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Another alternative for those self-teaching #2927374 12/27/19 06:11 PM
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TonyB Offline OP
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Around this time of year, we consider goals for the new year and fresh starts for projects that went by the wayside. number of folks here are self-teaching, or considering self-teaching, the usual consideration that is becoming more and more popular is a monthly or annual subscription to an online lesson site or an expensive course of study delivered to your home.

What I am about to describe here is a possible alternative that would be far less expensive and, had I known about it some time ago, could have saved me a fair chunk of change. This post is NOT intended to argue that one means of study is necessarily better than another. Each individual must decide this for him or herself. My intention here is simply to call to folks' attention another possible consideration that I only found out about recently, and quite by accident. Here it is...

In addition to all the quick lessons and methods that you can find all over youtube, every once in a while, you can find something that has long term, real value, and this is one channel that provides it all without charge. You won't find that you can watch one video free, but have to pay at a site to see the rest of it. It is all here and at no charge.

Let's Play Piano Methods channel on youtube:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIeSnI-BmRMkxURGZ7nHtzQ

Here is the introductory video with the explanation below it:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LdxGMFhrSbg

If interested, here is what you do...

Look through the playlists:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIeSnI-BmRMkxURGZ7nHtzQ/playlists

...to find the method book(s) you are interested in, and then buy the books at Amazon or wherever you buy your piano books. Use the videos to guide you through each lesson in the book. The videos are free to use, so the only cost to you is the books themselves

There are video sets covering well known methods, some are covered through all volumes, while others are only covered for the first couple of books. In addition, there are several supplemental song books covered, so you can also elect from those.

In each video (whether a method video or a supplemental song book video), this kind and generous fellow has two sections:

1. Things To Remember...

n this section, he goes over various things to watch out for in the piece about to be played, as well as explaining things you need to know about timing, musical symbols, etc.

2. Play With Me...

Here, he plays the tune SLOWLY, with the intention of you getting the notes, fingering, and timing correct as you play along. He says in some of the videos that his intention is for you to read through the page and play the tune before watching the video.

He doesn't cover every page in the method books (but does in the song books), but focuses instead on the songs presented, though he does discuss briefly the information on pages that you should be reading on your own. Usually, these are pages that provide some information about theory or reading the staff, etc.

I chose the three video sets on Alfred's All-In-One series (which is apparently the complete set), plus several supplemental music books. I am finding that it is much easier to stay motivated through his teaching videos and his coverage is calling my attention to things in the books that I probably would have not given much thought to.

These books move at a very comfortable pace, which in my opinion, seems to be a problem with some of the other self-study courses I have where things start out comfortably, but suddenly you find yourself struggling and over your head wondering what you missed. If there was ever a demotivator, that is it, in my opinion.

The video sets and supplemental song books I chose are:

Alfred's All Time Favorites, both Levels 1 and 2
Alfred's Greatest Hits, Levels 1 and 2
Martha Mier's Jazz, Rags, and Blues Books 1 ,2, and 3
Martha Mier's Romantic Impressions Book 1

In one of the videos, he says that you must play "gobs and gobs" of music, so I figure that having a decent selection of supplemental music books with the same coverage he gives the methods will enable me to do that.

I chose all of these books because they are available as Kindle books to use right on my Microsoft Surface Pro 4, which sits nicely on my piano's music stand.

Hopefully, this information will be helpful to somebody. If you do go this route, choose whatever method you like that he covers in one or more video sets. I think this teacher does a very, very good and consistent job on each video that I have seen. The quality is such that, if he wanted to, he could have put together a product that would deserve a hefty price, in my opinion. Instead, he chose to share with all of us. He is a retired piano teacher who has a degree in music, and spent many years as a church pianist, so you are getting benefit of his education and long experience teaching and playing.

Tony


Last edited by TonyB; 12/27/19 06:13 PM.
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Re: Another alternative for those self-teaching [Re: TonyB] #2927380 12/27/19 06:31 PM
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He is really good. I’ve seen about all of his Alfreds videos and the explanations are very professional.


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Re: Another alternative for those self-teaching [Re: TonyB] #2927387 12/27/19 06:42 PM
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The view counts on his videos are so low that I watched a couple of random videos out of curiosity. They seem fine. Which means, unfortunately, that his channel does not have the blessings of Youtube's algorithm gods. This is far too common on Youtube. Videos from good, small channels barely have 50 views and don't show up in the recommendations.

It must take a lot of patience and dedication to do all this work for such a limited audience.

Re: Another alternative for those self-teaching [Re: TonyB] #2927404 12/27/19 07:13 PM
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TonyB Offline OP
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Hopefully, posting about his videos here will help him to gain the visibility he deserves.

I was becoming rather discouraged with my progress at the piano as of late, and he has injected a new level of interest. Also, I have been working at this for a few weeks now, so it isn't just that I found something "new and shiny". I wanted to make sure that this is the "real deal", rather than wasting anybody's time on the latest fad. This one stays and is good for the long term. Later, I will be able to get over those "humps" in some of my other methods.

For those who want to hurry and get to the "good stuff", this approach may not be appropriate. But for those who really want get the hands doing what they need to in a very relaxed and gentle manner so that the "good stuff" becomes possible later on, this could be an approach worth considering. Since you can watch as many of the videos for as many of the books covered as you wish at no charge, you can be absolutely certain that this is for you before investing the small amount of money in the chosen books.

Tony

Re: Another alternative for those self-teaching [Re: TonyB] #2927451 12/27/19 09:47 PM
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Nice post. I've been - on and off - trying to self-teach for a few years using method books. Not a great procedure for me. I recently went back to the beginning and started on Faber's Adult Piano Adventures Book 1 and did a Youtube search for some examples of the pieces and the Let's Play Piano Methods channel popped up. It's been very helpful, not only in letting me know what the basic melody should sound like but learning from helpful tips this gentleman gives now and then and letting me know when I've missed something in the piece. I find him really encouraging. I like his somewhat quirky approach.

It's allowed me to go farther than before. I'm finally now looking into a group class at a nearby senior center and possibly some private lessons with the teacher. That's what I really need, but in the interim Faber plus this site are working well. So check it out!


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Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read."
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Re: Another alternative for those self-teaching [Re: TonyB] #2927456 12/27/19 10:15 PM
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I too have used his videos when working through faber adult all in one, before I got a teacher, and found if very helpful. And he has videos on such a wide selection of student books!

Re: Another alternative for those self-teaching [Re: TonyB] #2927503 12/28/19 06:04 AM
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Thanks for posting this!!


Homeschooling Mom to 8
Re: Another alternative for those self-teaching [Re: TonyB] #2927658 12/28/19 04:04 PM
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Thanks for sharing this, looks great, even though I have a teacher.

Re: Another alternative for those self-teaching [Re: TonyB] #2927722 12/28/19 08:20 PM
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Yes, thanks for posting this.



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Re: Another alternative for those self-teaching [Re: TonyB] #2927984 12/29/19 05:56 PM
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Thanks to everybody who took a look. I am glad that folks here consider it worth that consideration, whether they go for it or not.

I have been thinking about my own path through self-teaching via various courses, and I think I now understand why I have gotten away from each. There are two scenarios that I have identified:

1. A course starts easy and far too quickly, it goes into the "deep end". If a particular lesson is just beyond my ability so I have to stretch a bit to master it before moving on, that is fine. But when I feel that I am making progress and suddenly the next lesson is way beyond my reach so it is a struggle to even get the smallest foothold, that is demotivating enough to walk away from it and not come back.

2. A course starts easy and ends easy and at the end, I have not gotten anywhere worthwhile. That is a real waste of time.

What I work best with is a gradual progression from beginner to some intermediate level so I can begin to explore the music that got me interested in the first place. It may well be that some of the subscription sites provide this. I don't know since I really don't care at all for monthly payments of any kind other than those necessary such as basic needs. The courses I have purchased seem to fit into one of the two scenarios I listed here. Fortunately, only one or two fit the second category.

I suspect that if I have had these types of experience with self-teaching courses, that at least somebody else has experienced this too. If so, then that is the type of person who would probably best benefit from the information I provided in my first post in this thread, though anybody considering self-teaching would also do well to check it out before making any purchase.

My original post listed the books and videos I am now using. These seem perfect for me. The progress is gradual, but steady and never suddenly jumps too far above where I currently am. The result is that if I put the time into each lesson, the next lesson is doable with some effort. That is how it should be. Also, the end result will be that after finishing all three books and at least some of the supplemental music, I will be in a position to play the music that first drew me into wanting to learn the instrument. Along the way, the music in these books is entertaining enough at each level to keep me interested. Having those videos as a guide through all of this material makes all the difference in the world.

On finishing these books, I plan to again attend to some of the courses I have purchased that have real "meat" to them, because I am confident that I can learn a lot from them and handle the sudden jump in technique required to move forward and finish the courses. Since I purchased them each in their entirety, they will be there when I am ready, so I have no regrets for having purchased them. Instead, I look forward to continuing to learn and grow on the instrument.

Tony


Last edited by TonyB; 12/29/19 05:58 PM.
Re: Another alternative for those self-teaching [Re: TonyB] #2928031 12/29/19 08:02 PM
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I’ve learned to not expect leaps in progress with every practice so when I have a slow go in a session, it’s fine. I know it will lead to a leap soon. Whatever method one chooses, keeping stress and tension out while knowing that it requires patience is a must.


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Re: Another alternative for those self-teaching [Re: dobro] #2928050 12/29/19 09:35 PM
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Originally Posted by dobro
I’ve learned to not expect leaps in progress with every practice so when I have a slow go in a session, it’s fine. I know it will lead to a leap soon. Whatever method one chooses, keeping stress and tension out while knowing that it requires patience is a must.


That is not what I meant. As an example, in the Duane Shinn course, we move along gradually, and suddenly we are playing stride. This is very different from a "slow lesson". I could spend a month on it and still not be making progress because there was no preparation for it. I suppose I could skip over it, but then by doing so, I may end up worse off because another lesson would require having mastered that previous lesson.

I taught myself to play guitar and played professionally in a trio, working full time 6 nights a week for two years in supper clubs, resorts, and the Holiday Inn circuit. When most non-players think of playing guitar, it seems they think of strumming and singing, or pounding out the latest top 40 fad. Instead, I really taught myself, including reading standard notation, theory, and a rather sophisticated level of play. The process to do that took several years. So I am quite familiar with having patience with the process.

Hopefully, this makes my previous post a bit more clear. I do think that there are folks around here who can relate to what I actually said because maybe it is that experience that those folks will understand, beyond the words which can be too easily interpreted differently from what I intended.

Tony

Re: Another alternative for those self-teaching [Re: TonyB] #2928117 12/30/19 02:06 AM
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I've just watched one of the videos. It's so unusual to see, is it a Parkinson's desease?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ifs...g3Bc4iA9wMPhIHHlY&index=1&t=391s

Re: Another alternative for those self-teaching [Re: Iaroslav Vasiliev] #2928141 12/30/19 04:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Iaroslav Vasiliev
I've just watched one of the videos. It's so unusual to see, is it a Parkinson's desease?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ifs...g3Bc4iA9wMPhIHHlY&index=1&t=391s

Who can say, maybe just essential tremor. Is it pertinent?

Re: Another alternative for those self-teaching [Re: spanishbuddha] #2928152 12/30/19 05:26 AM
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Originally Posted by spanishbuddha
Originally Posted by Iaroslav Vasiliev
I've just watched one of the videos. It's so unusual to see, is it a Parkinson's desease?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ifs...g3Bc4iA9wMPhIHHlY&index=1&t=391s

Who can say, maybe just essential tremor. Is it pertinent?

It's inspiring to see how people can play piano despite very serious health conditions.

Re: Another alternative for those self-teaching [Re: TonyB] #2928243 12/30/19 11:58 AM
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For the guy who created these videos, piano seems to have been his life. His career was teaching piano and playing in church, and most likely various gigs (though I have not heard him say that last part, so it is an assumption on my part).

To me, it is amazing that he has devoted much time and effort making these teaching videos freely available to all of us.

Having a strong focus and dedication in one's life can certainly serve to make it a much richer experience than just existing and getting by from day to day. I suspect that, like many of us in retirement, getting outside of oneself and doing things for others as volunteers, is much healthier than sitting at home feeling sorry for ourselves. So I would think that he benefits from making these videos as much as we do. With that frame of mind, he will probably be playing piano until he absolutely can't anymore. That could be a crisis point in his life unless he is able to prepare himself for that eventuality.

Tony

Re: Another alternative for those self-teaching [Re: TonyB] #2928334 12/30/19 04:05 PM
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Concerning the occasional light tremors in his left hand, I did see one video where he referenced that. If I recall correctly, he said it's not much of a problem. He did see a doctor and it didn't sound like a major problem that would get worse or would impede his playing greatly. Again, IF I remember correctly. I can't recall which of the many videos he has posted that he casually mentioned it.


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Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read."
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Re: Another alternative for those self-teaching [Re: TonyB] #2928342 12/30/19 04:20 PM
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Found it! This is a Q & A answering video and he addresses his tremor at 3:47. Amazingly, my aging memory wasn't too bad.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HI0xk0JyRqM


"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend.
Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read."
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