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Originally Posted by No Expectations
Oh dear, that rolled C7 chord in O Sole Mio...🤪😑. Elvis must be rolling in his grave, if he's listening in on my butchered attempts.
Start slowly, playing deeply, so you gain technical stability. Then gradually increase the tempo. My five cents. cool


Playing the piano is learning to create, playfully and deeply seriously, our own music in the world.
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I just got a handle on playing "Scarborough Fair" up to speed and without messing up constantly today and I'm hoping to get at least a decent version of "Raisins and Almonds" as well before my lesson on Tuesday. Fingers crossed. I still need to work on some of the finer details of SF, of course. I'm not entirely satisfied with my pedalling and I think I need to slow down the last measure even further to get the finish I want.

"O Sole Mio", "Jericho" and "Greensleeves" have honestly been some of the best pieces by far, in my opinion. I didn't love "Jericho" until I started playing it swing-style. Made a huuuuge difference. And "Scarborough Fair" is just lovely.

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Fabulous, SommersBlommer. It's good to hear of your leap in skills & to share in your fun. Playing Jericho in swing style -- great idea! I'll remember that when I get there & think of you 🙂

Just taking a look ahead into Book 2: seems to me it it doesn't start out with the same level of difficulty that Book 1 ends with. Anybody else have an opinion on that?

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Originally Posted by No Expectations
Fabulous, SommersBlommer. It's good to hear of your leap in skills & to share in your fun. Playing Jericho in swing style -- great idea! I'll remember that when I get there & think of you 🙂

Just taking a look ahead into Book 2: seems to me it it doesn't start out with the same level of difficulty that Book 1 ends with. Anybody else have an opinion on that?
Yeah think your right. I cherry picked the pieces in that book working back to front so never noticed at the time

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Wayne2467, did your skills improve adequately by cherry picking? Did you work with another book? Or a teacher? I'm just curious about the next phase & appreciate any insights.

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Originally Posted by No Expectations
Wayne2467, did your skills improve adequately by cherry picking? Did you work with another book? Or a teacher? I'm just curious about the next phase & appreciate any insights.

Yeah I think I’m improving. I have a teacher and work through the absrm pieces as well as others that I pick out. There’s some nice pieces in Alfred book three as well.I’ve marked 11 I want to learn over a long period of time. Just started” king of the mountain” from book three

Last edited by Wayne2467; 02/20/21 10:47 AM.
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Started "Blow the man down". Really difficult for me to keep rhythm with the left hand while playing dotted quarter notes and eight notes with the rh, so feel like I really want to take my time with this piece. Using a metronome and playing slowly, 30 minutes of practice and haven't even gotten through the first couple of measures lol. Been looking forward (with part dread part excitement) to practicing hand independence as I knew that would be a big struggle for me.

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Originally Posted by WittyName
Started "Blow the man down". Really difficult for me to keep rhythm with the left hand while playing dotted quarter notes and eight notes with the rh, so feel like I really want to take my time with this piece. Using a metronome and playing slowly, 30 minutes of practice and haven't even gotten through the first couple of measures lol. Been looking forward (with part dread part excitement) to practicing hand independence as I knew that would be a big struggle for me.

Out of interest- what speed is the metronome?

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Originally Posted by Wayne2467
Originally Posted by WittyName
Started "Blow the man down". Really difficult for me to keep rhythm with the left hand while playing dotted quarter notes and eight notes with the rh, so feel like I really want to take my time with this piece. Using a metronome and playing slowly, 30 minutes of practice and haven't even gotten through the first couple of measures lol. Been looking forward (with part dread part excitement) to practicing hand independence as I knew that would be a big struggle for me.

Out of interest- what speed is the metronome?

I'm doing 40 bpm right now, previous alfred pieces I've started at 60 bpm when practicing slow so I feel like a snail but don't want to increase the speed until I got it down at 40

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That’s what I would say - go really slow- once it clicks the speed will come.

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Originally Posted by WittyName
Started "Blow the man down". Really difficult for me to keep rhythm with the left hand while playing dotted quarter notes and eight notes with the rh, so feel like I really want to take my time with this piece. Using a metronome and playing slowly, 30 minutes of practice and haven't even gotten through the first couple of measures lol. Been looking forward (with part dread part excitement) to practicing hand independence as I knew that would be a big struggle for me.

That one throws many Alfreders for a loop! Look through past posts to see all the moaning & groaning over Blow the Man Down. But hang in there, you WILL get the hang of it. There are other songs in Alfred's that use the same left hand rhythm, so once you master BTMD, you'll have much less trouble with the others. It took me weeks to get BTMD down pat. I try to play it frequently still because I worked so hard to earn that mastery. Now, six months later, it's...easy! You'll get there too.

Animisha, I'm practicing rolled chords slowly & thinking of you smile Stability -- that's a good approach. I've improved already.

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Originally Posted by WittyName
Started "Blow the man down". Really difficult for me to keep rhythm with the left hand while playing dotted quarter notes and eight notes with the rh, so feel like I really want to take my time with this piece. Using a metronome and playing slowly, 30 minutes of practice and haven't even gotten through the first couple of measures lol. Been looking forward (with part dread part excitement) to practicing hand independence as I knew that would be a big struggle for me.
I find counting out the half beat helpful, ie “one and two and three and” so the eighth note comes in on an “and”. Keep working and you’ll get it!

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Originally Posted by WittyName
Question - after finishing alfred's all in one adult book 1, would it be reasonable to start attempting some abrsm grade 1 pieces?
I went on YouTube and looked up the videos, I think after the first book you should be able to play most of level 2 pieces (https://youtu.be/X9YGNlTeDzQ)!

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Thanks for all the tips guys, today already it's going a lot better. Played through the piece a few more times at 40bpm, then tried the difficult measures at 60 and managed to do them. Playing through the entire piece at that speed was a bit choppy because before each of the difficult measures my head went "WAIT WAIT WAIT let's take a break and mentally prepare ourself" lol. Also realized my hands at some parts instinctively wanted to go to "C-EG-C" instead of "C-EG-EG" so need to slow down a bit more again to fix that. This is going to take a while

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Blow the man down was a real turning point for me. The level of difficulty sky-rocketed at this one. After some practice, it just came to me so I believe that the same thing will happen to you. With enough practice it will just click.

I am learning the blues songs at the moment and when I look back at Blow the man down it seems easy smile
I am trying to get my head around blues. The special rhytm and the fact that there are no special instructions on how to play them messes my head a bit.
I am coming to the conclusion that, if I don't know that the song is blues and if I hadn't heard it before that there wouldn't be a way to recognize it's a blues song just by reading music sheet. Am I right or am I missing something?

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I think people who are well versed in different music styles will be able to identify it, for example some rhythms, note patterns, or chords are common in blues but not in other styles. That said, I’m not one of those people either...

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I got the rhythm of it down now. Not perfect playing (my dynamics suck) but I at least have the rhythm of the dotted quarter notes down. It went a lot faster than I expected, I assume part of it is that I've been very diligent with focusing on getting the right rhythm in prior pieces and also been using some rhythm training apps daily on my work breaks.

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I'm working on "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands" and "The Entertainer" this week. I've learned all the measures of the former, but jumping between the three different keys is HARD - I'm only succeeding half the times without breaking the rhythm, so it's definitely going to require loooots more practice.
"The Entertainer" seems way harder than the pieces just before it. I've only gotten through half of it and I've been working on the piece for two days (although I haven't had quite as much time to practise as I would have liked).
I'm still hopeful that I'll manage to polish both pieces somewhat decently before my class on Tuesday. Gosh, I miss in-person classes though! I appreciate that it's possible to continue classes over FaceTime, but it's just not the same. Spring and the end of lockdown can't come fast enough!

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Originally Posted by SommersBlommer
I'm working on "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands" and "The Entertainer" this week. I've learned all the measures of the former, but jumping between the three different keys is HARD - I'm only succeeding half the times without breaking the rhythm, so it's definitely going to require loooots more practice.
"The Entertainer" seems way harder than the pieces just before it. I've only gotten through half of it and I've been working on the piece for two days (although I haven't had quite as much time to practise as I would have liked).
I'm still hopeful that I'll manage to polish both pieces somewhat decently before my class on Tuesday. Gosh, I miss in-person classes though! I appreciate that it's possible to continue classes over FaceTime, but it's just not the same. Spring and the end of lockdown can't come fast enough!
I found the entertainer tough at the time too. That and Chattanooga Choo choo are my favourite pieces

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It's going a bit more smoothly today, but there are still three measures in "The Entertainer" where I keep messing up unless I slow down the piece considerably. I like the piece though. I know it's quite widely used and known in the US (and perhaps in other anglophone countries as well?) and that some people hate it for that reason, but it was only vaguely familiar to me and therefore had no negative connotations.

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Natural sharp sign?
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Such a great piece!
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A mysterious and irritating phenomena..
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