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Re: Alfred's Basic and ALL in One Adult Piano Course Book #1 [Re: Mark...] #2860224
06/18/19 09:13 PM
06/18/19 09:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Progman
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 dynamics.......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

If you go insane in the next few months, your family should blame sight reading! I’ve only started working properly on sight reading since May, and I’m approaching a mental breakdown grin

My teacher has been insisting on it, though. He will play a little part for me from whatever’s he’s teaching, then he goes away to another student. Comes back after a while, and asks me to play through. I get a demo + some time to practice. At this point, it’s not even sight reading, but I still struggle. He asks me to not get too attached to playing the correct notes, and just go on with the flow.

I can only sight read very easy stuff. Easy method book things or even easier exercises. I think it’s much easier than the book your teacher gave you. I got Sight Reading Factory, after reading Tyrone’s recommendations (I've been following your posts for counting inspiration, and his for sight-reading inspiration, lol). I can only do upto level 2 in that, which is a mixture of quarter notes and eighth notes, but pretty much HS. First RH, then LH, then RH, etc. Still I make too many mistakes at a higher tempo. I think something’s broken with my brain frown Also, I can’t sight read with dynamics at a higher tempo.

In my previous post though, I was not thinking of sight reading. I was thinking of trying to read some new material at our current level. Multiple slow attempts, till some semblance of the actual music comes out. I’ve read some pros here recommending that, and I feel it should help.

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

I think you can still start attempting it. I’m not sure, but I feel it’ll still build some intuition. There’s a Level 1/2 in Sight Reading Factory, BTW. I also find the beginning pages in other method books helpful. Lots of PDFs available online for those.

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Re: Alfred's Basic and ALL in One Adult Piano Course Book #1 [Re: Mark...] #2860229
06/18/19 09:31 PM
06/18/19 09:31 PM
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Originally Posted by earlofmar
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.

Good advice, earlofmar! Hopefully, it'll get easier. I'm finding it hugely fascinating, though I think it'd be better to have realistic expectations. Thanks!


Think Twice, Play Once
Re: Alfred's Basic and ALL in One Adult Piano Course Book #1 [Re: Tech-key] #2860230
06/18/19 09:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Tech-key


In my previous post though, I was not thinking of sight reading. I was thinking of trying to read some new material at our current level. Multiple slow attempts, till some semblance of the actual music comes out. I’ve read some pros here recommending that, and I feel it should help.


This is an even bigger thing than sight reading for me.....I have been trying new things in practice for a few months. Slow playing (while counting of course) is a major element.....For my lesson tomorrow I'm going to propose to Teacher that we treat today's lesson like I am doing a normal practice session to get her take on the details. I think she will love doing that....me too.


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: Lazarus] #2860254
06/19/19 12:08 AM
06/19/19 12:08 AM
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Hi Lazarus, welcome to this forum!

Originally Posted by Lazarus
I'm just polishing up "Good People" (which I very much like!)

It is one of my few favourites from Alfred's, and this is the first time that I read that someone else also likes this piece.

Originally Posted by Lazarus
I feel as though my rhythm and dynamics are probably sorely lacking at this point.

At least, get yourself a metronome. There are many free apps. The first time I learned Good People, I played it with incorrect rhythm. Now I found out how it is supposed to sound, but I don't really know which version I prefer. Actually, that is not true. I like my version better. laugh


Playing the piano is learning to create, playfully and deeply seriously, our own music in the world.
*
... feeling like the pianist on the Titanic ...
Re: Alfred's Basic and ALL in One Adult Piano Course Book #1 [Re: Lazarus] #2860299
06/19/19 03:30 AM
06/19/19 03:30 AM
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Animisha Online content
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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

As an early beginner, instead of sight-reading I spent a lot of time note-reading: I found (and created) melody lines for one hand only, and I said/sang the notes while I played them. This turned out to be a great preparation for sight-reading.


Playing the piano is learning to create, playfully and deeply seriously, our own music in the world.
*
... feeling like the pianist on the Titanic ...
Re: Alfred's Basic and ALL in One Adult Piano Course Book #1 [Re: Progman] #2860325
06/19/19 07:30 AM
06/19/19 07:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Progman
Originally Posted by Tech-key


In my previous post though, I was not thinking of sight reading. I was thinking of trying to read some new material at our current level. Multiple slow attempts, till some semblance of the actual music comes out. I’ve read some pros here recommending that, and I feel it should help.


This is an even bigger thing than sight reading for me.....I have been trying new things in practice for a few months. Slow playing (while counting of course) is a major element.....

Though I’m finding it very entertaining (and addictive), but for amateurs like us, strict sight reading may not have any practical usefulness. Unless they are preparing for exams, of course. Intuitively, I feel practicing sight reading at a lower level, increases confidence in reading at one’s own level. But I believe this is not as effective as finding any new material, and just trying it out. At least, most days I think so. I keep going back and forth on these beliefs, lol.

Originally Posted by Progman
For my lesson tomorrow I'm going to propose to Teacher that we treat today's lesson like I am doing a normal practice session to get her take on the details. I think she will love doing that....me too.

What an interesting idea! Will wait for updates smile


Think Twice, Play Once
Re: Alfred's Basic and ALL in One Adult Piano Course Book #1 [Re: Tech-key] #2860326
06/19/19 07:39 AM
06/19/19 07:39 AM
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Animisha Online content
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Originally Posted by Tech-key
Though I’m finding it very entertaining (and addictive), but for amateurs like us, strict sight reading may not have any practical usefulness. Unless they are preparing for exams, of course. Intuitively, I feel practicing sight reading at a lower level, increases confidence in reading at one’s own level. But I believe this is not as effective as finding any new material, and just trying it out. At least, most days I think so. I keep going back and forth on these beliefs, lol

I also go back and forth, and at the moment I think there are more useful things to practise. For the next five years or so, I actually cannot see any practical use for my ability (or lack of such) to sight-read. smile


Playing the piano is learning to create, playfully and deeply seriously, our own music in the world.
*
... feeling like the pianist on the Titanic ...
Re: Alfred's Basic and ALL in One Adult Piano Course Book #1 [Re: Animisha] #2860330
06/19/19 07:53 AM
06/19/19 07:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Animisha
Originally Posted by Tech-key
Though I’m finding it very entertaining (and addictive), but for amateurs like us, strict sight reading may not have any practical usefulness. Unless they are preparing for exams, of course. Intuitively, I feel practicing sight reading at a lower level, increases confidence in reading at one’s own level. But I believe this is not as effective as finding any new material, and just trying it out. At least, most days I think so. I keep going back and forth on these beliefs, lol

I also go back and forth, and at the moment I think there are more useful things to practise. For the next five years or so, I actually cannot see any practical use for my ability (or lack of such) to sight-read. smile

I don't know, it has a very game like appeal to me! From the very beginning.. when I still read by identifying individual notes. It can get frustrating, but still loads of fun! So, I see myself devoting time to this for just the entertainment factor. Or maybe, I'll just get bored of it later. This is more probable laugh


Think Twice, Play Once
Re: Alfred's Basic and ALL in One Adult Piano Course Book #1 [Re: Tech-key] #2860503
06/19/19 03:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Tech-key


Originally Posted by Progman
For my lesson tomorrow I'm going to propose to Teacher that we treat today's lesson like I am doing a normal practice session to get her take on the details. I think she will love doing that....me too.

What an interesting idea! Will wait for updates smile


I just did it and I think it was time well spent. She validated my main approach about targeting phrases or specific measures and going slow, and repeating - not really a surprise as we had talked this earlier. I am not always on the mark about identifying what to work on - but it seems that comes with experience. What was different is specifics on how to approach/think about fingerings that give me trouble. We would try some things right at the moment, and that is stuff I can integrate going forward. I did some stuff from the new sight reading book and she thought I was doing well but advised me to repeat each line right away (because sometimes I missed a note or 2). She also recommended to not be in such a hurry to progress along - stay put and work on gaining speed.

My Teacher is super cool - when I asked her if it was OK to treat this like my regular practice session, she was enthusiastic and let me lead the whole session rather then her leading and asking me to show her this or that.....she still wrote notes for me in my lesson book!


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: Animisha] #2860573
06/19/19 06:18 PM
06/19/19 06:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Animisha
Hi Lazarus, welcome to this forum!

Originally Posted by Lazarus
I'm just polishing up "Good People" (which I very much like!)

It is one of my few favourites from Alfred's, and this is the first time that I read that someone else also likes this piece.

Originally Posted by Lazarus
I feel as though my rhythm and dynamics are probably sorely lacking at this point.

At least, get yourself a metronome. There are many free apps. The first time I learned Good People, I played it with incorrect rhythm. Now I found out how it is supposed to sound, but I don't really know which version I prefer. Actually, that is not true. I like my version better. laugh


Yes, I have got a metronome (one of the benefits of playing on a digital piano!) It's very useful in smoothing things over when I know I'm rushing certain portions of a piece.

I know what you mean about the "incorrect" rhythms. Part of the reason I feel like I like the blues songs a lot is that one can play with the rhythm and feel somewhat "justified" in doing so wink

Re: Alfred's Basic and ALL in One Adult Piano Course Book #1 [Re: Mark...] #2861066
06/20/19 10:45 PM
06/20/19 10:45 PM
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So after a couple days struggling with the Little Brown Jug and Chiapanecas, LBJ is coming together fine and slowly (only 80bpm at the moment), and I really do not like either of these songs so far!

While playing Chiapanecas I realized just how poor my hand independence is. If I am playing a consistent pattern in LH ( C - EG - EG) I really struggle to maintain that LH when I am playing with the right. I tried for a good 10-15 minutes to simply improvise with the RH while doing this, and consistently (especially if I tried any eighth notes!) the LH falls apart, speeds way up, or something all else. I feel as though this skill I really should have learned by now... Are there recommended exercises for this? Is what I'm trying productive? I feel as though when I learn a bit from a song, what I learn is the measure in its entirety and only a small amount of independence.

Re: Alfred's Basic and ALL in One Adult Piano Course Book #1 [Re: Progman] #2861079
06/20/19 11:55 PM
06/20/19 11:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Progman
Originally Posted by Tech-key

Originally Posted by Progman
For my lesson tomorrow I'm going to propose to Teacher that we treat today's lesson like I am doing a normal practice session to get her take on the details. I think she will love doing that....me too.

What an interesting idea! Will wait for updates smile


I just did it and I think it was time well spent. She validated my main approach about targeting phrases or specific measures and going slow, and repeating - not really a surprise as we had talked this earlier. I am not always on the mark about identifying what to work on - but it seems that comes with experience. What was different is specifics on how to approach/think about fingerings that give me trouble. We would try some things right at the moment, and that is stuff I can integrate going forward. I did some stuff from the new sight reading book and she thought I was doing well but advised me to repeat each line right away (because sometimes I missed a note or 2). She also recommended to not be in such a hurry to progress along - stay put and work on gaining speed.

My Teacher is super cool - when I asked her if it was OK to treat this like my regular practice session, she was enthusiastic and let me lead the whole session rather then her leading and asking me to show her this or that.....she still wrote notes for me in my lesson book!

Glad it went so good! Very interesting to read. Your teacher indeed seems super cool smile


Think Twice, Play Once
Re: Alfred's Basic and ALL in One Adult Piano Course Book #1 [Re: Mark...] #2861082
06/21/19 12:02 AM
06/21/19 12:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Lazarus
While playing Chiapanecas I realized just how poor my hand independence is. If I am playing a consistent pattern in LH ( C - EG - EG) I really struggle to maintain that LH when I am playing with the right. I tried for a good 10-15 minutes to simply improvise with the RH while doing this, and consistently (especially if I tried any eighth notes!) the LH falls apart, speeds way up, or something all else. I feel as though this skill I really should have learned by now... Are there recommended exercises for this? Is what I'm trying productive? I feel as though when I learn a bit from a song, what I learn is the measure in its entirety and only a small amount of independence.

Lazarus, I feel Alfred's is a solid series, when you look at all the 3 levels, but for hand independence, Alfred’s takes it's own sweet time. Yes, there are pieces in between which push for this, but these are few and far between. I would suggest, look for some outside material and start supplementing with that. After the first 3 months or so, my teacher has not used this book as much. He started assigning Trinity grade pieces or popular music (which I find more difficult than the grade pieces) along with it.

I had worked a bit on John Thompson’s method book’s PDF in my beginning months, and that had helped. But you are further along in the book than I was then, so you can maybe try some easy classical pieces. They are fantastic for hand independence. There are many easy books available, plus free sheet music. I’m working from Essential Keyboard Repertoire. You can also check this blog post from PianoTV.

Edit: For the part I've highlighted, building up slowly with consistent counting has helped me the best. Sometimes I turn on the metronome for discipline, if I find myself going too fast and wrecking everything. Are you interested in chord style playing? There are a few courses out there. The one that I've checked (PianoForAll) is quite good in building a feel for rhythms, syncopations, etc.



Last edited by Tech-key; 06/21/19 12:12 AM.
Re: Alfred's Basic and ALL in One Adult Piano Course Book #1 [Re: Tech-key] #2861281
06/21/19 01:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Lazarus

While playing Chiapanecas I realized just how poor my hand independence is. If I am playing a consistent pattern in LH ( C - EG - EG) I really struggle to maintain that LH when I am playing with the right. I tried for a good 10-15 minutes to simply improvise with the RH while doing this, and consistently (especially if I tried any eighth notes!) the LH falls apart, speeds way up, or something all else. I feel as though this skill I really should have learned by now... Are there recommended exercises for this? Is what I'm trying productive? I feel as though when I learn a bit from a song, what I learn is the measure in its entirety and only a small amount of independence.


I think broken chords is Alfred's way of gradually teaching hand independence. I believe broken chords start appearing in earnest about half way into Book 1. Blow the Man Down is one that usually causes the most difficultly which has broken chords with eighth notes in the melody. Chiapanecas has broken chords again but makes the melody even harder by adding more hand position changes, uneven note signatures (3 beat half notes in measures 1 and 2, then quarter notes in measures 3 and 4, all the time with quarter note broken chords in LH), and also more dynamics with staccato, emphasis, decrescendo. So Chiapanecas is harder than what you learned earlier.

I would point you to refine your practice technique. I was right around the point you are at now that I figured out my practice technique needed to be improved. We all have to figure out what is best for us. The usual things to consider are (naturally) counting out loud on everything we play, go slow when we first do HT, work one phrase at a time - or whatever trouble sports you have detected. Gradually build up speed.

Originally Posted by Tech-key
I would suggest, look for some outside material and start supplementing with that. After the first 3 months or so, my teacher has not used this book as much. He started assigning Trinity grade pieces or popular music (which I find more difficult than the grade pieces) along with it.



While I (and others) do exactly what Tech-key is proposing, I warn you that when you step into scores outside of the Method Book (especially where we are now - in kindergarten), you will find it can be many times more difficult. That can lead to frustration - so just do it with your eyes open. I do wish I was a better practicer before I went to my outside scores.....but I guess I have enough patience and the harder scores make me practice better and certainly will be worth the effort. Good Luck!


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...] #2861299
06/21/19 02:30 PM
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Lazarus, I think Progman is correct about cautioning you about outside pieces. After all, you are just a couple months into all this. I had ignored that fact. Building hand independence takes time. A few posts back, you had mentioned getting a teacher. Do that! It helps tremendously. Till then, practice slowly but surely, as Progman mentions above, and you’ll do just fine.

Also.. Keep calm, and take a nap thumb (Just kidding!)


Think Twice, Play Once
Re: Alfred's Basic and ALL in One Adult Piano Course Book #1 [Re: Tech-key] #2861323
06/21/19 03:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Tech-key

If you go insane in the next few months, your family should blame sight reading! I’ve only started working properly on sight reading since May, and I’m approaching a mental breakdown grin




haha - you crack me up Tech-key - I'm a few weeks behind you. I've settled on 10-15 minutes sight reading every day on this.....and I also decided to keep repeating in the first few pages until I get a decent speed with confidence.....I already went insane a couple months ago with those outside scores I'm working on, so I can't afford to go insane again 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] #2862220
06/24/19 05:24 AM
06/24/19 05:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Progman
Originally Posted by Tech-key

If you go insane in the next few months, your family should blame sight reading! I’ve only started working properly on sight reading since May, and I’m approaching a mental breakdown grin

haha - you crack me up Tech-key - I'm a few weeks behind you. I've settled on 10-15 minutes sight reading every day on this.....and I also decided to keep repeating in the first few pages until I get a decent speed with confidence.....I already went insane a couple months ago with those outside scores I'm working on, so I can't afford to go insane again smile

Well, one of your outside scores had 5 pages! Even the thought of that troubles me, lol. Good luck with your sight reading!

Working on the Christmas one. I’m finding it tough. I guess, all the ones in this section will be on the harder side. I only really like the very last one though- Chattanooga Choo Choo. But that has 4 pages cry laugh


Think Twice, Play Once
Re: Alfred's Basic and ALL in One Adult Piano Course Book #1 [Re: Mark...] #2865629
07/03/19 02:51 PM
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So I had been wanting to wait to post an update until I had secured a teacher but ... alas, my procrastination on that front is prevailing. Somehow it always seems toe be 6-7PM when I remember to call and try to set up a lesson...

Fortunately, the two tunes "Little Brown Jug" and "Chiapanecas" turned out not to be so difficult. My main problem with them is that, to my ear, they only really sound "right" starting at about 160 bpm or so (is this what is meant by 'moderately fast'? Who knows!) But once I just gave up on what my ear thought was correct and slowly progressed from first 80bpm to 100 and now they are sounding fine at what I consider full tempo. I think this was actually an excellent lesson for me in starting much slower than tempo and gradually building up the speed (not many songs before these ones were that fast).

The tunes "Auld Lang Syne" and "O Sole Mio!" are both also basically done. I was quite happy with myself in that I played through "Auld Lang Syne" sight reading (with some small pauses) basically the first time.

I'm starting now on the A-minor "Jericho" and "The Stranger" which both seem fun but are still pre-assembly, so to speak!

Re: Alfred's Basic and ALL in One Adult Piano Course Book #1 [Re: Mark...] #2865762
07/03/19 07:40 PM
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Hi Lazarus,

Great update! If you can afford a teacher then I highly recommend that you make that a priority. As to the speed, I would suggest going to YouTube and doing a search for tinymozarts plus the name of a song from the Alfred's book. She's a piano teacher demonstrating songs from method books like Alfred's and Piano Adventures. It will give you an idea of the speed to play (at least according to her interpretation). Don't forget about dynamics and trying to make the piece sound as musical as you can.


Linda

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Re: Alfred's Basic and ALL in One Adult Piano Course Book #1 [Re: TX-Bluebonnet] #2865765
07/03/19 07:47 PM
07/03/19 07:47 PM
Joined: Jun 2019
Posts: 25
L
Lazarus Offline
Full Member
Lazarus  Offline
Full Member
L

Joined: Jun 2019
Posts: 25
Originally Posted by TX-Bluebonnet
Hi Lazarus,

Great update! If you can afford a teacher then I highly recommend that you make that a priority. As to the speed, I would suggest going to YouTube and doing a search for tinymozarts plus the name of a song from the Alfred's book. She's a piano teacher demonstrating songs from method books like Alfred's and Piano Adventures. It will give you an idea of the speed to play (at least according to her interpretation). Don't forget about dynamics and trying to make the piece sound as musical as you can.


Thanks! Good point about the dynamics and musicality... This is the hardest part for me learning solo -- it's really difficult for me to find and correct those inadequacies, and will surely be more of a focus once I find a teacher.

I've been looking at the 92PianoKeys videos for some guidance on tempos/musicality, and I find them pretty good! https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLIx-hGjmqNJE9M_m1oMkNl8BRdATc1m8d

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