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Re: Fundamental Keys Group
8 Octaves #2639579 05/04/17 04:50 AM
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Originally Posted by 8 Octaves
...
p. 104, Mozart (Leopold): Minuet; the only piece past p. 96 that took a single week to complete, yay! I still remember it for that reason, and was quite shocked when the teacher said, "well, you've got it; we're done!" at the very next lesson. Wow. That was the very last time it ever happened again. frown

Wow, very good of you to post here again, 8 octaves! smile Listening to your soundcloud, and knowing that you too started with FK gives me some hope that I might actually get somewhere this time on my musical journey. For those who don't know, 8 octaves is the only person I'm aware of who's been a real pupil of Rachel! Lucky you smile

Originally Posted by J van E

And my goodness, 3-6 weeks a piece... I already have problems when a piece takes more than two sessions LOL! grin I must really like a piece a LOT in order to spend 3-6 weeks on it. I suppose that is one of the 'problems' you have when you are teaching yourself. You simply HAD to learn that piece. I don't.

For me the comparison with real school or uni applies in this case. We had subjects or chapters that we didn't particularly like yet we still needed to study them to pass. It was just about how much we wanted to excel, no matter how boring they were. The real difference here is that we're still doing something we like: playing the piano, so spending more or less time on pieces that might appear boring strictly depends on how important we think they are to overcome a particular skill. A parallel example: scales are supposed to be boring, yet we still need to spend huge amounts of time on them. I hope I didn't get carried too much away... LOL


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Re: Fundamental Keys Group
wouldloveto #2639596 05/04/17 05:59 AM
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Originally Posted by wouldloveto
The real difference here is that we're still doing something we like: playing the piano, so spending more or less time on pieces that might appear boring strictly depends on how important we think they are to overcome a particular skill. A parallel example: scales are supposed to be boring, yet we still need to spend huge amounts of time on them.

Indeed, whenever I think I mastered a specific skill for which the piece was added to the book, I'll move on. But obviously I am not the best judge in this case... what I might call 'mastered' Rachel might (and probably will ; ) call 'crap'. Or a similar word. I suppose it all also depends on WHY you play the piano. A lot of the topics on this forum (about gestures, tension, imagination, the Russian stuff, etc.) are wasted on me because I just want to play and enjoy the experience. Period. I couldn't care less about some of the sometimes very heated discussions (in fact, they usually make me laugh LOL Yesterday I watched a video of that Russian pianocareer woman who said the piano can be any instrument, like a cello... or an organ... I seriously laughed out loud because when she played 'the cello' all I could hear was piano LOL grin All that is way over the top imho). I can imagine that's all very important if you want to become a famous piano player but that is not why I play the piano.

Concerning scales: Rachel said in a video about the exercises in the back of FK that you shouldn't bother too much about scales while using the book: one or two major scales are fine but don't spend too much time on it. That was at least what I understood from it. And well, I have to say this also has to do with WHY you play the piano. I like to learn new pieces and improve various skills but scales... whenever I come across a piece that would benefit from knowing scales I will learn them as I learn the piece. I see no use at all for my use of the piano to spend hours on scales and stuff I probably will never need...! But that's just my very personal subjective view on all this. wink

I'd be EXTREMELY happy already if I finish FK and can play all the pieces, including the more challenging ones. That's enough for me. Then I know I will be able to pick other pieces I like and play them. I have no urge to play the hardest pieces from Chopin or Liszt. If that was my goal I think I'd better stop playing today. wink

Last edited by J van E; 05/04/17 06:06 AM.
Re: Fundamental Keys Group
soundsquire #2639602 05/04/17 06:28 AM
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J van E,

Your attitude toward piano practice is refreshing. I think many piano students tend to be a bit grim. They play because it is "good for them". It will "build character and discipline." People will "admire and respect their accomplishment". Etc, etc.

You play because you enjoy it! I like that. We all need to keep in touch with that simple enjoyment even while we struggle with a difficult piece.


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Re: Fundamental Keys Group
soundsquire #2639603 05/04/17 06:30 AM
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Originally Posted by wouldloveto
...spending more or less time on pieces that might appear boring strictly depends on how important we think they are to overcome a particular skill. A parallel example: scales are supposed to be boring, yet we still need to spend huge amounts of time on them.
Whether or not the pieces are liked, if they're boring you're not paying enough attention or they're too trivial for you.

Pieces that are going to take weeks or months don't even have to be pieces you like. It's the work that's important and if you're involved with it then it's not boring.

By the time a piece is playable it may have grown on you or the technical challenge is more enjoyable than the piece might otherwise merit. I have pieces I enjoy playing but I wouldn't want to listen to if someone else were playing.

Practise should always include material you know and love just for your playing pleasure. I tend to interleave pieces I'm working on with pieces I'm memorising or refreshing.

Scales aren't boring unless you're doing them wrong and they don't take that much time. You need to know them, yes, but you don't need to spend a lot of time on them. You might accumulate a lot of time over the years but they only need a few minutes a day.

Originally Posted by J van E
...whenever I come across a piece that would benefit from knowing scales I will learn them as I learn the piece. I see no use at all for my use of the piano to spend hours on scales and stuff I probably will never need...!
I think that's a healthy attitude at this stage of your learning.



Richard
Re: Fundamental Keys Group
NightTrain77 #2639614 05/04/17 06:43 AM
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Originally Posted by DawgBone
J van E,

Your attitude toward piano practice is refreshing. I think many piano students tend to be a bit grim. They play because it is "good for them". It will "build character and discipline." People will "admire and respect their accomplishment". Etc, etc.

You play because you enjoy it! I like that. We all need to keep in touch with that simple enjoyment even while we struggle with a difficult piece.


Haha, ok, yes, well, this attitude has come with age, I have to say. wink I mainly started to make music to impress others (long ago, in the seventies) to make myself worthy (of whatever), but, long story short, after decades of making music it became a burden and a chore and I stopped creating music entirely. (Creating, because my main hobby was composing songs, not so much just playing music.)

Just a month ago, after not making music in any way for some 4 years, I decided that instead of creating music (which had become nothing more than fooling around with thousands of blocks on a grid in a DAW) I would like to simply PLAY music. Purely for my enjoyment. So I bought a piano (because I can't play my main instrument, the guitar, anymore due to artritis) and decided to play pieces that others had written instead of creating them myself. Because everything I ever did with music had been self-taught I quickly discovered I had to learn some proper piano technique, some reading skills, etc. and so I ended up with FK. Anyway, this is why my focus lies with enjoying myself. I don't care anymore for what others think about the music I make: I want to enjoy the transition from dead notes on paper to living music by just moving my fingers over the keys... it's pure magic everytime.

To get a bit back on topic wink : I wonder how many people there are on this forum that actually used and FINISHED the entire FK book? 8 Octaves did but are there any more? Was it a joy all the way or did you have problems at some point and what were those problems? I am curious how others experiences this method.

Last edited by J van E; 05/04/17 06:49 AM.
Re: Fundamental Keys Group
soundsquire #2639617 05/04/17 06:54 AM
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Is anyone here working with the Masterwork Classics series, edited by Jane Magrath?

These are short, graded, classical pieces, very much like the pieces in FK. Each volume includes an accompanying CD with performances by Valery Lloyd-Watts.

Good stuff!


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Re: Fundamental Keys Group
NightTrain77 #2639621 05/04/17 07:01 AM
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Originally Posted by DawgBone
These are short, graded, classical pieces, very much like the pieces in FK. Each volume includes an accompanying CD with performances by Valery Lloyd-Watts.

Interesting! I'll make a note of these books for future use. As it is now FK offers enough music (and challenges) already to keep me entertained (!) for quite some time. Adding more books to the mix only makes the journey to the end of FK longer. wink But whenever I get there I am sure I can use some books with pieces that have the right grade so: noted! Although http://imslp.org is also a great source for music, of course... cheap too. wink

Re: Fundamental Keys Group
NightTrain77 #2639647 05/04/17 08:02 AM
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Originally Posted by DawgBone
Is anyone here working with the Masterwork Classics series, edited by Jane Magrath?

These are short, graded, classical pieces, very much like the pieces in FK. Each volume includes an accompanying CD with performances by Valery Lloyd-Watts.

Good stuff!


I am. It was this series that moved me away from the Alfred's method books and started learning repertoire pieces. I very much enjoy the books and the CDs. I'm currently working on pieces in the Level 4 book (Polonaise in G Minor at the moment). I have the set up to Level 6, but that's probably a few years out.


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Re: Fundamental Keys Group
bSharp(C)yclist #2639658 05/04/17 08:20 AM
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Originally Posted by bSharp(C)yclist
It was this series that moved me away from the Alfred's method books and started learning repertoire pieces. I very much enjoy the books and the CDs. I'm currently working on pieces in the Level 4 book (Polonaise in G Minor at the moment). I have the set up to Level 6, but that's probably a few years out.


Ah, that's good to hear! I was wondering where I might go after reviewing Alfred's book one and working through FK.

I listen to the pieces you post on SoundCloud quite often. Very nice! I hope to be playing at that level before too long.



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Re: Fundamental Keys Group
J van E #2639775 05/04/17 12:23 PM
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Originally Posted by J van E
Another problem of teaching yourself obviously is that 'master' part: I may think I mastered a piece when I can play if without hesitations or mistakes but after reading some of your posts I have a strong feeling Rachel would disagree with what I'd call mastered.


I feel that it is natural that everyone has different ideas of what mastering means. Even the same person will have different ideas of what mastering means at different points in the long journey. For almost any piece of music, a teacher could make it as easy or as hard as (s)he wants. Part of the judgement of a teacher is to know when to call it quits on a piece of music and when to push you to keep on working. I think the hardest aspect of teaching must be understanding how hard to push each individual without destroying the fun, maximizing each person's potential just shy of the person quitting while maintaining fun and a strong sense of achievement.

As far as my opinion on being your own teacher, I think the only critical element is that you give a damn. By that I mean, you think about the notes carefully and play with care. Don't ever go on auto-pilot when you play. Like Andres Schiff said, the word amateur comes from the word, love, in Latin, in contrast to the word professional.... laugh

I would encourage you to participate in the ABF Quarterly Recital with anything starting from page 80 on. It's a no pressure format with lots of participants at a wide range of levels. The comments are exceedingly supportive and generous. You'll find out pretty quickly how hard you really need to work on something the first time you have to play for someone other than yourself, even the salesman at the piano store who is pretending he's not listening. You might discover that mastered pieces were not actually mastered. Have fun!

Re: Fundamental Keys Group
wouldloveto #2639789 05/04/17 12:51 PM
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Originally Posted by wouldloveto
We had subjects or chapters that we didn't particularly like yet we still needed to study them to pass. It was just about how much we wanted to excel, no matter how boring they were. The real difference here is that we're still doing something we like: playing the piano, so spending more or less time on pieces that might appear boring strictly depends on how important we think they are to overcome a particular skill. A parallel example: scales are supposed to be boring, yet we still need to spend huge amounts of time on them. I hope I didn't get carried too much away... LOL


I would be embarrassed to admit the pieces in FK that I didn't want to learn. eek I won't say which ones as to not influence you. Now looking back on them, I don't even know why I had issues with them. They seem so straight forward and normal, and I think that's the point.

As for doing scales, it's a complicated subject that could fill pages and pages of discussion to be sure. I personally don't practice them enough. The more I stay away, the more my expressive abilities moves ahead of my technical ability to play and the music often come across strange how someone who plays with a certain level of sophistication could be so awful and clunky technically. I feel like a bit of a fraud, someone who pretends I could play the piano when I really can't. I need to work on more scales. LoL.

However, don't put the cart before the horse. If you're not on page 100 or higher in FK, don't get obsessed with scales. Do what you feel like. In the early stages it is important to give your body plenty of runway to get used to practicing piano and not get carried away. Too much scales in the beginning is actually no good. It's like cramming for exams. Cramming doesn't provide much benefit long term and can be harmful short term. Scales should be learned slowly and incrementally, starting with just 5 finger pattern (C to G) one hand at a time, slowly work up from there. Also play 4-5-4-5-4-5 (hands separate) anywhere on the keyboard 10 times a day. Ten times is enough! Don't over do it in one sitting. Do 10 times a day for a year!

Re: Fundamental Keys Group
8 Octaves #2639881 05/04/17 03:44 PM
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Originally Posted by 8 Octaves
[quote=wouldloveto]... Ten times is enough! Don't over do it in one sitting. Do 10 times a day for a year!

Bloody helll! Let me do some math: I'm 61 right now, at this pace it looks like to learn them all I will have to carry on even after I've kicked the bucket!!! Not encouraging as a thought, but I understand what you mean.:) I'm not really obsessing myself with them, I care more about playing the pieces as much correctly as I can. I just incorporate some fingering in each session but I'm absolutely not overdoing it. The real fun part is the music itself and I try not to lose sight of it. wink


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Re: Fundamental Keys Group
8 Octaves #2639898 05/04/17 04:25 PM
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Originally Posted by 8 Octaves
5. p. 81, Mozart: Minuet in C

After practicing page 80 again, I started to work on page 81 and yes, this is a great piece! And not as hard as I thought it was! I almost got it under control already! It actually is fun to play, meaning that I enjoy the movements I have to make. Specially the left hand with those slurs which I usually end with staccato are a joy to play. I almost felt like a pro when I plunked those keys and lifted my hand as if I was playing a concert LOL Love it! Page 80 and 81 are great! Both are keepers and pieces I will try to memorize over time.

Re: Fundamental Keys Group
wouldloveto #2639945 05/04/17 05:54 PM
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Originally Posted by wouldloveto
Bloody helll! Let me do some math: I'm 61 right now, at this pace it looks like to learn them all I will have to carry on even after I've kicked the bucket!!! Not encouraging as a thought, but I understand what you mean.:)


On the bright side, you won't run out of things to learn. Just make sure they provide a piano and Internet connection wherever you're going after you kicked that bucket! thumb

Seriously, you're still young, and have plenty of time to learn them all. There are only 24 key signatures!

Re: Fundamental Keys Group
8 Octaves #2640080 05/05/17 03:03 AM
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Originally Posted by 8 Octaves
...
Seriously, you're still young, and have plenty of time to learn them all. There are only 24 key signatures!

Thanks for the "young" (that's how I feel anyway, and from what I've noticed, I'm certainly not alone on this forum! wink ).
Only 24? Well, it could have been worse... Imagine if they were 176! (ok, ok, bad joke laugh laugh )


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Re: Fundamental Keys Group
soundsquire #2640086 05/05/17 03:33 AM
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I noticed that further down the book I sometimes can't agree with the suggested fingering. Like in page 81 there are a few other fingering options that I find more logical, requiring less moevement. Up to now I tried to stick with the suggested fingering but I might not do that anymore if a certain fingering seems wo work better for me. Maybe it's just a coincidence but well, I decided to also think for myself in this case. wink

Anyone else has the same experience?

Re: Fundamental Keys Group
soundsquire #2640098 05/05/17 04:45 AM
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Hm... slightly disappointing... Since there are no video's of page 81 for FK I searched the internet for Mozart's Minuet in C. I immediately noticed almost all video's used different articulations. I also noted Rachel added a note that isn't there in the original! Can't say I am happy with that. So I decided to search for original sheet music but that is hard to find for this piece. The only complete one I found was this one

http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/minuet-in-c-major-k-6-digital-sheet-music/20139782

and if you enlarge the preview (which is the entire piece) you can see a lot of slurs that FK shows aren't there and there aren't any staccato's at all.

I have no clue however what the 'real' original looks like and I am in doubt how to play this piece as intended. I like it and want to keep it in my list of pieces but (obviously, I'd say) I'd like to play the piece as intended.

I am even thinking about always looking for the original score of any FK piece I like and practice that one I instead. Although it may be hard to find them all.


Re: Fundamental Keys Group
J van E #2640101 05/05/17 04:53 AM
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Originally Posted by J van E
I noticed that further down the book I sometimes can't agree with the suggested fingering. Like in page 81 there are a few other fingering options that I find more logical, requiring less moevement. Up to now I tried to stick with the suggested fingering but I might not do that anymore if a certain fingering seems wo work better for me. Maybe it's just a coincidence but well, I decided to also think for myself in this case. wink

Anyone else has the same experience?
I noticed that too, but I also thought there must be a reason why she suggests that, so for now I will carry on to see if I get into her same fingering logic. As for the pieces you see different from the original, I'm sure there is logic in there too and I don't feel like it's up to me at this stage to change anything, so I'm happy this way. smile


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Re: Fundamental Keys Group
soundsquire #2640108 05/05/17 05:07 AM
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IMSLP has the score for the entire piece, the Violin & piano sonata, of which this is the start of the third movement.

The slurs in FK may or may not be Rachel's but as you're a beginner they are likely there to guide you to the style of the piece. They would be slurs that a player of the day would apply naturally.

There is a similar thing going on with fingering. The fingering in FK may not be ideal for your hand but it's likely to lead to a more natural development. What may at first feel uncomfortable or unnatural may be that way because you haven't developed a natural affinity with the keyboard yet or full finger independence.

With elementary music like this it's a good idea to keep the fingering as recommended until you know why it's there, what problems are solved by it and how to work out another solution. It's quite likely, for example, to make hand movements so that all fingers are over adjacent keys providing a natural grouping of the notes and reducing errors where a small stretch that may feel comfortable, for an otherwise inexperienced hand, in one direction leaves the hand unready a few notes later and an inaccuracy ensues without the student knowing why.

While you're playing elementary music I'd stick with recommended fingering for a year or so until your hand discovers what normal fingering feels like. It may help to remove quirky fingering that you currently find comfortable and will later impede your progress.



Richard
Re: Fundamental Keys Group
soundsquire #2640109 05/05/17 05:15 AM
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@ zrtf90
My same thought, only much more articulated. It's like you're reading my mind. wink Thanks for your input.


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