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It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!
Well, I'm sure there will be lots more than 1 question, but it'll do to be going on with. I did try searching, but for some reason whenever I used the search feature, it seemed to break the forums for a bit, and I'm guessing that's the sort of thing that makes a chap unpopular round these parts, so apologies if this has been asked before.
I'm new to piano playing (literally, on a whim bought a keyboard on Tuesday) but play a handful of other instruments to one degree or other of proficiency. I've been using some bits and pieces found on youtube, but am a big fan of structured learning, so will be looking to get a good method book (I will be looking for a teacher, but am in the middle of a house move from one side of the UK to the other, so will wait till I'm in my new place before doing so). It seems the big 2 for adults are the Alfred Adult all in One series and the Faber Piano Adventures series. I saw a youtube video from a teacher saying she now prefers and uses the Faber, but before I decide I was hoping for some feedback from folks that have used one or both of these, or indeed another method.
I use Faber Adult Piano Adventures and have completed book 1 and are now on book 2. I find Randall Faber is a great teacher who is able to relate to the way adults learn and I have learnt a lot over the last year. Not only on playing pieces but also about using all the keyboard, transposition and improvisation . As such I feel Faber gives me skills that are transferable so I can play more than what is in the books.
The Adult Piano Adventures Book is accompanied by a series of videos for each unit and there is a player app with all the pieces which you can practice alongside, left hand only, right hand only or hands together and slowing it down so you can practice at your speed before bringing it up to the right tempo.
All the videos are available free of charge on both the pianoadventures.com web site or on YouTube. I would certainly say check out the videos before making up your mind and check out also the Faber graduates posts and also the posts on Alfreds to see what others say who are using either method.
Here is the PIano Adventures introduction video
Working on Faber Adult Piano Adventures AIO Book 2 Unit 3
Hi. MikeM70. I am not a total beginner as I've played organ as a kid and transitioned to piano as an adult years ago. I've been playing on again off again. After a fairly long absence I decided to restart using the Faber books. I got the Adult All In One Book 2. I've had other Faber books I like playing through over the years and always enjoyed the music so I stuck with Faber and am enjoying playing very and learning again very much.
Coming back after a long while. My recent Recordings: Faber My recent Recordings: Pianote
Hi Mike, I also started as an adult and used BOTH those books. I tried both in level one and Alfred in level 2 as well. By the time I finished them, (I was also doing some stuff my teacher gave me and ABRSM pieces), I was able to start learning stuff on my own. HIGHLY recommend you both and take it easy. You can always work from them for a few weeks, set them aside and then come back to them.
I've been playing the piano since Jan '18. More recently, I passed Grade 6 with distinction and plan to take Grade 7 in late 2021.
I agree with Peter Hontaru that both methods have much to offer so why not do both. I started with Alfred's Adult All in One & got over half way through when I decided to try Faber too as the Faber fans spoke so highly of it. Perhaps doing both has slowed my progress down, but I'm glad I'm doing it this way. The pieces in both books are elementary enough that I got a little bored with trying to perfect one or two. (Repetition is necessary for learning, of course, but you can only repeat On Top of Old Smokey so many times!) At least now I have about five various pieces at a time to perfect, which keeps me challenged. The skills from one reinforce the other. I enjoy the blues selections in Alfred's for a nice change of pace, & also the snippets of classical music in Faber's with their lovely arrangements.
Alfred's gets you going faster with left hand chords & right hand melody. Some criticize that, but you need to really know & get an ear for chords & accompanying scales to understand more complex pieces better or for improv (so I've read). Alfred's tends to leap in difficulty as you progress, but it's stuff you've learned previously with a change up or a twist or with something added. I think it builds upon its material very well.
Faber's emphasizes finger exercises, expression, & musicality, with the first 100 pages or so being simple passages that explore these things. It's a bit like learning "touch typing" but on a piano (and with feeling!). But around page 100, the pieces become longer & more elaborate, & the arrangements are really pretty, a joy to hear. In Faber, the skills develop at a slower, more even pace, IMO, unlike Alfred's leaps.
I have the impression that Faber's is a sampler of basic piano techniques with music theory lessons; Alfred's hammers in the I/IV/V7 chord structure & makes you play it umpteen ways to introduce dynamics, fingerings, & theory. Both ways work.
Also, whichever book you choose, Mike, or if you get both.....it’s well worth the extra dollars to get the spiral bound or combed editions! I see my Alfred is plastic combed bound (functions fine) and my Faber is steel spiral bound, which seems more durable. But like I said, the Alfred plastic comb bound works fine. I’m not sure if Alfred offers the steel spiral.
I used both when I started, and believe the Faber experience to be much better. For self taught pianists, the Faber videos demonstrating and explaining technique are invaluable. There doesn't seem to be many good sources of visual and oral instruction on technique available to the self taught. And, the videos are integrated and related to the lessons in the Faber books.