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Originally Posted by TonyB
Those who say that it is all BS, are not.

You have misunderstood me. I said, "'52 weeks' is 1970's style marketing B.S." I never said the D.S. course was B.S., marketing or not. I said that phrase from the title of the course is marketing B.S., and I will stand by my remark. because "52 weeks" is indeed marketing B.S. regardless of whether the fine print inside the course tries to explain it away. People buy the course looking at the cover, title, and "liner notes" and not reading inside where the author explains how the course really isn't 52-weeks - just a turn of phrase actually!

When I was a kid, I saw an ad in the back of my Boy Scout magazine for:

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Well, I was always good in math and this meant for me that if I got the Charles Atlas mail order course, in 15 x 7 = 105 mins, I could be a New Man! So I counted my coins, tapped them to a card, put in an envelope and sent away for it.

I don't think I need to tell you the rest of this true story. All I can say is LOL.

So I think I am fully qualified to spot marketing B.S. in the D.S. course title - Charles Atlas taught me how! laugh

(BTW, this again says nothing about the content of the course - I am giving two thumb to David B. who is in his 40th "week" - David B. should be an inspiration to all picking up the D.S. course!)


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My comment was not strictly about you, but in general there will be folks who pop in to these discussions and say that sort of thing. I read what you said about 70s marketing BS and took no offense because it likely is true in this particular case. In another thread on this subject, somebody posted saying that you can't learn from a book what you need to do is... It is that kind of thing I was addressing, so please don't take my comments as directed at you. There are many more threads than this one that discuss this subject.

It is both funny and quite telling that you felt the need to respond to a Charles Atlas ad. I remember those and never considered sending for that stuff. As I mentioned in one of my posts, there are the equivalent of that kind of thing with self-teaching piano courses, so it is a good thing when people who find something of substance, posts about it AFTER they have worked with it for a while.

As for posting videos, I have done that with the Shinn course too. I don't usually do that sort of thing, preferring to just go my own way, and would much prefer not to fight about this stuff in a forum. Maybe I should consider that before posting in these types of threads again - lesson learned and relearned. My time is much better spent at the piano, and I doubt those who truly reach a level of competence did so by hanging out in forums anyway.

Tony


Last edited by TonyB; 08/16/19 10:18 AM.

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For those considering the David Higginson course, now that you have seen this thread, I think that it can be compared to how the guitar is typically taught if you are not studying the classical guitar technique and repertoire.

Usually, to begin with, you learn the names of the notes on the strings, and then you learn simple melodies at the open strings and first three frets. Then you begin to learn chords, the "simple" chords, often referred to as the "cowboy" chords because those are what are typically strummed for simple songs such as "Home On the Range", "Red River Valley", etc. These, you learn as forms to grab and strum. You might learn some picking patterns to go with those chords.

In the Higginson course, you learn the notes on the keyboard. Then you learn some simple chords, C, C minor, and C7. These are voiced similar to the Sudnow method as what are often refrred to as "spread chords" in which the left hand plays part of the chord and the chord is spread across both hands so it sounds more full. You might play Root, 5, Root (or b7) in the left hand and 3 (or b3), 5, and Root in the right hand. Then you learn "picking patterns", or what he calls "rhythm patterns". Then, you build on these by adding G major, G minor, G7, etc., and then you start learning to "strum" these in songs.

After you get to the lesson on how to use the pedal, when you have also learned a couple of simple tunes (Silent Night and Today), he says you can skip ahead to the last section to learn how to play the melody with these chord and rhythm patterns, starting with Silent Night. As I mentioned either earlier in this thread or in the other thread about this subject, he first demonstrates the process of adding the melody using the song "Tammy". I suggested getting the lead sheet for that (it is in movie fakebooks, since it was the theme song for a movie in the 1950s) and following along to really grasp what he is talking about.

Then, you go back to the earlier lessons and continue learning more chords and rhythm (picking) patterns and applying them to songs. Several of these songs he shows you how to add the melody to in that last section, so you can then jump ahead and learn that once you can play through the chords to the tune.

So there are two parts to his style: what he calls "chord patterns", which are the voicings as I explained above, and what he calls "rhythm patterns", which are like fingerpicking patterns on the guitar. Then, to these two parts, he will show you how to weave in the melody for several of the tunes in the book.

There are two other books available as add-ons to the course. These include a book with many more "chord patterns", where he delves further into altered chords (b5, #5, etc.) and "color tones" (9, 11, 13, etc.), and a book with many more "rhythm patterns" (picking patterns). That book also comes with a CD demonstrating how these are supposed to sound.

The pace is quite easy and the teaching is, in many ways, quite similar to Sudnow, with his spread voicings and lush chords (those come later in the Higginson course). Where Sudnow focuses on the Great American Songbook, Higginson focuses more on pop tunes, Christmas tunes, etc., though his style is also very complementary to the Great American Songbook too.

I hope that helps folks decide whether this is what they want to learn or not, along with Bob's excellent review at the start of the thread. Unless somebody has a direct question for me, I think I have done what I can to answer questions. I feel that if I stick around this thread too long, I might end up with another silly "dust up" and I am really not interested in forum politics and post misinterpretations. I would much rather be helpful in providing my own experiences if those can directly answer questions from people serious about finding a good course of study, and hearing of others' experiences in their own studies. We can learn from each other.

Tony


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Thank you TonyB, you've sewn this thread up nicely.

Very good summary.

I appreciate your observations in this thread and the previous threads that I read on the subject. I guess that does it for me unless someone comes along and asks questions about it.

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Originally Posted by TonyB
It is both funny and quite telling that you felt the need to respond to a Charles Atlas ad. I remember those and never considered sending for that stuff. As I mentioned in one of my posts, there are the equivalent of that kind of thing with self-teaching piano courses, so it is a good thing when people who find something of substance, posts about it AFTER they have worked with it for a while.

Yes, since you are too diplomatic name it, yes, I've always. been too trusting. Some might call that what it is - gullible. It's been a process over my life to decide some people aren't worthy of trust - for example, recently, an interior designer that I paid a $250 deposit to who never came over to my place for a site visit in almost 3 months but hasn't bothered to give my deposit back. This character flaw of mine is why I am especially sensitive to D.S.'s title. It's just a cheap trick in what sounds like an absolutely fabulous and comprehensive course for those looking for a chord piano course.

If anyone came to me and wanted to self-learn chord piano for church playing, for example, I know I would direct them to the D.S. course - and now if they look like they need a less comprehensive course, I might steer them toward the Dave Higginson course (because honesty about the difficulty of piano) should be rewarded.


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"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
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I want to provide some additional clarification, lest anyone who comes across this thread makes the mistake of thinking that the Sudnow Course is similar to the Duane Shinn or Charles Atlas hype.

The link provided above (https://www.amazon.com/Weekend-Piano-Seminar-David-Sudnow/dp/B005JKED0E/) is to a 1999 book titled, The Weekend Piano Seminar. The Sudnow Course was originally taught in a weekend seminar format, thus the title of the book is accurate -- it is a book about the weekend piano seminar.

Sudnow never claimed that his course would enable someone to "learn piano in a weekend" or any other exaggerated time frame. He was very upfront about the need to practice and realistic expectations. His passion was in providing a challenge to traditional piano instructional pedagogy as applied to adult students.

The current website for the Sudnow Method (https://www.sudnow.com) has this statement on the opening page, as a response to the FAQ of, "How long will it take to play reasonably well?"

That depends on the care with which you practice, more than the amount of time put in. ”Caretaking” is discussed in detail in the seminar, in practical terms. Very clear guidance is given on a proven way to increase the rate at which you learn new things at the instrument. Those with significant prior experience will often grow faster than beginners. The average newcomer will have a repertoire of a half dozen tunes, played with truly professional sounds, in six to eight months. Within a year a novice can perform at a party. Students with any good prior study may get there twice as fast or faster. In either case, it’s just a couple of months, at the most, before you’re playing your first tunes in a way that will really amaze others!

This description essentially mirrors that of students who have taken the course and followed the guidelines.

Echoing TonyB's excellent point about how different people learn differently, the Sudnow Method may not be everyone's favorite, and it may be a really bad fit for some, but its advertising is clear and fair.

I'll add that I had not visited the website in quite a while, and was amazed to see that the course now costs only $25. Given that other online course run into the $100s, I think that is an amazing deal. Additionally, I know of a couple of times that students who were dissatisfied with their purchase were given full refunds, further emphasizing my main point -- Sudnow's course may fall short for some people in some aspects, but the integrity is beyond reproach.

Last edited by tm3; 08/17/19 11:21 AM.
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Hi Guys

If you want a book that will get you to play chords in a sensible way, which you can use for piano solos, I recommend this: https://www.amazon.com/Four-Way-Keyboard-System-Bk-four-Way/dp/B00B3NU8LY
It changed my piano playing life. You do not have to absorb everything in every lesson, but just use the general concept. There is a book two as well for more advanced chords. You may have to order direct from Swain. You will basically learn how to spread chords over two hands and know all the 3rds and 7ths at the very least. Very valuable information!!

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And a quick reply to myself!! If you can find a teacher who will help you play through the Swain lessons if you are not too confident at reading music, that may help!

Last edited by misspiggy; 08/17/19 04:48 PM.
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I myself ran across a workbook that helped me learn all the arpeggios and chord cadences and made all my music theory classes was “Alfred’s Basic Piano Library The Complete Book of Scales, Chords, Arpeggios & Cadences”. It’s like the cheat sheet or Cliff Notes to Major, Minor{Natural, Harmonic, Melodic} & Chromatic Scales. It includes a detailed Circle of 5ths with Major and relative Minor keys with appropriate key signatures. It has all the proper fingering for scales, arpeggios and chord cadences. It only cost me $8.50!!!! I wished I found it a couple years earlier. If you’re studying chords, buy that inexpensive workbook. It explains it clearly.


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Looks like a great book from the preview j&j. In fact, if you learnt the basics from that book then moved on to Swain, you would have pretty much everything covered

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I want to jump in here as I signed up for the Sudnow Method course a few days ago. I have been playing almost six years and I read fairly well. Plus, Willy Myette's PWW emphasizes theory, chord voicing, substituting chords, etc. So I have a little background and am sort of an intermediate player of standards (ballads). But I am not satisfied with my current situation because it takes quite awhile to learn an intermediate piece of sheet music. Months in fact. I have always admired those guys, some I know, who just sit down and play. And they usually don't even know how to read music! The Sudnow course is actually very difficult because after the first song you learn, where he shows you the voicing on a keyboard chart, you start on voicing your own chords from a fake book. His chord voicing's require a five, usually a six, note chord. The flat 7th or the fifth is usually in the left hand with the root. The right hand includes your melody note, the third, the fifth, the ninth, the eleventh ( sometime sharped). And sometimes the sixth, and the 13th. What I like about it, is that if you can stay with it, you will be able to play any song you know the melody to without music and the key won't make a difference. But yes, it will take years. I wish I had started this five years ago. We'll see if I can stay focused. frown


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Originally Posted by misspiggy
Looks like a great book from the preview j&j. In fact, if you learnt the basics from that book then moved on to Swain, you would have pretty much everything covered

I’ve taken two college level online music theory courses that kicked my butt. That workbook saved me.


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But I did score a 4.0 in both classes. 😁
Music and playing piano is fun. But difficult. You had better come to grips with learning the ins and outs of fractions.


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Originally Posted by misspiggy
Hi Guys

If you want a book that will get you to play chords in a sensible way, which you can use for piano solos, I recommend this: https://www.amazon.com/Four-Way-Keyboard-System-Bk-four-Way/dp/B00B3NU8LY
It changed my piano playing life. You do not have to absorb everything in every lesson, but just use the general concept. There is a book two as well for more advanced chords. You may have to order direct from Swain. You will basically learn how to spread chords over two hands and know all the 3rds and 7ths at the very least. Very valuable information!!



I can't find the books available anywhere. All of the sites I have found say it is out of print...



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That is a pity. I found it a really good way to start playing chords in both hands. I ordered the books directly from his website about five or six years ago, but that seems to have disappeared as well. He must be getting on a bit now and is probably winding things down.

To be honest, what Sudnow teaches is not very different, except he starts with the end product rather than teaching the logical steps required to achieve this. In my opinion (for what it is worth!) this actually makes things MUCH harder....

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One thing about the Higginson course, they aren't very communicative about when or if they've shipped the materials.

I have really had a hard time getting ahold of Dave Jr. I got one email from him after me sending him 2 or 3 about my address to send the materials and haven't heard from him since. No shipping date, time or anything. I don't even know IF he's shipped anything and it's been a week.

Hopefully they are in the mail and on their way. frown

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Originally Posted by PianoWVBob
One thing about the Higginson course, they aren't very communicative about when or if they've shipped the materials.

I have really had a hard time getting ahold of Dave Jr. I got one email from him after me sending him 2 or 3 about my address to send the materials and haven't heard from him since. No shipping date, time or anything. I don't even know IF he's shipped anything and it's been a week.

Hopefully they are in the mail and on their way. frown

Is it one of those weekly instalment systems?


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"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
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by PianoWVBob
One thing about the Higginson course, they aren't very communicative about when or if they've shipped the materials.

I have really had a hard time getting ahold of Dave Jr. I got one email from him after me sending him 2 or 3 about my address to send the materials and haven't heard from him since. No shipping date, time or anything. I don't even know IF he's shipped anything and it's been a week.

Hopefully they are in the mail and on their way. frown

Is it one of those weekly instalment systems?

No, it's a one-time thing. I ordered the "downloadable" version which is to say you download the videos and then they mail you the printed material part of the course.

The other option was to mail the entire thing, DVD's and all.

Last edited by PianoWVBob; 08/22/19 03:55 AM.
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Originally Posted by PianoWVBob
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by PianoWVBob
One thing about the Higginson course, they aren't very communicative about when or if they've shipped the materials.

I have really had a hard time getting ahold of Dave Jr. I got one email from him after me sending him 2 or 3 about my address to send the materials and haven't heard from him since. No shipping date, time or anything. I don't even know IF he's shipped anything and it's been a week.

Hopefully they are in the mail and on their way. frown

Is it one of those weekly instalment systems?

No, it's a one-time thing. I ordered the "downloadable" version which is to say you download the videos and then they mail you the printed material part of the course.

The other option was to mail the entire thing, DVD's and all.

Ah. Then I understand. Your original review above was based on just the downloadable materials.


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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
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by PianoWVBob
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by PianoWVBob
One thing about the Higginson course, they aren't very communicative about when or if they've shipped the materials.

I have really had a hard time getting ahold of Dave Jr. I got one email from him after me sending him 2 or 3 about my address to send the materials and haven't heard from him since. No shipping date, time or anything. I don't even know IF he's shipped anything and it's been a week.

Hopefully they are in the mail and on their way. frown

Is it one of those weekly instalment systems?

No, it's a one-time thing. I ordered the "downloadable" version which is to say you download the videos and then they mail you the printed material part of the course.

The other option was to mail the entire thing, DVD's and all.

Ah. Then I understand. Your original review above was based on just the downloadable materials.


Well..sort of but sort of not.

He shows the material and how to use them in the videos..it's integrated. Also, I made one of the fingering aids out of cardboard that I could use while I wait. So no, I didn't have the materials but yes...I know how they are being used and made a temp version while I wait.

I hope that's clear.

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