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Joined: Feb 2021
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Hi there, I just wanted to post here since I started playing the piano 3 days ago, using Alfred's AIO Level 1. I reached and played Rock Along and Mexican Hat Dance (page 21) today. I also used a metronome for the first time today, playing both melodies at 80bpm. I'm taking it slow and try to let everything that the book mentions soak in. I'm having a lot of fun playing and figuring out the notes. smile I was worried a bit when I heard that Alfred's Level 1 focuses more on left-hand chords and tends to "neglect" the left hand otherwise, so I ordered Faber's Adult Piano Adventures AIO Book 1 today and I plan to work through both books simultaneously.

Last edited by Sloth; 03/08/21 11:44 AM.
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I think Alfred's Book 1 demands left hand independence fairly early in the book, then gets more demanding later on. I find the left hand work in Alfred's to be more complicated than Faber's Book 1. Yes, there are several songs in Alfred's where your left hand is playing chords, but you need good grounding in chord patterns anyway. Plus those chords are sometimes broken, sometimes played in different rhythms, not always in a familiar sequence. Plenty challenging for a beginner.

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I've finally finished book 1!!!!

It's taken 7 months, and 114 hours sitting at the piano (I made a timer to keep track). I've been recording all of the songs as I go. I found it to be a good way to force myself not to cheat and move on before I could play them well enough.

Here's my playlist

Unfortunately there's 2 songs that I didn't have:

- The Ballad of Gilligan's Isle
- Chattanooga Choo Choo

The book that I was using doesn't have any of the bonus songs at the end, so I bought the "self taught" version, which has the bonus songs except for those 2 I listed. I'm not keen on paying for 3rd copy of the book just for those extra 2, so I'm happy to just move on without them. Does anyone think that's a really bad idea? Should I make the effort to learn them, or is it safe to just move on to book 2?

Overall it's been a really rewarding experience so far! But certainly has a LOT of moments of frustration too. Towards the end I was finding the first day or 2 of learning a new song was not fun. You feel like you're an absolute beginner again and nothing seems to work. But once you push though that it becomes really enjoyable.

My favourite songs would have to be:

- Laura
- Over the rainbow
- The entertainer

I'll certainly be keeping playing these ones.


Check out my progress through the Alfred's All-in-one books HERE
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Nice one Jbloggz - Are you moving to book two or going sideways now?

Andy

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I bought book 2 a month or so ago, and will definitely start it soon, but I might take a few weeks off from Alfred's to try learning a couple of other songs of my own choosing.
Any suggestions for someone at my level would be welcome.


Check out my progress through the Alfred's All-in-one books HERE
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Originally Posted by jbloggz
Overall it's been a really rewarding experience so far! But certainly has a LOT of moments of frustration too. Towards the end I was finding the first day or 2 of learning a new song was not fun. You feel like you're an absolute beginner again and nothing seems to work. But once you push though that it becomes really enjoyable.

Congrats on finishing the first book!

I’m nearing the end of the second book (it went a lot faster because my teacher let me skip the first 1/3 or so since it’s mostly review of first book material) and I feel that way too a lot of times. I’d start a song and think “this is too hard!” But a day or two later everything clicks together and I start to enjoy it as the melody takes shape.

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Originally Posted by jbloggz
I bought book 2 a month or so ago, and will definitely start it soon, but I might take a few weeks off from Alfred's to try learning a couple of other songs of my own choosing.
Any suggestions for someone at my level would be welcome.

Interest is definitely the biggest motivator for me. There was a song I always wanted to play, I searched online (websites like MuseScore) and found a lot of different versions of that song. I ended up picking a simpler but still challenging version and learned it. That was extremely satisfying. Perhaps you too have some favorites in mind?

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Great, jblogzz, congratulations! I'm impressed you did it in 7 months, wow. I think it will be after the one year mark before I play the final songs well enough to move on. The book certainly jumps up in difficulty towards the end! I think Yao's comment should be your guide: the 2nd book is mostly review in the beginning, so move on to Book #2 to polish skills, & search online if you really want to learn Ballad of Gilligan's Island & Chattanooga Choo Choo.

Yao, do you feel like you can call yourself a piano player yet? I'm still playing *at* piano! I'll look for a teacher after I get vaccinated. Have to say, though, this year of leisurely piano exploration has been great fun.

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Hmm I haven’t thought of calling myself a piano player before , though I suppose we all are! We should definitely take pride in what we have achieved so far. smile Also there’s power in putting things into words, once we said we are piano players we have to hold ourselves to it by keep learning and practicing!

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Congrats on finishing book 1, jbloggz!

I've reached Jingle Bells yesterday (page 30) and it took me some time to be able to play with both hands at the same time. I can do it now, but I'm still not perfect with Jingle Bells; especially the second to last measure trips me up every time with the half notes. Been practicing more on Jingle Bells today and I don't know if I improved to yesterday. I also tried my hand at Dueling Harmonics (page 31) today, and as expected it was a struggle (mostly finger coordination) and I felt my brain melt just a little bit, haha. I really want to get Jingle Bells and Dueling Harmonics down without mistakes or stops before I move on to the next part which teaches the C Major Chord. Gonna chip slowly away on these 2 pieces in the next few days. smile

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Originally Posted by jbloggz
I've finally finished book 1!!!!

It's taken 7 months, and 114 hours sitting at the piano (I made a timer to keep track). I've been recording all of the songs as I go. I found it to be a good way to force myself not to cheat and move on before I could play them well enough.

Here's my playlist

Unfortunately there's 2 songs that I didn't have:

- The Ballad of Gilligan's Isle
- Chattanooga Choo Choo

The book that I was using doesn't have any of the bonus songs at the end, so I bought the "self taught" version, which has the bonus songs except for those 2 I listed. I'm not keen on paying for 3rd copy of the book just for those extra 2, so I'm happy to just move on without them. Does anyone think that's a really bad idea? Should I make the effort to learn them, or is it safe to just move on to book 2?

Overall it's been a really rewarding experience so far! But certainly has a LOT of moments of frustration too. Towards the end I was finding the first day or 2 of learning a new song was not fun. You feel like you're an absolute beginner again and nothing seems to work. But once you push though that it becomes really enjoyable.

My favourite songs would have to be:

- Laura
- Over the rainbow
- The entertainer

I'll certainly be keeping playing these ones.

Well done! Just on the can can myself and struggling, thought it didn’t sound
right, then saw your video then realised it should be played
at 160 bpm! I don’t know why piano marvel version says 120 and the physical book doesn’t say. Got my work cut out for me! Makes me also think I might
not have polished some of the previous songs!


Piano Marvel/Alfred book fan.
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Roland FP10, Ibanez SA360NQM
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Got "passed" on "Amazing Grace" and "The Entertainer" today, thank g-d. I started Alfred's Basic Adult Course Book 1 back in the first week of February and I am so anxious to be done with this book. I can't stand folk songs or gospel haha. I don't have any piano history and have been practicing like a lunatic to get through this book and learn the scales and theory as quickly as possible to move on to better things and I'm happy that it's about over. My teacher is having me choose a couple more pieces from the end of the book that I want to play for her next week, and then we get to move on to a book focused on learning the type of music that I love!! I'm so excited and I'm relieved that this book didn't take too long. When I was in the thick of it, I looked through this thread a lot for reference of how much time different people spent on this book. It was definitely helpful for me to read, so I figured I would post my own experience to add to the data.

28 years old, no background in piano, but learned flute as a kid so familiar with e.g. treble staff and reading music, I could correctly pick up how to play all the music in this book without hearing a recording. Had almost no relevant education on theory-- had to learn about chords and how different scales work through this book and my teacher, found the book's instruction to be clear and simple. I saw a teacher once a week, 45 min lessons each week. On average I practiced 10-12 hours a week. I'd estimate 2/3 of that time spent on the book, 1/3 spent on exercises and scales. Will have the book finished (for my purposes) within 7 weeks and won't be doing Book 2. Instead will be moving onto etudes + learning repertoire. If I were going to play every single piece in the end part, then it would be 8 weeks to finish at my pace.

My teacher passed me on pieces even if I made a silly misstep with a wrong note or something once, she didn't expect perfection in a single play-through. It was about understanding the concept practiced, having technical fluency in the piece at tempo, and playing musically. I'm happy she did it this way because it's come along naturally that as I advance, I'll revisit random pieces from a past week, and find that they're now all "perfect" plays the first time through (even without working on them anymore) because the skill has developed naturally through work on the harder pieces. I think that consistent challenge to be thrown into the deep end each week and focus on building new skill rather than memorizing individual pieces was an efficient use of time at this stage, I'm happy she taught this way.

Good luck to everyone!! And thank you everyone who posted in here for sharing your own experiences. Reading about other people finding certain pieces strangely difficult or strangely dull was a needed relief smile

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Had a like 3 years of clarinet in school. So I could read treble clef and like you no experience with the piano. My teacher says it's all about hours, not really weeks, months. I think the book probably is around 100-120 hours worth of material from scratch, which looks to be around where you are at to complete. Took me around 8 months to do everything minus Chattanooga choo choo which I skipped. I did supplement with a few other pieces in between, mostly a few Zelda pieces and Mad World. I do remember maybe getting to singing in the rain fairly quickly, then every piece after seemed to take 2-4 weeks after.

What I have found after Alfred was that the level of difficulty scales up considerably and that you do lose some of that sight reading ability since you are just focused on one piece for a long time. For me mostly 4-6 weeks per new piece now, but choosing pieces that I like. Currently, none of the Alfred songs are in my repertoire, just take the skills you want from it and forget them.

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Interesting point on progression through the pieces. I have also found that it took longer and longer per piece as I progressed (currently at Mariner's Hymn), but once I got a teacher she started assigning me some pieces from Bastien Classics book. Those are MUCH harder, and force me to find my way around the keyboard much more extensively. Working on those has actually made tackling the Alfred pieces a lot easier and faster.


Enjoying the journey and the delicious music.
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For me Alfred pieces taking longer may also be a reflection of my teacher gradually raising the standard, which is a good thing. smile

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Is this series appropriate for a beginner who , by taking piano classes, has learned a few simple classical pieces (By Bach, Beethoven), and now is considering to give self-study a try?

Is it suitable for the classical performance development? According to the following video, it is not. Is this correct?


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Originally Posted by meghdad
Is this series appropriate for a beginner who , by taking piano classes, has learned a few simple classical pieces (By Bach, Beethoven), and now is considering to give self-study a try?

Is it suitable for the classical performance development? According to the following video, it is not. Is this correct?

Alfred Basic Book 1 is for learning absolute basics, starting with one hand only. It drops you off at a place where you can start to focus in on foundation for classical piano if you'd like. I've about finished the book and my teacher has me moving onto etudes and pieces that are ABRSM II. It sounds like you're already at that point.

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So what about the other books in the series? Can they be relied upon for self-studying the classical piano, alongside getting advice for beginner repertoire pieces?


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@meghdad - a personal view here ... Alfred's is basic and based around chords - my understanding is that other step one courses offer a better way into classical studies if that is your bent smile

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Total first timer here. I started on Alfred based on reviews and not really knowing the difference. It is very chord heavy, of course. It does have some good basics. I got a teacher about half way into the book. She thinks there is a lot useful in it, so she wants me to finish it, we're going through it together, but she also had me buy the Bastien Easy Classics and assigns pieces from there. I think if your main goal is classical, there are better options, but Alfred certainly wouldn't hurt you. That said, based on what you say you may want something a bit more challenging anyway?


Enjoying the journey and the delicious music.
U1
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