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Re: Alfred's Basic and ALL in One Adult Piano Course Book #1 [Re: Tech-key] #2858054
06/13/19 07:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Tech-key
Originally Posted by Domestic Engineer
The teacher is trying to help me move from playing all the right notes to playing them with more expression and musicality, but I’m afraid the artistic side comes much less naturally to me than the more objective, mechanical side!

It’s the same with me. And if there is anything distracting me, my playing gets even more mechanical. Most times, I can get the notes and rhythm right by concentrating. It sounds kinda robotic though. I’m fine with this, but thankfully my teacher is not. For the last couple months, he is constantly insisting on musicality and such things. Without him guiding me in this, I’d be totally lost, as I barely have a musical bone in my body.


My sense is that musicality is another skill to learn - I think most are not naturally musical. It's one the most common things I hear when talking to friends about my learning piano (I'm not musical) My teacher insists on rhythm and dynamics - the main point of dynamics getting the p/mf/f and the crescendos/decresendos right. I think in places these dynamics help it sound less mechanical, but there is clearly something else. My teacher lately has be getting me to get my wrists more active and showing me in specific sections how to move. Also doing work on arpeggios to make them smoother. I have also been playing around with a piece when there are several measures with the same dynamic - i try to have a gradient in the sound level - if it's a heavy melody then I try to accentuate the melody and lower the harmony. Of if is a more harmonic section i build up the sound very gradually over several measures. I think a lot of it is improved hand independence and using it.

I am nearing the end of Over the Rainbow which is one of the more varied and interesting songs so far. I have been for months working on Piano Man and The Sound of Music (for mom). While I must say it has been a trying experience because these are harder than the method book, it has been forcing me to improve my practice skills and my patience! I also picked up Clocks (by Coldplay) several weeks back which has lots of eighth notes and a rhythm pattern I have never seen before. I still have lots to do in the Review sections so I will be here for awhile which is fine with me.


Progman
Baldwin Console + Kawai ES100
Alfreds bk 1 + Teacher
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Re: Alfred's Basic and ALL in One Adult Piano Course Book #1 [Re: Progman] #2858097
06/13/19 09:45 AM
06/13/19 09:45 AM
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India
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Originally Posted by Progman
My sense is that musicality is another skill to learn - I think most are not naturally musical. It's one the most common things I hear when talking to friends about my learning piano (I'm not musical) My teacher insists on rhythm and dynamics - the main point of dynamics getting the p/mf/f and the crescendos/decresendos right. I think in places these dynamics help it sound less mechanical, but there is clearly something else. My teacher lately has be getting me to get my wrists more active and showing me in specific sections how to move. Also doing work on arpeggios to make them smoother. I have also been playing around with a piece when there are several measures with the same dynamic - i try to have a gradient in the sound level - if it's a heavy melody then I try to accentuate the melody and lower the harmony. Of if is a more harmonic section i build up the sound very gradually over several measures. I think a lot of it is improved hand independence and using it.
Yes, I believe you are right. Musicality is another skill to learn. I’m trying to get better at dynamics. Also, my teacher likes to sometimes mess with the rhythm or the sound, ever so slightly. It has a nice effect. I can’t even attempt these tricks, until I’m thoroughly comfortable with the piece. Still, it’s fun to get the license to play around, even though I can’t do it properly grin

This week’s class will be there. After which, my teacher is going out for 3 weeks. And so am I, but for a lesser duration. This will be my longest break from piano since starting. Very much looking forward to it! Will pick Amazing Grace once I return.

Originally Posted by Progman
I am nearing the end of Over the Rainbow which is one of the more varied and interesting songs so far. I have been for months working on Piano Man and The Sound of Music (for mom). While I must say it has been a trying experience because these are harder than the method book, it has been forcing me to improve my practice skills and my patience! I also picked up Clocks (by Coldplay) several weeks back which has lots of eighth notes and a rhythm pattern I have never seen before. I still have lots to do in the Review sections so I will be here for awhile which is fine with me.

I like the opening riff of Clocks a lot! I’m working on the Trinity pieces, and an arrangement of A Thousand Years. As time is going by, I’m actually liking this approach of mostly working on outside pieces with my teacher. Despite these taking forever to complete properly. Annoys me no end. But at least, this makes the method book pieces feel simpler in contrast.

Re: Alfred's Basic and ALL in One Adult Piano Course Book #1 [Re: Tech-key] #2858161
06/13/19 11:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Tech-key
Also, my teacher likes to sometimes mess with the rhythm or the sound, ever so slightly. It has a nice effect.


I have heard of this a couple times - both having small strategic pauses and changing the rhythm totally and them going back to original. I don't dare do that as I am a counting fiend at the moment...

Originally Posted by Tech-key
This week’s class will be there. After which, my teacher is going out for 3 weeks. And so am I, but for a lesser duration. This will be my longest break from piano since starting. Very much looking forward to it! Will pick Amazing Grace once I return.


I enjoy breaks like this....my brain keeps working in the background and somehow I have more confidence afterwards. Enjoy your break Tech-key!


Progman
Baldwin Console + Kawai ES100
Alfreds bk 1 + Teacher
Long Live ELP
Re: Alfred's Basic and ALL in One Adult Piano Course Book #1 [Re: Progman] #2858179
06/13/19 01:13 PM
06/13/19 01:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Progman
Originally Posted by Tech-key
Also, my teacher likes to sometimes mess with the rhythm or the sound, ever so slightly. It has a nice effect.


I have heard of this a couple times - both having small strategic pauses and changing the rhythm totally and them going back to original. I don't dare do that as I am a counting fiend at the moment…

Not that intricate, but yeah, something like that. In one, I counted till muscle memory kicked in. Then I hacked my way, by listening repeatedly to a recording I liked, and trying to imitate. I know it’s frowned upon, but I’m following the “where there’s a rule, there’s a waiver” policy. I completely messed up the pop song though, so definitely not a wholesome idea laugh

Originally Posted by Progman
Originally Posted by Tech-key
This week’s class will be there. After which, my teacher is going out for 3 weeks. And so am I, but for a lesser duration. This will be my longest break from piano since starting. Very much looking forward to it! Will pick Amazing Grace once I return.


I enjoy breaks like this....my brain keeps working in the background and somehow I have more confidence afterwards. Enjoy your break Tech-key!


Thanks, and enjoy all the fab stuff you are learning!


Think Twice, Play Once
Re: Alfred's Basic and ALL in One Adult Piano Course Book #1 [Re: Mark...] #2858492
06/14/19 10:34 AM
06/14/19 10:34 AM
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I enjoy reading about everyone's progress!

I have been away for a bit (though still playing :D), and I still have not done anything further in Book 1 since the holidays last year!

We are just working on a few songs right now--really trying to make them "my own": "Misty" and "Here's that Rainy Day". I have a few other ones I have been practicing, too, but those two are the main ones.

Not that I'm complaining, and I'm still having a ball!

Re: Alfred's Basic and ALL in One Adult Piano Course Book #1 [Re: Mark...] #2858520
06/14/19 12:16 PM
06/14/19 12:16 PM
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Thanks for the advice @Progman and @Tech-key. I found this playlist on YouTube and have been obsessing over it. The video maker used a much slower tempo than the one I intuitively picked. Then I discovered that I find it quite hard to change my tempo, so I decided to figure out how to play with a metronome, which I find hard, even with just quarter notes and half notes. I just get very flustered when I hear that clicking.

Speaking of very hard: harmonic intervals. Or really, thirds with 5 and 3 on the left hand. My fourth finger just feels very left out, I guess. I know this is a very common problem and I just have to keep at it, but it's very difficult to keep my hand loose.


Currently trying to control my 4th fingers.

Alfred's AAIO Level 1
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Re: Alfred's Basic and ALL in One Adult Piano Course Book #1 [Re: BatyaGeee] #2858612
06/14/19 05:39 PM
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Originally Posted by BatyaGeee


Speaking of very hard: harmonic intervals. Or really, thirds with 5 and 3 on the left hand. My fourth finger just feels very left out, I guess. I know this is a very common problem and I just have to keep at it, but it's very difficult to keep my hand loose.


You sound like what I went through Batya. I could not count out loud while playing (as ordered by my teacher). So I used a metronome for a week or two as a crutch to learn to count out loud - it worked. I hope you find it useful, but very few use it all the time (metronomes can be a lengthy pointed discussion around this forum :)).

In my experience, counting is the ticket to dealing with new/tricky rhythms. You might give a try at consciencesly going quite slow (low beats per minute) with new stuff - and just do 2-4 measures at a time and repeat. Then let your brain work on it while you sleep. We all have to find our own way, these are just some ideas to try out.


Progman
Baldwin Console + Kawai ES100
Alfreds bk 1 + Teacher
Long Live ELP
Re: Alfred's Basic and ALL in One Adult Piano Course Book #1 [Re: pathguy] #2858614
06/14/19 05:46 PM
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Originally Posted by pathguy
I enjoy reading about everyone's progress!

I have been away for a bit (though still playing :D), and I still have not done anything further in Book 1 since the holidays last year!

We are just working on a few songs right now--really trying to make them "my own": "Misty" and "Here's that Rainy Day". I have a few other ones I have been practicing, too, but those two are the main ones.

Not that I'm complaining, and I'm still having a ball!


Good to hear your still having fun pathguy! It is interesting how you, Tech-key and me are all doing the same thing - the majority of practice time is not the Method Book. I'm going to keep going but not in any great hurry - there's plenty to learn....


Progman
Baldwin Console + Kawai ES100
Alfreds bk 1 + Teacher
Long Live ELP
Re: Alfred's Basic and ALL in One Adult Piano Course Book #1 [Re: Mark...] #2858710
06/15/19 03:39 AM
06/15/19 03:39 AM
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Hey Pathguy, great hearing from you! Please keep updating us, whether you work from Alfred’s or not. Love reading about what you all are learning. smile

We actually picked up one from the method book today. “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”, of all things! I guess, we mixed up summer and winter vacations in our heads grin

BatyaGeee, Piano Susan! I haven’t seen her Alfred videos. But when I was around 90 or so pages in the book, I found one of her other playlists, and got obsessed as well. Would watch everyday, to the point that my husband was convinced I’d totally lost it, lol. For Alfred, I kept watching the 92pianokeys channel, because of that little dog that sometimes appears under her piano.

And yeah, even after all these days, the 3-5 and 2-4 finger combinations are tough for me. It does feel easier than it did in the beginning, though. Jingle Bells is approaching in the book! You making me nostalgic laugh


Think Twice, Play Once
Re: Alfred's Basic and ALL in One Adult Piano Course Book #1 [Re: Tech-key] #2859486
06/17/19 08:22 AM
06/17/19 08:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Tech-key
Hey Pathguy, great hearing from you! Please keep updating us, whether you work from Alfred’s or not. Love reading about what you all are learning. smile

We actually picked up one from the method book today. “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”, of all things! I guess, we mixed up summer and winter vacations in our heads grin

BatyaGeee, Piano Susan! I haven’t seen her Alfred videos. But when I was around 90 or so pages in the book, I found one of her other playlists, and got obsessed as well. Would watch everyday, to the point that my husband was convinced I’d totally lost it, lol. For Alfred, I kept watching the 92pianokeys channel, because of that little dog that sometimes appears under her piano.

And yeah, even after all these days, the 3-5 and 2-4 finger combinations are tough for me. It does feel easier than it did in the beginning, though. Jingle Bells is approaching in the book! You making me nostalgic laugh

Tech-key, it's funny you mention Christmas music: one of the songs I keep going back to (my teacher wants me to "really make it your own") is "Christmastime is Here"--just played it this morning, actually! I'll probably start doing a few more, just so I'm ready for the holidays.

Incidentally, two weeks ago I was in Seattle for a week long pathology course (what an awesome city). On the second day there, I was walking to meet some friends and noticed--2 blocks from my hotel--a Steinway piano gallery! I actually emailed the manager, made an appointment, and visited one afternoon. It was awesome! All those gorgeous Steinway (and Boston and Essex) pianos in a beautiful showroom: and I was the ONLY one there. Normally, I am very shy when trying out acoustic pianos (being a mostly digital/hybrid guy, everything sounds so loud), but I was able to play without too much hesitation.

I mostly stuck with the Boston uprights (as I *may* get one at some point), but also spent a significant amount of time with the Steinway K52 upright. My god, what a beast of a piano! I found out that I really enjoyed playing the Boston UP-126 (the 49" I believe), though even the Essex 5'1" grand was fun, too.

I had a great experience and really appreciate the time the manager, Jordan James, took with me (and for putting up with my playing).

Sorry this was off topic a bit: thought you all might enjoy it laugh

Re: Alfred's Basic and ALL in One Adult Piano Course Book #1 [Re: Mark...] #2859677
06/17/19 05:02 PM
06/17/19 05:02 PM
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Hi All!

Have followed the forum for a while but figured I would make an account and introduce myself.

Decided to pick up piano at the ripe age of 29 with essentially no musical experience and have been working through Alfred's AOI on my own for almost two months now. I'm just polishing up "Good People" (which I very much like!), and will probably be starting a foray into F-major soon.

I have the overwhelming feeling I should get a teacher to at least discover some unknown-unknowns (working on it), but I feel as though my rhythm and dynamics are probably sorely lacking at this point. Another interesting thing I noticed is that because I memorize the pieces so quickly (perhaps 20~30 minutes), I feel as though my music reading skills are lacking behind where they should be. I have to make a very concerted effort to play slow enough that I can read along and not allow myself to go faster. I bought the Alfred "Greatest Hits" book as a way to get more exposure to reading easy pieces, but have only worked through the first 2-3 songs (which come with their own unanticipated difficulties).

Anyways, I will try to post updates. I know I've enjoyed reading everyone else's, and good luck to all in this journey!

Re: Alfred's Basic and ALL in One Adult Piano Course Book #1 [Re: Lazarus] #2859713
06/17/19 06:48 PM
06/17/19 06:48 PM
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Welcome to PW!

"Ripe age of 29," my foot! My daughter is almost your age smile

Originally Posted by Lazarus
Another interesting thing I noticed is that because I memorize the pieces so quickly (perhaps 20~30 minutes), I feel as though my music reading skills are lacking behind where they should be.

I'm the same way. Sometimes quicker. Basically, by the time I can really play a piece, I have it memorized, whether I want to or not. Also, when it is fully memorized, it becomes increasingly hard to follow the notes in the score and requires more attention, which takes focus away from playing. I find this does hurt my reading - there have been threads on this topic here in ABF.


across the stone, deathless piano performances

"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
"Success is 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration." -by some other wise person
"Pianoteq manages to keep it all together yet simultaneously also go in all directions; like a quantum particle entangled with an unknown and spooky parallel universe simply waiting to be discovered." -by Pete14
Re: Alfred's Basic and ALL in One Adult Piano Course Book #1 [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2859733
06/17/19 07:52 PM
06/17/19 07:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Welcome to PW!

"Ripe age of 29," my foot! My daughter is almost your age smile

Originally Posted by Lazarus
Another interesting thing I noticed is that because I memorize the pieces so quickly (perhaps 20~30 minutes), I feel as though my music reading skills are lacking behind where they should be.

I'm the same way. Sometimes quicker. Basically, by the time I can really play a piece, I have it memorized, whether I want to or not. Also, when it is fully memorized, it becomes increasingly hard to follow the notes in the score and requires more attention, which takes focus away from playing. I find this does hurt my reading - there have been threads on this topic here in ABF.


My son is almost your age, lol...


[Linked Image]
Re: Alfred's Basic and ALL in One Adult Piano Course Book #1 [Re: Lazarus] #2859809
06/18/19 01:44 AM
06/18/19 01:44 AM
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Originally Posted by pathguy
Tech-key, it's funny you mention Christmas music: one of the songs I keep going back to (my teacher wants me to "really make it your own") is "Christmastime is Here"--just played it this morning, actually! I'll probably start doing a few more, just so I'm ready for the holidays.

Incidentally, two weeks ago I was in Seattle for a week long pathology course (what an awesome city). On the second day there, I was walking to meet some friends and noticed--2 blocks from my hotel--a Steinway piano gallery! I actually emailed the manager, made an appointment, and visited one afternoon. It was awesome! All those gorgeous Steinway (and Boston and Essex) pianos in a beautiful showroom: and I was the ONLY one there. Normally, I am very shy when trying out acoustic pianos (being a mostly digital/hybrid guy, everything sounds so loud), but I was able to play without too much hesitation.

I mostly stuck with the Boston uprights (as I *may* get one at some point), but also spent a significant amount of time with the Steinway K52 upright. My god, what a beast of a piano! I found out that I really enjoyed playing the Boston UP-126 (the 49" I believe), though even the Essex 5'1" grand was fun, too.

I had a great experience and really appreciate the time the manager, Jordan James, took with me (and for putting up with my playing).

Sorry this was off topic a bit: thought you all might enjoy it laugh

Pathguy, seems to me you are doing wonderfully well in making the songs your own! And now you can play something on any kind of piano, anytime 😊

Originally Posted by Lazarus
Hi All!

Have followed the forum for a while but figured I would make an account and introduce myself.

Decided to pick up piano at the ripe age of 29 with essentially no musical experience and have been working through Alfred's AOI on my own for almost two months now. I'm just polishing up "Good People" (which I very much like!), and will probably be starting a foray into F-major soon.

I have the overwhelming feeling I should get a teacher to at least discover some unknown-unknowns (working on it), but I feel as though my rhythm and dynamics are probably sorely lacking at this point. Another interesting thing I noticed is that because I memorize the pieces so quickly (perhaps 20~30 minutes), I feel as though my music reading skills are lacking behind where they should be. I have to make a very concerted effort to play slow enough that I can read along and not allow myself to go faster. I bought the Alfred "Greatest Hits" book as a way to get more exposure to reading easy pieces, but have only worked through the first 2-3 songs (which come with their own unanticipated difficulties).

Anyways, I will try to post updates. I know I've enjoyed reading everyone else's, and good luck to all in this journey!

Lazarus, I ended up liking Good People too. Though, I didn’t like it all that much while learning. I have the same issue of memorising too quickly, and I feel it’s bad for my reading. This is a common problem, so no need to worry too much. A few pages back, pathguy was mentioning the same thing. But do try to follow the score, as it’s good practice and I feel it’ll reap benefits later. And every now and then, you can pick something that you actively memorise (which also means being able to recover in case of a sudden lapse).

Incidentally, just a few days back, I tried out some ultra weird things to avoid memorising. I felt it worked, but later I realised it only delayed the memorisation a bit. So, overall a complete waste of time, lol. I also feel that we are being too hard on ourselves, coz if we can learn progressively difficult stuff from sheet music, our reading cannot be all that bad! To really ramp up our reading skills, I believe we should try to read through some new material every day we practice. Religiously.. like brushing our teeth 😂

Good luck with F major, and finding a teacher 👍


Think Twice, Play Once
Re: Alfred's Basic and ALL in One Adult Piano Course Book #1 [Re: Tech-key] #2860112
06/18/19 04:27 PM
06/18/19 04:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Tech-key


I also feel that we are being too hard on ourselves, coz if we can learn progressively difficult stuff from sheet music, our reading cannot be all that bad! To really ramp up our reading skills, I believe we should try to read through some new material every day we practice. Religiously.. like brushing our teeth 😂



I'm definitely too hard on myself, but.......just last week my Teacher said she was thinking about me and gave me a new book - "Sight Reading Unlimited Level 1B" from Alfred's. Up to now, every time my Teacher starts me on a new piece, she makes me sight read it (HS) to make sure I can do it. I've done good at that for the last 6 months.

Now with this new book I have to do it HT, in time, and with the correct dyamics.......well, let's just say it's good that I have more patience now than when I started! I am definitely starting off reading at a lower level score than what I am currently playing.....but, ultimately I'm super happy she did that - I won't let her down smile


Progman
Baldwin Console + Kawai ES100
Alfreds bk 1 + Teacher
Long Live ELP
Re: Alfred's Basic and ALL in One Adult Piano Course Book #1 [Re: Progman] #2860158
06/18/19 06:28 PM
06/18/19 06:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Progman
I am definitely starting off reading at a lower level score than what I am currently playing.....

The usual figure quoted is that one should sight-read two full grade levels below the level one plays. So if one plays at a grade 3 level, then one would only sight-read (or be expected to sight-read) at a grade 1 level.


across the stone, deathless piano performances

"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
"Success is 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration." -by some other wise person
"Pianoteq manages to keep it all together yet simultaneously also go in all directions; like a quantum particle entangled with an unknown and spooky parallel universe simply waiting to be discovered." -by Pete14
Re: Alfred's Basic and ALL in One Adult Piano Course Book #1 [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2860203
06/18/19 08:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by Progman
I am definitely starting off reading at a lower level score than what I am currently playing.....

The usual figure quoted is that one should sight-read two full grade levels below the level one plays. So if one plays at a grade 3 level, then one would only sight-read (or be expected to sight-read) at a grade 1 level.


Well that's a good rule of thumb to keep in mind! I guess I'll have to work until Grade 2 level before I can sight read anything frown

Re: Alfred's Basic and ALL in One Adult Piano Course Book #1 [Re: Lazarus] #2860205
06/18/19 08:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Lazarus
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by Progman
I am definitely starting off reading at a lower level score than what I am currently playing.....

The usual figure quoted is that one should sight-read two full grade levels below the level one plays. So if one plays at a grade 3 level, then one would only sight-read (or be expected to sight-read) at a grade 1 level.


Well that's a good rule of thumb to keep in mind! I guess I'll have to work until Grade 2 level before I can sight read anything frown

While this is the usual rule of thumb quoted, I'm guessing it may be a bit different at very low grade levels. It may be that this rule works better at higher grade levels. Just a guess...


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Re: Alfred's Basic and ALL in One Adult Piano Course Book #1 [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2860213
06/18/19 08:52 PM
06/18/19 08:52 PM
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earlofmar Offline
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop



Well that's a good rule of thumb to keep in mind! I guess I'll have to work until Grade 2 level before I can sight read anything frown[/quote]
While this is the usual rule of thumb quoted, I'm guessing it may be a bit different at very low grade levels. It may be that this rule works better at higher grade levels. Just a guess...[/quote]


Following Trying to follow the Ling Ling 40 hour method

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Re: Alfred's Basic and ALL in One Adult Piano Course Book #1 [Re: Mark...] #2860216
06/18/19 09:07 PM
06/18/19 09:07 PM
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earlofmar Offline
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My own experience was the first three years were more about finding my feet and I could hardly read anything HT. When I say finding my feet, I mean finding my way around the keyboard without looking, (even a third was like a huge leap). It just took a long time to ingrain some fundamentals, so I would say to people struggling with sight reading not to worry about meeting the expectations perhaps given by the ''two grades below'' rule. When you have more experience under your belt it will get easier.


Following Trying to follow the Ling Ling 40 hour method

Kawai K8 & Kawai Novus NV10


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