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#2158139 - 09/26/13 03:30 PM Re: Alfred's Basic and ALL in One Adult Piano Course Book #1 [Re: Mark...]  
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Shey Offline
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I have begun Alfreds Masterworks Classics, I think it is good. I can only work through it to find out if it is helpful for me.

I want to work on some classical music but without a teacher, I feel I am bouncing from one idea to another.

I got Sydnal and Scorpio mixed up, apologies. However, I think you guys are at the same level. Scorpio, what are you doing just now? I do admire both of you and the work you have put in to get to where you are.

I was just interested as to where you will go now after book 1. Because I really want to move on to other things, but if you guys are working with book 2 then I would work with it too.

So much to learn.



Alfreds All In One Level 1 graduate and various other tutor sources
Alfreds Masterworks Classics Level 1-2
Fundamental Keys
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#2158220 - 09/26/13 06:35 PM Re: Alfred's Basic and ALL in One Adult Piano Course Book #1 [Re: Shey]  
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Shey, I understand what you are going through. I was frustrated because I was not sure where to go next with material and if I was even practicing and playing properly. So I decided to make a change...

This week I started with a teacher (at a music school, at a local liberal arts college). The first lesson was to attempt to evaluate my current knowledge and abilities. I purposely went without Alfred Book 1 (a mistake), since I wanted to start fresh, even at the beginning if I needed. The teacher had me sight read several lines of different levels of difficulty. Asked me several questions about basic theory. Honestly, the teacher was quite impressed. The biggest issue he had with my technique was that I do not strike the keys hard enough. My assignment for the week:

1) Hanon Exercises #1 and #2 (they appear in Alfred's Book 1) - to work on striking the keys
2) I am suppose to play a piece from Alfred Book 1 - I choose "The Entertainer" - he is not too familiar with the Alfred Adult series
3) Start work on Petzold's Minuet in G Minor - he had me purchase Suzuki Piano Book Volume 3. In general I think the book looks and sounds way over my head.

Regardless how this shakes out, I will benefit from having structure. So that is what I have been working on.

---------------------
So for you and others moving on from Book 1 there are several routes you can take. I started Book 2, but found I wanted more. My plan was to work Alfred 2 and the Masterwork Classics. That way I would be working on different things and different techniques. I believe its a good plan with enough variety. I was also going to start learning some "Easy Piano" holiday tunes, something fun. And I think you can add pieces that you are interested in playing. I would not be afraid to start tackling different things. Maybe they end up being too difficult where you need to put it away and return to it later, but I think its good to test the boundaries of your ability. Again, I am not a teacher so I am just guessing here - and just telling you what my plan was before I made the change.

Not sure I really answered anything here except for talking about myself. But look, I am more than happy to discuss different approaches with anyone. I know this can be a lonely endeavor, especially if you are self learning. Feel free to post - maybe we can start a different thread - or PM me. Don't hesitate.

Happy playing to all, and to all a good night!


Kawai MP11 : JBL LSR305 : Focusrite 2i4 : Pianoteq Standard

We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams. Willy Wonka


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#2158320 - 09/26/13 10:17 PM Re: Alfred's Basic and ALL in One Adult Piano Course Book #1 [Re: Mark...]  
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Shey,
I have this thread bookmarked, I thought it had some good ideas of what to do after Alfred's #1:
http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/1605337/1.html

Another thread about "post-Alfred's":
http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/1816805/1.html


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#2158614 - 09/27/13 01:12 PM Re: Alfred's Basic and ALL in One Adult Piano Course Book #1 [Re: Mark...]  
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I'm finding all this advice so helpful and encouraging and the overriding message seems to be that it's a slow process and it's best to take it step by step - and my experience seems to be confirming that - slowly! I have a similar problem/dilemma of whether to try to 'perfect' (relatively speaking!) a piece before moving on - and then I find that after I've moved on and then return, I seem to play it more seamlessly (relative again). Also, I realise my knowledge is quite limited and know I've got so much to learn. I'm at 'Why Am I Blue' at the moment and it's just dawned on me that I've been taking the instruction to play F Sharp in the key of G Major to apply to that particular octave, but that means ALL of the F's in whatever octave - right!?

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#2158643 - 09/27/13 02:12 PM Re: Alfred's Basic and ALL in One Adult Piano Course Book #1 [Re: angelsong]  
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Originally Posted by angelsong
I'm finding all this advice so helpful and encouraging and the overriding message seems to be that it's a slow process and it's best to take it step by step - and my experience seems to be confirming that - slowly! I have a similar problem/dilemma of whether to try to 'perfect' (relatively speaking!) a piece before moving on - and then I find that after I've moved on and then return, I seem to play it more seamlessly (relative again). Also, I realise my knowledge is quite limited and know I've got so much to learn. I'm at 'Why Am I Blue' at the moment and it's just dawned on me that I've been taking the instruction to play F Sharp in the key of G Major to apply to that particular octave, but that means ALL of the F's in whatever octave - right!?


Correct ! And do not forget the F's in the Bass Clef also.



Don

Current: ES8, Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 audio device, SennHeiser HD598 Phones, Focal CMS 40 Powered Monitors, JBL LSR305 Powered Monitors
#2158705 - 09/27/13 04:19 PM Re: Alfred's Basic and ALL in One Adult Piano Course Book #1 [Re: dmd]  
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Thank you dmd for that confirmation and thanks also for the reminder about the Bass Clef.

#2158760 - 09/27/13 06:09 PM Re: Alfred's Basic and ALL in One Adult Piano Course Book #1 [Re: Mark...]  
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Ajames, the bookmarked threads were interesting to read, thank you.

Scorpio, it would be useful to talk about self learner's progress and structure of learning or lack of.

I have found Anna Magdelena's Notebook, nice to work on. They are suggested as easy pieces, well that is debateable, but they are doable After completing Alfred's book 1. Also it's classical music which is what I wanted to learn in the first place.

I have begun the BWV 114, it's a familiar piece and relativley easy, but still needs time and care. I am getting to grips with music theory, but oh it is a complex subject.

Your getting a teacher seems to be paying off for you and I hope you keep us updated with your progress.


Alfreds All In One Level 1 graduate and various other tutor sources
Alfreds Masterworks Classics Level 1-2
Fundamental Keys
Martha Mier Romantic Sketches
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#2159055 - 09/28/13 11:28 AM Re: Alfred's Basic and ALL in One Adult Piano Course Book #1 [Re: scorpio]  
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I've taken quite a bit of time off from my practice. I've never completed the entire book 1 and found myself jumping around the book when I got near the end, telling myself I just didn't like the songs. I think I should go back and start with the Hanon exercises...googling Hanon brought me to this forum; I haven't been here in about a year.

Is it better to learn the hanon exercises over learning scales?
Also, do most of you perfect a piece before moving on? I really want to learn to play but I feel stuck.

#2159083 - 09/28/13 12:41 PM Re: Alfred's Basic and ALL in One Adult Piano Course Book #1 [Re: Troubledclef]  
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I would advise against picking & choosing just the pieces you like. Every piece is there to teach you something and, believe me, it's really satisfying when you finish a piece you hate! That sounds like self-induced torture but you're trying to learn! With a human teacher there would be things you didn't like but you'd still go along mostly with what he suggested, I think.

On the other hand, if you try to perfect every piece, there is a law of diminishing returns, especially for a beginner.
I have given every piece in Alfred 1 to 3 a good mangling, (yes sir!), some more successfully than others.
But I've learned the art of knowing when to move on. For me, that is when I can play a piece accurately & fluently where notes, reasonable tempo, dynamics & pedalling are concerned. I am however, often slower than the CD and I can hear parts that could be improved with more practice. I give myself a spreadsheet score of 1 to 4 in the categories mentioned. Unless I really like the piece, we'll shake hands amicably & part company when I have scored 4s in each category.
That sounds nerdish, but it has worked for me since I started more than 2yrs ago. It means that I have experience now of a large number of varied pieces & techniques. That doesn't make me a good pianist but I believe I've learned more than I would have by "perfecting" half that number. So, suck what you can from a piece but leave it when you've made your best effort & spending more time is not likely to make a noticeable difference. If you can't make that assessment for yourself you should try to get a human teacher.

#2159216 - 09/28/13 04:44 PM Re: Alfred's Basic and ALL in One Adult Piano Course Book #1 [Re: Troubledclef]  
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Originally Posted by Troubledclef
Is it better to learn the hanon exercises over learning scales?
Also, do most of you perfect a piece before moving on? I really want to learn to play but I feel stuck.


Moonraker gave some great advise.
Do only the Hanon's in the Alfred Book. Do only the scales in that book also.
I don't come near perfecting a piece before moving on. Even though I want to. Teacher moves me on.
Most recently I wanted to perfect Good People. I got it. I understood it. I played it pretty good. Not like anybody I've heard post it. Then, as usual, in my lesson I played like a dufus. Teacher moved me on. Yet, she is very good at determining if I get something but just not practiced enough. She has taught for over 30 years.

I would highly suggest. Starting from the beginning. Go through and look at what the song is trying to teach you. There is something there that is repeated. That is what Alfred is trying to teach you. Make sure you get that down. Work your way to the end of the book like that. This is only since you've been through the book. But didn't go through it thoroughly.


Ron
Your brain is a sponge. Keep it wet. Mary Gae George
The focus of your personal practice is discipline. Not numbers. Scott Sonnon
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#2159933 - 09/30/13 03:47 AM Re: Alfred's Basic and ALL in One Adult Piano Course Book #1 [Re: Mark...]  
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Agree - really good advice from Moonraker. Although I'm only 6 months into this and sometimes prefer to focus on the bits that I find more enjoyable/fun and skip over those that are more challenging/less fun to me, it sort of makes sense to 'do the work' in terms of following the 'programme' and to put my trust in it - and in my opinion, so far it has 'earned' that trust! To me Alfred - so far - is like how I'd like a teacher to be: kind, gentle, thorough, efficient - and effective!

#2159959 - 09/30/13 06:37 AM Re: Alfred's Basic and ALL in One Adult Piano Course Book #1 [Re: Mark...]  
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Thanks for all of the great advice. I decided to start the book over (again) and not proceed to the next song until I can rate myself a 4 in each category. I found that some of the songs early on in the book were a bit challenging so I think this is a good approach for me.

Why do you suggest only doing the 2 Hanon exercises?

#2159964 - 09/30/13 06:51 AM Re: Alfred's Basic and ALL in One Adult Piano Course Book #1 [Re: Troubledclef]  
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Originally Posted by Troubledclef
Why do you suggest only doing the 2 Hanon exercises?


There is a progression of training and learning there.
My teacher has be do only these.
Yes there are some songs I work on outside of Hannon. She also looks at them and approves them. Things like making sure the key signature isn't something I haven't worked with in Alfred. My teacher has me look at Original versions also. But just look so far. Not play it.

I think it has something to do with what my Coach calls: Cocktailing. It's when you aren't focused on training. Try doing too many things at once. You get no results. Focus on certain results only. Then move on.


Ron
Your brain is a sponge. Keep it wet. Mary Gae George
The focus of your personal practice is discipline. Not numbers. Scott Sonnon
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#2160356 - 10/01/13 06:58 AM Re: Alfred's Basic and ALL in One Adult Piano Course Book #1 [Re: Mark...]  
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Thanks for the advice. I'm glad I came out here to ask for it. I am happy with my practice and starting over. I am up to Got those Blues...things are about to slow down. =)

#2160392 - 10/01/13 08:20 AM Re: Alfred's Basic and ALL in One Adult Piano Course Book #1 [Re: scorpio]  
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@Scorpio and @sydnal - Congratulations to both of you for completing book 1 in a quick yet dedicated fashion.


Originally Posted by scorpio
he had me purchase Suzuki Piano Book Volume 3. In general I think the book looks and sounds way over my head.


My daughter is doing Suzuki, and I agree with you in that book 3 is too difficult of a jump. Suzuki Book 2 is about the right level for someone who has completed Alfred's book 1. You might want to take that up with your instructor.

Even Suzuki book 1 might be good for someone looking for alternative material while studying Alfred's book 1. While it does have a few simple children's tunes in it, there are even some songs like The Cuckoo, Au Clair de la Lune, Aunt Rhody which are used in Alfred's but which are more difficult versions in Suzuki. There are also some classical pieces which I find not especially difficult, but not completely easy either.


1978 Dittrich Acoustic Upright
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#2160406 - 10/01/13 08:57 AM Re: Alfred's Basic and ALL in One Adult Piano Course Book #1 [Re: Johnny D]  
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It is my experience that attempting to perfect a piece while learning is inefficient. You will spend a lot of time for little gain. If you simply move on, you will find that you can return to that earlier piece later and play it with little effort. It is very satisfying.

I am getting into the meat of book 2, and it is rather surprising how I can go back to book 1 and essentially sight read my way through the whole thing.


Playing: Yamaha GC2
#2160408 - 10/01/13 09:02 AM Re: Alfred's Basic and ALL in One Adult Piano Course Book #1 [Re: Troubledclef]  
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Originally Posted by Troubledclef
Thanks for the advice. I'm glad I came out here to ask for it. I am happy with my practice and starting over. I am up to Got those Blues...things are about to slow down. =)


Try to emphasize quality of playing and not speed with which you are moving through the book.

It can be very satisfying to take a piece that you have great difficulty playing and work on it until you can play it perfectly.

Try to overcome the tendency to move on by telling yourself that ... "Oh, I could learn it if I wanted to, I just don't want to, right now". Don't give yourself that out. Keep at it slowly and carefully until you have it.

Then you will know you can learn to play things that you believed that you could not.



Don

Current: ES8, Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 audio device, SennHeiser HD598 Phones, Focal CMS 40 Powered Monitors, JBL LSR305 Powered Monitors
#2160410 - 10/01/13 09:08 AM Re: Alfred's Basic and ALL in One Adult Piano Course Book #1 [Re: Daniel Corban]  
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I think it is generally accepted that in order to truly perfect a piece your skill level requires you to be beyond the music's level of difficulty.


Kawai MP11 : JBL LSR305 : Focusrite 2i4 : Pianoteq Standard

We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams. Willy Wonka


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#2160419 - 10/01/13 09:43 AM Re: Alfred's Basic and ALL in One Adult Piano Course Book #1 [Re: Mark...]  
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I got that feeling too while trying to play some supplemental pieces like Love Me Tender and Eidelweiss early on while studying Alfred's. In other words, I felt that I was spending too much time on them, and that if I would just stick to Alfred's progression, then I could go back later and play those songs more easily.

As to moving on to the next piece, I like to move on while I am finishing up on the previous song. I will have pretty much learned the previous piece, but it won't be perfect by any means. So I start on the next song while still trying to polish up the old one.


1978 Dittrich Acoustic Upright
Alfred's 1 Graduate
Currently on Alfred's 2
#2160443 - 10/01/13 10:55 AM Re: Alfred's Basic and ALL in One Adult Piano Course Book #1 [Re: Johnny D]  
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Originally Posted by Johnny D
I agree with you in that book 3 is too difficult of a jump. Suzuki Book 2 is about the right level for someone who has completed Alfred's book 1.

Thank you for the comment Johnny D. There was a bit of a miscommunication on my part; the piece I was assigned was in Volume 2, older editions. In any case, after having my second lesson the teacher is on top of it. The focus now is getting all of my parts (technique, theory, sight reading, etc) to the same level. The main thrust at the beginning is going to be working on fundamental drills and skills. Playing from start to finish is a bit off in the distance.

I am happy I started lessons. Yesterday's lesson was thought provoking, challenging, and rewarding. I was dreadful. But I was so pleased to have been stimulated and worked. I am most happy that there is a plan and a direction. And if I work hard, I will get to where I want to be.


Kawai MP11 : JBL LSR305 : Focusrite 2i4 : Pianoteq Standard

We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams. Willy Wonka


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#2160758 - 10/02/13 06:47 AM Re: Alfred's Basic and ALL in One Adult Piano Course Book #1 [Re: scorpio]  
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Originally Posted by scorpio
the piece I was assigned was in Volume 2


EDIT: Now I got confused because I thought you were talking about Petzold's Minuet in G Major from the Anna Magdalena Notebook found in Suzuki Volume 2, and not Petzold's Minuet in G Minor from Suziki Volume 3.

------------------

Petzold's Minuet in G Major from the Anna Magdalena Notebook is a nice piece. After finishing Alfred's 1 you should be able to handle that piece fairly easily as I don't think that there are any trills in that version. In any case, it doesn't look any harder than some of the bonus pieces at the end of Alfred's.

(Again the comment above was in reference to a song from an easier book - Suzuki Volume 2)

------------

Good luck with your lessons. It seems like you have found a good teacher.

Last edited by Johnny D; 10/02/13 10:55 AM. Reason: I confused 2 different songs - Petzold's Minuet in G Major vs. G Minor

1978 Dittrich Acoustic Upright
Alfred's 1 Graduate
Currently on Alfred's 2
#2160937 - 10/02/13 05:05 PM Re: Alfred's Basic and ALL in One Adult Piano Course Book #1 [Re: Troubledclef]  
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I have decided to listen to the audio with my practice before going on to the next song. What a difference it makes...just when I thought I was doing ok - I get to go back a few pages. =)

#2161060 - 10/03/13 03:50 AM Re: Alfred's Basic and ALL in One Adult Piano Course Book #1 [Re: Mark...]  
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I wrote a little while back about not being able to 'hear' the tune when I played 'Good People'. After getting some advice I gave up trying and and focused just on playing the correct keys. Yesterday I decided to revise by going back to the beginning of the introduction to Major keys - especially as I'd discovered that I hadn't understood that sharps and flats referred to each occurrence of that note in each octave. However, I reached 'Good People' again last night and had 'forgotten' that this was the one where I couldn't 'hear' the tune coming through - and as soon as I started playing it, I immediately could hear the tune/melody/whatever, even though it's still slow and a bit laborious, I can now hear it 'emerging'. Result!

#2161085 - 10/03/13 06:05 AM Re: Alfred's Basic and ALL in One Adult Piano Course Book #1 [Re: Mark...]  
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always good when a misconception is straightened out and you can see a result as a consequence. Hence why theory is as important as the playing


Problems with piano are 90% psychological, the other 10% is in your head.

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#2161800 - 10/04/13 03:25 PM Re: Alfred's Basic and ALL in One Adult Piano Course Book #1 [Re: Mark...]  
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Hello fellow Alfred'ers,
Hope everybody is making progress. I'm up to "The Stranger" now, a very nice piece. I made it past "Little Brown Jug" and the Chia-pet thing. Those two are probably the low point in Alfred's 1, IMO. Not that they're really that bad, just not my favorite type of music.

I've decided to find a piano teacher. I figure it probably can't hurt, and probably will help. I'm worried about how my motivation will stand up in the face of "expectations", both from the teacher and myself. I've been avoiding expectations pretty well so far, just pluggin' away and taking the progress as it comes. Of course, now is the steep part of the learning curve, where progress is fast and cheap. And I'm having a blast. The real problem is staying motivated when progress is slow and hard.



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#2161847 - 10/04/13 04:58 PM Re: Alfred's Basic and ALL in One Adult Piano Course Book #1 [Re: Mark...]  
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Congratulations ajames, not only in getting this far but deciding to get a teacher. The teacher you eventually settle on should not be the pushy type if you do not react well to that, so choose wisely and don't settle for the first one. There are criteria you should look for and perhaps make a checklist of what you want and don't be afraid to discuss in an open manner your thoughts. Your teacher can be a long term relationship so best to get it right from the start.

Don't be too concerned about progress being slow and hard from now on. With a teacher you can relate to and material you are involved in you can have a much fun as ever.


Problems with piano are 90% psychological, the other 10% is in your head.

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#2162070 - 10/05/13 09:40 AM Re: Alfred's Basic and ALL in One Adult Piano Course Book #1 [Re: Mark...]  
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ajames Offline

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Thanks Earlofmar, good idea about the checklist.


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#2162092 - 10/05/13 10:38 AM Re: Alfred's Basic and ALL in One Adult Piano Course Book #1 [Re: Mark...]  
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Up and until now, I have only learned to play the piano by studying piano tutorials on youtube or different Synthesia arrangements I have found. And it has worked rather well.

I am able to play a few songs flawlessly by memory. For instance, I can play Yann Tiersen's "Comptine d'un autre été, l'aprês-midi" (the first song I learned) and a song from the japanese anime, Naruto, called "Sadness and sorrow". I can also play the entire into of Metallica's Fade to Black (this one was kind of difficult to learn).

However, I have come to realise that learning from video tutorials and Synthesia arrangements won't really be enough. I don't get to learn and understand the underlying musical theory. Here I am talking about notes, chords, sheet music, musical structure, rhythm etc. All I am doing at the moment is memorizing which keys to press and when.

Just a quick note - I have never ever been taught or learned anything about musical theory in my life. I am 23 years old at the moment.

So this is why I have decided to use Alfred's books. I want to learn how to read sheet music and, perhaps one day, to be able to play by ear!

To that end, I have a question. On Amazon.co.uk, there are a ton of different of Alfred's books. So which one is the "correct" one - the one you are all using in this thread?

Is it one of these two, or another completely?

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Alfreds-Basic-Adult-All-In-One-Course/dp/0882849948/ref=sr_1_3?s=musical-instruments&ie=UTF8&qid=1380986184&sr=1-3&keywords=alfred%27s+basic+and+all+in+one+adult+piano

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Adult-All---One-Course-Technique/dp/0882848186/ref=sr_1_1?s=musical-instruments&ie=UTF8&qid=1380986184&sr=1-1&keywords=alfred%27s+basic+and+all+in+one+adult+piano

And for future reference, I am guessing these two are the levels two and three respectively?

Level 2: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Alfreds-Basic-Adult-Piano-Course/dp/B00D7J8QWU/ref=sr_1_6?s=musical-instruments&ie=UTF8&qid=1380986184&sr=1-6&keywords=alfred%27s+basic+and+all+in+one+adult+piano


Level 3: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Alfreds-Basic-Adult-Piano-Course/dp/0739000683/ref=sr_1_4?s=musical-instruments&ie=UTF8&qid=1380986184&sr=1-4&keywords=alfred%27s+basic+and+all+in+one+adult+piano

By the way, I hope I am allowed to link to Amazon products. I am not sure if it's considered advertising. That's not the purpose of this post. I just want to be sure that I am buying the correct book(s). smile

#2162165 - 10/05/13 02:05 PM Re: Alfred's Basic and ALL in One Adult Piano Course Book #1 [Re: dmd]  
Joined: Jun 2012
Posts: 28
Troubledclef Offline
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Troubledclef  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Jun 2012
Posts: 28
North Carolina
When trying to learn a piece, which do you think works better, taking a measure at a time and perfecting it, or playing the whole song through. I am struggling a bit playing Ole Sole Mio.

#2162188 - 10/05/13 02:57 PM Re: Alfred's Basic and ALL in One Adult Piano Course Book #1 [Re: Lystig]  
Joined: Nov 2012
Posts: 1,039
scorpio Offline
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scorpio  Offline
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Joined: Nov 2012
Posts: 1,039
Connecticut, USA
Lystig, The Level 1 book I recommend is the one with the DVD:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Alfreds-Bas...c+and+all+in+one+adult+piano+level+1+dvd


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