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#2006797 - 12/30/12 10:49 PM Alfred's adult course
Vince R Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/27/12
Posts: 20
Can someone guide me, please ? I am 60 and now have the time and determination to learn to play. My goal is to be proficient enough to play for fun and entertainment, not for a musical career or stage.

In my research for courseware, I am coming across serveral for example: Piano for Dummies, Rocket Piano Course, Duan Shinns 52 week etc. etc. and am getting confused being brand new at this.

Can I reach my goal using the Alfred's books ? Any other suggestions or ideas ?

It will be much appreciated,


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#2006810 - 12/30/12 11:21 PM Re: Alfred's adult course [Re: Vince R]
Stubbie Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/16/10
Posts: 1393
Loc: Midwest USA
Vince,welcome to PianoWorld!

If you read around the forum for a bit you'll find most people recommend a teacher to make the process of learning to play the piano faster and easier.

If you are determined to learn without a teacher, then the Alfred's Adult All-in-One books are a good place to start. You will find long threads here on Books 1, 2, and 3, so you will have plenty of company.

In my research for courseware, I am coming across serveral for example: Piano for Dummies, Rocket Piano Course, Duan Shinns 52 week etc. etc. and am getting confused being brand new at this.

I will go out on a limb and say that, as I read it, most people have not found that the courses get them where they want to be. Your money is better spent on either a teacher or the Alfred or Faber books.

Best of luck!

#2006835 - 12/31/12 01:39 AM Re: Alfred's adult course [Re: Vince R]
Emissary52 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/17/09
Posts: 342
Loc: Monroe, NC USA
Hi Vincent! Congratulations on deciding to take the plunge into learning to play the piano. I've recently turned 60 myself and have been at it for three years. You'll find it to be one of the toughest, yet most satisfying tasks you've ever taken on!

I started using Alfred's Adult Piano Course Book 1. There are several versions, the most popular being the Alfred's Adult All-In-One version which provides more theory than the less expensive "basic" version and a new Self-Teaching version. All three of them are very good, however, the All-In-One is the most popular. I don't have a piano teacher (but haven't precluded getting one in the future...I'm a notorious cheapskate!) and managed to get through the first book, but I didn't care for the music selections in the second book and switched to Alfred's Masterwork Classics series, where I'm currently on Volume 4.

As far as those DVD-based courses you mentioned, I'd hold off on them until you complete the Alfred AIO Book One. Not that they're bad, per se, but they are a little skimpy in the theory part and tend to emphasize a "chords and leadsheet mentality" which can be a bit overwhelming for a total beginner. You would get more out of them once you have some playing and theory under your belt. Some are better than others and you may find more on the forum about a particular one by doing a search on the forum. The search function can be your friend!

The Alfred Book 1 thread is one of the largest on the forum and there always seems to be a new wave of beginners every so often. You'll find yourself in good company there with plenty of sage advice and sympathy if you're having problems with a given piece (which by the way, you certainly will!) "Blow The Man Down" was my nemesis and almost my Waterloo for a while!

You'll have some days where you will wonder why you are doing this, but then, you have these little triumphant moments that make learning the piano so worthwhile! I wish you the best on this new journey! grin
I'm Craig, I'm retired, It's Saturday every day!
Alfred's Masterwork Classics Vol 3 and Vol 4
YDP-160, GH-170R
Alfred 1 Graduate

#2006877 - 12/31/12 04:52 AM Re: Alfred's adult course [Re: Vince R]
justpin Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/25/12
Posts: 504
Loc: Holmes Chapel
Go to a music store and look at the books.

Look at the pieces remember or note down the names of the pieces and look at how things advance through the book.

Then compare and contrast.

I used an Alfred Publishing book 1+2. The Michael Aaron book which focused mostly on lullabys and rearranged classics. I learnt a lot although I do not enjoy any of the pieces in either of the books and looking at the Alfred all in one would probably have liked the pieces in that better.

YMMV of course

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#2007123 - 12/31/12 04:21 PM Re: Alfred's adult course [Re: Vince R]
Michael_99 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/12
Posts: 935
Loc: Canada Alberta

As someone said, go to your local music store and look through the books on how to play the piano. The books all cost about 10 dollars without the CD. DCs double the price and I don't find them helpful, but you may like the CDs. The key to learning the piano at any age, and I am older than you are, is just playing the piano everyday. Play your tunes everday. You will enjoy it. Like learning anything, the exercies and tunes are very, very simple and dull, but part of the process of learning anything, is learning the skill - drills that enable you to improve enough to play more famous and interesting songs. Michael Aaron piano course lessons books are simple and an easy method and is very help in learning to count.

#2007455 - 01/01/13 12:42 PM Re: Alfred's adult course [Re: Michael_99]
Charles Cohen Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/12
Posts: 3563
Loc: Richmond, BC, Canada
You can train your fingers to _play_ on your own. But it's hard to train yourself to _hear_ what you're playing, and hard to identify what you're doing wrong, and how to fix it.

A teacher's feedback, and instruction, is priceless. I'd try to find a teacher who was used to teaching adult beginners. They exist.

. Charles
. Charles
PX-350 / microKorg XL+ / Pianoteq / Lounge Lizard / Korg Wavedrum / EV ZXA1 speaker

#2007457 - 01/01/13 12:50 PM Re: Alfred's adult course [Re: Charles Cohen]
casinitaly Offline

Gold Supporter until March 1 2014

Registered: 03/01/10
Posts: 6508
Loc: Italy
Originally Posted By: Charles Cohen
You can train your fingers to _play_ on your own. But it's hard to train yourself to _hear_ what you're playing, and hard to identify what you're doing wrong, and how to fix it.

A teacher's feedback, and instruction, is priceless. I'd try to find a teacher who was used to teaching adult beginners. They exist.

. Charles

That is so true. I find it extremely hard to actually "listen" to myself while I'm playing and to hear what I'm doing wrong. Sometimes recording can really help with identifying the weak spots in a piece - the teacher's input is priceless, I agree, for for those times inbetween lessons when you want to self-evaluate - a recording gives you objective and exact feedback!

#2007460 - 01/01/13 01:01 PM Re: Alfred's adult course [Re: Charles Cohen]
Michael_99 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/12
Posts: 935
Loc: Canada Alberta

You are absolutely correct. The first thing that a person doesn't do as a student is, listen to his playing. The one thing that musicians at any level always do is to listen to every note and rest is being played for its perfection or not.

I can't imagine not having a teacher, but I have had teachers for the better part of my life, 60 years. You also know of people who have teachers but they don't listen to what they say. The best example are when playing with people who play in a band, who don't have a sense of timing no matter how times the conductor mentions it. It can be particularly difficult for piano players because some piano players only play alone their entire life.

Edited by Michael_99 (01/01/13 01:02 PM)

#2018167 - 01/21/13 05:05 AM Re: Alfred's adult course [Re: Emissary52]
Vince R Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/27/12
Posts: 20
Hi Craig,
Thank you for responding. I already can relate to what your saying. I'm just getting started and see how easy it is to get frustrated. With the theory, and terms etc. just looking at somewhat 'advanced' music (for the heck of it) can be daunting.

You have heard the saying "when the going gets tough, the tough get going". Well, I have always been one to 'bail' out . I am determined not to bail out anymore (unless other forces beyond my control dictate).

Any advice, encourgement you can offer at anytime, is appreciated.

Good luck to you and happy retirement ! (hope to be there soon myself).


#2018178 - 01/21/13 06:01 AM Re: Alfred's adult course [Re: Vince R]
sinophilia Offline

Gold Supporter until Sept. 05 2014

Registered: 06/26/12
Posts: 1505
Loc: Italy
Hi Vincent, I agree with Craig, if you go teacher-less, the Alfred's All-in-One series is your best bet. Get the self-teaching version of the first book and you will also get hints and tips on posture and stuff like that. Also, check videos on YouTube for proper position etc. More than anything, be critical, listen to yourself, record yourself, have somebody listen to you playing.

I just picked up the violin and I had to subscribe to online lessons because just learning to hold the thing is hard enough! On the other hand, with a piano you can do extraordinarily difficult things but also very easy stuff. I really think one can learn piano well enough to have some fun even without a teacher, but that really depends on your personality, and if as you say you're one to bail out, then maybe you'd do better with regular lessons. When self-teaching you need to be hard on yourself wink
Diana & Wally - Yamaha W110BW
Martha Argerich... is an incarnation of the artistic metaphor of the "eternal feminine" that draws us upward. (Sergio Sablich)

#2018428 - 01/21/13 01:48 PM Re: Alfred's adult course [Re: Vince R]
Wuffski Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/28/12
Posts: 546
Loc: Europe (Northern Spain)
"Piano for Dummies" (Spanish Language edition). I can´t recommend it to you. It is not a method book to learn playing piano. Instead it is a handbook for beginners, who want to repeat from a different source once more what they already learned about theory and about general knowledge around the topic "piano" in their first 1 or 2 years of classes.
It does not contain step by step instructions, which you would need for learning. It contains hints on a lot of topics, though. It might be nice to read in bed before sleeping, for freshing up in your head things about piano playing and to become curious on the things to come. But it is not made for your hands.
It would better be called "Piano Theory for Dummies".


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