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Welcome Kiwidude! How exciting it is to get that piano! Is it a digital? How is it working for you? I know I was so thrilled when they delivered mine! It’s like magic when you hear those first notes, and dream of what you will be able to accomplish!!! It sounds like you are accomplishing so much. My journey is moving forward at a much slower pace, but when I look back at where I started I think, maybe I can actually do this...so happy to have you here.

Fran...


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pagirl #2955438 03/08/20 03:05 PM
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Hi all, thanks very much for the welcome!

I will try to post a progress update every now and then. I have my own private daily practice journal I write in which is my own monitoring system, but I shall try to write something here now and then now I’ve finally been able to start myself. Learning from others what other pieces people are finding interesting, new books to buy (I am a sheet music packrat I have discovered, already 25+ books sitting there and most are targeting pre-grade) or problems faced etc have been invaluable to me.

Interesting to hear two of you mentioning Chinese Kites and Danny Boy, I had taken a quick stab at those at the end of yesterday’s session, though more so at Danny Boy being already known in my head. So I shall be looking forward to your updates on those and the other chapters ahead smile

@Holly - sure I can mention a few things. We do note reading and rhythm training exercises each session with homework to do each day during the week between. The first week was the C Major scale one octave hands together and she said week 2 she would teach me arpeggios and 2 octave scales. However she gave me the fingerings via email after the first lesson and permission to dive in and having got the basics last week she mainly wants me to start working on my speed with them (with other scales to come). So one octave at 65 bpm 1/4 notes, two octaves with 1/8 notes and 3 octaves with triplets. The 1/8th note speed is my current comfort zone limit, triplets will be this weeks big challenge for sure. She says we will be working up to 4 octaves with 1/16ths (can’t imagine my fingers moving that fast) eventually to 80bpm I think she said. Crazy talk for now. A-minor being the same white key pattern was chucked at me for this week too. Plus arpeggios for both - I’m really not convinced about trying HT for arpeggios given that is an ABRSM grade 4 exam thing but I guess they have to be started sometime and allowed to slowly sink in.

@pagirl - i’ve been lucky so far with no limitations on my time to practice other than what I can physically handle. When the back starts grumbling or the concentration wanes that is usually my hard stop. Otherwise I totally lose track of time each night as I sit down to practice after work. So it’s helped me keep momentum and moving through the early stuff in the books. I use the teacher with some of my recordings as my reality check to make sure I haven’t rushed too quick, so far so good. If anything it feels like she is trying to push me way ahead of what I would be choosing for myself, whether that turns out to be into oncoming traffic only time will tell! Can only try my best and work with her to adjust when needed if she is expecting too much too soon from this old fella. She thinks the PA books move quite slowly which I think is fair - personally I was really enjoying the gradual curve for the fact of how quickly you can knock off pieces to keep motivated and feel obvious progress. But from her teaching perspective it seems to begin with she wants to try some electric shock therapy to see how I react. She asked me if will be interested in ABRSM exams, undecided at this point as while I like the idea of a nice certificate to stick on the wall to represent learning progress, the prospect of overcoming my nerves to play in the exam room is intimidating. Let alone opening my mouth in an attempt to sing is mortifying - something I do not even torment my own ears with. We shall see....

And yes it is a digital piano I bought, the Yamaha P515 which I agonised for months over (I was awaiting NAMM back in Jan to see if any new models were going to come out in the range of interest but that didn’t happen). Took a workmate with me to a few shops to get him to play them since I was clueless about what a “good action” might feel like having never played a piano before (he did up to ABRSM grade 5 as a kid and still dabbles for fun). I was considering the Roland FP-30 but in the end as I secretly wanted to buy something a little higher up in the range the Yamaha won out, it looks great and as a novice sounds and feels more than good enough to me. I live in an apartment building so an acoustic isn’t an option. When I do retire and move back down under to my own property the space constraints will be removed and all bets are off over what I might treat myself with at that point. And yes when you hear those chords and melodies coming out of your own fingers it does indeed feel magical - even if we know there is so much more to improve on, got to take those wins smile


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Originally Posted by kiwidude

I will try to post a progress update every now and then. I have my own private daily practice journal I write in which is my own monitoring system, but I shall try to write something here now and then now I’ve finally been able to start myself.


I see a lot of people use a practice journal. What types of things does one write in a practice journal?

I have a spreadsheet where I keep track of my assignments and pieces I'm working on. I add comments I got from my teacher, like "bring out the melody" or "focus on measures #", but nothing super detailed or specific. I also recently started logging how much time I spend on each thing each day, which has been interesting.

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@Wish - Well done on Campbells! I really enjoyed learning that one and I like your rendition. That one is a little tricky and you nailed it nice and smooth! Nothing wrong with steady progress and you are sounding good to my ears.

@kiwidude - I also get a little nervous too for my weekly lesson. On occasion I play true to form at my lesson but some weeks I just don’t do as well. My teacher likes to play the duets (I do too) but I have to really know a piece to get through the duet. My teacher just sight reads them and plays her part flawlessly.

Someone commented that people often slow down when they get to the 3a book and that has been the case for me. I have enjoyed almost all of the arrangements and as long as I’m having fun I don’t worry too much about how fast I get through a section.

Welcome to all the new folks, I’m glad you joined our merry little band of students. I enjoy reading everyone's posts regardless of what level or book you are on. Those ahead of me give me a peek at the future. Those on books 1 and 2 bring back good memories when they name a piece. I pulled out Sleeping Beauty and played it for fun after someone mentioned it.

I had some free time today so I uploaded a recording of Allegro in D from Lesson 3a. It’s not perfect but it's a reflection of where I am now and I think I’m getting close to what I think my teacher is looking. Since I have an electric piano I thought... harpsichord… why not?!

Allegro in D Major


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Quote
She thinks the PA books move quite slowly which I think is fair - personally I was really enjoying the gradual curve for the fact of how quickly you can knock off pieces to keep motivated and feel obvious progress.


I think this is a fair point. I too enjoy the gradual learning curve since I'm doing this for fun. The slow pace makes it an enjoyable and achievable journey for me. Method books are not for everyone but they are a good fit for me. IMHO whatever system works for you and your teacher that's the system/method to use. I'm just an amateur hobby player looking to have some fun. Someone looking to go to conservatory, teach or play professionally may have an entirely different approach to achieve their goals. I'm almost certain would have enjoyed the Alfred method but my teacher uses Faber so that's the road I'm on.

Last edited by Chili_Time; 03/08/20 04:41 PM.

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@Kiwidude - You are really progressing fast! I had to cut back my practice time to a little over an hour a day, split into two sessions a day because of carpal tunnel, and it really slowed me down. I am all the better for it now though, and am doing a lot of revisiting things I passed over before. One of those things was something you just mentioned in your post! The C major scale using the thumb tuck, hands together, going up an down the scale, in the same direction. I had no problem using one hand at a time, but absolutely couldn’t do it, hands together, going in the same direction!!! Talk about checking your hand independence!!! I am just now trying to remedy that, and have added it to my scale exercises.

I opted for a Casio Privia 160 digital, and was kind of disappointed in the sound of the upper keys, but found a work around, Pianoteq. Not sure what to call the system, other than a digital software sound system, but I have it set up in my computer, and plugged into my Piano, and it gives me the sound from a Beckstein, Gotrian, or Upright. I’m really happy with it, and as an extra benefit, it records all my practices for me.

Alway keep that attitude you have when listening to those chords and melodies, and you will be an absolute success!!!

Fran...


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@Chili_Time - I LOVE it! I have rarely used my sound options, but what fun! And I loved your playing!!! I can’t wait till I get a little better, and maybe loose the jitters when playing for others! Maybe in a couple of years☺️ Please keep them coming, I really enjoy them!!!

Fran...


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enw10 #2955523 03/08/20 05:33 PM
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Originally Posted by enw10
I see a lot of people use a practice journal. What types of things does one write in a practice journal?

It is slightly surprising to myself I don’t also use a spreadsheet given my propensity to create them for so many other things, but I have managed to resist so far at least. I think a spreadsheet to me personally would start to become a bit too much like putting pressure on myself as I would start trying to “measure” progress with it in trying to crunch numbers in ways I am not comfortable with for something as intangibile as learning a musical skill/instrument. I have seen some examples in threads in these forums that are not for me - no disrespect intended to those who find it helps with their own journey then do what works for you. Knowing myself I think I would spend too much time obsessively refine them at the expense of just sitting down to play. As someone who usually sits at a computer all day every day I need to avoid that!

My practice journal is pretty basic - something for me to celebrate my progress or focus on any key areas that need more work in future. I just write an entry when practice is done for the day, takes me 2 mins and is usually at most a dozen bullet points. Stuff like:
- time of day,
- how long I practiced that day (just hours in total, I don’t track minutes per piece/skill like some do, no interest in that)
- what practice exercises I worked on so I know to rotate them (I use Dozen a Day & Fingerpower books as warmups plus now the scales work).
- what book/pieces I worked on that day if I have something to say about them - are they recorded/done for now, is there particular measures or dynamics I want to focus on next time.
- sometimes a random general thought about how I feel that day, so I can look back one day in future and laugh at beginner kiwi’s innocent or misguided thoughts.
- any questions come to mind that I want to ask my teacher about.
- the teacher also writes into it what she wants me to work on this week.

At the end of the month I added a summary entry with my total hours, what my key achievements were etc.

No gold stars or stickers though smile


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Originally Posted by Chili_Time
I had some free time today so I uploaded a recording of Allegro in D from Lesson 3a. It’s not perfect but it's a reflection of where I am now and I think I’m getting close to what I think my teacher is looking. Since I have an electric piano I thought... harpsichord… why not?!

Allegro in D Major

Nice performance and fun! thumb I wish I can play as evenly as you did!

I did a recording for fun like that too with my keyboard: Cello (both bass and main melody) + auto accompaniment: Edelweiss

Now I need to stay away from my keyboard fun for a long while, have to focus on piano progress grin


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Fran, Holly, CognitaP, Chili time, thank you so much for listening to my recordings and for all the kind words!

kiwidude, I can relate to what you said... no pressure to myself, take it easy and enjoy the moment... so welcome to the group!


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Originally Posted by kiwidude

It is slightly surprising to myself I don’t also use a spreadsheet given my propensity to create them for so many other things, but I have managed to resist so far at least.


Thanks for the journal ideas! Hahaha, my husband and I always "joke" that spreadsheets are a way to put off doing something. Need to do some spring cleaning? First, I need a spreadsheet to "ensure everything gets done". Want to start exercising? Definitely need to spend a few days perfecting a spreadsheet so I can track everything. 😂 I started this spreadsheet just to keep track of pieces I play and my assignments each week so I don't forget anything. I have a column for new pieces, one for pieces I'm continuing to work on, and a third column for pieces I'm maintaining. A couple months ago I added checkboxes to help keep track of pieces I rotate. Then a couple weeks ago I removed the checkboxes and starting putting in the time I work on each because I was curious how many hours it takes me to finish a piece. It's been interesting because when I start to wonder why a piece isn't really coming together, I can look and see that I've only worked on it for x minutes. It's also interesting to see how many hours I've put into some more challenging pieces. It's time-consuming though, so probably not something I'll do long-term.

Originally Posted by Wish4 Thing

I did a recording for fun like that too with my keyboard: Cello (both bass and main melody) + auto accompaniment: Edelweiss


Awesome! I really like that song! That accompaniment sounds really cool with it, too! My teacher bought me a book of Broadway songs recently, and that one may be the next one I try to tackle!

Originally Posted by Chili_Time


Love the harpsichord! I'm dying for an acoustic, but the different instruments on digital pianos sure are a lot of fun! Well done!

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Originally Posted by Wish4 Thing
Originally Posted by Chili_Time
I had some free time today so I uploaded a recording of Allegro in D from Lesson 3a. It’s not perfect but it's a reflection of where I am now and I think I’m getting close to what I think my teacher is looking. Since I have an electric piano I thought... harpsichord… why not?!

Allegro in D Major

Nice performance and fun! thumb I wish I can play as evenly as you did!

I did a recording for fun like that too with my keyboard: Cello (both bass and main melody) + auto accompaniment: Edelweiss

Now I need to stay away from my keyboard fun for a long while, have to focus on piano progress grin


Awesome! What a fun way to get in some practice! I have got to try that! What’s the fun of having all those extras if you don’t give yourself time to play? Beautiful way to start a morning!!!

Fran...


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enw10 #2955782 03/09/20 03:21 PM
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Originally Posted by enw10
Love the harpsichord! I'm dying for an acoustic, but the different instruments on digital pianos sure are a lot of fun! Well done!


I want an acoustic too. After every lesson on my teacher's upright I think "I HAVE to get one of these".

For now I'm digital only and I have to admit it is fun playing around with all the effects on the digital. I do love my new digital upgrade. Big difference in feel from my starter piano.

@pagirl Thank you but remember that's after weeks of practice on that piece and multiple recording takes so I don't sound like that "live". laugh

Someone post a new recording so our virtual recital keeps rolling.


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Originally Posted by Chili_Time

I want an acoustic too. After every lesson on my teacher's upright I think "I HAVE to get one of these".
For now I'm digital only and I have to admit it is fun playing around with all the effects on the digital. I do love my new digital upgrade. Big difference in feel from my starter piano.


Yep, I like my digital too (I have a Kawai CA78). It's a great piano, but when I play my teacher's... there's just no comparison. I must say 10 times each lesson, "Ohhh, this sounds so pretty on your piano!!!" I'm in an apartment right now, but someday. My teacher has told me to let her know when I'm ready for an acoustic, and she'll help me find one smile

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@Chili_Time has moved to harpsichord and @Wish4_Thing has the entire band joining in. Great recordings.


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Anyone have thought on how long to punish oneself persevere on a technique piece before just going for it on the lesson?

Scales Monster Faber 4 Tech is KILLING me.


but think how good I could be in five years...
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Take it slow and easy, and keep yourself entertained, the progress will go a long way!

My current piece (Night of the Tarantella) may take 2 weeks... it's another fast piece grin


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Originally Posted by HollyBytheLake
Anyone have thought on how long to punish oneself persevere on a technique piece before just going for it on the lesson?

Scales Monster Faber 4 Tech is KILLING me.


My advice is to stop when you feel like you have hit a brick wall. After all, The purpose of lessons should not be to show how well you are doing but to get help where you need it. I think I’ve mentioned it before, but I start out my lessons with asking for help of all the stumbling block places identified during practice; I mainly do this so that I don’t forget the reason Im there is to get that assistance


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

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Originally Posted by dogperson
However, I would not recommend Hanon. Play lots of music at your skill level. When you practice scales, LISTEN, rather than play them mindlessly. Are all the.notes the same length? Do they have the same volume? If you can, practice loud, then soft or with a gradual crescendo.

I do not ascribe to learning them all at one time. Is that what Farber recommends?


I like this approach... I don't have much patience with Hanon practice... so my current strategy is like what you said, to "play lots of music at my skill level", which are from Faber books...

Happy weekend to everyone! Here is my
Night of the Tarantella, I don't know if I'm up to the speed of 120 per dotted quarter... but I think I might be close... for this particular piece, I can't play beat by beat with my metronome for some reason... I just play from feel... so some place might be faster and some slower... oh well, I tried grin Thanks for listening!


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Way to go @Wish.

@Holly - I haven't hit a piece like that in Faber yet. Some take longer than others and require a long time to get to speed but I eventually get there. Maybe set it aside for a week then try again?

The quarantine is going to be long and I suppose we will all get to play a lot of piano. My company plans to have as many as possible work from home on our laptops which means I can maybe sneak in some playtime.

My teacher is over 60 with health issues so i worry about her well being and my wife's parents (>80 with issues). I plan to avoid travel and stay inside to slow the spread so the hospitals have more time to get ready for those that will need ICU care. If (when) I catch it I hope I can ride it out at home with fulids, piano and Netflix. My lessons will probably be facetime or something at least for a few months.

Hope you all are well and remain that way! Life can change so fast.

With so much time today and nowhere to go I added a few tracks including Simple Gifts which is one of my favorites.There are several spots in there my teacher will want to polish, but this is on average how I sound when I play it. I'm feeling a little low about the future of family and friends with health issues and this song makes me feel better.


Last edited by Chili_Time; 03/14/20 10:49 PM.

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