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#2864310 06/30/19 03:34 PM
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Hello everyone. I'm working through the Schaum piano course books for about a year now and currently finishing the Blue Book. Alongside these I practice the dozen a day exercises, plus any additional songs I like.

My problem is I am finding it confusing and difficult to keep up with playing/ reviewing all the songs that I've learned over the past year, consistently. If I don't play them after a few weeks I kind of forget how to play them even though Ive already learned them previously, which is a little frustrating.

I'm just wondering how others handle it? Do you just move forward , or only review pieces that you like? It really would take hours each day to play through every song I've practiced before.

Many thanks

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Welcome, Misty B.

Move forward. You can’t keep them all active. Keep only one or two you really like, them replace them as you see fit. It’s very hard and time consuming to maintain a repertoire, and takes away from learning and building new skills. So my advice is to just keep a few you can play to show friends and family and let the rest go. When you get to pieces you really love, then start keeping them active.


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Originally Posted by cmb13
Welcome, Misty B.

Move forward. You can’t keep them all active. Keep only one or two you really like, them replace them as you see fit. It’s very hard and time consuming to maintain a repertoire, and takes away from learning and building new skills. So my advice is to just keep a few you can play to show friends and family and let the rest go. When you get to pieces you really love, then start keeping them active.


Thanks a million cmb13. smile That really does take a weight off my shoulders.... and makes sense! I think I will just get a notepad and write down the ones I like best.

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I haven't kept any repertoire from the 6.5 years I have been learning, I just don't have the desire or the time. It is only now that I am playing pieces that I can see myself playing indefinitely, that I might consider keeping them once I have them performance ready


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Originally Posted by earlofmar
I haven't kept any repertoire from the 6.5 years I have been learning, I just don't have the desire or the time. It is only now that I am playing pieces that I can see myself playing indefinitely, that I might consider keeping them once I have them performance ready


Hi earlofmar smile If you don't mind me asking.. do you hence... practice a song then drop it after you feel you can play it competently enough? I find it quite exciting when I actually have mastered something that I feel it a shame to let go, however with there being so many songs/techniques to learn and master I can see how it's starting to get a bit terrifying (well for me anyway!) to keep up with all of it every single day.

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The pieces in the method books are learning pieces. If you like them, then keep them as repertoire and practice them. Otherwise, just learn with them and move on.


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Good to hear from someone else using the Schaum books - I was starting to think I was the only person here using them smile. I’ve been playing for a little under four months now and am about to finish the Red Book, so I’ll be moving on to the Blue Book in the next couple of weeks.

I also don’t try to keep everything current. There are a few pieces in the Red Book I really like and keep practicing (such as Brahms’ Lullaby and Schubert’s Waltz), but mostly I just move on and forget them after I’ve learned them. Most of the pieces are eminently forgettable!



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Originally Posted by MistyB
Originally Posted by earlofmar
I haven't kept any repertoire from the 6.5 years I have been learning, I just don't have the desire or the time. It is only now that I am playing pieces that I can see myself playing indefinitely, that I might consider keeping them once I have them performance ready


Hi earlofmar smile If you don't mind me asking.. do you hence... practice a song then drop it after you feel you can play it competently enough? I find it quite exciting when I actually have mastered something that I feel it a shame to let go, however with there being so many songs/techniques to learn and master I can see how it's starting to get a bit terrifying (well for me anyway!) to keep up with all of it every single day.


Hi MistyB, I have tried to maintain pieces in the past but failed because, as you say, there are so many new pieces and techniques to learn it always comes down to making the decision, what do I want more? To have a repertoire or continue learning new pieces, sure I could settle for something in between, but that doesn't seem to be my nature. In the past, my method for dropping pieces was this: after I had spent a lot of time on a piece, if it became evident I didn't have what it takes (at that moment) to progress the piece to some sort of mastery, and if I was keen to move on to a new piece and had no room for the old one in my schedule, I would just stop playing it. When I could get a piece to a stage I was happy with, and usually that meant I was able to record it, I would also then let it go. For the first five years I learned a great many pieces, but loved none of them enough to keep them going. But I believe by recording them that is enough.


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I don't use the Shaum method books, but I'm of the same mindset. I treat the material in the method books as steps to learning technique etc and don't go back and play them at all really. My teacher uses Alfred and the pieces are generally simplified versions of classics anyway. I agree with others that you don't have to be concerned with stockpiling that material. Focus on stand alone pieces of music you enjoy and see yourself playing for yourself or others down the road. I bet you have a list as long as your arm you want to play so keep pushing forward and challenging yourself with new music all the time and don't worry about passing by the stepping stones.

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Thank you both earlofmar and spartan928 for your advice which is very much appreciated smile

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I took lessons many years ago and was given the Schaum piano book 1 for practice. I’ve been playing again recently (for about 3 months) and decided to buy the second book in the series (The Red book).

I guess that they are aimed at a younger student but although I have many adult beginners books, I decided that I wanted to go right back to basics and work at a slower tempo. I enjoy playing an easier piece perfectly rather than a more complex piece at 60% and feel that it will be more beneficial in the long run.

They are fairly easy but every so often they throw in a curve ball. I’ve been stuck for a while on 'Tune of the Tuna' smile. It has a tricky fingering using fingers 3 and 5 of the left hand that I’m determined to nail before proceeding.

Every so often, after perfecting a piece I will just flip back through the book and open it at random pages and play those pieces. I don’t know if I’m doing the right thing but my theory is that if I can’t play it better than ever within three goes then I should hold off progressing until I can. This method is suggested in the book and I must agree that like they say in the book, it boosts your confidence.


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My first piano teacher started me on the Schaum books, and I made it through the middle of the blue book before I realized that I needed a teacher who was going to teach me about technique and theory rather than pushing through pieces. With my new teacher, I'm using the Faber Piano Adventures books (except for theory, for which I use the Fundamentals of Piano Theory books), and I'm now on Level 3A. I do feel like I'm making a lot more progress learning how to play properly, which I don't think that Schaum books teach in enough detail.


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Over Christmas holidays, my sister showed me some pics of her old red-, purple-, blue-, etc. covered Shaum's books. Tattered and taped. They got her into Jacobs School of Music and a piano performance minor. But when she tried to use those same books from her childhood with her own kids, they were bored stiff and her kid's teacher switched them over into Piano Safari. Times change.


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I have my old Schaum books, too. In my years of teaching piano, I've used Schaum maybe 4 times? The pedagogy is just not there, and the music is extremely dated. I also own Schaum's final publications, which were written in the wake of the success of Piano Adventures Gold Star Performance books.If you juxtapose the two methods, you will immediately notice Schaum's problems.


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