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Setting up goals

Posted By: 90abyss

Setting up goals - 01/22/13 07:48 PM

Hello everyone! I've just started playing the piano since Jan first week and I'm loving it. I am going through Alfred's all in one adult book 1 as of now. I'm 22 years old and fortunately I'm at that point in my life wherein I'm totally free for the next 6 months before my college starts. Therefore I want to make the best out of it. I was hoping to wrap up all three alfred's adult books by next 6 months. Is this a doable goal or is it too far fetched and unrealizable?
How should my plan of action be? Currently I sleep/eat/breathe/dream piano as I have all the time in the world. Also I don't have a tutor because I can't afford one right now but buying books I can afford.

Also, once I'm done with Alfred's all 3 books, which level should I consider myself to be in? How long did it take you to finish up alfred's books?

Posted By: Bobpickle

Re: Setting up goals - 01/23/13 08:30 AM

I won't say what you're doing is or isn't realistic, because I've come to learn here it's better to try things out for yourself and understand for yourself whether or not something is realistic; sometimes you'll be pleasantly surprised, but more often, because of ignorance and/or ego (ego often doesn't even work on a conscious level), you'll quickly find yourself up a stream without a paddle. I'll simply say, you should work to enjoy whatever goal you aim to achieve and that you're welcome to post and inquire about specific troubles you encounter along your way, and we'll all pitch in.

Coincidentally speaking of goal-setting, this e-book on the topic was just created by a member of ours:


be sure to sign up for her free email updates and return the favor if you like what you read smile
Posted By: sinophilia

Re: Setting up goals - 01/23/13 09:05 AM

Hello and welcome!

I must say that I don't think you can go through all three of Alfred's books in 6 months. You could do it if you practiced many hours a day, but I hear that's not even advisable as the brain needs time to let the information seep in. Personally, I stayed 5 months on book 1 and 7 months on book 2, practicing about an hour a day. If you're motivated, in 6 months you can certainly do books 1 and 2, and then you'll have a good basis to decide if you want to go on with book 3 or with something different.

Enjoy the journey!
Posted By: floydthebarber71

Re: Setting up goals - 01/23/13 01:08 PM

This is really difficult to say. I don't have any experience with the Alfred books, but I know that if you are self-teaching, your goals will always be a moving target.

Week by week your accomplishments and expectations will shift. I don't think anyone else could tell how fast/slow you would catch on. Don't rush anything, work out WHY you want to achieve that end goal, and HOW you're going to do it. It shouldn't be about "when", imo.

Then again, I'm also just a noob finding my own way wink good luck!
Posted By: Sand Tiger

Re: Setting up goals - 01/23/13 02:47 PM

Welcome to the forum. I am a novice, but I have observed more than a few folks with similar plans or lofty goals. Most of the time they don't make it. Injury is a common problem. Frustration is another. A true beginner getting through all three books in six months would be exceptional. There is a chance that you can do it, but don't be too disappointed if you are not able to.

You did not mention any prior music training. Many that are able to whip through the books had years of lessons or experience on other instruments.

The forum is a good resource. There are many threads on how to practice and what to practice. There are also lengthy threads on working through the books. Ask questions of the forum on specific areas of difficulty. Post audio and video on some of the contribution threads. There is the piano bar thread that is open all the time, and the quarterly recital that is coming up. These recordings will help you and others gauge your progress.

I suggest working at a steady pace and keeping it fun, and see where that takes you. The journey is its own reward. Take frequent breaks during each day. Do things away from the piano to help the cause, such as listening to music, using apps or computer programs to help with sight reading or theory, watching tutorial videos, taking online music history or music appreciation courses.

Be sure to rest if the body complains, because injuries sideline a good number of enthusiastic beginners.

Good luck on your piano journey.
Posted By: dmd

Re: Setting up goals - 01/23/13 04:15 PM

The problem with setting a goal of "getting through" a particular book in a specific time period is that you may tend to rush in order to accomplish your goal.

If you do that, you may find that after finishing those 3 books you really can't play any of it well. Then you have to backtrack and really concentrate on playing each piece well before moving on.

You can save yourself that step by focusing on how well you can play things as opposed to how fast you can get through it.

You will find, as we all have ... that you will not be able to influence your progress by going through things fast. Learning to play takes its own time and you just have to ... as others have said ... enjoy the ride.

If you focus on playing things well, you will be fine.
Posted By: Stubbie

Re: Setting up goals - 01/23/13 11:18 PM

Some good advice above.

Not every piece in the Alfred's books needs to be polished to performance standards, but you need to at least internalize the technique that's being taught.

That said, you should polish some of them. And when you think you have a piece sounding good, whether it's in the polished or not-polished category, record yourself and have a listen because just listening to yourself while you play hides a multitude of sins. smile

If you are a true beginner on piano, six months is probably not enough time to get to the early intermediate/intermediate level of Alfred Book 3, where you should be playing with some ease and confidence. It just takes time at the piano (and "sleeping on it" and not over-practicing to the point of injury, as sinophilia and Sand Tiger mention above).

Best of luck and keep us posted!
Posted By: Forrest Halford

Re: Setting up goals - 01/25/13 02:09 PM

I recently stumbled on this set of four videos by Seymour Bernstein, and I feel they are EXCELLENT to view, practice and internalize. They are about 15 minutes each, and you will understand quickly that he KNOWS what he's talking about.

As was pointed out above, it is a journey, and given time and attention, rewarding beyond belief!

First Video

Second Video

Third Video

Fourth Video


Forrest Halford
Posted By: CHAS

Re: Setting up goals - 01/25/13 02:34 PM

Man plans. God laughs.
Posted By: Forrest Halford

Re: Setting up goals - 01/25/13 03:46 PM

Originally Posted by CHAS
Man plans. God laughs.

Well, yeah, I'll give you that!
Posted By: jotur

Re: Setting up goals - 01/25/13 04:40 PM

woodog - thanks for those videos! I just watched the first one and I'll be back for the rest. One thing I noticed is that his speech was as careful and precise as his piano playing smile A fascinating video - thanks again.

Posted By: hamlet cat

Re: Setting up goals - 01/25/13 06:27 PM

If you go super intense full bore like you are suggesting, I think you can go far. Three Alfred's books far, I don't know, time would tell. That is a huge goal.

If you attempt it, I would consider the following 3 points.

- Rushing to the point where you are taking short cuts and not internalizing important lessons that set a foundation for the rest of your playing years.

- Alfred burn-out. In my opinion, Alfred's is not enough. Other books such as theory, timing, and good (enjoyable) exercise books are important. If you are flying through Alfreds with little time for anything else, you may miss some of those other important books, and/or get serious Alfred's burn-out.

- Burn-out in general. I placed heavy goals on myself about a year ago, and it was fine for awhile, then became too much. The pressure of getting the goal overwhelmed the fun of learning. I burned out and quit for months. I'm back now without crazy goals, and am enjoying it, learning faster, and practicing longer than when I had that artificial goal to attain.
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