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Posted By: soundsquire Fundamental Keys Group - 04/22/15 02:01 AM
I know there are some other PW members that use the Fundamental Keys method by Rachel Jimenez. I just got the first edition book and am starting to go through the first few pages.

I searched for a group thread like the Alfred's books have here on PW and didn't find one. So here we go.

I would like to hear from others that are using Rachel's method. We can support and motivate. I know I will need some PW love since I am starting fresh.

Ready? Let's Begin! cool
Posted By: Marvelle Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 04/22/15 03:13 AM
Sam,

Neat idea. I am returning to piano (I have a DP) after having used the original Fundamental Keys a couple of years ago. I also am working through the first book of the new edition. I see a definite improvement on getting some of the basics of the method - intervals and home keys, etc. - in the new method, and I think the new volume teaches reading music more successfully. In my case, of course, some of it is relearning what I learned the first time, but I feel much more confident now.

I'm now working on the last training piece, Piece #17 on page 57. I'm eagerly awaiting the videos for this new first book and I'll get them to see if I've successfully practiced the pieces in this volume. I'm pretty sure I'm hitting the right notes and learning the lessons each piece teaches, but I'm unsure as to proper tempos to achieve with the practice pieces.

Ms. Jimenez has said that if you finish the first book before the other two new volumes are out you can use the original one starting at page 39. I still have that book and the videos that were produced for it, and those videos answered a lot of questions a couple of years ago, so I'm hoping the new videos are just as helpful. And since they're being professionally done this time I'm looking forward to them.

If my previous experience is duplicated, we'll get to real classical pieces starting with the second volume - easy beginner pieces composed originally for piano students. That's where the fun begins and you put the lessons from the first part into making real music. It's very satisfying and more challenging.

For the first book, I'd say make sure you have the practice pieces down and really understand all the basic info you're given. As you're going along you'll see how the practice pieces are instructive and build on each other. So don't rush, absorb the training and build a solid foundation.

I hope to get a real live teacher later this year, but I can't afford lessons right now. I'm an old, retired git on a fixed income. I feel Fundamental Keys, along with help gleaned from Piano World, is a good solution for the moment.

If you're already using the method and haven't done so, I'd suggest establishing an account at www.fundamentalkeys.com and signing up to get email notices so you'll know when a new blog entry has been entered, and also keep up to date on when the new volumes and videos are available. Best of luck.

Onward!

Frank

Posted By: soundsquire Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 04/22/15 03:37 AM
Frank,
Thanks for the heads up on the email list. I missed that, so just went over and signed up.

I got to pages 17-18 (1st edition) with the intro to intervals. This is the good stuff! Landmark and intervals approach is why I got this method. I am going to slow down now and absorb, rinse and repeat.
Posted By: soundsquire Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 04/24/15 03:24 AM
Originally Posted by Marvelle
Sam,

I'm now working on the last training piece, Piece #17 on page 57. I'm eagerly awaiting the videos for this new first book and I'll get them to see if I've successfully practiced the pieces in this volume. I'm pretty sure I'm hitting the right notes and learning the lessons each piece teaches, but I'm unsure as to proper tempos to achieve with the practice pieces.

Onward!

Frank



Where would that Piece # 17 be in the first edition book?
I am on page 20 'Your First Piano Piece'. sick ha

PS: I am using 100-105 bpm as my goal for tempo. Andante? The metronome on my android phone is a real gem for this.
Posted By: hreichgott Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 04/24/15 03:29 AM
I hope you all don't mind my eavesdropping. I use FK with some students and would find it illuminating to hear what more people have to say.
Posted By: soundsquire Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 04/24/15 03:33 AM
Hi Heather,
Please join in. I think many would in turn appreciate your perspective. How long have you been using Fundamental Keys?
Posted By: 8 Octaves Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 04/24/15 04:13 AM
Originally Posted by soundsquire
Where would that Piece # 17 be in the first edition book?
I am on page 20 'Your First Piano Piece'. sick ha

PS: I am using 100-105 bpm as my goal for tempo. Andante? The metronome on my android phone is a real gem for this.


In the 1st edition, it would be roughly around page 36. I would not be too concerned with tempo as long as you play cleanly. 105 is a bit on the high end of Andante isn't it? I would play it a bit slower, but more importantly, I would count out loud instead of using a metronome at this stage of the game. I know reading and counting out loud is not easy, so slow down some more if you have to.

It is very important to play every single rest and give every half notes and dotted half notes their full value.
Posted By: Marvelle Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 04/24/15 06:52 AM
Sam,

I think 8 Octaves is correct. In the new edition, piece #17 is the last of five exercises that wrap up what you've learned so far - home notes, intervals, rests, values of notes, beginning hands separate then together, etc. The previous 12 exercises introduce those concepts one at a time.

The new edition does give you more exercises to try out the skills you're learning before you play real classical pieces and for me it helps reinforce these lessons. I'm also using tips that Ms. Jimenez gave in the videos for the first edition, starting each very slowly and practicing them till they get up to speed. Also, practicing in chunks rather than playing the whole piece each time, a measure or two at a time and slowly joining the chunks together. This advice is pretty standard stuff but it really helps, especially as the pieces get more complex.

That's why I said earlier that I plan on getting the new videos - they were a big help with the original edition. It's also helpful to hear the pieces as they're supposed to sound.

I was zipping along pretty well until #17. It's getting there, but I'm still playing it at a snail's pace. I hope to have it down soon, and I'll dig out the original edition and start at page 39 - the first "real" piece, Curtains Up by Turk. Very simple, but as I recall they increase in difficulty. I still have the videos that were completed for the first edition, but they only go to page 80.

But I am very impressed with the new edition, and I'll get the two other books when they're done as well as the videos. Good luck, Sam.

And welcome Heather. I really enjoy your posts. They're very helpful.

Frank








Posted By: soundsquire Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 04/24/15 09:43 PM
I present for your enjoyment or torture:
Fundamental Keys Piece #1 (after a day and a half practice) LOL!

Piece #1 - listen on Soundcloud

PS: Can we embed Soundcloud on PW?
Posted By: Marvelle Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 04/24/15 10:24 PM
Sam,

I think you're playing both hands together, and this first piece is meant to be played hands separately - in other words, play the right hand part first, then the left hand part right after keeping the tempo. The instructions say "...play the first line and immediately afterwards, play the second line." So, it's the right hand part first, then the left hand part.

It is confusing, because usually the G clef staff and the F clef staff are joined by a brace to make the grand staff. Look on page 21 of the original edition that explains this. This first practice piece was just to combine what you've learned so far, and then you move on to hands together.

I don't think the new edition has any practice pieces that repeat this unusual arrangement. Probably one of the improvements made to the new edition. I did check the video I still have for page 20 and this is how Ms. Hernandez plays it - first the right hand then the left. In the original book all the remaining pieces are shown on a grand staff as you would normally expect. For me, the videos really helped to correct any mistakes I made, and since I didn't have a teacher to correct me they were a big help.

Your tempo sounds great to me and I'm sure you'll find this first easy practice piece a snap to play hands separate. Kudos!
Posted By: 8 Octaves Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 04/24/15 10:56 PM
Originally Posted by Marvelle
I think you're playing both hands together, and this first piece is meant to be played hands separately - in other words, play the right hand part first, then the left hand part right after keeping the tempo. The instructions say "...play the first line and immediately afterwards, play the second line." So, it's the right hand part first, then the left hand part.

It is confusing, because usually the G clef staff and the F clef staff are joined by a brace to make the grand staff. Look on page 21 of the original edition that explains this. This first practice piece was just to combine what you've learned so far, and then you move on to hands together.


+1.

I remember when the 2nd ed was coming together, we specifically had a discussion about these 3-line staff exercises, which were meant to emphasize intervals understanding without relating it to the grand staff, but they were causing confusion, so they were gone in the 2nd ed. Reading intervals is a very important baseline, far more than knowing this note is G and the next one is B. It's better to know this note is G and the next note is a third up, relatively speaking. Obviously, it doesn't hurt to know the name of the note as well. It is more important to know the interval is a 3rd or 4th or 5th, then G-B, G-C, or G-D when it comes to reading and understanding music theory. Always see notes as intervals even when they are not written as a (solid) chord play in the same beat.
Posted By: Marvelle Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 04/24/15 11:05 PM
8 Octaves, thanks so much for the confirmation. I'm such a beginner, it's good to know I didn't mislead anyone. It's great to have knowledgeable folks here.


Posted By: 8 Octaves Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 04/24/15 11:38 PM
Hi Marvelle! You're welcome. Remember I'm not Rachel; I'm just her pupil. I very much still consider myself a beginner until I get further along, so I'm your peer. What I say are suggestions, not something anyone should or must do.

If I'm out of my depth on something, I'll drag Rachel in here, or I'll ask her directly for the forum; in the mean time, I'll hang out with you guys. smile
Posted By: Marvelle Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 04/25/15 12:05 AM
Excellent! Thanks so much.
Posted By: soundsquire Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 04/25/15 03:30 AM
Originally Posted by Marvelle
Sam,

I think you're playing both hands together, and this first piece is meant to be played hands separately - in other words, play the right hand part first, then the left hand part right after keeping the tempo. The instructions say "...play the first line and immediately afterwards, play the second line." So, it's the right hand part first, then the left hand part.



Oh man. I guess I need to read more closely. I was really thinking about intervals and knew the funky three line staff was not what needed the attention. I did indeed play it with both hands and practiced it that way. Doh! crazy

The pattern that emerged for recognizing 2nds and 3rds is the hidden lesson. I also peeked at the generic intervals lesson on Musictheory.net.
Posted By: soundsquire Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 04/25/15 04:38 AM
Marvelle and 8 Octaves glad to have you watching my back. Many thanks for the direction and focus. thumb

Ok...so I went back and did it right (I think) this time. Here is take two:
Fundamental Keys Piece #1 - Take 2 (listen on Soundcloud)

PS: I had a little fun with this one. Hope me posting my recorded plinky plonks is fun for you as well.
Posted By: 8 Octaves Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 04/25/15 05:06 AM
soundsquire, I couldn't access your link for the second sound file...
Posted By: soundsquire Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 04/25/15 05:23 AM
Oops...try again. I fixed it.
Posted By: 8 Octaves Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 04/25/15 05:48 AM
Cool. Good job. Sounds like you hit all the right notes!

Be careful with end of phrase tendency of rushing into the next measure. You are playing the measures almost with 3 counts instead of 4. Also, the measure with two half notes are too short. Careful about holding each half note for its full value. Also try your best to count steadily. Hope this helps.
Posted By: Marvelle Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 04/25/15 07:54 AM
Sam,

Congrats to you and the Yamaha Orchestra. (Sorry, just noticed the attribution to the Sound Squire Orchestra). I hear what 8 Octaves said about giving the half notes their full value. But I'm sure you did a better job than I did when I first gave it a shot.

That's another one of the areas that the videos really help with. In the ones for the first edition Rachel gave you some hints for each piece, then asked you to pause the video and give it a try, then come back and see how you did. She then did a slow version with some counting, followed by one at the proper tempo. It was common for me to have to go back and straighten out mistakes I had made. Having a real live teacher would be best, but the videos answered many things for me.

So I'm really looking forward to the new videos that will accompany the new edition.

Nice job!

Frank

Posted By: soundsquire Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 04/29/15 01:22 AM
I was going back through the first 20 pages of the first edition. On page 14 Rachel states that an electronic keyboard should be 28 inches from the floor to the top of the keys.

I had one of the X style stands that came with my Yamaha P-105 that placed the keys at about 32.5" at the lowest adjustment. I went ahead and invested in the Yamaha L85 matching stand and the keys now sit at about 28 3/4 inches. This is much more comfortable to play at this height, more natural and closer to the recommended height.

I am assuming this is the recommendation based on the acoustic piano average? I googled it and a Steinway is 28 1/8". I have also seen others mention as high as 29" with casters and cups.

So what do you think? How important is key height? I guess I am in the ballpark now at 28 3/4" with an 18.5" high bench?
Posted By: 8 Octaves Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 04/29/15 01:54 AM
The bottom of the keys of my Yamaha grand piano is 27 and 3/4 inches above the floor. The bottom of my Clavinova is exactly the same height from the floor. The top of the white keys for both pianos is at 28 and 1/2 inches above the floor. I'm not surprised but still amazed that both my digital and grand piano have identical height specs. I just measured and the pedals of both are off the floor with identical distance as well.

I may be off a little since I have carpeting, but I measured the same way for both, so they are identical even if the figure I gave may not be absolutely right.
Posted By: Marvelle Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 04/29/15 03:48 AM
My Casio Privia PX-150 is on a CS-67 stand from Casio and looks to be 28 3/4 inches from the floor to the key tops. It's sitting on a throw rug.

Right now I'm sitting on an inexpensive adjustable armless chair from Ikea. It adjusts like an office chair, and I've tried to adjust the height so that my arms seem to be at what I have read is an acceptable position. So far it feels good. Eventually I hope to get a real adjustable piano bench, but financial constraints have delayed that. My next purchase will be better headphones.

On another note (see what I did there?), I think I am finally wrestling Practice Piece #17 into something reasonable. It's been more of a challenge for me than anything else in the first book of the new edition. I'm putting in about an hour of practice each day. I can't wait to check it and the other practice pieces against the soon-to-be released videos for the first book.

Until the other two new books are out I'll turn to the original edition, starting at page 39 as recommended by Ms. Jimenez.

Onward!

Frank
Posted By: soundsquire Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 04/29/15 04:12 AM
Marvelle,
The last piece in the first edition before Curtains Up on pg 39 is the Fourth Piece on pg 36. There is also Note Hunt #4 on pg 38 but not to play just for interval identification. You mention #17. Does the second edition have that many more added for this first section? Just trying to follow where your at.

Thanks all for the keyboard height comments and the comments on my "first major recorded recital". cool
Posted By: Marvelle Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 04/29/15 04:38 AM
Hi Soundsquire,

Just quickly looked at the first 38 pages of the original edition, and the 57 pages of the new edition's book one (plus a couple of pages of summary at the back which is a handy guide to quickly check on basics you may have forgotten).

There are indeed 17 practice pieces in the new edition as compared to, I think, four in the original. Both also have some very short exercises to get you used to some concepts, and some "note hunts," "fill in the notes" work sheets and other reinforcements as to home notes, intervals, etc.

I do feel the new edition is a vast improvement in reinforcing the basic concepts. It's more work obviously, but I feel much more sure of my understanding than I did with the initial 38 pages of the first edition. I think it sort of forces you to go more slowly and insure you have a grasp of what's being taught. I think Ms. Jimenez said in her blog that this first part had the greater revisions and additions in the new edition. You can certainly learn the concepts in the first edition, but the process in the new one is more deliberate. For me, so far, it works very well. The new book one is pretty inexpensive, so you may want to consider at least getting that one to augment the first edition.

Good luck!

Frank
Posted By: Marvelle Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 04/30/15 12:30 AM
Soundsquire,

I just segued today from the last practice piece (#17) to the first classical piece on page 39 of the original edition, Turk's "Curtains Up," and I just noticed another difference in practice pieces between the two books.

It looks like in the original edition, page 39 is the first time you play very simple hands together. In the new edition Book One with 17 practice pieces, there are several of them with hands together. I guess another way it gives you better preparation as a newbie.

Frank
Posted By: Shey Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 04/30/15 08:43 PM
Hi, I am so pleased this thread has started. Someone suggested to me to start an advice thread on FK as I was asking for some advice one time, and realised the thread I was looking at was about Rachel's new books and videos as she was developing them and so I never got around to it.

I have just returned from holiday in France with no piano in sight! Then I saw these super posts.

I am on Evening Song on page 64 of the original book. I have played everything diligently and not moved on until I felt I thoroughly understand what is being taught.
The pieces are lovely and I have left Alfred's book 1 and glad to see the back of it.

However, I am not sure if they sound correct and wondered if it was worth acquiring the videos. The videos are listed by pages in the original book and I just don't think they will all help me. I was hoping that someone on here can play them and put them on Youtube or something, if it was allowed, that would be useful for some of the pieces.

Some people are saying to get the new book 1 to supplement the original and if enough people agree then I will get a copy. its just that one can end up with so many method books and just now I am enjoying just the one FK. I do hope the whole book shows more theory, I haven't looked forward in it as yet, that is to keep me on track.

So, I hope we can all get together to help out with this great method and achieve what we want to.

Shey



Posted By: soundsquire Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 04/30/15 09:19 PM
Welcome Shey!

I think this might be a reference for you. It appears to match the song (notes/rhythm) on page 64 but I can't verify the style is correct.
Evening Song - Chovan

I am definitely getting the videos for Fundamental Keys. The issue I have right now is buy the old ones or wait for the new ones? Looks like the new vids will be out soon? I also have the first edition book so the old videos will probably make more sense.

On the other hand, Frank (Marvelle) has almost talked me into the second edition. Sounds like it has more foundation training than the first edition. Hmm?

I the meantime I will practice...
Posted By: Marvelle Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 04/30/15 09:37 PM
Thanks for that Youtube link Sam. I subscribed to his channel. Looks like a good reference for the future.

And welcome Shey! Vacationing in France. Sounds wonderful.

Frank
Posted By: 8 Octaves Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 04/30/15 10:57 PM
Hi Shey,

The videos for the 1st edition is still available - http://fundamentalkeys.com/videos2.html. I would get them. They will help you a lot.

I think if you are at page 64 and have done everything previous to it properly, then there is no need to buy the Book 1 of the current edition. Simply keep on working using the 1st edition and get all the video to p. 80, then you may have to bite the bullet and play for us here after that for comments. smile

Because of this transition, it is tough to have both series, but I know Rachel is working hard on releasing videos for 2nd Ed Book 1 asap, and once that's done, she'll be working on releasing Book 2 and 3. I am going through the same transition too in my RCM music as they just published all new music for all 10 levels of RCM this year. Most of my etudes are gone in the new books. It's always tough during a transition, but it is done for the reason that the new is improved, not just to make us buy more books. I'm not that cynical about RCM (not yet), and I know Rachel's motivations are to bring the best classical beginner's method to the public, so an update after 5 years is more than reasonable.
Posted By: 8 Octaves Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 04/30/15 11:05 PM
Originally Posted by soundsquire
I think this might be a reference for you. It appears to match the song (notes/rhythm) on page 64 but I can't verify the style is correct.
Evening Song - Chovan


This video is ok, but the articulation is incorrect for the way it's written on p. 64. Rachel is a big stickler on proper articulation. All the articulation marks in FK are made by Rachel herself, and she's serious about each and every one. So for p. 64, the YouTube video is not a proper representation (even though it is a possibility outside the context of FK), and she would make you keep working until you got it right because that's very much the actual lesson for this piece.
Posted By: Marvelle Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 04/30/15 11:30 PM
8 Octaves,

Very good information. Thank you. I'm looking forward to the new editions and videos as well.

Frank
Posted By: soundsquire Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 05/05/15 10:41 PM
Just a quick update. Hope everyone is practicing!

I am spending some time with the second piece on page 28 1st ed. For this piece I am focusing on the home notes, intervals and playing with tempo.

Learning the bass clef is proving a challenge. My previous music training was with trumpet and guitar during my school years and into college. Was never really exposed to the bass clef. Must remember "good boys do fine always" and "all cows eat grass". lol!

PS: Got Rachel's 1st ed. videos for pgs 21-29. Very helpful!
Posted By: 8 Octaves Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 05/05/15 10:54 PM
Originally Posted by soundsquire
Learning the bass clef is proving a challenge. My previous music training was with trumpet and guitar during my school years and into college. Was never really exposed to the bass clef. Must remember "good boys do fine always" and "all cows eat grass". lol!


Keep it up. You'll get there.

I don't use mnemonics. I only know FACE on the treble clef, but I never use it. Using mnemonics may help on a written exam, it never helps in sight-reading at the piano. Better to just remember the notes, maybe use flash cards.
Posted By: Marvelle Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 05/05/15 11:18 PM
Soundsquire,

Sounds like you're making great progress. Congrats! I agree, the videos help a great deal. I also have more trouble with the base clef. I've messed around with a few string instruments which all just used the treble clef. Really working on intervals and home notes helps so much. It's hard at first, but seems to be coming along better now.

I've "completed" the first book of the new edition, although I'm still going back to the last few practice pieces. They still need work to get them played smoothly on something like a consistent basis. When the videos are released for the first book - should be soon - I intend on getting them and going over each lesson and practice piece once again to ensure I'm not neglecting anything.

I've also gone back to the original book starting at page 39, which Rachel recommended to do if you need to move on from the first new one until the other two books of the new edition are released. I'm glad I still have the videos for the "real" pieces. I was surprised at how much muscle memory remained even a couple of years since I last tried to play them. I have "Curtains Up" and the simplified arrangement of "Andante Grazioso" down pretty well, and am beginning work on "Duettino." I know I'll slow down a lot when I come to pieces I didn't get to the first time around, but I'm still going slowly and deliberately. I'm at the DP every day, and try for 45 minutes to an hour. As you get more pieces under your belt the time flies faster as you refine them. The other day it felt really good and I put in over 90 minutes (with periodic quick breaks) and had no fatigue. With arthritis issues I have to pace myself.

Can't wait for the new edition books and videos.

Onward!

Frank





Posted By: fizikisto Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 05/05/15 11:29 PM
Actually, I think you don't even need to learn all the notes with flash cards. Rachel's approach is to use landmark notes (she calls them "home notes") and intervals. Of course, you'll need to be able to name the notes at some point, but for a beginner I think it's much more useful to learn it the way that Rachel teaches it. If you know the intervals really well by sight and feel, then it will lead to much more fluent sight reading (imo). Also, it makes things like transposing quite a bit more reasonable.
Posted By: 8 Octaves Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 05/05/15 11:59 PM
That's true, fizikisto. In the beginning learning the home notes and intervals is all you need. Thanks for point that out. You won't have to know every note until a little later, not too much later though. smile
Posted By: Marvelle Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 05/06/15 04:07 AM
Thanks fizikisto and 8 Octaves for the heads-up. Gonna have to learn that F clef soon. The home note approach, I think, is prepping for that nicely. Well, I have two of the notes down anyway. (Most of the time).

Posted By: soundsquire Re: Fundamental Keys Group Progress - 05/12/15 09:41 PM
Greetings fellow FK students! Hope everyone is practicing. Give us some updates on your progress. cool

I am now on page 39 1st ed. learning Curtains Up by Turk, the first real piece in the book. I am certainly not playing it proudly...yet. cry Getting hung up on the left hand part a bit. I can play it through but not evenly and hesitate on the changes.

I will spend more hours on it focusing again on the intervals and rhythm/tempo. I am thinking about intervals while I play and counting in my head to keep tempo. My amateur treble clef brain knows the notes but my noob bass clef brain is somewhat confused. Ay yai yai!

The main thing is I am having a blast! I can not wait to sit down and practice everyday! Thank goodness for the headphones saving my family from my awkward plinky ploinks.
Posted By: fizikisto Re: Fundamental Keys Group Progress - 05/12/15 11:18 PM
Originally Posted by soundsquire

I will spend more hours on it focusing again on the intervals and rhythm/tempo. I am thinking about intervals while I play and counting in my head to keep tempo. My amateur treble clef brain knows the notes but my noob bass clef brain is somewhat confused. Ay yai yai!


Soundsquire,
I offer this as (one hopes) constructive criticism of your approach here. Counting in your head is a bad practice when you're learning to play a piece. The problem is that there are two ways to count. One way to count is to simply count along as you play (so you match your counting to the playing). This is very wrong and will lead to all kinds of problems like playing with an uneven rhythm. Another way to count is to simply count with a steady even beat and to match your playing to the way that you're counting.

If you're counting in your head, it's very easy to do the former instead of the latter. You want to count with authority. Make your playing conform to the beats of your counts. Count in for a couple of bars before you start playing.

And if you're playing with hesitation and unevenness, it probably means that you're playing too fast, or trying to play too much at once. So if that's the case, slow down and/or try playing a smaller section of the piece. And really, when I say slow down, I mean go so slow that you can't make a mistake...SUPER slow.

At first it's also o.k. to play without counting at all, without any sort of rhythm...just getting all the notes under your fingers. But once you start trying to play musically, with counting, count out loud and count firmly and evenly until you have the piece down. Once you have the rhythm firmly established, then you can be more confident about counting silently in your head.

Anyway, just some suggestions...possibly useful ones. smile
Posted By: soundsquire Re: Fundamental Keys Group Progress - 05/13/15 12:08 AM
Thanks again for the guidance! It is very much appreciated.

When I say "counting in my head" it is more like I am tapping my foot mentally to keep time, not like 1, 2, 3, 4,. Should I be doing it that way? Actually counting or stick with the mental foot tapping?

I do have a tendency to rush the tempo. This is a matter of controlling my excitement. I am so impressed with myself for playing a couple bars correctly that I speed up. LOL

I am going to try some more with a metronome set at about 85bpm as I can mostly play it through around that speed. Should I practice hands separate as well?
Posted By: 8 Octaves Re: Fundamental Keys Group Progress - 05/13/15 12:52 AM
Originally Posted by soundsquire
I do have a tendency to rush the tempo. This is a matter of controlling my excitement. I am so impressed with myself for playing a couple bars correctly that I speed up. LOL


Me too. I also tend to rush the tempo even after years of lessons. This is why we need someone else to listen to us play to give us helpful feedback. It is necessary not just for beginners.
Posted By: fizikisto Re: Fundamental Keys Group Progress - 05/13/15 01:34 AM
Soundsquire,
I suggest actually counting out loud. Also, you don't want to count like a metronome. Emphasize the first beat in the measure (count it louder, but don't play it louder necessarily). You want to give the music a pulse. ONE - two - three ONE - two - three or ONE - two - three - four ONE - two - three - four.... etc... (later in other types of music you'll learn to stress different beats than just the first one, but that's a good way to start)

Counting with a metronome is a good idea, but also counting without one is too. Do both. smile

As for hand separate. I can't really tell you. Some people like try to play (super super slowly) hands together from the beginning. Others prefer to practice hands separate from the beginning. Some people prefer to mix it up (playing hands together on the easier parts but going hands separate in more challenging sections). Experiment and find what works best for you. I suspect that for most people, Hands separate is a better way to go.

Again, these are my opinions. find what works for you. Don't be afraid to experiment.

If possible, record yourself playing and play it back. You may think "Wow! I finally nailed it!!" only to find that you cringe when you listen to the recording. Everything you're trying to do, read the score, coordinate your hands, match the rhythms and dynamics....etc...it's hard to actually listen to what you're playing at the same time. A recording will help. So when you think "Wow, I've finally nailed it!" and then you listen to the recording you made and go "Wow! I sound good!" then you know that you've really got it. smile

some other general advice

1) this is not a race, it is a lifelong pursuit. take your time, be patient and persevere! There's a reason why most people who start piano lessons give it up after a few months. playing the piano is HARD, it's often incredibly frustrating, and progress comes slowly.

2) It's worth it. stick with it. it's so totally worth it. I've met a lot of people who say "I had piano lessons as a kid, I wish I had stuck with it!" I've never met anyone who said "I am sorry that I spent all those hours learning to play the piano" (There are probably some who were forced into it by their parents or something, but I've never met anyone that could play well and didn't love it).

3) I really really suggest keeping a piano journal. Just a notebook that you keep by your piano where you record how much time you spent practicing, what you were working on, etc... Also what you are struggling with and what your successes are. A year or two from now when you're really struggling with some new thing...it can be really encouraging to be able to look back at things you struggled with before that have now become so easy for you that you don't even think about it.

anyway, everyone's path is different. those are some ideas to play with. keep the ones you find useful and throw out the others. smile
Posted By: soundsquire Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 05/13/15 10:05 PM
Fizi,
The practice journal is a great idea! Have any of you tried the Android apps like Musicians Practice Log or Piano Practice Assistant? I guess a spreadsheet could work as well.
Posted By: Bsw Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 05/14/15 02:14 AM
A journal is a great idea. I look back at the beginning, started in October, 2014 and, seeing progress
Posted By: Marvelle Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 06/09/15 10:37 PM
I haven't posted anything here for awhile, but I have been practicing every day. I joined the MOYD group too. It's a good encouragement to keep up that daily routine. Even when I'm tired or involved in other things, when I do sit down to my DP I get re-energized. Some days are better than others, but I know to expect some frustrations as a newbie from other posts I've read on the ABF.

I got the videos for the new book one as soon as they were released, and they help me so much. I know you can learn just by using the book, but for me the videos enhance and clarify each lesson. Even with the simple practice pieces in book one I learned that, for instance, I was giving a bit too much time to rests and the result was much better when I could duplicate what Rachel was playing. Also, in a couple of instances I was practicing the piece at a greater tempo than needed, and the slightly slower version as shown in the video made practicing much easier.

So I went through all the exercises and pieces in book one all over again using the videos. They're a great combo. I eagerly await the two new books and their videos. Until then I've gone back to the original book and the old videos and am just about done with Old German Dance on page 44. The previous piece, Duettino, was a bit of a challenge but I think I have that down fairly well too.

Onward!

Frank
Posted By: pjlife Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 06/14/15 02:57 AM
Hi guys, I asked about learning classical piano on another thread and was recommended "Fundamental Keys" by 8 Octaves. However, I've been working on Alfred's Piano Book 1 for about 2 months now. I wanted to ask if I should continue on with it or I should jump straight into Fundamental Keys if my purpose is to learn classical piano?

Thank you.
Posted By: fizikisto Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 06/14/15 05:29 AM
pjlife,
I actually think the two methods work very well together. I would continue with both. While there is obviously a lot of overlap between the two methods, the selection of pieces emphasize different things so working through both methods will give you a broader range of experience and skills.
Posted By: pjlife Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 06/18/15 02:30 PM
Originally Posted by fizikisto
pjlife,
I actually think the two methods work very well together. I would continue with both. While there is obviously a lot of overlap between the two methods, the selection of pieces emphasize different things so working through both methods will give you a broader range of experience and skills.


Hi,

Thanks for the reply. I actually don't have Fundamental Keys yet, and it does not seem to be available locally (I don't live in the States, so buying from Amazon will cost quite a bit due to shipping). I have Alfred Piano's Book 1 and 2 and I foresee myself finishing Book 1 in about a month or two. Should I continue with Alfred Book 2 or should I start learning pieces that are in the ABRSM syllabus?

P.S: Sorry for hijacking this thread. smirk
Posted By: soundsquire Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 07/08/15 08:48 PM
Hello all. Just checking in. I am working on Andante Grazioso in the first edition. This is a much more interesting piece than Curtains Up. This brings me to a question. Do you enjoy practicing more when you like the piece? I mean duh...right?

PS: How is everyone doing with Fundamental Keys? Share your progress with us. smile
Posted By: Marvelle Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 07/08/15 09:31 PM
Hi Soundsquire,

You're right, Andante Grazioso is more satisfying to learn. It always feels good to go back to that short piece because I find the melody pleasing and it seems to improve each time I play it. Another "duh" I guess.

But I know that pieces I don't like as much are there for a good reason. They're a part of improving and we can learn from them, even if they're not our faves.

I'm looking forward to the new FK books 2 and 3. In addition to going back to the original edition, I've dug out my copy of Alfred's Self-Teaching piano Course, just as something to augment FK while I'm waiting for the new books, mainly to learn about chords. Some day I'd like to try my hand at some blues and maybe Alfred's will help. The tunes in it aren't great but some popular music to augment classical might be fun. All subject to change, of course, if I ever get out of newbie status.

Cheers,
Frank

Posted By: Son N Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 07/08/15 11:55 PM
I'm at page 80 on the previous version. A piece called The Russian Folk Song by Beethoven. I enjoyed FK very much. I've started in April, and half way there. I'm also working on Scarlatti Sonata K032. I got the right hand memorized. Just need to work on the chord progression. But it's going well after some pointers from other in the forum.
Posted By: R_B Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 07/09/15 12:28 PM
@Marvelle

To "learn about chords" there is a decent set of videos here;
http://www.adsrsounds.com/

hover mouse on tutorials, go down to music theory tutorials and click on that.

The only UNfortunate thing about these is that they are NOT laid out on the web page in the best sequence for progressive learning.

As always; don't just sit back and watch the movie, pause it frequently and try things out on your piano before moving along laugh
Posted By: Marvelle Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 07/10/15 12:10 AM
Thanks R B! I'll check it out.
Posted By: R_B Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 07/10/15 01:46 AM
Separate from those on the ASDR site Micheal New has his own you tube site.
https://www.youtube.com/user/Rhaptapsody

I like his presentation style, topics are covered in a clear, concise, unambiguous way (IMO, etc.) and as far as I can judge covered completely.
In just about the right sized chunks too laugh
Posted By: soundsquire Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 07/12/15 11:00 PM
R B - Thank you for that link! I subscribed to Michael's youtube channel. Some good stuff.
Posted By: R_B Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 07/16/15 10:01 PM
Rachel seems to have been very quiet on her blog for quite a while now.
Book 2 was anticipated WAY back, the videos for it too.
I thought the hold ups were in video production and the wrinkles had been ironed out with the Book 1 videos.
Has anyone heard anything recently ?
Posted By: fizikisto Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 07/17/15 12:50 AM
Nope,
At least not here or on her blog. I haven't heard anything since the book one videos were released. Book 2 was supposed to be completed in May with the videos out in June. Obviously that didn't happen. Hopefully Rachel will catch up soon. I agree that it would be nice if she would communicate with some status update on the progress of the new volumes.

Posted By: NorwichTim Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 08/11/15 05:53 PM
Greetings All! I'm new to the forums. I always wanted to play the piano and after 57 years I finally have one in the house to play. Never had any musical training. No teacher in the rural area where I live. So I am going the self-taught route. I started playing only a year and a half ago. After a very brief go with Alfreds which didn't click with me I discovered Fundamental Keys. I really enjoy FK and it is my primary book. I am currently on page 60, although Hook's Minuetto is proving a bit of a challenge.
I have learned a lot just using FK (original book). I love the interval approach. No memorize the keys business for us. Just learn a few easy to locate home notes and look at the interval and play the key. So far it has simply not mattered which key the piece has started on. I have found that learning a piece slowly and with a few pauses is enough to move on. I found that after learning Duetino that Curtains Up was much smoother to go back and play because my skills had improved a little. I have continued with this idea of revisiting pieces as my skills progress and find each time the piece are a little better. I have found Rachel's video almost like having a teacher and her writing about how to practice has been very helpful too.


So how is everyone else doing?
Posted By: 8 Octaves Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 08/11/15 10:28 PM
Originally Posted by R_B
Rachel seems to have been very quiet on her blog for quite a while now.... Has anyone heard anything recently ?


I haven't heard anything. Then again, I haven't had many lessons lately. In the summer, things slows down and we just take it easy until September when the school year starts. I wasn't too used to it at first but now I enjoy taking the time to relax and recharge. I've had very few lessons this summer. So far none in August. At first I was worried that taking summer off would be really bad but it actually helps in unexpected ways. So now I take it easy and enjoy my summer, visit places and not feel guilty being away from the piano. My only interaction this month was ask her whether I could start learning this piece and she told me yes, love teaching it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EziNuhfrgvg. Will talk to Rachel again at the end of August when she schedules all the student for next academic year.
Posted By: 8 Octaves Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 08/11/15 10:38 PM
Welcome, NorwichTim! Yeah, I completed the original book of FK in 2011. It's really good foundation, and there are so many things I still refer to FK everyday when I learn my new stuff today. I think this year is really the first year where I begin to deviate in technique in a significant way from FK. What I mean to say is, what I learned in FK carried me 3 to 4 more years through RCM 5, then recently Rachel began to demand much more at RCM 6. (Of course, I learned a lot of new challenging things progressively in RCM 4 and 5.) But RCM 6 is the first time I had to alter some of the general across the board rules I learned from FK.

I think going through the original book is a good idea since it goes further, which is why the original book (and video) is still available. Once you're done with the original book properly, you won't need to redo with the second edition books. That would be for fresh beginners.
Posted By: NorwichTim Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 08/12/15 02:00 PM
8 Octaves - Thanks for the support. I do feel that FK is on the right track for me. Glad to see it will carry me for sometime.
Posted By: LS35A Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 08/12/15 07:25 PM
Originally Posted by pjlife
Hi guys, I asked about learning classical piano on another thread and was recommended "Fundamental Keys" by 8 Octaves. However, I've been working on Alfred's Piano Book 1 for about 2 months now. I wanted to ask if I should continue on with it or I should jump straight into Fundamental Keys if my purpose is to learn classical piano?

Thank you.


I finished Alfred book 1 and then went into the original Fundamental Keys book. It's worked out great for me. I didn't like Alfred book 2, but I think there is absolutely nothing wrong with finishing book 1 - it's all good stuff (although I don't care for the Hanon and recommend skipping it).

I'm on page 100 of the original FK keys book and love it to death. Rachel is my hero.

Posted By: 8 Octaves Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 08/12/15 11:07 PM
Originally Posted by LS35A
I finished Alfred book 1 and then went into the original Fundamental Keys book. It's worked out great for me. I didn't like Alfred book 2, but I think there is absolutely nothing wrong with finishing book 1 - it's all good stuff (although I don't care for the Hanon and recommend skipping it).


Hi LS35A, do you have someone to play to for (teacher, etc)? I hate playing for others, so much so that I told Rachel "if there's a way to have lessons without playing for you, I'd take it." Of course there isn't. Six years on, I still feel really stressed playing for Rachel, and I shouldn't be because she's so positive, encouraging, and supportive, but something about performing for other makes me want to scream. That's the actual reason I put recording on soundcloud for the public. I try to get over the idea other people are actually listening, which makes me want to crawl under a rock. This feeling doesn't make the RCM Exams easy at all. Anyway, I'm just saying all this because if you don't enjoy playing for others, I know how that feels. However, if you feel like getting any opinion, feel free to post here or send me a PM.

I don't do Hanon for my lessons, either. I do lots of technical things but Hanon is not one of them. I have nothing against Hanon and actually have the book, but since Rachel hates Hanon, she never taught it to me. She said not having done Hanon didn't affect her progress in conservative at all, so she doesn't believe in the necessity of it. Rachel has a good set of exercises in the back of the original FK with videos. Those are actually really good, and I should practice them more. She actually told me that these exercises are probably too advance to be part of FK, but for where I'm at, it's starting to be really useful. I think it's cool she plans ahead like that from the get go. It's great that she recorded these videos for the public. https://vimeo.com/5415933
Posted By: R_B Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 08/13/15 03:17 PM
I don't know where to go from here...
It SEEMS that the original Book 1 went farther than the new Book 1 and it seems to be the conventional wisdom that you might as well start with the original Book 1.

What then ?
There wasn't a Book 2 for the original series and Books 2 and 3 for the new edition are WAY past due, according to the blog.
Technical difficulties with formatting and editing were supposedly ironed out with the new book 1.
I find it difficult to believe that many people will start out on this method if it will remain incomplete...
Color me puzzled.


Posted By: Spitfire Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 08/13/15 03:46 PM
I hear ya. I'm at the end of new 1. I have Alfred's but like the amount of left hand you get with FK. Might get the original version but I'm really disappointed book 2 isn't out yet. It's way overdue. Unfortunately I really want to follow one method so this put me into a limbo in playing right now. I know it shouldn't be an excuse to not play but it has impacted my drive.
Posted By: dmd Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 08/13/15 07:46 PM
Originally Posted by Spitfire
I'm really disappointed book 2 isn't out yet. It's way overdue.


Unfortunately, that is a common occurrence at that site. She has good material and she has good intentions ... but she just cannot seem to deliver on her promises.

What I might suggest is for you to start over in book1 and do a very good job on each piece this time. Many times the first time through some material, we tend to move along without really mastering the material. This causes us to have difficulty in later, more difficult pieces. This might be a chance to correct that. I think it would be time well spent.

Good Luck
Posted By: 8 Octaves Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 08/14/15 02:58 AM
If you look at method books in general, they all end incomplete because there is no actual point of completion for classical piano. There is always something harder. After you complete the FK book (original) or new edition book 3 (not yet available), you are ready depending on your aptitude to begin grade level 3 to 4 music in the RCM system. There are two excellent graded level book series you could go to. One is the official RCM books called Celebration Series, another is Keith Snell. http://www.amazon.com/GP643-Piano-Repertoire-Etudes-Level/dp/0849762227.

If you bail out of FK, you could pick up either of the above mentioned series at levels Preparatory, 1, or 2. There are lots of other series focused on classical music as well, but I personally like levels because the learning slope is not as steep and more focused and manageable. Jane Bastien Piano Literature is also a really good graded series vol. 1 - 5. It's also very inexpensive and been around for ages.

For anyone who began on the original FK book, I actually would finish that original FK book and not get distracted by the new edition because that's basically work-in-progress, and because Book 1 is too elementary for most adults to last very long.

What do you do if you completed the original FK? You do the same as people who completed RCM. You either continue with a teacher or continue to learn on your own. In a way, it doesn't matter where your instructions stopped. FK happens to end somewhere around level 3/4. By no means any level is the be all and end all of piano, even RCM 10. If you followed FK and listened to the instructions carefully, you have a pretty good background to level 3/4. That's quite a bit you didn't have to hack out completely on your own. At some point, there is no substitute for having an actual teacher, even an occasional one.
Posted By: R_B Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 08/25/15 06:18 PM
An update on RJ's blog last week suggests that things might be moving soon.
****************************************************************
"
← The Fundamental Keys video store

Status update
August 20, 2015
in Digital Piano Tech, Fundamental Keys News

Hello to all my patient followers! (And the impatient ones too…) Just letting you all know that I am alive and well and working on volumes 2 and 3 of Fundamental Keys as well as some interesting recordings. I haven’t had childcare all summer, and so the quiet time necessary to really perfect everything has just not happened. Good news for those of you waiting on the new materials, though. My son starts Pre-K in a couple of weeks which will leave me with a few hours of uninterrupted quiet time to work each day. It will be the first time in over three years that I have some time to myself (other than late at night). So, yes, things will be happening soon!

Thanks, all!"
*************************************************************
Posted By: fizikisto Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 08/26/15 01:09 AM
R_B very cool! thanks for the heads up!
Posted By: R_B Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 10/16/15 12:31 PM
Anyone hear anything lately ?
Anyone taking skype lessons with RJ know what is going on ?
Posted By: R_B Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 01/22/16 04:36 PM
Still nothing ?
Posted By: Spitfire Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 01/22/16 05:15 PM
Not that I know of. So next question. What do you all recommend? 1st version? Or something else.
Posted By: NorwichTim Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 01/22/16 05:44 PM
Spitfire:
I would definitely recommend the first volume and the videos RJ created that cover the first 80 pages of the book. I knew nothing about piano or music when I started using the book and found it clear, concise and easy to follow. The nice thing is you start playing real classical pieces after the first 39 pages of introductory material. The pieces were a challenge since both hands are always doing something. The LH does not simply play some chords. I'm now about page 68 and still love this book. The pieces remain a challenge. I did start using Faber Adult All in One as a supplement to fill in things I found lacking in FK. Don't get me wrong, FK has everything you need to play the pieces but you might learn things on this forum that she does not cover that other method books do cover.
Posted By: R_B Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 01/22/16 05:56 PM
I have been wandering around on Dave Frank's web site.
I binge watched all his master class videos, settled into a couple of his beginner level learning to improvise videos and I have been practicing against those.

I think improv is where I am going and it isn't THAT hard.
Certainly a path that I can progress along at my own pace.
Much like spoken language there are rules, many of which are observed in the breach laugh

Again as with spoken language, it develops as it progresses.
Each phrase suggests the next, etc.
The thought of composing as you play may seem intimidating, but you start small and grow.
Elsewhere I have said that playing around with music editors can help with reading and I am still doing quite a bit of that.
---------------------------------
Another thing I am doing, and here comes the truism that you only REALLY LEARN a subject when you TRY to teach it - I have been introducing a family member to piano and music theory.
Not formal "Lessons" by any means.
Posted By: Montuno Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 01/22/16 08:28 PM
Originally Posted by Spitfire
Not that I know of. So next question. What do you all recommend? 1st version? Or something else.


Depends on your experience. If you are just starting out, get both books, start with the new volume 1 and then continue on page 39 of the old book.

If you already can read notes and play easy two handed pieces, just start with the old book.
Posted By: newer player Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 01/23/16 06:09 PM
Hi guys - I am a new member and have been playing piano for about 4 months. I am self-taught at this point although I played a few instruments for a short period when I was a child so have some very basic foundation.

In October, I started with the Alfred's Self-Teaching Adult Piano Course (version with the CD + DVD). The many versions of this book are so confusing that I never really figured what ISBNs people were using on the Alfred's thread! Overall, I thought the book was very well done and that the self-teaching side notes of this book version were superb. I found the pace to be good and the content very motivating, meaning I looked forward to practicing a few times a day.

The DVD is helpful to a point but the camera is not 3D so DVDs inherently have limitations for the early beginner. In some ways, I prefer to concentrate on the sound of a CD without the distraction of video, which tends to be kill my concentration. (That is certainly the case for language learning.) But for music, I think the DVD does include important visual cues.

Since I am more interested in learning classical music, after completing about 1/3 of the Alfred book, I moved to Fundamental Keys Book 1.

As a beginner it is tough to evaluate the pedagogy of Fundamental Keys, but I find the book to be highly motivating, well paced, and devoid of fluff. It is also focused on classical music. My sense is that the exercises were very carefully thought out. For example, page 12 has one of those exercises that could be slightly varied and practiced for months and months.

The videos are well done and worth purchasing, noting the 3D limitations above.

This weekend I will finish book 1. I was hoping Book 2 would be released, but it really does not matter. I will just move to page 39 of the old Fundamental Keys book and continue seamlessly.

I am really enjoying the Fundamental Keys training and contemplating beginner theory books / next steps.
Posted By: fizikisto Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 01/23/16 10:05 PM
newer_player,
Welcome to the forum! yes, the pedagogy behind the fundamental keys method is sound. I would suggest that it might be worth working through the rest of the alfred's book one in tandem with fundamental keys. they focus on slightly different areas and in my opinion they work very well together. I think it's a good decision for you to go back to the original fundamental keys book and continue. It's still a very good method book. It's also unclear when (or even if) the remaining 2 books/video sets will be published,so it's better not to wait on them. Good luck with your piano journey! smile
Posted By: newer player Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 01/24/16 02:52 PM
Thanks for the tips and encouragement fizikisto!
Posted By: Montuno Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 01/26/16 04:07 PM
Welcome newer player, nice to see someone else starting out with Fundamental Keys. I agree with fizikisto and recommend to work through FK together with Alfred 1. They work together really fine.

There are a number of forum members on the Alfred thread who have also ordered Fundamental Keys. It would be really encouraging if we had a group of people working on FK at the same time.

Have you finished book 1 as you had planned? Right now I started with the fifth piece in the old book, here's my version of Old German Dance from page 44. cool
Posted By: Ulven Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 01/26/16 04:38 PM
Ha ha, I came across someone who mentioned Fundamental keys in a post, googled it, promptly bought the original version and videos and now looking forward to the book's arrival and for the link to the vids to be sent. Will likely used with Alfred though. Got all three books so it will help round me off a bit, but I love classical music and like that Fundamental Keys is all classically based.

I have Piano For All too though, which looks like it could be useful for areas not covered in either book and better when I reach more advanced levels and want to jam and play pieces.
Posted By: Montuno Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 01/26/16 05:31 PM
thumb
Posted By: newer player Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 01/26/16 08:08 PM
Hi Montuno,

Great idea to start a group of people using both Fundamental Keys and Alfred books; I would join.

I should finish new Book 1 of Fundamental Keys Friday; took about 2 months. I will jump into the old Fundamental Keys book starting at p. 39 this weekend.

Flipping through the old Fundamental Keys book, I noticed a few things:

1. In the "About the Method" section, Rachel estimates it averages 4 years to complete the book (127 pages plus appendices). That is a lot of value for one book!

2. Pages 1 through 100 do not look too difficult. The learning curve for the remainder of the book looks rather steep.

3. I expected these later pages to have supplemental practice material but they don't. Maybe stuff a teacher would assign in conjunction with a particular piece. There is an appendix but not explicitly linked to particular pieces.

Two questions -

What type of supplemental material do people recommend for the later pages?

Are there any recordings of the later pieces beyond what Rachel posts (after page 80)?
Posted By: 8 Octaves Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 01/26/16 11:47 PM
Originally Posted by newer player
1. In the "About the Method" section, Rachel estimates it averages 4 years to complete the book (127 pages plus appendices). That is a lot of value for one book!


The average time to finish the book applies to children. The first 80 pages are quite easy for adults. The challenge for young children beginning piano is that they lack very basic skills such as reading, counting, and simple arithmetic. Once you reach about page 90, that's about RCM 1 difficulty, when it requires some effort to get through each piece.

Honestly, when I got the book, I thought I'd do it in 6 months. It turned out Rachel was seriously picky (can I say that?), so it took me 18 months to get through it to her satisfaction.

Quote
2. Pages 1 through 100 do not look too difficult. The learning curve for the remainder of the book looks rather steep.

3. I expected these later pages to have supplemental practice material but they don't. Maybe stuff a teacher would assign in conjunction with a particular piece. There is an appendix but not explicitly linked to particular pieces.


Definitely from pages 90 to the end is where I spent most of my time learning this book. I didn't use any supplemental materials. I did receive a lot of coaching from Rachel, and it is fairly hard to convey all that must be learned for those later pages. I'd imagine each person would require a slightly different approach.

Quote
Are there any recordings of the later pieces beyond what Rachel posts (after page 80)?


You'll find excellent representative recordings for almost every piece starting at p. 114 since they are standard pedagogic music that everyone learns. The gap is from p. 81-111, corresponding to RCM 1-2 in difficulty.

A lot of the pieces from p. 114 onward are included:
Bach p. 114 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8wY8mAQRnGk
Mozart p. 115 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ny3Tt4p_Sc
Schumann p. 117 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=te24E6V1dRQ
Bach / Petzold p. 118 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BWPoH5fSEAQ
Clementi p. 120 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hol2NOpZunI
Schumann p. 124 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XKWPQvlpc_s
Bach p. 125 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j3ZABmj4AV8
Schumann p. 126 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NX9g74IVieA
Burgmuller p. 127 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aREB2y9ow_s


Posted By: newer player Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 01/27/16 01:58 AM
Super-helpful 8 Octaves. These comments provide quite a bit of bonus context to the book. I may just need to get a teacher to help with coaching for pages 90 forward. If I move to NYC I will try to work with Rachel...

Thanks for taking the time to detail your experiences and posting some relevant videos.
Posted By: cmybliss Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 01/27/16 04:40 AM
I'm one of those who jumped over from the Alfred thread. I've reached pg. 77 (Standing in the Need of Prayer) in the Alfred's and have really been enjoying myself. My Fundamental Keys (1st edition)book just arrived today and I spent about an hour going through the first 41 pages. It was great fun playing these early pieces! Then I switched over to work on some of Alfred's. I feel like the Alfred's has given me the basics and was able to site read everything up to Duetinno without an issue. I'm working on polishing it up and I'll be ready to move on to the next one.

It really does look like these two courses work well together. The variety in music is a great thing!
Posted By: Montuno Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 01/28/16 09:32 PM
8 octaves
Thank you very much for your information.

I want to add that you should have no problems finding the pieces from pages 81-11 on youtube. Not as well played as the pieces you linked, but good enough to get a decent impression of a piece and have something to measure yourself against.

I found your indications about RCM levels very interesting. What would you say are the pages where you have reached the RCM levels (so at/around what page do you reach RCM level 2 etc)?

cmybliss
Great that you started with FK - and that you enjoy it as much as I do.
I found Duettino quite challenging. It is a step up in hand independence. The next couple of pieces are easier once you master Duettino.
Posted By: 8 Octaves Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 01/29/16 01:48 AM
Originally Posted by Montuno
What would you say are the pages where you have reached the RCM levels (so at/around what page do you reach RCM level 2 etc)?


About p. 97 with the Haydn should be about RCM 2. The Bach Minuet in G is RCM 3. Clementi Sonatina in C is RCM 3, and Schumann's The Wild Horseman is RCM 4 as is the Bach March in D.
Posted By: cmybliss Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 01/29/16 02:21 AM
Montuno
I agree, it's quite a bit more challenging than the Alfred's stuff I've learned so far. I think it's because the LH isn't just playing chords. I find myself thinking more about what needs to be done, which is great! I think it's a pretty little piece and have almost got it mastered.

8 Octaves

Thank you for all the great information! It's nice to kind of gauge our progress against set standards.
Posted By: cmybliss Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 01/30/16 05:42 PM
I've mastered Andante Grazioso and Duettino, a small step I know, but I'm feeling quite pleased with myself.

Have I mentioned how much I like this book? I'm finding the pieces so far, small though they are, to be much more rewarding than most of the stuff I've mastered in Alfred's All in One. I think because they just sound more musical to me, and also, I'm not a huge fan of all the Spirituals. Don't get me wrong, I'm enjoying my journey through Alfred's as well and feel it has given me the tools to make it through the first section on FK so quickly. I'll definitely continue working from both books, but it sure is nice to have variety in my learning material!
Posted By: Montuno Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 01/31/16 08:20 PM
Yeah, I feel the same. It feels like I get closer to my dream of being able to play non-trivial classical pieces with little baby steps.
Posted By: newer player Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 02/01/16 05:04 PM
I am a few days behind schedule. Piece #15 in New Book 1 took me a few days to nail; this is the first piece that was a bit challenging. I find Piece #16, the penultimate, to be quite easy.

Looking forward to jumping into the original FK text this week. Will also return to the Alfred's All in One as a supplement...
Posted By: Montuno Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 02/02/16 08:27 PM
newer player
Just take your time, there is no need to rush.

I have reached page 49 after finishing Roundelay, still enjoying every minute of it.
Posted By: cmybliss Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 02/03/16 04:05 AM
I'm right behind you. I've got a pretty good grasp on German Dance and have just started Roundalay. What a fun book!

Newer Player
What piece are you working on in the Alfred's supplemental? I keep toying around with purchasing it too, but I may wind up with more music than I know what to do with!
Posted By: newer player Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 02/03/16 05:54 AM
Cmybliss

I am still working out piece #16 in Fundamental Keys Book #1. It is quite a nice piece to play.

I will try to catch up to you and Montuno!

Tonight I just picked up the Alfred's book again; two months ago I stopped on Beautiful Brown Eyes (p.75). I might just review from page 1 quickly as the content is so different from that of Fundamental Keys.

FYI My Alfred's book is Called the "Alfred's Self-Teaching Adult Piano Course" with the CD+DVD, so the even pages are special guide pages that just add more color to the "normal" odd pages. I think most people here use a different Alfred's book which is more dense. But I quite like the even pages; when reading them I can imagine the teacher reciting the text verbatim. They reinforce the core concepts.
Posted By: cmybliss Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 02/04/16 04:09 AM
I think you'll probably be able to catch us, well, me at least! The 1st few pieces from pg. 40 on are fairly simple, but very pretty in my opinion. I managed to play Roundelay on pg. 45 today after just a few run-throughs. Though I think my favorite one so far in Duettino. I'll continue to play through these 4 for a while as I move ahead as a warm up.

I'm using the not self teaching version of the Alfred's All in One. I thought about the one you've got but decided I liked the binding on this one better. Silly I know, but I've been making good progress so far. I do like the sound of those extra concept pages though. We'll see how I get on and may wind up purchasing your version if I feel I need the extra help! I've passed Beautiful Brown Eyes which I didn't like at first. It's grown on me now though and I'm having fun playing with different dynamics and tempos.

You're right about the content being so different! I'm enjoying the differences though, they keep my mind from wandering.
Posted By: Montuno Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 02/04/16 08:00 PM
newer player
Just take your time and don't rush it. IMO each piece in FK is great fun to play, right from the first one on page 40. Don't only learn the correct notes, but try to make it sound nice and fluent.

cmybliss
I liked Duettino most as well, but each piece yet has been very enjoyable. But Scherzino on page 49 is my new favourite. It is quite easy, only 2nd and 3rd intervals, very regular. The one new thing is the movement of the right hand, but once you moved past Lone Star Waltz in Alfred's this is nothing new. But it is a really pretty, playful little piece, the real fun is speeding it up. To quote Rachel from her video: 'Try to get it as quick as you can get it'. cool

For now I do the same as you, playing the old pieces as a warm up. Or just for my enjoyment.
Posted By: Montuno Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 02/04/16 11:02 PM
Yes, I made a pretty decent recording of Scherzino, a tad slower than Rachel plays it! At higher speeds I find it hard to get it smooth and flow ing yet, so I will practice some more.

But meanwhile I will also move on to the next piece.

Posted By: cmybliss Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 02/05/16 09:31 PM
Oooh, I just started Sherzino and you are so right! It's really fun. I need to get it faster so will continue to work on it. I've not reached Lone Star Waltz yet, but the jump on this one is pretty intuitive. Hopefully that will make LSW easier when I get there!
Posted By: Montuno Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 02/11/16 11:15 PM
It seemed like I had come to a halt the last week. I wanted to move on from Scherzino, but I just couldn't let go. Playing it at speed was much more of a challenge than I expected - my brain, my fingers, coordination. It didn't work, I could't play relaxed and most certainly not even and musical.

To get used to the tempo I played one or two sessions each day over the last week (between 15-30 minutes each). Sometimes I tried to play along this video just to adapt to playing faster.

At first the improvement was slow, but yesterday I started to feel that I was close to 'getting it'. And today was the magical day. I am able to play Scherzino at +/- 112 bpm comfortably. The notes are not completely even all the time yet, but I am pretty satisfied given my level of experience.

For me that is a huge step, since a week ago getting past 90 bpm evenly was quite a challenge, and beyond that my brain would just overload. Now playing at 100 bpm feels slow grin And I notice that my right hand and fingers are moving much more efficient.

Hopefully putting in this extra effort will be very beneficial when I move on.
Posted By: cmybliss Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 02/12/16 12:32 AM
Congratulations! I'm right behind you on this one and your success with playing faster gives me hope! Isn't amazing how this piano thing works? Just when you start to feel like you'll never get something it finally clicks and you're left wondering why it was giving you so much trouble. This is such a fun little song that I can see myself continuing with it even after I've "passed" it.

I've been working on getting the 1/4 notes in 8th measure even. It's weird, but after the quick moving 1/8 notes my fingers get all frozen and weird when I hit those 1/4s and they wind up lasting waaaay too long. I'm getting there though! Today may be the day!

What do you thing about the next one, Song in Parallel Motion? I've had a quick play through and it seems pretty simple. I'm thinking the trick here will be getting the dynamics spot on.
Posted By: NorwichTim Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 02/12/16 06:35 PM
Good job Cymbliss and Montuno on Scherzino. I have found all of Rachel's selections very enjoyable to study and play.

Montuno, when I worked on that piece mine sounded very much like your 4 Feb post. I felt it was close to what Rachel demonstrated as the acceptable level and I moved on. I have found that as you progress, your skills improve and make it easier to go back to some of these earlier pieces and improve the musicality. I thought the UIPed recording was very fast. Still not sure I could get it to that speed even now.

Cymbliss, good idea to work on your counting and get it smooth. I have found this to be a skill that I repeatedly have to work on. Each piece seems to have it's own counting challenges to overcome to get it smooth. Like you I often find the 1/4's are held longer than they should be. But eventually it all seems to fall in place.
Posted By: Montuno Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 02/12/16 11:35 PM
cmybliss
Yeah, those new things really mess up everything else. Until you get proficient at it, then suddenly you can concentrate on other things again. And play music smile

NorwichTim
I just HAD to do it cool
Seriously, I saw a number of versions on youtube and many sounded crazy fast. So I looked up another version of the score and there the tempo was Allegretto. Quite a challenge, but I felt I was ready for it. And I am glad I tried, since Scherzino is even more fun to play and listen to at speed.

And I have come quite close to getting it. Here's my new version.
Posted By: Christine5634 Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 02/12/16 11:36 PM
I'm glad there are others doing FK and Alfred's! I ordered the original Fundamental Keys book after someone mentioned it in the Alfred's Book 1 thread. It came this week and I'm really enjoying it so far! Rachel's teaching style really resonates with me.

I've enjoyed Alfred's but I agree with CYMBLISS, musically most of the pieces just aren't my cup of tea. I started dreading practicing. I like the songs selection in FK much better! I'll still continue with Alfred's, I like the information being taught. I think working out of both books simultaneously will be helpful.

MONTUNO your recordings sound great!
Posted By: Montuno Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 02/12/16 11:40 PM
Christine5634
Thank you, you're too kind. Welcome to the Fundamental Keys thread. It's great to have another FK fan around. grin
Posted By: Montuno Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 02/13/16 12:37 AM
Oh, and cmybliss: Song in Parallel Motion is very simple indeed - if you know how to play dynamics. So you should have no problem with it.
Posted By: cmybliss Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 02/13/16 02:18 AM
Montuno
Fabulous! I really liked listening to your recording. Hearing those 1/4 notes sounding nice and even is very encouraging. I gave Parallel Motion a go last night and did find it quite simple. Still working on the dynamics. My spinet doesn't like to play piano so it's a challenge! I've only had the piano for a month and am already thinking of upgrading. Luckily the shop I bought it from will take it back for full trade-in value.

NorwichTim

Thanks for the encouragement! Your right about each piece having their own counting challenges. I've just started Blow the Man Down in Alfred's and yikes! I do think my work in FK has been a big help though. And the songs are so pretty!

Christine5634

Welcome! It really is nice to have a group of us working on the two books together. I've found that the two methods work really well together. When I'm having trouble in one book I switch to the other and find when I go back to the troublesome piece it goes much more smoothly.
Posted By: newer player Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 02/14/16 01:36 AM
This evening I Finished Fundamental Keys new Book 1; piece #17 was simple but the hands together coordination took more time than I expected. I can play the piece a few times in a row without errors and it sounds fairly musical for a beginner; it still needs a bit of polishing.

Also, this month I had to work a bit on mechanics to address a few tired knuckles a slight pain in the right wrist, at the top/rightside. I did that by stopping at the slightest sign of fatigue or pain, so doing several short sessions per day. Then adjusting the seat height upwards slightly to relax the wrist. And finally looking at my mechanics vs. those of Rachel's.

Now moving onto Curtains Up!, page 39 of the original Fundamental Keys book.

At the same time, I will review the Fundamental Keys new Book 1 and restart the Alfred's Self-Teaching Adult Piano Course from the beginning.
Posted By: fizikisto Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 02/14/16 04:14 AM
newer player,
Congratulations on finishing the first book! Definitely you want to avoid playing in pain. Hopefully your adjustments have resolved the issue. One thing (that you may have already considered), you may want to also adjust your distance to the piano as well as the hight of your bench. It can be a challenge to find the right position/posture that assists you with playing in a relaxed (or at least unstressed) state but it's worth the effort to try. As a beginner you're building habits that will be very hard to fix later on if you get them wrong, so you're definitely taking the right approach to pay attention to such things.

Good Luck with your piano endeavors!

P.S. I think fundamental keys and Alfred's are a fantastic combination. With Alfred's you do a lot more with playing/recognizing chords and with fundamental keys you get a much better workout in hand independence. The two together will help you build a very strong foundation with good reading skills smile
Posted By: Montuno Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 02/16/16 04:03 PM
newer player

Well done finishing the new book 1. And well done on taking your time and not rush anything. Now you're up to real classical pieces, enjoy!

cmybliss

You play on a spinet? Haha, I can imagine that dynamics are a challenge. Good for you that you can bring it back if you desire.
Posted By: cmybliss Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 02/17/16 04:09 PM
newer player

Congratulations on finishing the 1st book! It sounds like you are working your way through in a very logical and methodical way, which is great! I'll be interested to hear what you think of the 1st pieces from this book.

Montuno

I know right! That's what comes of buying a piano before you really understand the strengths and weaknesses of all your options. Also, letting your 14 y/o be the decider is maybe not a good choice either. whistle The piano does OK, and we'll probably hold onto it until next fall or until our remodel is done and it can be moved right into it's permanent home.
Posted By: newer player Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 02/17/16 07:12 PM
Originally Posted by cmybliss
newer player

Congratulations on finishing the 1st book! It sounds like you are working your way through in a very logical and methodical way, which is great! I'll be interested to hear what you think of the 1st pieces from this book.


Thanks Cymbliss.

I quite liked the Fundamental Keys new Book 1. So far I have worked through piano without a teacher and believe the new Book 1 was excellent. Overall, the book was well paced and the exercises were very good. I've played instruments before and see the well-thought-out and logical progression of each piece.

The book is very clearly written and explained; nothing was a mystery or baffling. The early lessons are simple but I imagine Rachel is trying to nail down fundamental learning points rather than trying to skim over lots of less-relevant contents.

The last few pieces were significantly more difficult than the rest of the book, so I couldn't blow through each one in a day. I think that is partly due to introduction of more hands-together work and partly due to my prior musical experience.

As I am a beginner, you can take my assumptions with a grain of salt. Regardless, I enjoyed the book.
Posted By: cmybliss Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 02/18/16 12:50 AM
I'm also a beginner and working without a teacher for now. Your assumptions seem pretty logical to me. I'd love to get a teacher for myself, but all our lesson money is tied up in my daughter. Between trumpet, piano and riding there's none left for me!
Posted By: Montuno Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 02/21/16 10:49 PM
I've reached page 55, an introduction to articulation (staccato and legato). Only 53 more pieces to go. cool laugh
The video on this subject is really useful.
Posted By: Montuno Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 02/24/16 09:15 PM
The articulation part is pretty hard. I was able to play staccato according to Rachel's instructions pretty soon. But the drop and lift for the legato part requires more work and getting used to. So I am taking my time here.

The instruction video for this section is extremely valuable so you can actually see and hear what it looks/sounds like. I checked out At the Playground on youtube, but the versions there are not played with the proper technique (by proper I mean the way Rachel wants you to play it).
Posted By: 8 Octaves Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 02/24/16 10:26 PM
Also keep in mind the f and p dynamics, here. It's not supposed to be loud and soft, but LOUD and soft. This is a study, an etude, for learning a technique, so go ahead and over exaggerate. Notice the same legato must be played very differently when the dynamics are very different; same goes for staccato. It's always fine to calm back down when playing a piece of music later but for now huge contrast for p and f.

Sorry if I'm being repetitive with Rachel's video here, since I haven't watched her videos, not sure if she already mentioned it.
Posted By: cmybliss Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 02/25/16 03:22 AM
Great work making it to At the Playground! Thanks for sharing a little of your process. I've looked at it, but haven't started yet. I was too wrapped up in BTMD. Me thinks these particular dynamics are going to be tough on my little spinet! I guess I'll go for technique and hope for the best. I wonder if I can steal a few minutes on our school piano, though it's in the cafeteria and may not really be in tune.... confused
Posted By: Montuno Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 03/01/16 11:17 PM
8 Octaves, that's a very good tip. Rachel does exaggerate less in the video, but I try to do some of that pianoforte smile

Actually this is one of the things where playing on a digital helps. With Pianoteq I can check my dynamics better than by ear only.
Posted By: R_B Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 04/14/16 11:49 AM
It has now been well over a year since the campaign to raise funds for the production of the books and videos closed.
At that time most of the material was supposedly developed and ready for video, the new Book 1 came out a bit behind schedule and the videos for that are good, VERY GOOD.

There has been no update sine last August, so I doubt that books 2 and 3 or their videos will EVER see the light of day.

Sad to say, but I would NOT recommend that anyone embark on this method.
Posted By: newer player Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 04/14/16 02:18 PM
I really enjoy the Fundamental Keys method and pace, so am a bit more optimistic. I find I make tangible progress playing the piano every single day.

I understand your frustration. From personal experience, writing, publishing, preparing videos requires a massive amount of effort and time. But why let these external logistical hurdles impact your studies at all?

When I recently completed the new book #1, I just jumped to the original book which smoothly translates from p. 39. Frankly, the method increasingly focuses on playing longer, more complex pieces, rather than explanation/rudiment pages.

I have the videos for book #1 which are professional and helpful. I may pick up her discounted videos for the original book which go through p.80. After that, I will find pieces from the internet.

Whilst I am a beginner at piano (with experience playing other instruments), I happily recommend the method to those interested in classical music. When the new books #2 and #3 are published I may pick them up but I don't worry about them. . .
Posted By: fizikisto Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 04/14/16 02:57 PM
Newer Player,
Indeed, the problem is that Rachel has been promising a complete set of videos for years now. It started with the videos for the first edition...and for the longest time new videos were just around the corner. Then, arbitrarily, she decided that they weren't professional enough or something and abandoned the project to make the remaining videos. (They weren't so unprofessional that she felt she should stop selling the ones she already made though). Like you, most people felt the original videos were excellent. A lot of her customers were frustrated that the videos for the latter, more challenging parts of the book were never forthcoming after having been promised for so long.

And that's fine, she has every right to make videos or not as she sees fit, but then she started on the new edition of the work and promised completely new professional videos. And she did a kick-starter type deal to fund the project. People paid good money to support her work, and after the initial volume and set of videos, there has been essentially no communication from her. There's no indication that the project is ongoing. Has she abandoned it again? The lack of communication actually is unprofessional imo.

Now, Rachel is obviously a gifted teacher and a gifted pianist. In my interactions with her online i've found her to be a very nice and cool person. But she has an unfortunate history of over-promising and under-delivering when it comes to her method book and its supporting materials.

Just a note explaining the delay (yet again) would have been nice, but there's been no communication from her for 8 or 9 months. I hope that she is continuing to work on it and that something new will come out this summer. I won't be holding my breath in anticipation, however.

For what it was worth, I was one of the people who backed her project. I kinda expected it to take forever based on her past history. I didn't help fund it because I needed the videos but because I really loved the first edition of her method and wanted to support a method that would possibly help people develop a love of playing classical music. But if I were one of the financial backers who had an eye on using her method, which was promised to be delivered in a reasonable time frame, I might be a bit miffed too. I understand the frustration.

But with all that said, the first edition remains an excellent edition to piano pedagogy. I think that with a teacher it can be an absolute gem of a method. Even for self-learners it can have a lot of value. I frequently commend it to people here when people ask about good options for learning.

One hopes that the remaining editions will eventually be forthcoming and that they will further help develop young and old pianists into excellent musicians.
Posted By: bSharp(C)yclist Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 04/14/16 03:21 PM
If one were to pick up the first book, which version? The most recent version? I understand that there are two different versions? I'm always interested in looking at new stuff, but then again I don't want to overwhelm myself with a bunch of books ;0
Posted By: newer player Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 04/14/16 04:22 PM
fizikisto - Thanks for taking the time to provide additional color. Only time will tell when, or, if more is published. As I implied above, I make no assumptions and just move forward with the original version, which is fine for me.

Kick-starter type projects are a lot like venture capital projects in that they help realize some inspirational ideas and projects. Unfortunately, a large percentage of lofty projects are frequently delayed or unrealized. As a general matter, I don't think those risks are well communicated or well understood by the general public. Regardless of the shortfalls of the general kick-starter model, I think fans would be excited to receive periodic updates from Rachel.

b-sharp - There are only two books available: the "Original FK" 145 page volume and the "New Book #1" which is 59 pages. Rachel's plan was to expand and the "Original FK" book to 3 new volumes, but as of today, only one of those new volumes has been published.

Last fall, I purchased "New Book #1" and the related videos; this provides a more detailed and introduction to the piano than the original book did. I hoped new book #2 would be ready this winter, but since it was not, I purchased the "Original FK" book and per Rachel's suggestion started at p 39. The transition was seamless.

One option is to pick up "New Book #1" now. Finish that. When you are done, if "New Book #2" is available consider that. Otherwise pick up the "Original FK" to continue from p 39. Frankly, I would just pick up both books now so you have no risk that the "Original FK" becomes unavailable.
Posted By: pwl Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 04/14/16 11:53 PM
Originally Posted by newer player
One option is to pick up "New Book #1" now. Finish that. When you are done, if "New Book #2" is available consider that. Otherwise pick up the "Original FK" to continue from p 39. Frankly, I would just pick up both books now so you have no risk that the "Original FK" becomes unavailable.

I second the suggestion to pick up both books now. I also suggest purchasing at least some of the videos now. If you don't want to invest in all of them upfront, order a couple of the "beginning" ones to see how you like them. Videos covering Book 1 (new edition) are $35 for a four-video set, or $10 each if bought separately. Five additional videos covering the rest of original Book 1 are available for $5 each. IMO, the prices are a bargain for what you get.
Posted By: newer player Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 08/14/16 06:15 PM
Quick update. I decided to take a two month break from piano then run through the Fundamental Keys "new" book #1 (yet!) again to really nail down the key concepts.

I focused a few months on the last five pieces together to get a high level of confidence in basic reading, singing, counting, timing, and musicality. This is quite an enjoyable book that is paced at a comfortable rate.

In a conscious effort to improve my sight reading, I have not memorized these pieces. Although that might be chalked up to laziness also.

I can probably play these pieces "well" 7 out of 10 times. The other 3 times I miss (or play late) a note somewhere. This usually happens when I am saying the note names aloud whilst playing.

Interestingly, counting aloud I make the fewest mistakes and timing is the best. And singing aloud or counting silently sounds the most musical...

Today I opened up the "original" FK book (p.39), which Rachel said was the merging point of the two books. I was pleasantly surprised how easy and fun "Curtains Up" was. That is an encouraging start to this book!
Posted By: wouldloveto Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 05/03/17 09:53 AM
Hello guys. Being a recent and avid consumer of Rachel's original book, as at the moment it appears there is no way she will give birth to the newer books 2 and 3 (by the way, I would humbly suggest to refrain from any comments on her lateness or her lack of communication, since we all know what a valid teacher she is and no one knows the reasons, undoubtedly very valid, why she abandoned such a promising project), I would like to revive this thread which appears to have some solid ground and imho it has already offered some useful tips to those who have started the FK approach. I see the last post goes back to last summer and I wonder if the people who used to be active have kept on with their musical journey. There is another recent similar thread where I see people interested and I will try and steer them here, which I consider more "in tune" since the the name of the Topic. I would be glad to share my own experience and to read the others' who have embarked on following Rachel's teachings. Thank you in advance to all who will be posting here again.
As for me, only yesterday I started the piece on page 77 which, although introduces the chords concept, doesn't appear to be very challenging for me (as I already have quite some years of keyboard experience although played by ear) and I predict I will be moving pretty soon to page 78, which instead at a first glance gives me the impression it will take me some longer to be played decently.
Posted By: J van E Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 05/03/17 10:06 AM
Originally Posted by wouldloveto
There is another recent similar thread where I see people interested and I will try and steer them here, which I consider more "in tune" since the the name of the Topic.


Good idea! My topic about the video's turned into a full fledged FK topic unintentionally so good to see there is a FK topic already and to bring new life to it. wink I will switch to this topic for my blog-like posts. wink

I absolutely love the book (I only own the old Lulu version) but I have to add I learned most from the video's that you have to buy seperately. Not that I learned that much (mainly because I have been making music for over 40 years) but I learned a few things nevertheless (mainly concerning legate and slurs, and how to learn a new piece).

Because of my 40+ experience I went through the first 75 pages in a week but at this moment I am beginning to notice it is time to slow down because the current pieces simply take more time to learn them well. I also notice I keep on making little mistakes in previous pieces, probably because I didn't slow down enough to learn them properly.

I also love this book because it focuses on classical music entirely: I just can't stand those books with folk tunes and children songs (including lyrics). There is one little problem I am having though: because at this moment the new pieces take more time to learn them, I sometimes think: why don't I invest this time in pieces I actually would like to play and keep playing?' The piece on page 77 was indeed very simple but I also have no desire to put anymore time in it because it doesn't appeal to me. It seems that the rest of the book mainly gives me graded pieces which will slowly introduce me to more difficult pieces but I wonder what this will all actually LEARN me. Maybe I might as well read the rest of the text and choose pieces of the book but also from other sources to actually play...? As I said, it somehow seems a waste of time to spend hours on a piece which I don't like at all.

BTW I also already watched the very last video's and it's kind of sad they end here... I have the feeling I should have a lot more benefit of the video's that should go with the later, more difficult pieces. I liked how the video's led me through the book so far, even though I played most of them at 3x speed LOL and it's a pity I have to do the rest on my own, specially since the rest of the book mainly shows pieces with hardly any description and info.
Posted By: wouldloveto Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 05/03/17 01:02 PM
Glad you moved over here from your own thread, J van E. smile
I understand your concern about the pieces. In the past I went through similar experiences and when I decided to deviate from the original path, that's where I got lost. I mean I got bored by the pieces I was supposed to learn properly and looked for something else ending up losing my drive in the end. I've committed myself to stick to the method till the end this time, and on the way I might still try and learn more appealing pieces, but at the same time I will not discard and will keep on playing religiously the ones in the book. I learned the lesson by my past behaviour and this time I really want to get somewhere concrete, and I'm sure I will, also because I've got to a point of skill that I never reached before. Of course that's my experience, and it might even be counterproductive for you, so you have to look for the best solution. I hope that someone else here might give you some good suggestion.
As for the videos, I share the same thought as you. The pieces ahead, being more difficult, are the ones which would benefit more from a video support, but that's the way it is and we can't change it. Let's just pray that some day Rachel would overcome the problems that forced her to get to a halt and appear again, and maybe post in this very thread... wink
Posted By: R_B Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 05/03/17 01:03 PM
Originally Posted by wouldloveto
Hello guys. Being a recent and avid consumer of Rachel's original book, as at the moment it appears there is no way she will give birth to the newer books 2 and 3 (by the way, I would humbly suggest to refrain from any comments on her lateness or her lack of communication, since we all know what a valid teacher she is and no one knows the reasons, undoubtedly very valid, why she abandoned such a promising project), I would like to revive this thread which appears to have some solid ground and imho it has already offered some useful tips to those who have started the FK approach. I see the last post goes back to last summer and I wonder if the people who used to be active have kept on with their musical journey. There is another recent similar thread where I see people interested and I will try and steer them here, which I consider more "in tune" since the the name of the Topic. I would be glad to share my own experience and to read the others' who have embarked on following Rachel's teachings. Thank you in advance to all who will be posting here again.
As for me, only yesterday I started the piece on page 77 which, although introduces the chords concept, doesn't appear to be very challenging for me (as I already have quite some years of keyboard experience although played by ear) and I predict I will be moving pretty soon to page 78, which instead at a first glance gives me the impression it will take me some longer to be played decently.


Well, since you ASKED - - but tried to add a prohibition on commenting on the state of the project - - I find it hard to NOT comment on the apparent abandonment of books 2 and 3.

At the time I was very enthusiastic about the new book 1.
Although I considered myself somewhat past its level I still found some material in it that was useful for review - back to basics can be very good in many pursuits.
So I was ANXIOUSLY awaiting books 2 and 3, so much so that I was a very early sponsor at the $150 level. I was also an early reviewer, possibly THE earliest reviewer, of the material for the new book 1.
As I recall the last status was that the MATERIAL for book 2 was done and there were adequate funds for video recording, the production kinks having been worked out in producing book 1.
I could help with production, with collating material, with reviewing material and/or presentation sequence. and whatever else. I am still willing to do that, even contribute some more funds if that is the gating factor.

In answer to your core question; Yes, I have continued my musical journey, but I feel that I would have progressed very much farther if I hadn't started down this particular path.
Restarting on other paths has not been easy and has cost both time and money.
Posted By: J van E Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 05/03/17 01:12 PM
Originally Posted by wouldloveto
I've committed myself to stick to the method till the end this time, and on the way I might still try and learn more appealing pieces, but at the same time I will not discard and will keep on playing religiously the ones in the book.


That is also my intention but I notice some doubts creeping in every now and then... wink I sort of KNOW it is best to keep on working with this book but sometimes it is hard. One thing I will not do however is keep on working on a piece I really don't like. As soon as I think I have mastered the skill that the piece is trying to learn me, I will move on. I think...

Originally Posted by R_B
Restarting on other paths has not been easy and has cost both time and money.

I can imagine this... maybe you should have bought the old version after finishing book 1? I myself can't imagine using any other method: I've looked at a lot of them and even bought three books (which I luckily could return): FK is the ONLY book that works for me. So far.

Anyway, to get back to my intention and commitment: I will try to work on the upcoming new pieces like I should (and failed to do lately): HS, slowly, HT, slowly, measure by measure, line by line, preventing mistakes at all cost (!!!), etc. (I may even skip the last piece I learned because I learned it the wrong way and repairing the damage may take longer than I like... wink ) Let's see how long I can stick to this plan LOL
Posted By: wouldloveto Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 05/03/17 01:25 PM
Hi R_B. I'm super glad that you're still watching this thread as that gives hope that the others are as well. Your story about supporting Rachel's project is a sad one. Of course I didn't mean to add any prohibition on the subject comments. Mine was just a suggestion, because I can imagine there might be some people who have suffered from it in many fields, not least being forced to start other paths from scratch, and it was mainly due to the aim to focus more on what we have available than what is still in the clouds. I bought the new book as well, but when I had a better vision of what was happening I stopped relying on the new series and promptly got myself the old edition, which is still totally valid. My feeling is it wasn't a simple matter of money or the rest that you mention, but some more serious reason must have forced her hand. I commend you for willing to help. I hope Rachel could get a chance to still read the forum. Thanks for popping anyway. May I ask which other paths did you decide to follow?
Posted By: R_B Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 05/03/17 01:25 PM
Given that the "old book 1" leads toward an "old book 2" that never materialized, I don't see the point of starting out on another journey to another cliff edge.

Here's something else I've been doing quite a bit of in the couple of years or so since this fell apart.
As I read comments on this forum I often get an "impression" that the writer has musical interests and tastes similar to mine and is at about the same level.
SOMETIMES the writer includes their repertoire list in their signature line - maybe not "repertoire" so much as works in progress.
I look those up and download the sheet music to give them a try.
Not always a success, but it is improving my reading skills and exposing me to pieces at about my level.

b'sides, it is FUN
Posted By: NightTrain77 Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 05/03/17 01:29 PM
wouldloveto and J van E,

It’s great to see some activity in this thread! Rachel’s approach resonates with me as well.

Originally Posted by J van E
I also love this book because it focuses on classical music entirely: I just can't stand those books with folk tunes and children songs (including lyrics). There is one little problem I am having though: because at this moment the new pieces take more time to learn them, I sometimes think: why don't I invest this time in pieces I actually would like to play and keep playing?' The piece on page 77 was indeed very simple but I also have no desire to put anymore time in it because it doesn't appeal to me. It seems that the rest of the book mainly gives me graded pieces which will slowly introduce me to more difficult pieces but I wonder what this will all actually LEARN me. Maybe I might as well read the rest of the text and choose pieces of the book but also from other sources to actually play...? As I said, it somehow seems a waste of time to spend hours on a piece which I don't like at all.


I feel that way also. Maybe spend some time on all pieces, but only really master pieces you want as part of your repertoire.

Originally Posted by J van E

BTW I also already watched the very last video's and it's kind of sad they end here... I have the feeling I should have a lot more benefit of the video's that should go with the later, more difficult pieces. I liked how the video's led me through the book so far, even though I played most of them at 3x speed LOL and it's a pity I have to do the rest on my own, specially since the rest of the book mainly shows pieces with hardly any description and info.


Yes, I would love to have videos for all the pieces in the first edition. As an alternative we might try to find YouTube versions or perhaps post our own efforts on SoundCloud.
Posted By: J van E Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 05/03/17 01:39 PM
Originally Posted by DawgBone

I feel that way also. Maybe spend some time on all pieces, but only really master pieces you want as part of your repertoire.

Yes, I would love to have videos for all the pieces in the first edition. As an alternative we might try to find YouTube versions or perhaps post our own efforts on SoundCloud.

Yes, that was the plan (some time on all, master the ones I really like). But of course (knowing myself wink ) there is a danger in this: I might stop with a certain piece too soon and miss the skill it is trying to teach me.

This risk is even greater with the lack of the video's: you mention YouTube and SoundCloud but when it comes to Rachel's video's my main interest lies with what she says! A few times she explained why she added a specific piece and that helped me working on it because I knew what the main focus had to be. Without the video's I am left with a lot of pieces and not always a clue why they are in the book. YT and SC won't help me there.

Like the pieces on (I think) page 77 and 78: I played them before watching the video. When I saw the video I found out those pieces were in the book to learn me how to use legato left and staccato right: after hearing this I approached the pieces in a different way! Because at first I didn't pay too much attention to my left hand playing legato but now I know I really have to do that. (And it took some time to get it right.) And that's thanks to the video's. I will miss this valuable input.
Posted By: wouldloveto Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 05/03/17 01:44 PM
Originally Posted by DawgBone

Yes, I would love to have videos for all the pieces in the first edition. As an alternative we might try to find YouTube versions or perhaps post our own efforts on SoundCloud.

Hi DawgBone. Just for those who might have missed it, there's quite a few links in an old post by 8 octaves in this same thread http://forum.pianoworld.com//ubbthreads.php/topics/2504337.html#Post2504337
Also another good place is https://www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed/featured
Posted By: NightTrain77 Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 05/03/17 01:57 PM
Originally Posted by J van E
you mention YouTube and SoundCloud but when it comes to Rachel's video's my main interest lies with what she says! A few times she explained why she added a specific piece and that helped me working on it because I knew what the main focus had to be. Without the video's I am left with a lot of pieces and not always a clue why they are in the book. YT and SC won't help me there.

Like the pieces on (I think) page 77 and 78: I played them before watching the video. When I saw the video I found out those pieces were in the book to learn me how to use legato left and staccato right: after hearing this I approached the pieces in a different way! Because at first I didn't pay too much attention to my left hand playing legato but now I know I really have to do that. (And it took some time to get it right.) And that's thanks to the video's. I will miss this valuable input.


Yes, the comments of a skilled teacher would be enormously valuable. There is a real difference between playing a piece more or less "correctly" and actually making music. A good teacher can keep you focused on making music.

Posted By: NightTrain77 Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 05/03/17 01:59 PM
Hi wouldloveto, thanks for those links. I will check them out.
Posted By: J van E Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 05/03/17 08:51 PM
This evening I practiced some more on page 78, Hungarian Playtune, which is a kind of an odd piece. Took me a while to get it going the last two days but this time I decided to play it slow enough that I could play it without mistakes. The spots where I had problems yesterday, the transitions from each phrase to the other, went alright now. It will take (or: I want to take wink ) a few days before I can play it at full speed though.

Talking about speed: I notice I automatically like a specific speed for each piece, one that not always comes close to what Rachel showed in the video's. Quite often she plays slower than I would. On YouTube etc. I often found video's that play certain pieces (a lot) faster! Seems to be a matter of taste. I do like slower, more melancholic pieces more though. I am not too fond of happy clappy tunes.

This evening I learned and played page 80, Carefree stroll. I like to play that one kinda slow. Someone on internet played it really fast which I found odd. Also without any dynamics. Boring. Anyway, this piece wasn't too difficult but I started off slow anyway. As promised. wink In the end I played at my preferred speed already but I ended my session with playing this piece very slow again, just to etch it into my brain. wink

Carefree stroll could well be my favorite piece from FK so far. There is no repetition (at least not in FK, officially there is): I am not too fond of those AABA pieces where each phrase is repeated a few times. In Carefree stroll every line is different. Sounds more like a real piece to me.

I had a look through the book and other pieces I like are page 60, Minuetto, and page 61, Gavotte (even though it is AABA wink ). Both I like to play 'dramatically', with a lot of feel and dynamics. They sound a bit simple though so I don't know if they are keepers. Carefree stroll seems like a keeper for now.

Another piece I quite like, but which is way to short, is Complaint, page 70. I like to play that as I would play Des pas sur la neige of Debussy. I like that kind of melancholic, impressionistic pieces! (BTW That is a piece I want to master at some time!)

Other pieces which are quite okay are pages 64, 66, 69, 75 and the already mentioned 78. So I kinda like quite a lot. wink The fast ones aren't my favorite. And not just because they can be harder to play LOL

So... this means I am past the video's now... What a shame.

I wonder what your favorite pieces are from FK! Would be nice if everyone posted a top 3! wink I think my top 3 would be:
1. Page 80, Carefree stroll
2. Page 70, Complaint
3. Page 60, Minuetto

PS Complaint and Minuetto really benefit from what FK learned me about phrasing and playing the proper note length! Without that knowledge I probably wouldn't like them as much as I do now. Both pieces shine thanks to the pauses and properly ending notes.
Posted By: 8 Octaves Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 05/03/17 10:37 PM
Hi J van E,

My top 5 from Fundamental Keys are:
5. p. 81, Mozart: Minuet in C
4. p. 125, Bach: March
3. p. 126, Schumann: First Lost
2. p. 118, Bach: (Petzold) Minuet in G

and my absolute favorite is:
1. pp. 122-123, Beethoven: Minuet in G

Notable mentions:
p. 96, Haydn: German Dance #2; the first piece that started to take a long time, 3-6 weeks, to learn since beginning FK, which became the norm at that point.

p. 104, Mozart (Leopold): Minuet; the only piece past p. 96 that took a single week to complete, yay! I still remember it for that reason, and was quite shocked when the teacher said, "well, you've got it; we're done!" at the very next lesson. Wow. That was the very last time it ever happened again. frown
Posted By: J van E Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 05/04/17 07:33 AM
Interesting list, 8 Octaves! This means the best is yet to come! wink That's great!

And my goodness, 3-6 weeks a piece... I already have problems when a piece takes more than two sessions LOL! grin I must really like a piece a LOT in order to spend 3-6 weeks on it. I suppose that is one of the 'problems' you have when you are teaching yourself. You simply HAD to learn that piece. I don't. I simply can't see myself spending weeks on a piece just to master it while I don't quite like it. After all, I only play the piano to enjoy myself: I am not planning on giving concerts or anything. wink

Another problem of teaching yourself obviously is that 'master' part: I may think I mastered a piece when I can play if without hesitations or mistakes but after reading some of your posts I have a strong feeling Rachel would disagree with what I'd call mastered. wink There is more to it than just hitting all the right notes, of course.

But anyway, I look forward to playing the pieces of your list! Nice to see my next project is your number 5!
Posted By: wouldloveto Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 05/04/17 09:50 AM
Originally Posted by 8 Octaves
...
p. 104, Mozart (Leopold): Minuet; the only piece past p. 96 that took a single week to complete, yay! I still remember it for that reason, and was quite shocked when the teacher said, "well, you've got it; we're done!" at the very next lesson. Wow. That was the very last time it ever happened again. frown

Wow, very good of you to post here again, 8 octaves! smile Listening to your soundcloud, and knowing that you too started with FK gives me some hope that I might actually get somewhere this time on my musical journey. For those who don't know, 8 octaves is the only person I'm aware of who's been a real pupil of Rachel! Lucky you smile

Originally Posted by J van E

And my goodness, 3-6 weeks a piece... I already have problems when a piece takes more than two sessions LOL! grin I must really like a piece a LOT in order to spend 3-6 weeks on it. I suppose that is one of the 'problems' you have when you are teaching yourself. You simply HAD to learn that piece. I don't.

For me the comparison with real school or uni applies in this case. We had subjects or chapters that we didn't particularly like yet we still needed to study them to pass. It was just about how much we wanted to excel, no matter how boring they were. The real difference here is that we're still doing something we like: playing the piano, so spending more or less time on pieces that might appear boring strictly depends on how important we think they are to overcome a particular skill. A parallel example: scales are supposed to be boring, yet we still need to spend huge amounts of time on them. I hope I didn't get carried too much away... LOL
Posted By: J van E Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 05/04/17 10:59 AM
Originally Posted by wouldloveto
The real difference here is that we're still doing something we like: playing the piano, so spending more or less time on pieces that might appear boring strictly depends on how important we think they are to overcome a particular skill. A parallel example: scales are supposed to be boring, yet we still need to spend huge amounts of time on them.

Indeed, whenever I think I mastered a specific skill for which the piece was added to the book, I'll move on. But obviously I am not the best judge in this case... what I might call 'mastered' Rachel might (and probably will ; ) call 'crap'. Or a similar word. I suppose it all also depends on WHY you play the piano. A lot of the topics on this forum (about gestures, tension, imagination, the Russian stuff, etc.) are wasted on me because I just want to play and enjoy the experience. Period. I couldn't care less about some of the sometimes very heated discussions (in fact, they usually make me laugh LOL Yesterday I watched a video of that Russian pianocareer woman who said the piano can be any instrument, like a cello... or an organ... I seriously laughed out loud because when she played 'the cello' all I could hear was piano LOL grin All that is way over the top imho). I can imagine that's all very important if you want to become a famous piano player but that is not why I play the piano.

Concerning scales: Rachel said in a video about the exercises in the back of FK that you shouldn't bother too much about scales while using the book: one or two major scales are fine but don't spend too much time on it. That was at least what I understood from it. And well, I have to say this also has to do with WHY you play the piano. I like to learn new pieces and improve various skills but scales... whenever I come across a piece that would benefit from knowing scales I will learn them as I learn the piece. I see no use at all for my use of the piano to spend hours on scales and stuff I probably will never need...! But that's just my very personal subjective view on all this. wink

I'd be EXTREMELY happy already if I finish FK and can play all the pieces, including the more challenging ones. That's enough for me. Then I know I will be able to pick other pieces I like and play them. I have no urge to play the hardest pieces from Chopin or Liszt. If that was my goal I think I'd better stop playing today. wink
Posted By: NightTrain77 Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 05/04/17 11:28 AM
J van E,

Your attitude toward piano practice is refreshing. I think many piano students tend to be a bit grim. They play because it is "good for them". It will "build character and discipline." People will "admire and respect their accomplishment". Etc, etc.

You play because you enjoy it! I like that. We all need to keep in touch with that simple enjoyment even while we struggle with a difficult piece.
Posted By: zrtf90 Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 05/04/17 11:30 AM
Originally Posted by wouldloveto
...spending more or less time on pieces that might appear boring strictly depends on how important we think they are to overcome a particular skill. A parallel example: scales are supposed to be boring, yet we still need to spend huge amounts of time on them.
Whether or not the pieces are liked, if they're boring you're not paying enough attention or they're too trivial for you.

Pieces that are going to take weeks or months don't even have to be pieces you like. It's the work that's important and if you're involved with it then it's not boring.

By the time a piece is playable it may have grown on you or the technical challenge is more enjoyable than the piece might otherwise merit. I have pieces I enjoy playing but I wouldn't want to listen to if someone else were playing.

Practise should always include material you know and love just for your playing pleasure. I tend to interleave pieces I'm working on with pieces I'm memorising or refreshing.

Scales aren't boring unless you're doing them wrong and they don't take that much time. You need to know them, yes, but you don't need to spend a lot of time on them. You might accumulate a lot of time over the years but they only need a few minutes a day.

Originally Posted by J van E
...whenever I come across a piece that would benefit from knowing scales I will learn them as I learn the piece. I see no use at all for my use of the piano to spend hours on scales and stuff I probably will never need...!
I think that's a healthy attitude at this stage of your learning.

Posted By: J van E Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 05/04/17 11:43 AM
Originally Posted by DawgBone
J van E,

Your attitude toward piano practice is refreshing. I think many piano students tend to be a bit grim. They play because it is "good for them". It will "build character and discipline." People will "admire and respect their accomplishment". Etc, etc.

You play because you enjoy it! I like that. We all need to keep in touch with that simple enjoyment even while we struggle with a difficult piece.


Haha, ok, yes, well, this attitude has come with age, I have to say. wink I mainly started to make music to impress others (long ago, in the seventies) to make myself worthy (of whatever), but, long story short, after decades of making music it became a burden and a chore and I stopped creating music entirely. (Creating, because my main hobby was composing songs, not so much just playing music.)

Just a month ago, after not making music in any way for some 4 years, I decided that instead of creating music (which had become nothing more than fooling around with thousands of blocks on a grid in a DAW) I would like to simply PLAY music. Purely for my enjoyment. So I bought a piano (because I can't play my main instrument, the guitar, anymore due to artritis) and decided to play pieces that others had written instead of creating them myself. Because everything I ever did with music had been self-taught I quickly discovered I had to learn some proper piano technique, some reading skills, etc. and so I ended up with FK. Anyway, this is why my focus lies with enjoying myself. I don't care anymore for what others think about the music I make: I want to enjoy the transition from dead notes on paper to living music by just moving my fingers over the keys... it's pure magic everytime.

To get a bit back on topic wink : I wonder how many people there are on this forum that actually used and FINISHED the entire FK book? 8 Octaves did but are there any more? Was it a joy all the way or did you have problems at some point and what were those problems? I am curious how others experiences this method.
Posted By: NightTrain77 Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 05/04/17 11:54 AM
Is anyone here working with the Masterwork Classics series, edited by Jane Magrath?

These are short, graded, classical pieces, very much like the pieces in FK. Each volume includes an accompanying CD with performances by Valery Lloyd-Watts.

Good stuff!
Posted By: J van E Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 05/04/17 12:01 PM
Originally Posted by DawgBone
These are short, graded, classical pieces, very much like the pieces in FK. Each volume includes an accompanying CD with performances by Valery Lloyd-Watts.

Interesting! I'll make a note of these books for future use. As it is now FK offers enough music (and challenges) already to keep me entertained (!) for quite some time. Adding more books to the mix only makes the journey to the end of FK longer. wink But whenever I get there I am sure I can use some books with pieces that have the right grade so: noted! Although http://imslp.org is also a great source for music, of course... cheap too. wink
Posted By: bSharp(C)yclist Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 05/04/17 01:02 PM
Originally Posted by DawgBone
Is anyone here working with the Masterwork Classics series, edited by Jane Magrath?

These are short, graded, classical pieces, very much like the pieces in FK. Each volume includes an accompanying CD with performances by Valery Lloyd-Watts.

Good stuff!


I am. It was this series that moved me away from the Alfred's method books and started learning repertoire pieces. I very much enjoy the books and the CDs. I'm currently working on pieces in the Level 4 book (Polonaise in G Minor at the moment). I have the set up to Level 6, but that's probably a few years out.
Posted By: NightTrain77 Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 05/04/17 01:20 PM
Originally Posted by bSharp(C)yclist
It was this series that moved me away from the Alfred's method books and started learning repertoire pieces. I very much enjoy the books and the CDs. I'm currently working on pieces in the Level 4 book (Polonaise in G Minor at the moment). I have the set up to Level 6, but that's probably a few years out.


Ah, that's good to hear! I was wondering where I might go after reviewing Alfred's book one and working through FK.

I listen to the pieces you post on SoundCloud quite often. Very nice! I hope to be playing at that level before too long.

Posted By: 8 Octaves Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 05/04/17 05:23 PM
Originally Posted by J van E
Another problem of teaching yourself obviously is that 'master' part: I may think I mastered a piece when I can play if without hesitations or mistakes but after reading some of your posts I have a strong feeling Rachel would disagree with what I'd call mastered.


I feel that it is natural that everyone has different ideas of what mastering means. Even the same person will have different ideas of what mastering means at different points in the long journey. For almost any piece of music, a teacher could make it as easy or as hard as (s)he wants. Part of the judgement of a teacher is to know when to call it quits on a piece of music and when to push you to keep on working. I think the hardest aspect of teaching must be understanding how hard to push each individual without destroying the fun, maximizing each person's potential just shy of the person quitting while maintaining fun and a strong sense of achievement.

As far as my opinion on being your own teacher, I think the only critical element is that you give a damn. By that I mean, you think about the notes carefully and play with care. Don't ever go on auto-pilot when you play. Like Andres Schiff said, the word amateur comes from the word, love, in Latin, in contrast to the word professional.... laugh

I would encourage you to participate in the ABF Quarterly Recital with anything starting from page 80 on. It's a no pressure format with lots of participants at a wide range of levels. The comments are exceedingly supportive and generous. You'll find out pretty quickly how hard you really need to work on something the first time you have to play for someone other than yourself, even the salesman at the piano store who is pretending he's not listening. You might discover that mastered pieces were not actually mastered. Have fun!
Posted By: 8 Octaves Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 05/04/17 05:51 PM
Originally Posted by wouldloveto
We had subjects or chapters that we didn't particularly like yet we still needed to study them to pass. It was just about how much we wanted to excel, no matter how boring they were. The real difference here is that we're still doing something we like: playing the piano, so spending more or less time on pieces that might appear boring strictly depends on how important we think they are to overcome a particular skill. A parallel example: scales are supposed to be boring, yet we still need to spend huge amounts of time on them. I hope I didn't get carried too much away... LOL


I would be embarrassed to admit the pieces in FK that I didn't want to learn. eek I won't say which ones as to not influence you. Now looking back on them, I don't even know why I had issues with them. They seem so straight forward and normal, and I think that's the point.

As for doing scales, it's a complicated subject that could fill pages and pages of discussion to be sure. I personally don't practice them enough. The more I stay away, the more my expressive abilities moves ahead of my technical ability to play and the music often come across strange how someone who plays with a certain level of sophistication could be so awful and clunky technically. I feel like a bit of a fraud, someone who pretends I could play the piano when I really can't. I need to work on more scales. LoL.

However, don't put the cart before the horse. If you're not on page 100 or higher in FK, don't get obsessed with scales. Do what you feel like. In the early stages it is important to give your body plenty of runway to get used to practicing piano and not get carried away. Too much scales in the beginning is actually no good. It's like cramming for exams. Cramming doesn't provide much benefit long term and can be harmful short term. Scales should be learned slowly and incrementally, starting with just 5 finger pattern (C to G) one hand at a time, slowly work up from there. Also play 4-5-4-5-4-5 (hands separate) anywhere on the keyboard 10 times a day. Ten times is enough! Don't over do it in one sitting. Do 10 times a day for a year!
Posted By: wouldloveto Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 05/04/17 08:44 PM
Originally Posted by 8 Octaves
[quote=wouldloveto]... Ten times is enough! Don't over do it in one sitting. Do 10 times a day for a year!

Bloody helll! Let me do some math: I'm 61 right now, at this pace it looks like to learn them all I will have to carry on even after I've kicked the bucket!!! Not encouraging as a thought, but I understand what you mean.:) I'm not really obsessing myself with them, I care more about playing the pieces as much correctly as I can. I just incorporate some fingering in each session but I'm absolutely not overdoing it. The real fun part is the music itself and I try not to lose sight of it. wink
Posted By: J van E Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 05/04/17 09:25 PM
Originally Posted by 8 Octaves
5. p. 81, Mozart: Minuet in C

After practicing page 80 again, I started to work on page 81 and yes, this is a great piece! And not as hard as I thought it was! I almost got it under control already! It actually is fun to play, meaning that I enjoy the movements I have to make. Specially the left hand with those slurs which I usually end with staccato are a joy to play. I almost felt like a pro when I plunked those keys and lifted my hand as if I was playing a concert LOL Love it! Page 80 and 81 are great! Both are keepers and pieces I will try to memorize over time.
Posted By: 8 Octaves Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 05/04/17 10:54 PM
Originally Posted by wouldloveto
Bloody helll! Let me do some math: I'm 61 right now, at this pace it looks like to learn them all I will have to carry on even after I've kicked the bucket!!! Not encouraging as a thought, but I understand what you mean.:)


On the bright side, you won't run out of things to learn. Just make sure they provide a piano and Internet connection wherever you're going after you kicked that bucket! thumb

Seriously, you're still young, and have plenty of time to learn them all. There are only 24 key signatures!
Posted By: wouldloveto Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 05/05/17 08:03 AM
Originally Posted by 8 Octaves
...
Seriously, you're still young, and have plenty of time to learn them all. There are only 24 key signatures!

Thanks for the "young" (that's how I feel anyway, and from what I've noticed, I'm certainly not alone on this forum! wink ).
Only 24? Well, it could have been worse... Imagine if they were 176! (ok, ok, bad joke laugh laugh )
Posted By: J van E Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 05/05/17 08:33 AM
I noticed that further down the book I sometimes can't agree with the suggested fingering. Like in page 81 there are a few other fingering options that I find more logical, requiring less moevement. Up to now I tried to stick with the suggested fingering but I might not do that anymore if a certain fingering seems wo work better for me. Maybe it's just a coincidence but well, I decided to also think for myself in this case. wink

Anyone else has the same experience?
Posted By: J van E Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 05/05/17 09:45 AM
Hm... slightly disappointing... Since there are no video's of page 81 for FK I searched the internet for Mozart's Minuet in C. I immediately noticed almost all video's used different articulations. I also noted Rachel added a note that isn't there in the original! Can't say I am happy with that. So I decided to search for original sheet music but that is hard to find for this piece. The only complete one I found was this one

http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/minuet-in-c-major-k-6-digital-sheet-music/20139782

and if you enlarge the preview (which is the entire piece) you can see a lot of slurs that FK shows aren't there and there aren't any staccato's at all.

I have no clue however what the 'real' original looks like and I am in doubt how to play this piece as intended. I like it and want to keep it in my list of pieces but (obviously, I'd say) I'd like to play the piece as intended.

I am even thinking about always looking for the original score of any FK piece I like and practice that one I instead. Although it may be hard to find them all.

Posted By: wouldloveto Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 05/05/17 09:53 AM
Originally Posted by J van E
I noticed that further down the book I sometimes can't agree with the suggested fingering. Like in page 81 there are a few other fingering options that I find more logical, requiring less moevement. Up to now I tried to stick with the suggested fingering but I might not do that anymore if a certain fingering seems wo work better for me. Maybe it's just a coincidence but well, I decided to also think for myself in this case. wink

Anyone else has the same experience?
I noticed that too, but I also thought there must be a reason why she suggests that, so for now I will carry on to see if I get into her same fingering logic. As for the pieces you see different from the original, I'm sure there is logic in there too and I don't feel like it's up to me at this stage to change anything, so I'm happy this way. smile
Posted By: zrtf90 Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 05/05/17 10:07 AM
IMSLP has the score for the entire piece, the Violin & piano sonata, of which this is the start of the third movement.

The slurs in FK may or may not be Rachel's but as you're a beginner they are likely there to guide you to the style of the piece. They would be slurs that a player of the day would apply naturally.

There is a similar thing going on with fingering. The fingering in FK may not be ideal for your hand but it's likely to lead to a more natural development. What may at first feel uncomfortable or unnatural may be that way because you haven't developed a natural affinity with the keyboard yet or full finger independence.

With elementary music like this it's a good idea to keep the fingering as recommended until you know why it's there, what problems are solved by it and how to work out another solution. It's quite likely, for example, to make hand movements so that all fingers are over adjacent keys providing a natural grouping of the notes and reducing errors where a small stretch that may feel comfortable, for an otherwise inexperienced hand, in one direction leaves the hand unready a few notes later and an inaccuracy ensues without the student knowing why.

While you're playing elementary music I'd stick with recommended fingering for a year or so until your hand discovers what normal fingering feels like. It may help to remove quirky fingering that you currently find comfortable and will later impede your progress.

Posted By: wouldloveto Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 05/05/17 10:15 AM
@ zrtf90
My same thought, only much more articulated. It's like you're reading my mind. wink Thanks for your input.
Posted By: J van E Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 05/05/17 10:22 AM
Thanks for the Sonata tip! I would never have figured that out... wink

Concerning the fingering: I fully understand what you mean. But your example is exactly what I found odd in some occasions: for instance Carefree stroll's bar 2 up to 6 can be played with the right hand in one position but FK let's you move the hand two keys up in bar 5 for no reason at all. And back again to the previous position in the middle of bar 6. There is no stretch needed or anything so I prefer to keep my hand where it is. But well, maybe she is trying to teach you moving your hands up and down, although that is tought enough already in other pieces.

I do understand that some things have been altered for teaching purposes but as soon as I like a piece and want to keep playing it in the future I prefer the original version. wink
Posted By: zrtf90 Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 05/05/17 10:27 AM
I suspect Carefree Stroll is not the original title and since I don't have FK I've no idea what you're referring to. If you can reference the original piece I may be able to help otherwise I'll leave it to FK graduates.

Posted By: PianoStudent88 Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 05/05/17 12:32 PM
Because our fingers are different strengths, playing a figure with one set of fingers may sound different than playing it with another set of fingers. A lot of what we do in piano is work so that we even out the effects so that playing with different fingers sounds more the same. But sometimes the wiser choice is to move the hand so the same fingers can play repeated figures. For example, RH A-B slur (with fingers 2-3) followed by C-D slur. On the one hand you can play C-D with fingers 4-5. In the other hand it might be easier to control the sound with fingers 2-3, so you move your hand.

Another reasons for moving the hand in order to use the same fingers, even if not strictly necessary, is the principle that for more complicated figures that repeat at different pitches, it's often a useful strategy to play them all with the same fingering. This can make it easier to learn and play them all correctly.

The fingering in FK might also simply be there in order to teach you how to move your hand.
Posted By: wouldloveto Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 05/05/17 12:39 PM
Originally Posted by PianoStudent88
Because our fingers are different strengths, playing a figure with one set of fingers may sound different than playing it with another set of fingers.

I never thought of it this way. Interesting concept, although it makes me more confused now on my own input. LOL
One more reason to keep playing the way Rachel devised it...
Posted By: J van E Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 05/05/17 12:45 PM
Thanks for that interesting additional information, PianoStudent88! It all makes sense. Maybe I should indeed stick with the suggested fingering when it comes to FK. wink
Posted By: PianoStudent88 Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 05/05/17 12:47 PM
wouldloveto, your input looks fine!

I think the "develop all fingers to be equal" goal is a really important one, and "take advantage of natural differences in strength between fingers" may be a more advanced idea that takes experience to know when it's an appropriate path and not simply a cop out on "I haven't learned yet to make my fingers more equal."

For example I have a piece right now with an accented note where my teacher advised changing the fingering from the obvious 5 to the less obvious 4 (required a hand move) in order to get more power. But there are other passages where that workaround isn't practical so I have to actually work on the skill of making a powerful accent with 5.
Posted By: wouldloveto Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 05/05/17 01:54 PM
Thanks PS88.

Hey J van E, the idea to awake the original FK thread seems like it's paying off, eh? Look at the pearls of wisdom we've got just in a couple of days! wink
Posted By: J van E Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 05/05/17 02:09 PM
Originally Posted by wouldloveto
Hey J van E, the idea to awake the original FK thread seems like it's paying off, eh? Look at the pearls of wisdom we've got just in a couple of days! wink


Haha, yes indeed! thumb
Posted By: bSharp(C)yclist Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 05/05/17 05:59 PM
I received the book yesterday (first edition) and find it interesting. I've done several of these pieces and the articulation as written is different than how I learned.

p120 - Sonatina in C. I learned this from the RCM syllabus. My teacher would have stopped me at bar 1 smile The RCM sheet shows the last note as detached, and not as part of the slur. Many more examples I can find here.

p127 - Arabesque. Again, I learned this in the RCM 3 syllabus. The left hand part with the 16th notes. FK shows it as mp, RCM has it has mf, with crescendo up, then down, up then down, up then down. It's just mp throughout in FK. My teacher was very particularly about this part, kept saying... I'd don't hear anything getting louder ... I don't hear it getting softer ... I'm like, F.... It's also not leggato in the right hand through that part. It needs to be detached between C and A. But that's how it is written in RCM.

Is one more correct than the other, I don't know. I still probably don't play it right. I suppose you should play it the way the piece you have is written. But really in the end, you should just play it how you like. If somebody disagrees then you can tell them to play it how they like smile
Posted By: 8 Octaves Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 05/05/17 09:16 PM
Originally Posted by zrtf90
The slurs in FK may or may not be Rachel's but as you're a beginner they are likely there to guide you to the style of the piece. They would be slurs that a player of the day would apply naturally.

There is a similar thing going on with fingering. The fingering in FK may not be ideal for your hand but it's likely to lead to a more natural development. What may at first feel uncomfortable or unnatural may be that way because you haven't developed a natural affinity with the keyboard yet or full finger independence.


Yes, this is exactly the case. All articulation marks are by the author/publisher. I have some of the same music in RCM repertoire books, and in the RCM books, there are far fewer markings, slurs, staccatos. RCM tries to be closer to the original, but expects you have a teacher, and your teacher will mark up your music for you. In FK, it's already been marked up for you ahead of time.

I find that as a beginner, if I try to learn a piece using RCM repertoire and didn't have a teacher, I would not know how to interpret new music completely. This is one of the benefit of FK. It takes the guess work out of interpretation of any given piece. If you prefer a different interpretation, then like Barenboim said, you should have a pretty good reason to stand on other than because I like it that way.
Posted By: 8 Octaves Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 05/05/17 09:36 PM
Originally Posted by J van E
for instance Carefree stroll's bar 2 up to 6 can be played with the right hand in one position but FK let's you move the hand two keys up in bar 5 for no reason at all.


There is a very good reason. If you don't move your hand, you would otherwise be playing the C staccato using finger 4, four times. This is not a good choice of fingering. You may choose to play using fingering 1-2-3-1 instead of 2-2-2-2, but not moving your hand at all, playing 4-4-4-4, bad idea. Finger 4 is your weakest finger.

Another thing to realize. The piano is not like a typewriter keyboard. On a typewriter, the faster typists in the world will always strike each letter key with the same finger. The 'A' is always struck with the LH 5. Not so on the piano. You are always moving your hand around and you have to start learning to keep track of where your hand is in relation to the keys. If you start out on middle C with your thumb, you don't just press down with your thumb again if you see the middle C again because your hand might have moved two spaces over, and now you have to use finger 3, for instance. Eventually, you have to be able to do this at a fairly fast tempo almost instinctively without thinking. So moving your hand around early is another one of those lessons.
Posted By: 8 Octaves Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 05/05/17 09:42 PM
Originally Posted by zrtf90
I suspect Carefree Stroll is not the original title and since I don't have FK I've no idea what you're referring to. If you can reference the original piece I may be able to help otherwise I'll leave it to FK graduates.


Here you go: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZHM4UkuIGAo

Carefree Stroll by Louis Kohler

Note: in the YT video, it played AABB, but in FK, it's just AB.
Posted By: 8 Octaves Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 05/05/17 09:52 PM
Originally Posted by bSharp(C)yclist
Is one more correct than the other, I don't know. I still probably don't play it right. I suppose you should play it the way the piece you have is written. But really in the end, you should just play it how you like. If somebody disagrees then you can tell them to play it how they like smile


In short, they are all correct. If you play the notes as written, then perhaps it is not so correct ( crazy ). What I learned over the years is that the written music is the bare minimum of what composers believed will do, the cultural style of performing the music is implied and obvious, common cultural knowledge, so they don't put it down. You should not be surprised that mf or mp in some of these student pieces were all put there by the publisher of the music and not the composer. Often times, the composer wrote no dynamics at all.

Also, "don't make an elephant out of a little bird..." laugh

Quote
p127 - Arabesque. Again, I learned this in the RCM 3 syllabus. The left hand part with the 16th notes. FK shows it as mp, RCM has it has mf, with crescendo up, then down, up then down, up then down. It's just mp throughout in FK. My teacher was very particularly about this part, kept saying... I'd don't hear anything getting louder ... I don't hear it getting softer ... I'm like, F.... It's also not leggato in the right hand through that part. It needs to be detached between C and A. But that's how it is written in RCM.


This is how I was taught to play that as well. This is perhaps the few times FK is less explicit than RCM book. Same expected result though. Just because it's not written in doesn't mean shaping is not needed. It just means you have to do with it without the music hitting you over the head with it. Since cresc and dim is following natural rise and fall of the music, those marks are optional and implicit. In fact, whenever something with rising notes marked mf, you definitely want to start mp or even p or else you'll run out of room to shape the phrase by the time you get up to top notes end up playing too loud there. Remember that mf and mp are not absolute values with some international committee on dB level of what mf or mp should be. It just depends on what comes before and where you go after and what your piano could handle and the size of the room.
Posted By: J van E Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 05/06/17 07:47 AM
Adding and editing articulations, fingering, etc. is fine but changing notes is a step too far IMHO. I can understand Rachel did this to help the beginning piano player but it just doesn't feel right to me. So from now on I always check the original score if possible before I start learning a piece.
Posted By: NightTrain77 Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 05/06/17 12:01 PM
Interesting discussions about articulations and “how a piece should be played.”

I personally think that a student should try a great variety of articulations, not just the ones given by the composer or editor, and not just the ones provided by his piano teacher. If a passage is marked staccato, try it legato. If the tempo is fast, try it slow. Etc, etc.

Furthermore, I think it is useful to REWRITE PORTIONS OF A PIECE! :—) If you are at all interested in composition, this is a great exercise, and will give you a increased understanding of why the composer did it the way he did.

The idea here is that good piano playing is a “re-creation”, not just passively copying what is on a piece of sheet music. I’m a visual artist and will offer an analogy:

Everyone is familiar with the idea of tracing an existing image. You place a thin, translucent piece of paper on top of an image and carefully copy the lines beneath. The tracing will be more or less “correct”, but it will be utterly lifeless. Similarly, if you just passively copy what is on a piece of sheet music, you performance will probably also be lifeless.

So, by modifying a composition in the blatantly irreverent manner I have suggested, you are basically developing an attitude and an approach. You may well eventually play the piece exactly as it is written, but your change in attitude and approach will make a difference.
Posted By: bSharp(C)yclist Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 05/06/17 01:19 PM
Originally Posted by 8 Octaves
This is how I was taught to play that as well. This is perhaps the few times FK is less explicit than RCM book. Same expected result though. Just because it's not written in doesn't mean shaping is not needed. It just means you have to do with it without the music hitting you over the head with it. Since cresc and dim is following natural rise and fall of the music, those marks are optional and implicit. In fact, whenever something with rising notes marked mf, you definitely want to start mp or even p or else you'll run out of room to shape the phrase by the time you get up to top notes end up playing too loud there. Remember that mf and mp are not absolute values with some international committee on dB level of what mf or mp should be. It just depends on what comes before and where you go after and what your piano could handle and the size of the room.


Sorry, wasn't trying to blow things out of proportion. No disagreement there, but a beginner student probably isn't going to know to that, unless Rachel mentions this in one of her videos? The detached C and A isn't as clear though. I was playing it legato, and then the teacher pulls out her pencil, writes a check mark and says Lift! Is this book intended for a student to go through on their own, or does Rachel expect you to be working with a teacher?

Dawgbone, I agree with you on your statement. Try different articulations, phrasings, etc. I don't think there is always one right way to play a piece, but for some I'm sure there is. I'm learning a piece now that can be found in RCM3 and Alfred's Masterwork Classics (Polonaise in G Minor). Both books come with a CD and the piece is played differently in both books, but each piece adheres to how it is written in the respective book, e.g., staccato vs legato in the left hand. My teacher will tell me though to play it as written in RCM 3.

Another exercise for fun is to then transpose on the fly smile
Posted By: zrtf90 Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 05/06/17 04:20 PM
Originally Posted by 8 Octaves
Originally Posted by zrtf90
I suspect Carefree Stroll is not the original title and since I don't have FK I've no idea what you're referring to. If you can reference the original piece I may be able to help otherwise I'll leave it to FK graduates.


Here you go: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZHM4UkuIGAo

Carefree Stroll by Louis Kohler
Ah, OK. I'm not familiar with Kohler. It sounded like someone had a given a name to a work in the way that the old Schaum books did - like calling Liszt's Consolation in Db 'Purple Sunset'.

Still, I see the answer's been given. Thanks.

Posted By: 8 Octaves Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 05/06/17 05:02 PM
Originally Posted by J van E
Adding and editing articulations, fingering, etc. is fine but changing notes is a step too far IMHO. I can understand Rachel did this to help the beginning piano player but it just doesn't feel right to me. So from now on I always check the original score if possible before I start learning a piece.


Which note(s) got changed? I agree notes should not be changed. Perhaps one of the two music you are comparing contains a misprint, either FK or RCM.

RCM is generally quite good. From RCM 1-7, I've ran into very few misprints over the years. Ditto FK. As careful as editors are, mistakes can happen. Actually for one piece, I compared FK, RCM, and Bastien, and all three were slightly different! I don't remember off hand which piece it was....
Posted By: 8 Octaves Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 05/06/17 05:10 PM
Originally Posted by bSharp(C)yclist
Sorry, wasn't trying to blow things out of proportion.


Actually, your discussion simply reminded how similar I was to you when I was learning RCM 3. Sounds like you have a good teacher, and will in coming years, like me, have to throw out all assumptions we have going into piano. smile

Posted By: J van E Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 05/06/17 06:30 PM
Originally Posted by zrtf90


Still, I see the answer's been given. Thanks.


Wel, I still don't know where this piece comes from and where to look for an original score...

Originally Posted by 8 Octaves


Which note(s) got changed? I agree notes should not be changed. Perhaps one of the two music you are comparing contains a misprint, either FK or RCM.

Well, for instance in First loss, in the second part where the lower staf changes to the G cleff again there is a C (played together with the Fis) and two bars further an A (also played together with a Fis) and in FK both these notes are 1/8, attached to the beam, while the C should be a half note, so held for the entire bar, and the A should be a half note and is even tied to the first 1/8 of the next bar. Specially in this part playing those notes as 1/8 gives a totally different sound and feel to the piece. This might be done to make things easier but I think this is a pity. Learning how to hold a note while other fingers are playing on is quite important.
Another example is the added C for the left hand in bar 5 from Mozart's Minuet in C.

But maybe my problem with this has to do with my goal and where I am coming from: for teaching purposes this may all be fine but I am already looking at pieces I like to keep on playing in the future and in that case I simply like to play the piece as intended (as far as possible).

First loss is a great piece btw... That is the kind of music I like to play! Yeah, I skipped a few pages LOL but I will check all pieces in FK out in the future anyway. Quite a few pieces after page 81 didn't appeal to me: I skipped them as soon as I knew I could play them properly if I put the time in it but I just didn't feel like doing that. Yeah, I'm bad. wink After two or three sessions I can play First loss without mistakes already BUT with a few deliberate hesitations/slow parts because I do not want to hit wrong keys just to keep the pace. In slow motion I can play it well, I've got the fingering worked out an all, so all I need to do is to get a few parts up speed. Great piece. Love it.
Posted By: Alexander Borro Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 05/06/17 07:13 PM
FWIW. You may wish to refer to this score. I have the Schumann album for the young book and it is as you say if I understand you correctly, not as you describe in FK.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D3NHm9OeHUY

the score in that video is very close for the most part to what is in my Schumann book. Admittedly I cannot comment further on deviations from the original score. I am checking against the full album for the young book I have, edited and prepared by Harold Bauer.

I agree I think it is important that those notes are played as sustained, it changes the feel/sound of it if not ( and not for the better .. IMO), recording on youtube and places I've heard you will hear it played liked that too ( sustained ).

Great piece isn't it ? I loved it as well. Good luck to you, there are lot of schumann gems

I wondered what had become of FK next generation. I was looking forward to it with the revised videos. I considered it a couple of years ago and I waited as it was supposed to be just around the corner, but it never came.

I hope all is well with her anyway. I guess the reason books or videos are often not delivered/completed is lack of funds, may be that's the case here, or may one day it will still be completed.
Posted By: J van E Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 05/06/17 07:58 PM
Originally Posted by Alexander Borro
FWIW. You may wish to refer to this score. I have the Schumann album for the young book and it is as you say if I understand you correctly, not as you describe in FK.

Yes, that is how I play it! Funny thing, though: this piece has two notes on the upper staff which are on the lower staff in FK but also in an old release of this piece which I found at IMSLP! In the video you linked, that very last A at the end of the third line and the very first G at the start of the fourth line are shown on the upper staff but in FK and that old release I found they are on the lower staff. I have to say I find them a lot easier to play with the left hand (together with the Dis and G respectively) than with the right. But well, at least the notes are correct and that's what matters. wink I suppose this can be edited just like articulations and so on can be edited to ones liking.

It is a gem indeed. In my previous piano life I tried to play Träumerei: never really nailed it. I think that with my new skills and knowledge I will give that one another try sometime. (And then also read the topic about it.) I like those dreamy pieces. I am not a fan of that music box-like happy clappy pieces (of which there are quite a few in beginner's books).

BTW This is getting a bit OT but ever since learning to play the piano all over again (well, during the last three weeks that is wink ) I haven't touched the damper pedal. Something I used to do all the time during my previous piano life. I have to check if the pedal is mentioned somewhere in FK in the pages I skipped for now. wink But anyway, up to now I also play First loss without pedal. I wonder if it is used by others in some specific places? Sounds like it on certain recordings but it is hard to determine where exactly. Somehow I feel it is best to not use the pedal if possible with this one. Seems a lot of composers never added info about this on their scores.
Posted By: zrtf90 Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 05/06/17 08:23 PM
It sounds like FK has proofreading problems. I doubt Rachel would have intended those alterations at all and maybe these errors are one of the reasons she considered a revised edition.

I know she felt scales were introduced too soon in the first edition.

Originally Posted by J van E
I am not a fan of that music box-like happy clappy pieces
I hope you don't mean the Music Box piece I just played in the French Recital! wink

Posted By: 8 Octaves Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 05/06/17 08:57 PM
Originally Posted by J van E
... the A should be a half note and is even tied to the first 1/8 of the next bar. Specially in this part playing those notes as 1/8 gives a totally different sound and feel to the piece. This might be done to make things easier but I think this is a pity. Learning how to hold a note while other fingers are playing on is quite important.


I see what you mean. I thought you said FK had wrong notes as in like missing an accidental or even notes in the wrong pitch. In these case, you're right. They are intentional as to not introduce a second voice in the same hand at this stage of learning. If you really like something and want to keep playing it, consulting other sources is never a bad idea. Professionals do this all the time, consulting many sources, but certainly not for a little piece like those in FK.

I spoke with Rachel during my lesson today, and she said there should be no incorrect placement of notes (pitch / accidentals). All mistakes have been corrected since 2010 release. She also told me the 1st edition is now half price compared to when I bought it. Hey no fair. laugh


Posted By: J van E Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 05/06/17 09:02 PM
Originally Posted by zrtf90
I hope you don't mean the Music Box piece I just played in the French Recital! wink


I don't know because I don't have a clue where are can listen to those pieces...? wink I only see a discussion topic about it but no music.

Regarding my question above about the pedal: I noticed my view on using the pedal has made 180 degree turn: in the past I used it for everything, now I like to not use it at all (if possible). So forget my question: I just played and recorded First loss a few times and I really think I like it more without pedal. Not even during those three last chords: I like a short silence in between them. (I got to focus on my legato though: the notes in my recording sounded too seperate: recording your own playing is an invaluable tool.)
Posted By: 8 Octaves Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 05/06/17 09:08 PM
Originally Posted by Alexander Borro
I agree I think it is important that those notes are played as sustained, it changes the feel/sound of it if not ( and not for the better .. IMO), recording on youtube and places I've heard you will hear it played liked that too ( sustained ).


It's great that you guys are taking these easy pieces so seriously! What I often see with beginners is the opposite, playing stuff that's really hard and NOT taking it seriously by completely omitting things they either cannot do or don't want to learn, or at a much slower tempo than the composer asked for. I hope you don't let up on this level of obsessiveness as the music gets harder, and not cheat like crazy like so many others. Most of the time, adults simply don't want to devote the time with easy music and do it right! Very refreshing.
Posted By: J van E Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 05/06/17 09:08 PM
Originally Posted by 8 Octaves


I see what you mean. I thought you said FK had wrong notes as in like missing an accidental or even notes in the wrong pitch. In these case, you're right. They are intentional as to not introduce a second voice in the same hand at this stage of learning. If you really like something and want to keep playing it, consulting other sources is never a bad idea. Professionals do this all the time, consulting many sources, but certainly not for a little piece like those in FK.

I spoke with Rachel during my lesson today, and she said there should be no incorrect placement of notes (pitch / accidentals). All mistakes have been corrected since 2010 release. She also told me the 1st edition is now half price compared to when I bought it. Hey no fair. laugh




Ah, good to know it is intentional. For me little pieces are all I mean to play and I won't turn pro ever so... I will consult other sources for pieces I tend to keep on playing.

And also good to know Rachel is still alive and kicking! I won't ask you to ask her what's up with the revised books. wink I am sure that whenever she has the time and funds to finish things, if ever, we will hear it. Glad to know she is okay because I was thinking something happened to her. The next time you see her thank her for this great method book! wink
Posted By: J van E Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 05/06/17 09:24 PM
Originally Posted by 8 Octaves


It's great that you guys are taking these easy pieces so seriously! What I often see with beginners is the opposite, playing stuff that's really hard and NOT taking it seriously by completely omitting things they either cannot do or don't want to learn, or at a much slower tempo than the composer asked for. I hope you don't let up on this level of obsessiveness as the music gets harder, and not cheat like crazy like so many others. Most of the time, adults simply don't want to devote the time with easy music and do it right! Very refreshing.


My pleasure. wink Well, I like to do things the right way, as they are intended. Right now these easy pieces are hard enough already LOL but I know I can handle them pretty quickly. I like these short pieces (like First loss) and I have no intention on ever playing (very) long and (very) hard pieces. First loss is grade 2 or 3 maybe? Don't know but it's fine for me now and I will play higher grade pieces when the time is right. And my skills have become good enough. But even if I might try a higher graded piece sometime soon (like from Debussy or Grieg) I'd always try to play it as intended. I don't like cheating. wink And if I find out I just can't play them (yet) I won't play them.
Posted By: 8 Octaves Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 05/06/17 09:30 PM
Originally Posted by J van E
The next time you see her thank her for this great method book! wink


Will do. Always glad to see others go through the same 1st steps I did ....
Posted By: zrtf90 Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 05/06/17 09:32 PM
Originally Posted by J van E
Originally Posted by zrtf90
I hope you don't mean the Music Box piece I just played in the French Recital! wink

I don't know because I don't have a clue where are can listen to those pieces...?
In the "French Themed Recital - April 30, 2017" thread. The first post includes a link to the Online Streaming Player

Posted By: 8 Octaves Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 05/06/17 09:37 PM
Originally Posted by zrtf90


Richard, as usual, excellent playing, always a pleasure to listen to your stuff. You not only emit the music-box-like mood here, but over-achieved on the expressiveness of any music-box. Maybe you need to try to sound more mechanical. LoL. Just kidding!
Posted By: zrtf90 Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 05/06/17 09:42 PM
Thanks, 8 Octaves. smile Maybe I'll just relax all over and unwind laugh

Posted By: 8 Octaves Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 05/06/17 09:47 PM
Originally Posted by zrtf90
Maybe I'll just relax all over and unwind laugh



shocked laugh omg I can't stop laughing!
Posted By: J van E Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 05/07/17 07:40 AM
Originally Posted by zrtf90
In the "French Themed Recital - April 30, 2017" thread. The first post includes a link to the Online Streaming Player


Thanks, I will have a look at it when I am behind my desktop PC because it doesn't seem to work on my iPad.
Posted By: J van E Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 05/07/17 02:09 PM
Sooooo... this afternoon I played through ALL the pieces I skipped (everything between 81 Minuet in C and page 126 First loss) and well, there were only 4 pieces I kinda liked and which I will certainly master sometime soon. I played though all pieces (yes, all of them) with 2 hands in one go just to get a feel for them and to see if it was something I might liked but none of them clicked apart from those 4. Of course I couldn't play them great at first sight, far from it, but some I could play almost right already and the others I know I can master if I spend time with them but honestly... I just don't think I can bring myself to it. There are way too much (what I call) music box pieces which are so predictable... some parts I could play in one go because I simply knew what was coming.

'First loss' is BY FAR my favorite from the book (I know it completely from memory already and all I have to do is to bring a few parts up to speed). I read all the information in the book I didn't read so far but there was nothing I didn't know already. It was more basic than I thought it would be. I was a bit disappointed that it didn't even talk about the pedal yet.

So... I am a bit done with FK for now. Do not get me wrong: I think this book is the best method for beginners, specially if you are into classical music, but I think that once my old skills from 30 or so years back had been awoken, things turned out to be a bit too basic for me. And I also discovered I am really not a fan of the older classical stuff. Those pieces were fine while discovering what I could and couldn't do but now I know I can play the entire book if I want to (and out enough time into it), they don't do it for me anymore.

It has been wonderful two weeks though LOL
Posted By: wouldloveto Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 05/07/17 08:20 PM
J van E, I'm glad you feel like you can move over by taking advantage of your past background. Mine is surely not enough to allow me to do something like that so I will carry on slowly but hopefully steadily. On a side note, I've arranged an appointment next week with a piano teacher because, although I am confident with the steps I've been taking so far, I feel that will speed up my learning, so I'm looking forward to it. smile Good luck, mate.
Posted By: ID5894 Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 05/19/17 11:05 AM
I'm approaching the end of Alfred1 (currently on The Entertainer) and started spending more time on FK, first impressions: IT'S HARD!!!

I was expecting to breeze through the first half or so, no way! Which is good as that's why I got it as it was supposed to complement well with Alfred, rather than being more of the same.

So happy to start working on it, but for sure it'll take some time to go through all the material.
Posted By: wouldloveto Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 05/19/17 12:16 PM
Originally Posted by ID5894
I'm approaching the end of Alfred1 (currently on The Entertainer) and started spending more time on FK, first impressions: IT'S HARD!!!

I was expecting to breeze through the first half or so, no way! Which is good as that's why I got it as it was supposed to complement well with Alfred, rather than being more of the same.

So happy to start working on it, but for sure it'll take some time to go through all the material.

Well, if you're almost finished with Alfred 1 and find it hard to go through FK I can only be glad the latter has been my first choice! smile I'm happy for you that you joined. Take your time and you won't regret it. I'm on page 81 and enjoying these little pieces a lot. I never thought I would be able to play Beethoven and Mozart so soon! wink
Posted By: ID5894 Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 05/19/17 12:29 PM
Originally Posted by wouldloveto
Originally Posted by ID5894
I'm approaching the end of Alfred1 (currently on The Entertainer) and started spending more time on FK, first impressions: IT'S HARD!!!

I was expecting to breeze through the first half or so, no way! Which is good as that's why I got it as it was supposed to complement well with Alfred, rather than being more of the same.

So happy to start working on it, but for sure it'll take some time to go through all the material.

Well, if you're almost finished with Alfred 1 and find it hard to go through FK I can only be glad the latter has been my first choice! smile I'm happy for you that you joined. Take your time and you won't regret it. I'm on page 81 and enjoying these little pieces a lot. I never thought I would be able to play Beethoven and Mozart so soon! wink


It'd be interesting to see what someone nearly finished with the sections of FK that are about the level of Alfred1 would think if starting the Alfred book then. I think it's having melodies simultaneously on both hands that it's different, and not something you do with Alfred1 (more on 2 and 3 I think). But the LH accompaniament based skills you learn with Alfred1 are essential as well IMO, so they seem to complement each other really well if you want a more versatile foundation.

I bought both at the same time but decided to start with Alfred purely because I received it first to be honest. I didn't want to lose focus by working on both books at the same time from the start, but perhaps I should have overlapped them more. I only started with Alfred in late January, so it'll be 4 months next week. I've gone through most of it much faster than I anticipated. I hope I haven't gone too fast and learned nothing laugh
Posted By: bifford Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 06/11/17 02:38 AM
I have bought Fundamental Keys Book 1 and the four accompanying videos. When I'm done, I will buy the original book and pick up on p. 39 per Rachel Jimenez' advice on the FK website.

I'm up to p. 19, and find the instruction very basic, clear, and well thought out. She's an excellent teacher and I find her mature relaxed approach perfect for this septuagenarian. I'm determined to finish her books and then pursue learning favorite classical works on my own, slowly and steadily. (Ultimate goal: Moonlight Sonata!)

Oh, one quirk in my learning style: I am shielding the keyboard from view so I don't look at my fingers as I play. I don't expect Rachel would approve!

[Linked Image]

Posted By: wouldloveto Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 06/11/17 07:47 AM
Originally Posted by bifford
I have bought Fundamental Keys Book 1 and the four accompanying videos. When I'm done, I will buy the original book and pick up on p. 39 per Rachel Jimenez' advice on the FK website.

I'm up to p. 19, and find the instruction very basic, clear, and well thought out. She's an excellent teacher and I find her mature relaxed approach perfect for this septuagenarian. I'm determined to finish her books and then pursue learning favorite classical works on my own, slowly and steadily. (Ultimate goal: Moonlight Sonata!)

Oh, one quirk in my learning style: I am shielding the keyboard from view so I don't look at my fingers as I play. I don't expect Rachel would approve!


Well done, my friend! I've had a real teacher for a few weeks and she lets me use FK as my workbook. I'm on page 87 just now and pieces are getting more beautiful and challenging as I go. I love it. My teacher didn't know Rachel's book and now she likes it so much that she's contemplating using it for adult beginners.
Posted By: bifford Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 06/16/17 06:59 PM
I'm up to p. 24 (Thirds exercises). Rachel wisely suggests that for each new piece we play through it several times (1) speaking the intervals and (2) counting the beat. To which I add (3) speaking the NOTES.

This is slowing me down, but I simply don't know the bass clef, and I can see a fundamental need to recognize those notes pronto.

Thanks for the input, wouldloveto. It's helpful reading the reactions of a more advanced FK user.
Posted By: wouldloveto Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 06/16/17 08:43 PM
Originally Posted by bifford
... Rachel wisely suggests that for each new piece we play through it several times (1) speaking the intervals and (2) counting the beat. To which I add (3) speaking the NOTES.

This is slowing me down....

Hi bifford. I'm sure you're aware this is not a race. Don't get yourself caught by boredom though, as I did many times in the past and then I dumped everything. This is the first time I've got to the point where I am right now and I can't believe how stupid I was before. Maybe what I needed was just a book like Rachel's... Just do your exercises religiously and take all the time that you need. You'll thank yourself later. To help with music reading you could explore this site http://www.musictheory.net/exercises/note Quite some good stuff there. Also you could download an app called Music Tutor which I use on my iphone when I'm waiting for a bus or for my kid to finish his school lessons. wink
Posted By: bifford Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 06/17/17 09:45 PM
Thanks wouldloveto! I checked out both of your suggestions and will definitely take advantage of them.

One of the things that helped me choose Rachel as a "teacher" was a video where she described a slightly different but more logical and easier fiingering than the standard for doing scales. Too bad she can't change note placement on the music staffs to be more logical and easier!
Posted By: jimdamachine Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 07/01/17 09:19 PM
Is it OK to mark the score with fingerings? I'm up to page forty something and noticed the fingering for the first note is provided ... after that I'm on my own. Just wondering since I'm going the self-taught route.
Posted By: wouldloveto Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 07/01/17 09:57 PM
Originally Posted by jimdamachine
Is it OK to mark the score with fingerings? I'm up to page forty something and noticed the fingering for the first note is provided ... after that I'm on my own. Just wondering since I'm going the self-taught route.

From my experience you don't need it as the exercises look structured to follow the natural shape of the hand most of the time. Further on you will find it still marked in some places where it can be hard to work it out for yourself, and there are also some places (although rare) where the suggested fingering looks quite odd and unnatural. I asked my teacher if it's ok to change it to a more natural feeling, and she confirmed my impression. But I do try to follow Rachel's indication as much as possible.
Strictly answering your question, probably it won't harm but after a while you will see you can easily do without it.
Posted By: J van E Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 07/02/17 10:01 AM
I also wouldn't mark the entire score with fingering. I think the author left them out on purpose at that point in the book. Usually that one fingering you see should get you going from there on. In the end you want to learn to automatically use proper fingering. Of course in difficult passages (when it comes to fingering) you might want to add a fingering yourself but I would just add one fingering that gets you going again from that point and I would prevent marking the entire score. Fingerings usually aren't part of scores, unlike for instance dynamic markings.
Posted By: ID5894 Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 07/02/17 10:12 AM
Originally Posted by jimdamachine
Is it OK to mark the score with fingerings? I'm up to page forty something and noticed the fingering for the first note is provided ... after that I'm on my own. Just wondering since I'm going the self-taught route.


At that point on the book that just means there is no change in hand position relative to the keys, until the next fingering notation, if any.

I'm on page sixty something at the moment, working on both FK and Alfred 1 (on Singing in the rain in Alfred). These two books complement each other so well!
Posted By: bifford Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 07/07/17 05:09 PM
I'm still enjoying Book 1 of FK--both the methodology and the teacher. I'm up to p.37.

i've been unable to locate the answer keys to the worksheets. Rachel says in her video that the keys are to be found on the FK website. I sent a message both to the website and to Rachel's email but have received no replies.

So far, the worksheets are very easy, so I don't really need the answers. I suspect Rachel never got around to uploading the keys, but in case she did, does anyone have the link?
Posted By: wouldloveto Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 07/07/17 10:27 PM
Hi bifford. I'm not sure which video you refer to, but I personally don't know of any keys link nor did I ever bother looking for any, as book 1 was far too easy for me. Also if you have managed so far without the answers, I doubt you will need the keys for the future worksheets too. smile
Posted By: newer player Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 03/16/18 05:27 AM
I see the Fundamental Keys website has been "taken down." The original book is still for sale on the Lulu site but I don't know about the other book or videos.

I really enjoyed her materials and videos. And looked forward to practice every day!
Posted By: wouldloveto Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 03/16/18 09:46 AM
Originally Posted by newer player
I see the Fundamental Keys website has been "taken down." The original book is still for sale on the Lulu site but I don't know about the other book or videos.

I really enjoyed her materials and videos. And looked forward to practice every day!

On whois it appears the site is still registered for one more week. Maybe Rachel has decided it's time to wrap it up although it would sound strange. That's a shame as I think it would have still be of great value for beginners. I enjoyed it as well as it kept me going on my renewed interest for piano and I too was looking forward to practicing every day. I've been with a teacher for almost a year now, but FK was my treasured and valid companion for several months before I decided to take it up to another level. So a big thank you to Rachel for coming up with such a competitive and fresh project.
Posted By: R_B Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 03/16/18 10:58 AM
I supported the new book at the $150 level - - SUCH a fool.
Looking back on it, sure I'm bitter.
We were lied to, false promises were made, book 2 was in final review/edit for SO LONG.
I offered repeatedly to proof read material, to try lesson segments, etc.

Excuses after excuses, my conclusion is that it was a scam and she just blew the money - too much of it for her to handle.
Posted By: wouldloveto Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 03/16/18 11:21 AM
Originally Posted by R_B
I supported the new book at the $150 level - - SUCH a fool.
Looking back on it, sure I'm bitter.
We were lied to, false promises were made, book 2 was in final review/edit for SO LONG.
I offered repeatedly to proof read material, to try lesson segments, etc.

Excuses after excuses, my conclusion is that it was a scam and she just blew the money - too much of it for her to handle.

Well, it surely is sad that the money from supporters is gone. Still the fact remains that the original book is unique in its contest. You're right about being bitter, but we don't know what happened. Rachel seems a nice decent person and I have the feeling that those on this forum who know her personally would confirm. Certainly this total silence for many years doesn't give a good impression...
Posted By: newer player Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 03/16/18 09:04 PM
Originally Posted by R_B
I supported the new book at the $150 level...


Sorry to hear that. I think both the long original book and the "new" short book were really well done and many would have benefited from new materials.

Given the quality of the books and videos, and knowing how much effort that takes for one person to create & finalise, I can understand some of the difficulties of moving this forward. Working with a big publisher might have been somewhat constraining but publishers can add a lot of value for specialised works (e.g. guidance, reviewing, editing, formatting, logistics, etc.).
Posted By: bifford Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 03/16/18 11:20 PM
Glad there is still commentary on FK. I'm working on Reinagle's Scherzino on p. 49 and still enjoying the process.

Can't say as I fully grasp the book's recent stress on "home notes". I'm easily finding the keyboard location of beginning notes of pieces and am pleased at my progress in using intervals, to locate the following notes. If "absolutely, solidly" learning home notes means finding that first note then I guess I've got it. Maybe when the intervals eventually become greater than a 5th the home note recognition/memorization will become a more meaningful concept...
Posted By: gwing Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 03/19/18 05:49 AM
Hi all.

Just to say that I've come to join the party. After the comments here I grabbed a copy of the new short book from Amazon and really like it, time to get a copy of the original one from Lulu while they are still available I think :-)
Posted By: wouldloveto Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 03/19/18 09:21 AM
Originally Posted by gwing
Hi all.

Just to say that I've come to join the party. After the comments here I grabbed a copy of the new short book from Amazon and really like it, time to get a copy of the original one from Lulu while they are still available I think :-)

I'm glad to see that in spite of all that's happening, there are still people willing to benefit from this project. In my opinion, it's still not a waste of money to buy the original book. I have also noticed that there are no videos on Rachel's Youtube channel anymore. I had downloaded the ones related to warmup and scales that she had posted, so if they're not available elsewhere feel free to PM me and I can provide them.
Posted By: gwing Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 03/19/18 09:46 AM
Originally Posted by wouldloveto
Originally Posted by gwing
Hi all.

Just to say that I've come to join the party. After the comments here I grabbed a copy of the new short book from Amazon and really like it, time to get a copy of the original one from Lulu while they are still available I think :-)

I'm glad to see that in spite of all that's happening, there are still people willing to benefit from this project. In my opinion, it's still not a waste of money to buy the original book. I have also noticed that there are no videos on Rachel's Youtube channel anymore. I had downloaded the ones related to warmup and scales that she had posted, so if they're not available elsewhere feel free to PM me and I can provide them.


Thanks Wouldloveto, that is very kind.

I have however already managed to find these videos, for anyone else who wants them the warmup video came up on google search pointing to WayBackMachine but also both are still available on Vimeo where they are better quality.
Posted By: ebonykawai Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 03/21/18 04:28 PM
I'm really shocked and sad to see what's happened! I started with FK 3 years ago and was looking forward to the newer editions. I moved on to Keith Snell, sticking with an all classical format (Faber just wasn't cutting it for me, I found much of the music uninspiring. Snell is excellent). I hope Rachel is OK. This hurts my heart a bit. 😕
Posted By: fizikisto Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 03/22/18 06:41 PM
I also supported the book at the $150 level (or close to that, don't recall exactly). I mainly supported it because I was impressed by the pedagogy in the original book and found her to be very pleasant and knowledgeable in my limited interactions with her online. I thought having an improved book with professionally shot videos would have been a real boon to piano learners everywhere. Honestly, I felt the videos from the first book (which only covered about 1/3 of the book) were perfectly fine. For years she promised that she was going to finish the videos for the rest of the book and then decided she wasn't going to do that. She didn't feel they were "professional" enough whatever that means. She essentially did the same thing with the new edition, promising videos for the entire course but then only completing the "beginner" videos that went along with the first volume. It is very strange.

Sadly, at this point I have to agree with the proposition that those of us who supported her project were scammed. There has been no communication from her. There have been no whole or partial refunds offered. There hasn't even been an apology, much less an explanation. To me, that's what's really unprofessional. Should she ever attempt another piano (or other) project, I would only have to advise interested parties that her word cannot be trusted.
Posted By: ebonykawai Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 03/22/18 07:35 PM
Agreed. It's troubling that she never said anything to anyone, which would be perfectly fine if it was just a matter of her deciding to drop the project without ever having asked for monetary support. Goodness knows that, being quite an introvert and piano lover/player myself, I've dropped all kinds of things that I feel take too much time away from doing what I need and love to do. Totally understandable for anyone. But once you accept money (particularly because you asked for it), then like it or not, the project needs to go forward and promises have to be kept unless there's some terrible extenuating circumstances, such as serious illness or accident or death of someone close to you. That's why I worry that she's really OK. This just seems very out of character. I feel very uneasy.
Posted By: 8 Octaves Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 03/24/18 05:13 AM
Originally Posted by ebonykawai
But once you accept money (particularly because you asked for it), then like it or not, the project needs to go forward and promises have to be kept unless there's some terrible extenuating circumstances, such as serious illness or accident or death of someone close to you. That's why I worry that she's really OK. This just seems very out of character. I feel very uneasy.


As Rachel Jimenez is my teacher and a good friend, it is painful and gut wrenching for me to see her reputation take a beating. She hasn't been well but still teaching whenever she could. Without her permission, I must respect her privacy in such matters and leave it at that. Perhaps I could acknowledge ebonykawai's line of thought is insightful.

The anger she is getting for not completing her project is understandable. I know how tough it is for her, but the lack of communication looks really bad. As much as Rachel has told me on numerous occasions I could say whatever I feel is appropriate here, I mostly feel it is not my place to speak for her. When she is well enough, Rachel is still for me a rock star teacher and she has given me so much support in the last 8 years towards my enrichment in music.

Up until very recently, I was hopeful that Rachel could resume her FK project. I not sure if that's possible now. These days, I only pray that Rachel would get well.
Posted By: pwl Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 03/24/18 07:03 AM
Thank you, 8 Octaves - I was SO hoping you might jump in here. Your update is welcomed - I only wish it were less bleak. I'm sure all of us who value Rachel's contribution to our personal piano journey join you in your prayers. Thank you, again.

PS: If/when appropriate PLEASE pass on to Rachel our appreciation for her past efforts and our hopes for her personal well-being.
Posted By: wouldloveto Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 03/24/18 07:54 AM
I second pwl's thoughts and I too am glad that 8 Octaves stepped in to shed some little light. It's too easy to judge when one doesn't know the circumstances. I did have the feeling that something was not right for things to have turned to this point, as she never struck me as less than a beautiful person from her videos and the love that transpired from her work (although that's surely not enough to judge a person). I wish her good and join you guys in your prayers.
Posted By: newer player Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 03/24/18 02:09 PM
That is a very kind message 8 Octaves. I appreciate the fantastic work from Rachel and wish her all the very best.
Posted By: ebonykawai Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 03/24/18 06:43 PM
Oh dear, well now I'm wondering if there isn't something we can do to help! I knew this really didn't feel right at all, this is SO not the way she is. Message me, anyone, if there's anything we can do to brighten her day. Send some flowers? Cards? I'm up for anything, she's a wonderful teacher and human being.
Posted By: 8 Octaves Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 03/24/18 07:40 PM
Hi ebonykawai, everything can be done is, and with family and friends taking turns to help. From what I could tell she has the very best health care, so I think the best for now is to give Rachel some space.

I'm not sure Rachel have the energy to deal with the FK.com most days. I don't have her admin info or I would have helped her renew the FK domain. I feel bad about those who support her project through the fund raiser and angry with the lack of progress.

Thank you for everyone's concerns and well wishes. I certainly will pass them onto Rachel.
Posted By: ebonykawai Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 03/25/18 02:16 AM
Thnak you, 8O! ❤️❤️❤️
Posted By: R_B Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 03/25/18 11:12 AM
Thanks 8 Oct, appreciate the update and respect your keeping of confidences.

I am not without feeling, I had reached out to Rachel with offers of help several times as the new book 2 schedule slipped.
Help in the form of proof reading, test play through of lesson material(beginner's perspective, try it out on ME), collating of material and yes even the lowly quick and easy solution of just throwing more money at the problems <G>
This all seems like it was - OK, I'll look it up - ~2 1/2 years ago.

Again, assuming the material is still on discs somewhere I would be happy to help get it published with whatever help I can give.
Best wishes to Rachel.
Posted By: newer player Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 03/25/18 02:33 PM
Originally Posted by R_B
Thanks 8 Oct, appreciate the update and respect your keeping of confidences.

I am not without feeling, I had reached out to Rachel with offers of help several times as the new book 2 schedule slipped.
Help in the form of proof reading, test play through of lesson material(beginner's perspective, try it out on ME), collating of material and yes even the lowly quick and easy solution of just throwing more money at the problems <G>
This all seems like it was - OK, I'll look it up - ~2 1/2 years ago.

Again, assuming the material is still on discs somewhere I would be happy to help get it published with whatever help I can give.
Best wishes to Rachel.



Great offer R_B!
Posted By: R_B Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 03/26/18 10:52 AM
Here is a half baked idea;

Books two and three could be published as;
"The INCOMPLETE Fundamental Keys Classical piano Method of Rachel Jimenez"
With a sub title note along the lines "Due to health and personal issues these works lack the final polish that Rachel would have liked to add"
Perhaps a slightly longer explanation that a group of enthusiastic piano students from the web have collated the material that Rachel developed.
In the interest of keeping the material as Rachel had originally developed it no editing has been done.

This wouldn't be the first "Unfinished works of..." in the musical world.
Rachel would retain copyright, of course and the collective "we" would be helping some fellow beginners.

thoughts ?
(other than that it is half baked)
Posted By: gwing Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 03/26/18 11:51 AM
That would be good to see RB, if Rachel has made available sufficient material already and supports the project. Perhaps more traditional phrases than 'incomplete' might be 'preview edition' or 'collected works' etc.

How about the videos that have been produced? Is there any prospect of the website being reopened to distribute them or is that economically unfeasible without proper professional marketing of the method? Maybe to keep things ticking over here they might be informally redistributed here with a paypal payment to Rachel or similar? I've an interest myself here as I'm just starting Rachel's method ( most of the way through the new part 1 volume and have just received the original method book in the post to look at) and I'm curious to know what extra the video accompaniments to the printed books offer. Rachel has obviously gone to some trouble to produce these so it's a shame if she isn't receiving income from them.
Posted By: newer player Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 03/26/18 02:06 PM
I think that is a good idea R_B. Depending on current state, I suppose it could be labeled incomplete, draft, etc.

Given there is a long "original book" which seems quite good, there is always the possibility that the new book 2 & 3 can be finalized by one of her more advanced students or someone here. I think this is a lower probabitility based on postings above. . .
Posted By: wouldloveto Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 03/26/18 03:36 PM
Guys,
all your ideas sound nice but, unless I got it wrong, my understanding from 8 Octaves' post is that this is is not the right time to think of any further development, as Rachel has more important problems to take care of at the moment and it doesn't sound like her spirit would be high enough to be willing to face any new ideas. My suggestion is to respect her privacy just now and wait for more inputs from 8 Octaves at a hopefully better time.
Posted By: ebonykawai Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 03/26/18 09:21 PM
Yes, for goodness sake, moving forward is up to Rachel, if and when she may be ready to do so. A person's health takes precedence and all she needs from us is compassion and understanding. Life projects don't always go the way we plan, and things happen to derail us for a time. That's life. Let's please respect her privacy and pray for her to recover completely.
Posted By: R_B Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 03/28/18 05:28 PM
My interest and concern was based mostly on trying to help Rachel to increase her income stream from her (almost complete) work.
Possibly a poor assumption, but I had guessed that she is no longer teaching as much as she once was.
I also assumed that it would be less of a strain on her to oversee the work of a few volunteers than to teach her 40 or so students(or however many she has reduced to).

Any "project" would of course require her approval a) to start b) to access the material c) to finally "sign off on" any release or publication.

Best wishes to Rachel for a speedy and complete recovery.

Posted By: ebonykawai Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 03/28/18 07:07 PM
Yes, but she needs to be well in order to do any of these things. Right now it's enough for her to be overseeing her own health. ❤️
Posted By: Dreamingstill Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 03/30/18 02:24 PM
Sad to hear that a vibrant person has been struck by illness and had to give up what she obviously loved doing.

I came across FK when, having finally got a piano, I was looking for a method - classical was a prerequisite - I could enjoy while learning the fingering. Any time I was near a piano I'd play by ear (I can sight-sing: background in choir/operatic chorus and violin). Since I was little, those decades ago, I wanted to play the piano. I have Rachel's original book and can add my voice to say it is great and I made good progress.

I also bought Gunther Hans Heuman's Classical Piano Method. It comes in three volumes with CDs and an edition without CDs. It takes the beginner right from learning to tap rhythms in book 1 to excerpts of Chopin Prelude #4 Op. 28 at the end of book 3. The pieces are original short extracts of classical works, not arranged or simplified like in other methods. There are additional books of finger fitness and repertoire, piano duets and Christmas collection. The main teaching books have exercises, scales, theory (with a test at the end of a section) and explanations, for ex. Dynamics in Baroque music, and so on, plus notes on composers. Very progressive teaching tools.

There are similarities between the FK and the Heumann and I found them sort of complementary - my fingering and left hand playing are up to par now (or so I think smile.
Posted By: PianoGuyStuart Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 04/05/18 03:29 PM
Just seen that Rachel has taken down the website. So I popped on here to see if there was any news.

Sad to see both that the site is down, and that Rachel is ill (seems to be what folk are implying). I certainly wish her well.

I really like her books. I am working through them at the moment.

I actually visited her website today to take a look at the videos for the old book, as I hadn't got them yet. But it seems like they won't be available anymore, which is a shame, as her method seems extremely logical to me. I have a ton of books and most of them seem to miss out small, but significant steps that throw you, which hers doesn't.

If you don't have the books I would get them while you still can. I bought both the new book 1 and the old book, and have been very happy with them. I also bought the videos for book 1, and they are fine as well, they go through it quite logically.

Would certainly be interested in getting hold of the videos for the original book. Anyone have them?


You can see a couple of videos on Vimeo still:

Major Scales from Fundamental Keys - https://vimeo.com/5555778

Warmups from Fundamental Keys - https://vimeo.com/5415933


And the books are here:

Original Fundamental Keys Book - 154 pages

(Uk) http://www.lulu.com/gb/en/shop/rach...no-method/paperback/product-6234280.html

(US) - http://www.lulu.com/shop/rachel-jimenez/fundamental-keys-piano-method/paperback/product-6234280.html


Book 1 (This was the 'new version' that is a 60 page book that basically only covers the equivalent of the first 38 pages of the old book, but clearly in more depth)

(UK) - https://www.amazon.co.uk/Fundamental-Keys-Book-classical-everyone/dp/1505540860

(US) - https://www.amazon.com/Fundamental-Keys-Book-classical-everyone/dp/1505540860


Thanks for the Hans book tip!

The first one of those is here on amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/classical-Piano-Methode-1/dp/1847612350
Posted By: pwl Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 04/06/18 01:02 AM
Originally Posted by PianoGuyStuart
Would certainly be interested in getting hold of the videos for the original book. Anyone have them?

I do have the videos (and I assume I'm not the only forum member who does). Would be happy to share them if/when an appropriate method to do so is determined - and that said sharing meets with Rachel's approval.
Posted By: PianoGuyStuart Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 04/06/18 10:27 AM
Originally Posted by pwl
Originally Posted by PianoGuyStuart
Would certainly be interested in getting hold of the videos for the original book. Anyone have them?

I do have the videos (and I assume I'm not the only forum member who does). Would be happy to share them if/when an appropriate method to do so is determined - and that said sharing meets with Rachel's approval.


Yep. Course. Seems a shame to have them die on a hard drive somewhere and neither do her, or anyone else any good.

Octave 8 - You could suggest she upload all of the video's (both sets) to YouTube as a channel and then simply have links to buy both the original book, and the new book 1 in the description of each one.

That way she would:

1/ Continue to make money from them, because people would inevitably watch the videos and then want to buy the books.
2/ Make money from YouTube itself as she could join their advertising programme and get paid for the views of the videos.
3/ Continue to build a reputation as a piano teacher, so that when she does get over her health problems (or whatever it is) she still has a readymade group of people who like her teaching to come back to, and could then continue to either teach offline or online.
4/ Enjoy the fact that her project didn't die and continues to help people learn an instrument I am sure she loves.

That approach also has the benefit of taking less than an hour to setup, and thereafter being totally passive. So, regardless of her current circumstances, she should be able to set it up easily, and then not have to do anything (she could even put in the description something to the effect that she won't be responding to messages on the channel). Just involves uploading to YouTube and having links to the books in the description blurb.

Clearly selling them directly can't have worked out too well, or she would have just renewed the domain name, so this seems like a better way forward then simply doing all that work to produce them and then having no-one see them.
Posted By: wouldloveto Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 04/06/18 11:09 AM
Guys, with all the good intentions suggested here, I feel that Rachel right now would have no interest taking up on any of these ideas. I think we should respect whatever her problem is at the moment, and maybe have 8 Octaves to update if and when the situation will change. I myself wouldn't want to think of anything else if I had a serious health problem. Just my 2c...
Posted By: casinitaly Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 04/06/18 03:05 PM
Moderators were asked to delete this thread so as not to add to the distress of someone dealing with serious health issues.

It didn’t seem right to remove it, as there is a lot of good conversation in it.

It’s easy to see and understand that some people are frustrated and upset, and some people want to help out.

To those who are upset, try to be patient.
To those trying to help- I am sure your kindness is appreciated but until the site owner replies perhaps we can just put a hold on making plans.
Posted By: gwing Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 04/06/18 03:57 PM
Originally Posted by casinitaly

It didn’t seem right to remove it, as there is a lot of good conversation in it.


Thank you. It would indeed be a shame to delete this thread, without it I would not have heard of fundamental keys, would not have bought the books, and would not be progressing through them.
Posted By: PianoGuyStuart Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 04/17/18 03:02 PM
Recently finished off new book 1 and am now going through the original book (am up to page 39).

It's interesting. She definitely clarified her method in the new one. She did things slightly differently in the old one (though its fine as well, I'm glad I went through her new book 1 first, as it makes for a good foundation)

Just to say I would still go grab both books while you still can.

I bought loads of piano books, and these are the ones I have found it easiest to get on with, step by step as a beginner.
Posted By: 8 Octaves Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 04/17/18 06:01 PM
It is good to know that many find her original and vol 1 books still helpful in their piano hobby. My personal take is that to properly learn piano at any age, one should find a good teacher. In absence of that possibility, and certainly the $2-3,000 per year of lessons is no doubt one of many deterrents, Rachel had always wanted to spread the joy of piano to everyone, not only to those who could afford a teacher. This is why these resources are so inexpensive. Rachel mostly did it because she loves teaching.

However, soon after the vol 1 book, and for the last couple years, Rachel suffers from what I could only characterize as long term life threatening illness. It isn't like contracting the flu that you recover and you're good. The primary focus now is, well, is she well enough to eat the next meal. After that, it's on teaching her students that she has. It's not that she doesn't want to work on her website, but there's simply a huge gap in terms of time and energy by the end of the day after work. One must pay bills, and that requires having many students, the energy to teach all of them while not feeling well. All the income from FK site amounts to less than teaching 1 student, but it would take a lot more time and energy than a single 30 minutes a week lesson to one child to continue the FK project. So please understand and please do not push for this and that. Rachel has always wanted to complete the project, and is feeling the guilt, and I think it is very cruel to continue to push a sick person to do more.

Please do not give away the videos that you have purchased. I believe this violates your purchase agreement. Our society values sharing, but sharing should never be a higher priority than taking away the due credit for the person or persons who put significant efforts into creating the intellectual work, IMHO. People who complain need to know that a good month of income from FK was about $100, now even less. That does not go far in NYC. There is no way a project like this would exist without significant amount of love for piano. But this is me talking. I don't think it is fair to just give it away, just because well you didn't make hardly anything to begin with, and it's always been about giving, while recovering some of the cost of hosting and bandwidth. Well, it's me talking again, but I think it's just incredibly insensitive and hurtful to see people ask a sick person to give some more of her time and energy when there is basically no more to give.
Posted By: wouldloveto Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 04/17/18 09:18 PM
Thanks for giving even more sense to all this, 8 Octaves. I hope people will finally listen to your words and carry on showing respect to someone who seems to have dedicated her life to teaching piano. I wish I had had the pleasure to benefit in person from her teachings, nevertheless her books still are what made a difference between a lifetime of many lazy failed attempts and the level I am at right now, giving me the strength to restart from scratch and the confidence to get better and better in my learning journey. Thank you, Rachel. God Bless you!
Posted By: 8 Octaves Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 04/26/18 09:55 PM
Update: fundamentalkeys.com is back online now....
Posted By: newer player Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 04/27/18 04:53 AM
I will reiterate that I find Fundamental Keys to be very enjoyable. I look forward to the course every day.

As the books and videos stand now, they provide a lot of learning material so I still think this is a program worth playing for those interested in classical music.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Rachel once again. I hope she is doing well and am wishing her all the very best.
Posted By: pwl Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 04/27/18 05:42 AM
Such excellent news!
Posted By: wouldloveto Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 04/27/18 06:34 AM
Originally Posted by 8 Octaves
Update: fundamentalkeys.com is back online now....

That's nice to know, thank you. It won't let me log in though. Maybe some more time to restore things as they were?
Posted By: ebonykawai Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 04/27/18 11:53 PM
Originally Posted by 8 Octaves
Update: fundamentalkeys.com is back online now....


That's great news!
Posted By: gwing Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 04/28/18 02:24 PM
Brilliant news.

I've celebrated by logging on and downloading a couple of the videos to see what they add to the book. Website seems to be up and working smoothly, no problems at all with the transaction. Good job there Rachel, or whoever is helping.
Posted By: wouldloveto Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 04/29/18 08:46 AM
For some reason I can't log in and my email is not recognised anymore. Not that I need anything else as I purchased the videos before, but just testing it. Anyway, I noticed the original book's price has gone down since I first bought it last year. I still recommend whomever might be interested to buy it. As I mentioned in a few occasions, it made a vital difference to my late resuming of my many previous failed attempts at learning the piano.
Posted By: gwing Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 05/08/19 03:16 PM
A quick update as I've reached an interesting point in the course for me, about a year into playing from complete scratch I've reached 'Carefree Stroll' on page 80 which , like many of Rachel's selections, is a lovely piece but has been far from carefree. It's pretty clear to me that the difficulty of the pieces is increasing faster than my playing ability so I'm going to shut the book for a while and practice a bit on some other/easier repertoire to let my skills grow a bit more before progressing.

So far none of the other method books tempt me though - still prefer Fundamental Keys :-)
Posted By: wouldloveto Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 05/08/19 03:37 PM
Originally Posted by gwing
A quick update as I've reached an interesting point in the course for me, about a year into playing from complete scratch I've reached 'Carefree Stroll' on page 80 which , like many of Rachel's selections, is a lovely piece but has been far from carefree. It's pretty clear to me that the difficulty of the pieces is increasing faster than my playing ability so I'm going to shut the book for a while and practice a bit on some other/easier repertoire to let my skills grow a bit more before progressing.

So far none of the other method books tempt me though - still prefer Fundamental Keys :-)

Hello mate. So glad you've made it so far. I can say I have made giant steps as I've been with a real teacher for a couple of years now, but I am still so grateful that FK made me rediscover the pleasure of learning the piano and committing to it. I wish you all the best. On a side note I wonder if Rachel has got any better health wise...
Posted By: Morodiene Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 05/08/19 04:56 PM
Originally Posted by gwing
A quick update as I've reached an interesting point in the course for me, about a year into playing from complete scratch I've reached 'Carefree Stroll' on page 80 which , like many of Rachel's selections, is a lovely piece but has been far from carefree. It's pretty clear to me that the difficulty of the pieces is increasing faster than my playing ability so I'm going to shut the book for a while and practice a bit on some other/easier repertoire to let my skills grow a bit more before progressing.

So far none of the other method books tempt me though - still prefer Fundamental Keys :-)

There is no sub for a good teacher, but you should try to find pieces that require the same kind of playing that you can already do with relative ease after some work.
Posted By: newer player Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 05/08/19 05:59 PM
Originally Posted by gwing
A quick update as I've reached an interesting point in the course for me, about a year into playing from complete scratch I've reached 'Carefree Stroll' on page 80 which , like many of Rachel's selections, is a lovely piece but has been far from carefree. It's pretty clear to me that the difficulty of the pieces is increasing faster than my playing ability so I'm going to shut the book for a while and practice a bit on some other/easier repertoire to let my skills grow a bit more before progressing.

So far none of the other method books tempt me though - still prefer Fundamental Keys :-)

It is easy to breeze through several pages a week at the beginning.

As the pieces get more challenging, one inevitably spends a lot more time on each page. The difficulty and density of new material increase.

I hope Rachel is doing well. Her books really are inspiring.
Posted By: ebonykawai Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 10/22/19 11:33 PM
I see the website is down again. 🙁 I do wish we could get an update, I still recommend her book and method. Was just going to point someone to the videos. Anyone know what's up?
Posted By: dmd Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 10/22/19 11:43 PM
Originally Posted by ebonykawai
I see the website is down again. 🙁 I do wish we could get an update, I still recommend her book and method. Was just going to point someone to the videos. Anyone know what's up?


It was up for me.

http://fundamentalkeys.net/

No problem.
Posted By: ebonykawai Re: Fundamental Keys Group - 10/22/19 11:49 PM
Ah.....it's .net now! Thank you, her Facebook says it's .com. This link is working fine, I'll bookmark it. 😊👍
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