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Fundamental Keys Group
#2412640 04/21/15 09:01 PM
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I know there are some other PW members that use the Fundamental Keys method by Rachel Jimenez. I just got the first edition book and am starting to go through the first few pages.

I searched for a group thread like the Alfred's books have here on PW and didn't find one. So here we go.

I would like to hear from others that are using Rachel's method. We can support and motivate. I know I will need some PW love since I am starting fresh.

Ready? Let's Begin! cool


- Sam

Stuff: Yamaha P-105 Digital Piano, M-Audio C400 Interface, Yamaha HS 50 Studio Monitors, AKG K240 Headphones
Learning: Fundamental Keys, Playground Sessions
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Re: Fundamental Keys Group
soundsquire #2412661 04/21/15 10:13 PM
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Sam,

Neat idea. I am returning to piano (I have a DP) after having used the original Fundamental Keys a couple of years ago. I also am working through the first book of the new edition. I see a definite improvement on getting some of the basics of the method - intervals and home keys, etc. - in the new method, and I think the new volume teaches reading music more successfully. In my case, of course, some of it is relearning what I learned the first time, but I feel much more confident now.

I'm now working on the last training piece, Piece #17 on page 57. I'm eagerly awaiting the videos for this new first book and I'll get them to see if I've successfully practiced the pieces in this volume. I'm pretty sure I'm hitting the right notes and learning the lessons each piece teaches, but I'm unsure as to proper tempos to achieve with the practice pieces.

Ms. Jimenez has said that if you finish the first book before the other two new volumes are out you can use the original one starting at page 39. I still have that book and the videos that were produced for it, and those videos answered a lot of questions a couple of years ago, so I'm hoping the new videos are just as helpful. And since they're being professionally done this time I'm looking forward to them.

If my previous experience is duplicated, we'll get to real classical pieces starting with the second volume - easy beginner pieces composed originally for piano students. That's where the fun begins and you put the lessons from the first part into making real music. It's very satisfying and more challenging.

For the first book, I'd say make sure you have the practice pieces down and really understand all the basic info you're given. As you're going along you'll see how the practice pieces are instructive and build on each other. So don't rush, absorb the training and build a solid foundation.

I hope to get a real live teacher later this year, but I can't afford lessons right now. I'm an old, retired git on a fixed income. I feel Fundamental Keys, along with help gleaned from Piano World, is a good solution for the moment.

If you're already using the method and haven't done so, I'd suggest establishing an account at www.fundamentalkeys.com and signing up to get email notices so you'll know when a new blog entry has been entered, and also keep up to date on when the new volumes and videos are available. Best of luck.

Onward!

Frank



"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend.
Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read."
Groucho Marx

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Re: Fundamental Keys Group
soundsquire #2412667 04/21/15 10:37 PM
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Frank,
Thanks for the heads up on the email list. I missed that, so just went over and signed up.

I got to pages 17-18 (1st edition) with the intro to intervals. This is the good stuff! Landmark and intervals approach is why I got this method. I am going to slow down now and absorb, rinse and repeat.


- Sam

Stuff: Yamaha P-105 Digital Piano, M-Audio C400 Interface, Yamaha HS 50 Studio Monitors, AKG K240 Headphones
Learning: Fundamental Keys, Playground Sessions
Re: Fundamental Keys Group
Marvelle #2413307 04/23/15 10:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Marvelle
Sam,

I'm now working on the last training piece, Piece #17 on page 57. I'm eagerly awaiting the videos for this new first book and I'll get them to see if I've successfully practiced the pieces in this volume. I'm pretty sure I'm hitting the right notes and learning the lessons each piece teaches, but I'm unsure as to proper tempos to achieve with the practice pieces.

Onward!

Frank



Where would that Piece # 17 be in the first edition book?
I am on page 20 'Your First Piano Piece'. sick ha

PS: I am using 100-105 bpm as my goal for tempo. Andante? The metronome on my android phone is a real gem for this.

Last edited by soundsquire; 04/23/15 10:29 PM.

- Sam

Stuff: Yamaha P-105 Digital Piano, M-Audio C400 Interface, Yamaha HS 50 Studio Monitors, AKG K240 Headphones
Learning: Fundamental Keys, Playground Sessions
Re: Fundamental Keys Group
soundsquire #2413309 04/23/15 10:29 PM
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I hope you all don't mind my eavesdropping. I use FK with some students and would find it illuminating to hear what more people have to say.


Heather W. Reichgott, piano

Working on:
Beethoven - Diabelli Variations Op. 120
Beethoven/Liszt - Symphony no. 7
Tommy (whole show)

I love Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and new music
Re: Fundamental Keys Group
soundsquire #2413314 04/23/15 10:33 PM
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Hi Heather,
Please join in. I think many would in turn appreciate your perspective. How long have you been using Fundamental Keys?


- Sam

Stuff: Yamaha P-105 Digital Piano, M-Audio C400 Interface, Yamaha HS 50 Studio Monitors, AKG K240 Headphones
Learning: Fundamental Keys, Playground Sessions
Re: Fundamental Keys Group
soundsquire #2413322 04/23/15 11:13 PM
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Originally Posted by soundsquire
Where would that Piece # 17 be in the first edition book?
I am on page 20 'Your First Piano Piece'. sick ha

PS: I am using 100-105 bpm as my goal for tempo. Andante? The metronome on my android phone is a real gem for this.


In the 1st edition, it would be roughly around page 36. I would not be too concerned with tempo as long as you play cleanly. 105 is a bit on the high end of Andante isn't it? I would play it a bit slower, but more importantly, I would count out loud instead of using a metronome at this stage of the game. I know reading and counting out loud is not easy, so slow down some more if you have to.

It is very important to play every single rest and give every half notes and dotted half notes their full value.

Re: Fundamental Keys Group
soundsquire #2413353 04/24/15 01:52 AM
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Sam,

I think 8 Octaves is correct. In the new edition, piece #17 is the last of five exercises that wrap up what you've learned so far - home notes, intervals, rests, values of notes, beginning hands separate then together, etc. The previous 12 exercises introduce those concepts one at a time.

The new edition does give you more exercises to try out the skills you're learning before you play real classical pieces and for me it helps reinforce these lessons. I'm also using tips that Ms. Jimenez gave in the videos for the first edition, starting each very slowly and practicing them till they get up to speed. Also, practicing in chunks rather than playing the whole piece each time, a measure or two at a time and slowly joining the chunks together. This advice is pretty standard stuff but it really helps, especially as the pieces get more complex.

That's why I said earlier that I plan on getting the new videos - they were a big help with the original edition. It's also helpful to hear the pieces as they're supposed to sound.

I was zipping along pretty well until #17. It's getting there, but I'm still playing it at a snail's pace. I hope to have it down soon, and I'll dig out the original edition and start at page 39 - the first "real" piece, Curtains Up by Turk. Very simple, but as I recall they increase in difficulty. I still have the videos that were completed for the first edition, but they only go to page 80.

But I am very impressed with the new edition, and I'll get the two other books when they're done as well as the videos. Good luck, Sam.

And welcome Heather. I really enjoy your posts. They're very helpful.

Frank










"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend.
Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read."
Groucho Marx

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Re: Fundamental Keys Group
soundsquire #2413604 04/24/15 04:43 PM
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I present for your enjoyment or torture:
Fundamental Keys Piece #1 (after a day and a half practice) LOL!

Piece #1 - listen on Soundcloud

PS: Can we embed Soundcloud on PW?


- Sam

Stuff: Yamaha P-105 Digital Piano, M-Audio C400 Interface, Yamaha HS 50 Studio Monitors, AKG K240 Headphones
Learning: Fundamental Keys, Playground Sessions
Re: Fundamental Keys Group
soundsquire #2413612 04/24/15 05:24 PM
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Sam,

I think you're playing both hands together, and this first piece is meant to be played hands separately - in other words, play the right hand part first, then the left hand part right after keeping the tempo. The instructions say "...play the first line and immediately afterwards, play the second line." So, it's the right hand part first, then the left hand part.

It is confusing, because usually the G clef staff and the F clef staff are joined by a brace to make the grand staff. Look on page 21 of the original edition that explains this. This first practice piece was just to combine what you've learned so far, and then you move on to hands together.

I don't think the new edition has any practice pieces that repeat this unusual arrangement. Probably one of the improvements made to the new edition. I did check the video I still have for page 20 and this is how Ms. Hernandez plays it - first the right hand then the left. In the original book all the remaining pieces are shown on a grand staff as you would normally expect. For me, the videos really helped to correct any mistakes I made, and since I didn't have a teacher to correct me they were a big help.

Your tempo sounds great to me and I'm sure you'll find this first easy practice piece a snap to play hands separate. Kudos!


"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend.
Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read."
Groucho Marx

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Re: Fundamental Keys Group
Marvelle #2413620 04/24/15 05:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Marvelle
I think you're playing both hands together, and this first piece is meant to be played hands separately - in other words, play the right hand part first, then the left hand part right after keeping the tempo. The instructions say "...play the first line and immediately afterwards, play the second line." So, it's the right hand part first, then the left hand part.

It is confusing, because usually the G clef staff and the F clef staff are joined by a brace to make the grand staff. Look on page 21 of the original edition that explains this. This first practice piece was just to combine what you've learned so far, and then you move on to hands together.


+1.

I remember when the 2nd ed was coming together, we specifically had a discussion about these 3-line staff exercises, which were meant to emphasize intervals understanding without relating it to the grand staff, but they were causing confusion, so they were gone in the 2nd ed. Reading intervals is a very important baseline, far more than knowing this note is G and the next one is B. It's better to know this note is G and the next note is a third up, relatively speaking. Obviously, it doesn't hurt to know the name of the note as well. It is more important to know the interval is a 3rd or 4th or 5th, then G-B, G-C, or G-D when it comes to reading and understanding music theory. Always see notes as intervals even when they are not written as a (solid) chord play in the same beat.

Re: Fundamental Keys Group
8 Octaves #2413623 04/24/15 06:05 PM
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8 Octaves, thanks so much for the confirmation. I'm such a beginner, it's good to know I didn't mislead anyone. It's great to have knowledgeable folks here.




"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend.
Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read."
Groucho Marx

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Re: Fundamental Keys Group
Marvelle #2413629 04/24/15 06:38 PM
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Hi Marvelle! You're welcome. Remember I'm not Rachel; I'm just her pupil. I very much still consider myself a beginner until I get further along, so I'm your peer. What I say are suggestions, not something anyone should or must do.

If I'm out of my depth on something, I'll drag Rachel in here, or I'll ask her directly for the forum; in the mean time, I'll hang out with you guys. smile

Re: Fundamental Keys Group
8 Octaves #2413635 04/24/15 07:05 PM
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Excellent! Thanks so much.


"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend.
Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read."
Groucho Marx

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Re: Fundamental Keys Group
soundsquire #2413674 04/24/15 10:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Marvelle
Sam,

I think you're playing both hands together, and this first piece is meant to be played hands separately - in other words, play the right hand part first, then the left hand part right after keeping the tempo. The instructions say "...play the first line and immediately afterwards, play the second line." So, it's the right hand part first, then the left hand part.



Oh man. I guess I need to read more closely. I was really thinking about intervals and knew the funky three line staff was not what needed the attention. I did indeed play it with both hands and practiced it that way. Doh! crazy

The pattern that emerged for recognizing 2nds and 3rds is the hidden lesson. I also peeked at the generic intervals lesson on Musictheory.net.

Last edited by soundsquire; 04/24/15 10:33 PM.

- Sam

Stuff: Yamaha P-105 Digital Piano, M-Audio C400 Interface, Yamaha HS 50 Studio Monitors, AKG K240 Headphones
Learning: Fundamental Keys, Playground Sessions
Re: Fundamental Keys Group
soundsquire #2413691 04/24/15 11:38 PM
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Marvelle and 8 Octaves glad to have you watching my back. Many thanks for the direction and focus. thumb

Ok...so I went back and did it right (I think) this time. Here is take two:
Fundamental Keys Piece #1 - Take 2 (listen on Soundcloud)

PS: I had a little fun with this one. Hope me posting my recorded plinky plonks is fun for you as well.

Last edited by soundsquire; 04/25/15 12:22 AM.

- Sam

Stuff: Yamaha P-105 Digital Piano, M-Audio C400 Interface, Yamaha HS 50 Studio Monitors, AKG K240 Headphones
Learning: Fundamental Keys, Playground Sessions
Re: Fundamental Keys Group
soundsquire #2413696 04/25/15 12:06 AM
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soundsquire, I couldn't access your link for the second sound file...

Re: Fundamental Keys Group
soundsquire #2413700 04/25/15 12:23 AM
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Oops...try again. I fixed it.


- Sam

Stuff: Yamaha P-105 Digital Piano, M-Audio C400 Interface, Yamaha HS 50 Studio Monitors, AKG K240 Headphones
Learning: Fundamental Keys, Playground Sessions
Re: Fundamental Keys Group
soundsquire #2413703 04/25/15 12:48 AM
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Cool. Good job. Sounds like you hit all the right notes!

Be careful with end of phrase tendency of rushing into the next measure. You are playing the measures almost with 3 counts instead of 4. Also, the measure with two half notes are too short. Careful about holding each half note for its full value. Also try your best to count steadily. Hope this helps.

Re: Fundamental Keys Group
8 Octaves #2413727 04/25/15 02:54 AM
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Sam,

Congrats to you and the Yamaha Orchestra. (Sorry, just noticed the attribution to the Sound Squire Orchestra). I hear what 8 Octaves said about giving the half notes their full value. But I'm sure you did a better job than I did when I first gave it a shot.

That's another one of the areas that the videos really help with. In the ones for the first edition Rachel gave you some hints for each piece, then asked you to pause the video and give it a try, then come back and see how you did. She then did a slow version with some counting, followed by one at the proper tempo. It was common for me to have to go back and straighten out mistakes I had made. Having a real live teacher would be best, but the videos answered many things for me.

So I'm really looking forward to the new videos that will accompany the new edition.

Nice job!

Frank


Last edited by Marvelle; 04/25/15 02:57 AM.

"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend.
Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read."
Groucho Marx

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