almost all the notes are finger-numbered, which Thompson believes does NOT hamper progress in playing the piano. There are also graphics/drawings throughout the book for each piece (which some people on Amazon confessed to coloring). For someone just learning the piano, the page looks more "user-friendly". There is a cd available for all of the music in the first book. Some editions come with the cd, some don't. The rendering of the music in midi format is positively awful (the piano part can hardly be heard from the accompanying synthesizer noise - think oomph pah pah, bells, etc.) and I'm glad I didn't hear it when I was learning the pieces years ago, but then I had my teacher play them for me -- but still, it is good to hear how a piece, the rhythm, should be.

The green book actually has an introductory section which includes most if not all of the "Teaching Little Fingers To Play" pieces (I'm not absolutely sure as I no longer have that book). Then it continues with what is the fifth lesson piece in the red book. In toto, it has about 14 of the 50 pieces that the red book has, plus about 18 other pieces -- some of them may be identical to some pieces in the red book but with a name change. There is less finger-numbering of the notes in the green book. Technical drills are more spread out through the lessons rather than in an appendix at the end of the book as in the red book. There is no cd available for the music in the green book. There are no pictures in the green book - you are looking at plain, stark, sheet music.

I had read somewhere on the web that someone felt that there was a 'jump' between the first red book and the second and liked the green book for filling in the gap. I never felt that way. The green book has two more pieces after "John Peel" which is the last one in the first red book, but I don't know if that will make such a difference. Again, I like having both books as each has some pieces which the other does not have, and because I like having the same pieces with more, or less, finger-numbering. Once I learn a piece with the numbering, then I can review it without the numbering.

BTW, I also recommend downloading the free program Smart Score X Demo Piano Edition by Musitek. If you scan a page of music, it will read it and give you a midi playback. It helps so much to hear a piece with which you are not familiar. Of course, if you are taking lessons with a teacher, he/she would play it for you, but for those of us learning on our own, it is a great help to have a program like this. Again, I recommend trying to get music books which do have a cd with them, e.g. the Alfred Masterworks CD Editions.

I hope I've answered your question.

ETA: Here are links to see the first two lesson pages in the red book:
Lesson 1
Lesson 2

Teaching Little Fingers To Play



Last edited by Janlo; 12/14/09 05:59 PM.

Started self-teaching 10/09 with JT for only 3 months.
Beginning again 4/11 with JT & A's AIO.
#1328338 - 12/18/09 02:46 PM Re: best book for adult beginner [Re: limavady]  
Joined: Dec 2009
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deAlmeida Offline
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I bought the Piano handbook by Humphries. As you said he advances too fast beetwen the chapters, but I think he intended to write a truly handbook in spite of a step-by-step book. There are a lot of interesting pieces, and the book covers a lot of styles. I think it worth the money since you have a lot of interesting information in a well done edition.

Originally Posted by limavady
What about the Piano handbook by Humphries? I think on amazon for less than 20. It isn't like this book will teach you everything, although it seems to try to do just that but because of that it's somehow more of an outline you could use for then getting additional material on the things he covers in each chapter. Still it does have some nice pieces included to play; Greensleeves near the beginning and then also Bach's Prelude in C and the first section of Fur Elise as well as Satie, Mozart and chopin among others. Also with a cd with most of the examples or pieces. It's a good book i think but like i mentioned you could almost write an entire book on each chapter he covers. The key to being able to learn from this method; books like this as opposed to a teacher is if you yourself are a natural teacher and able to play both roles, teacher and student.

#1328499 - 12/18/09 05:43 PM Re: best book for adult beginner [Re: deAlmeida]  
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Nguyen Offline
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Just about every recommendation and review I come across, favors Piano Adventures by Randall and Nancy Faber. Below are snippets I have stumbled upon and collected over the past few months. Hope it's help. Sorry if it's too long.


For Children review (Note, the reviewer lists her favorite 5 in Alphabetical, not most to least favorite order. I compiled the 3 I'm most familiar with.)

1. Alfred's Basic Piano Library- Lesson Book Level 1A
Suited for children 7 years old and above, the lesson starts by familiarizing the students with the white and black keys of the piano. The music pieces are presented in a simple manner and would be easily understood by young piano learners. It goes on to present space and line notes on both the bass and treble clef, introduction to the flat and sharp signs, itervals and reading the grand staff. The book features such fun tunes as Old Mac Donald and Jingle Bells. A solid foundation to start with.

2. Bastien Piano Basics Primer Level - Piano
The Bastien Piano Method uses a multi-key approach in teaching children to play the piano. The Piano Basics Primer is suitable for kids 7 and above. Original music pieces are studied in varying music styles such as pop and classical. All the books in the Bastien Piano Basics are correlated and presents lessons in Music Theory, Technic and Performance in a logical sequence. The pages are fully illustrated and colorful that will both attract and inspire young pianists.

5. Piano Adventures Lesson Book - Primer Level
Begins by introducing the keyboard, locating the Middle C, note values, note names and the grand staff. There is emphasis on musicianship by teaching the proper way to sit, correct ginger placement and the use of the pedal.The lessons are presented in a sequential manner and has reviews for skills already learned.

Piano World Teachers Forum Recommendations
- Piano Adventures series by Randall and Nancy Faber

- Piano Adventure's Gold Star Adventure books.

- Faber, Alfred, and Bastien all offer good piano methods, but I don't think all of them progress the student equally well. Some books at times jump ahead in difficulty too fast and frustrate students, or don't progress evenly for students.

- For adult beginners, I like Faber and Faber's all in one adult method. It includes learning how to use lead sheets, as well as score reading. Good explanations and nice progression as well. There are two levels, and you can get them with or without accompanying CDs.


you-can-play-Piano.com (The following reviews are by our very own PianoWorld Forum Member - TeacherKim)

Piano Adventures Method
Far and away my favorite of the traditional piano methods, Piano Adventures is a graded piano curriculum written by the husband-wife team of Randall and Nancy Faber. Nancy is an award-winning composer and pianist, and Randall is a celebrated performer.

If you're sold on the traditional method, these are the books I'd highly recommend for you!

Ages: books for young beginners, older beginners, and adults
Best feature: terrific, original, interesting music

Alfred's Piano Method
Before I discovered the Piano Adventures series, I taught using the Alfred's books. The Adult All-in-One books are a mainstay with many teachers because they include different musical styles and music theory in one volume.

I prefer the music in the Alfred's children's books to the Bastien books of the same level, and I like the order of the theory teaching better, too.

Ages: books for young beginners, older beginners, and adults
Best Feature: The All-in-One courses include a range of musical styles including jazz and blues


Nguyen - Student Pianist
#1329432 - 12/19/09 08:56 PM Re: best book for adult beginner [Re: Janlo]  
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MaryBee Offline
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MaryBee  Offline
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Originally Posted by Janlo

In the first red book almost all the notes are finger-numbered, which Thompson believes does NOT hamper progress in playing the piano. There are also graphics/drawings throughout the book for each piece (which some people on Amazon confessed to coloring). For someone just learning the piano, the page looks more "user-friendly". There is a cd available for all of the music in the first book. Some editions come with the cd, some don't.
[...]
ETA: Here are links to see the first two lesson pages in the red book:
Lesson 1
Lesson 2

Oh my gosh. Major nostalgia! I taught myself to play by using this book. That was 40 years ago, and I don't know where my old copy is now. But to see it again -- it's like an old friend! Off we go to music land... I can still sing it!
BTW, my edition didn't have a CD with it. smile

Anyway, even though I used it as a kid, I still think it was great for learning to play. And basically nice music. I did end up having a bit of a hard time switching from all the notes being numbered to other books where the fingering wasn't shown for every note.


Mary Bee
Current mantra: Play outside the box.
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#1381402 - 02/23/10 06:54 PM Re: best book for adult beginner [Re: MaryBee]  
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Jeffrey Preston Offline
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Hi! I'd just like to say I bought the red John Thompson Modern Course For Piano, and I'd like to say from the instant I sight read a few of the pieces I knew that this was the right book.

It's very informative, and has LH technique training laugh (me being into ragtime n' all, that's a HUGE plus!)



#1381544 - 02/23/10 11:00 PM Re: best book for adult beginner [Re: Jeffrey Preston]  
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Elissa Milne Offline
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Has no one in PW ever used the Hal Leonard Adult Piano Course? It think it's fabulous... Not sure if I am quoting the title correctly. But it has sensational backing tracks, opportunities for improvisation, and quickly get you to playing all the classical skills.


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#1381759 - 02/24/10 09:12 AM Re: best book for adult beginner [Re: Elissa Milne]  
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You might want to take a close look at the method designed by Rachel Jimenez , a pianist, teacher and regular contributer to various threads here in the ABF.

It can be found at www.FundamentalKeys.com

While I have not used the method I have perused her website and the method looks at a cursory glace to be well planned and designed (with supplemental videos) and could be very helpful to all beginners (including adults). You, of course, will have to make the final determination about it's worth and suitability to you, but I think it does deserve a detailed look.

Rachel's posts here in the ABF have always seemed to be understanding, knowledgable and helpful and full of good, rational advice.

And she has a good sense of humor. I know this because she has found at least one of my posts lol funny (probably more), which certainly shows a very discriminating and highly developed sense of humor on her part!
JF



Every difficulty slurred over will be a ghost to disturb your repose later on. Frederic Chopin

Current favorite bumper sticker: Wag more, bark less.
#1381772 - 02/24/10 09:51 AM Re: best book for adult beginner [Re: Elissa Milne]  
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DragonPianoPlayer Offline
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Originally Posted by Elissa Milne
Has no one in PW ever used the Hal Leonard Adult Piano Course? It think it's fabulous... Not sure if I am quoting the title correctly. But it has sensational backing tracks, opportunities for improvisation, and quickly get you to playing all the classical skills.


There is another teacher posting on Piano World who recommends using the Hal Leonard books. I think it is Morodiene, but I'm not 100% positive.

Rich


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