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Shortly after returning to the piano after a 30-year break, I suffered an illness and am going to be permanently on medication which, as a side affect, makes my hands shake fairly severely at times. With this came the realisation that I am never going to be able to play the piano as well as I would like.

I would still like to get as good as is possible under the circumstances but have decided that really now it makes more sense to just try and play for my own enjoyment, rather than slogging it our with theory/scales and the like (though I will still do some for warm up).

My only real interest is classical music. I tried the Alfred's AIO course but found I didn't really enjoy the pieces as they generally weren't the kind of music that I was very motivated by.

Any advice on good self-study books/programs etc that will help me develop my ability as much as possible but that are more focused on playing classical music for pleasure rather than to pass exams etc?

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I don't work with any programs, as I work with a teacher - but there are some really nice early level books, by Agay, called the "Joy of " series.

There's Joy of Classics 1, 2 and three - their covers are blue, pink and yellow - I am not sure which is which, but I have the pink one. I haven't used it for a while, but I really loved it.

There are also the Music for Millions book, published by Hal Leonard, in particular volumes 17 and 27 Easy Classics to Modern and More Easy Classics to Modern.

There is a range of difficulty in the pieces found in both books. I was able to play some of the pieces early on in my piano journey, and after six years I still find wonderful challenges in them.




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Originally Posted by ThaiBlue
Shortly after returning to the piano after a 30-year break, I suffered an illness and am going to be permanently on medication which, as a side affect, makes my hands shake fairly severely at times. With this came the realisation that I am never going to be able to play the piano as well as I would like.


While there's no such thing as a "free lunch", idiomatically speaking, where medicine is concerned, there are often several alternatives to any given medicine these days such that side effects experienced from one may be all but avoided with another if you'd like to consider consulting with your primary care physician about your hands.


Originally Posted by ThaiBlue
I would still like to get as good as is possible under the circumstances but have decided that really now it makes more sense to just try and play for my own enjoyment, rather than slogging it our with theory/scales and the like (though I will still do some for warm up).

My only real interest is classical music. I tried the Alfred's AIO course but found I didn't really enjoy the pieces as they generally weren't the kind of music that I was very motivated by.


Regardless of the circumstances, you should always strive to play for your own enjoyment (who else's enjoyment would you be playing for grin) and seek out music to play that you like. I'd imagine that after a period of time doing this, you'd actually get better anyways than if you spent the time "slogging away" at something you didn't like with less focus and effort, accordingly.


Originally Posted by ThaiBlue
Any advice on good self-study books/programs etc that will help me develop my ability as much as possible but that are more focused on playing classical music for pleasure rather than to pass exams etc?


I would simply suggest a pragmatic approach of getting some music you like that you believe - or someone who's familiar with your capabilities believes - you can tackle and, like with learning to do anything new, looking for solutions to problems as you come across them. If you're not familiar with very much music, then you could ask or around or investigate some of Cas's suggestions.

Best Regards

Last edited by Bobpickle; 10/27/16 12:59 AM.
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Originally Posted by Bobpickle


Regardless of the circumstances, you should always strive to play for your own enjoyment (who else's enjoyment would you be playing for grin) and seek out music to play that you like. I'd imagine that after a period of time doing this, you'd actually get better anyways than if you spent the time "slogging away" at something you didn't like with less focus and effort, accordingly.

Best Regards


Thank you for your reply.

I completely agree with you. I guess I have always been the type of person who wants to be perfect at everything I do and I sometimes put so much time into trying to be perfect that I lose sight of what it is that I really enjoyed about it in the first place.

I speak quite a number of languages and have spent hundreds of hours slogging away at the grammar of them, when the thing I enjoy most is just watching films in those languages or speaking them. Obviously one needs a certain amount of knowledge of grammar and vocabulary to be able to do those things but I tend to spend more time doing the things I don't like than I do on that which I enjoy.

I'm not going to completely abandon technique etc but just now want to focus more on the aspects of learning the piano which give me the most pleasure. In that way realising that I can never be as good as I would like to be has been a bit of a release and has now given me the freedom to gain more enjoyment from the piano. I haven't been able to play at all for nearly a year so I'm really looking forward to get back into it.

Thanks for the suggestions and comments and I will certainly look into those books.


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