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Originally Posted by dogperson
I learned the scale by also learning the interval pattern . A couple of things that also may help:
- As you move around the circle of fifths, each new scale will have one more sharp than the last
C - zero
G- one
D - two
The seventh tone (I.e. the f in the g major) will always be sharped

I found learning the intervals and how they work to be much easier than memorizing the actual notes.
As you practice, you might try saying out loud ‘ whole , whole , half ..... as you play the note


This is a great idea also! I hadn’t looked at the circle of fifths yet, just what was in this lesson, but I recognize that it is important to look into it right now!!! Thank you!

Fran...


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Originally Posted by pagirl
Quote

On major scales, the only thing I memorize is the formula whole-whole-half-whole... but what do I know without a teacher... blush would like to hear other ideas too 2hearts


I understand, I really miss my teacher, I had to give up my lessons because we had a major financial setback, so I’m adrift and on my own now. I’m not giving up though...

Fran...


I remember which notes to press which in my opinion is wrong. If I try to do the whole-whole-half i grind to a halt.

I can play all 12 major scales knowing the finger pattern, and when it comes to the black notes, knowing when to use 3 or 4 fingers and remembering whether it's E or F, B or C has got me through. In other words it's memory rather than rules. I'm trying to undo my memory and learn the actual rules.

Last edited by Ojustaboo; 03/05/20 02:52 PM.

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The circle of 5th is also in level 5. we can have a sneak peek of it cool


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Thanks all for the recent advice. I am going slowly through AIO level 1 and today decided to fork out the £4.99 (I think) for the app.

I half love it and half hate it (but only had it for a few hours).

It's great for getting a feel of what tempo it should be at, but while it does change from say F to P on some things, others it plays at one volume throughout. One tune I thought I had mastered, I realised I was playing much much too slow ( (Midnight Ride)

I have discovered that if I play along and start playing PP, it too will change to PP, but it isn't instant, takes about a bar to catch up.

I got the app to play Russian Folk Song, hoping it would show me the difference in velocity/loudness between the accented notes and the non accented notes, but to my ears, they all sounded identical, which was a little disappointing.

I've been playing back my previous take using the "mic" function, and 99% of the times, I'm very very slightly out with the actual notes. I'm not sure whether I need to improve to get spot on? Part of me thinks the actual notes are too mechanical and my slightly off playing is more real, another part of me wonders if I'm not keeping time properly.

But, my complaints aside, for £5, it's very very worth the money and I'm glad I bought it.

I'm a bit of level one and a bit of higher. Played synth for years, can do arpeggios fairly fast etc, have no problems with major scales playing reasonably fast, but have gone back to the beginning to learn properly. So far I can sight read any music I've seen (currently on page 65) in that I can play the notes and play them right, at the right count, usually first time. But getting the slur, PP, FF, Pedal right, taking note of ritardando, playing musically like in the videos (and changing the ending like the vids show) is a completely different thing altogether.

I THINK I could handle the Hannon exercises, but a quick google, I can only find them for level 3. Are any available for level 1?

The best thing I did this year was join the MOYD. I have numerous health problems and while today I managed 1.5 hours of practice, often I can only manage 5 mins. But I've been very very strict with myself (the other day it was 11:30pm , I was in bed, realised I hadn't played and got out of bed for a quick 5 mins) , I've missed one day so far this year, and even though it's often no more than 5 to 10 mins, and those short times I practice my scales, the speed and accuracy of my scales have improved 500% this year compared to the past few years.

Last edited by Ojustaboo; 03/05/20 03:20 PM.

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If you are learning the scales, I strongly recommend really looking at the Circle of Fifths: it provides logic and order to the notes in the scale.

However, I would not recommend Hanon. Play lots of music at your skill level. When you practice scales, LISTEN, rather than play them mindlessly. Are all the.notes the same length? Do they have the same volume? If you can, practice loud, then soft or with a gradual crescendo.

I do not ascribe to learning them all at one time. Is that what Farber recommends?


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

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A little thing that helps me in remembering the circle of fifths is that going round it anti-clockwise the word 'BEAD' appears twice.

These 4 scales just happen to be the scales that I find the most difficult to remember so using this word I can work them out.


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There's plenty of resources out there that are helpful with the Cycle of Fifths (also known as the Circle of Fourths or variants of the two names), one that I've found very helpful is an app called Piano Companion that has all the scales (and I really do mean 'all' the scales, as it includes major, minor, Blues, Pentatonic and loads and loads of real weird ones that you'll probably never use outside of an experimental jazz quartet), chords, etc and the Cycle of Fifths.

I have no connection with the creators of this app.

The best explanation that I've seen of the theory around the Cycle of Fifths was here :

https://www.musical-u.com/learn/how-to-use-circle-fifths/

Whilst I did learn all the Major scales before I came to Faber, as well as all the Major chords, Minor chords, 7'th chords and a few pentatonic scales, I'm not sure that this is recommended. I have previous experience with other instruments before piano and so chose to do this primarily to learn the keyboard.


I'd be a far better pianist if I spent the time I'm on this forum playing my piano instead.
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Ohhh, scales!

I just learned the "rule" at my last lesson that the fourth finger always (?) hits the Bb on the right hand. That helped a lot with figuring out which finger to start with on the black keys.

I'm a super visual person, so while I have memorized the patterns, it doesn't really help me on the fly. Instead, I recognized what the patterns look like on the piano. So, one sharp is the first of the group of 3 black keys. 2 sharps adds the first of the group of 2 black keys. 3 sharps adds the 2nd of the group of 3 black keys. 4 sharps adds the 2nd of the group of 2.... etc. Flats are the opposite. This makes it a lot faster to play a key signature without really thinking about it... in scales anyway.

I'm working on a piece that's in Ab and realizing that I haven't really played hardly anything in flat key signatures (except F major, of course). My sharp key signatures are pretty solid, but my flats are very, very weak. My next unit in book 5 is flat key signatures, but it's really a challenge for me, and something I think they should have introduced earlier. So, something to keep in mind as you're progressing through these books... it may be good to throw in some supplemental pieces in flat key signatures!

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Originally Posted by enw10
Ohhh, scales!

I just learned the "rule" at my last lesson that the fourth finger always (?) hits the Bb on the right hand. That helped a lot with figuring out which finger to start with on the black keys.

I'm a super visual person, so while I have memorized the patterns, it doesn't really help me on the fly. Instead, I recognized what the patterns look like on the piano. So, one sharp is the first of the group of 3 black keys. 2 sharps adds the first of the group of 2 black keys. 3 sharps adds the 2nd of the group of 3 black keys. 4 sharps adds the 2nd of the group of 2.... etc. Flats are the opposite. This makes it a lot faster to play a key signature without really thinking about it... in scales anyway.

I'm working on a piece that's in Ab and realizing that I haven't really played hardly anything in flat key signatures (except F major, of course). My sharp key signatures are pretty solid, but my flats are very, very weak. My next unit in book 5 is flat key signatures, but it's really a challenge for me, and something I think they should have introduced earlier. So, something to keep in mind as you're progressing through these books... it may be good to throw in some supplemental pieces in flat key signatures!


Everyone has been so helpful, and I am beginning to realize this subject is going to take some time!!! enw10, I am so grateful you posted this! It really helps!

Fran...


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After some practice, this is the best I could do on this song blush Campbells are coming. My hands are still too tight, hope I'll get better over time. The challenge for me is to play it like 6/8 (2 beats pattern) together with play it evenly...

Happy weekend to everyone!


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Well done. I enjoyed that one, too.


but think how good I could be in five years...
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Thanks, Holly! I like your practice diary in another thread, very impressive and it's helpful to me, although I only do one song per week, slow progress but progressing...


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Progressing steadily is nothing to fault. I was terrified to start with super slow practice methods because I thought it would slow me down, but it made me thoughtful in my choices, so now scads of pieces I would have felt obliged to play to be well rounded are in stacks labeled "for sight reading". I'll get to them eventually, but mostly I focus on lessons, technique and 2 performance pieces (one from baroque, classical, romantic or modern; and one with a bluesy or jazz kind of sound) and that's that. And Sight reading. Forever and always sight reading. Love Faber for the sight reading books, but I supplement quite a bit to get my 15min/day in.


but think how good I could be in five years...
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Originally Posted by Wish4 Thing
After some practice, this is the best I could do on this song blush Campbells are coming. My hands are still too tight, hope I'll get better over time. The challenge for me is to play it like 6/8 (2 beats pattern) together with play it evenly...

Happy weekend to everyone!


Such a great sound! Another good one!!! I’m still working on memorizing the major chords, but I’m making them part of my morning warm up. I’m also trying some really neat arpeggios, and working on Chinese Kites. This is going to keep me busy for awhile. Keep the new sounds coming, it encourages me to keep going forward with mine!!!

Fran...


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Originally Posted by HollyBytheLake
Progressing steadily is nothing to fault. I was terrified to start with super slow practice methods because I thought it would slow me down, but it made me thoughtful in my choices, so now scads of pieces I would have felt obliged to play to be well rounded are in stacks labeled "for sight reading". I'll get to them eventually, but mostly I focus on lessons, technique and 2 performance pieces (one from baroque, classical, romantic or modern; and one with a bluesy or jazz kind of sound) and that's that. And Sight reading. Forever and always sight reading. Love Faber for the sight reading books, but I supplement quite a bit to get my 15min/day in.


Welcome HollyByTheLake! It sounds like you have a well laid out path going forward! Have you tried the Note Rush app for sight reading? It’s really a lot of fun, and it’s very effective. I usually use it for about 5 or 6 minutes at the beginning of my practice sessions, and it refreshes my memory, and seems to make my practices go more smoothly. Enjoy the journey, and the day...

Fran...


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Hi Fran,
I haven't tried that app. I tried one last year and felt frustrated at having to stop and rework the app to get another line and chose the key and the difficulty when what I want to do is just turn the page.

On Josh Wright's recommendation I got Bach Scholar's Sight Reading and Harmony: Progressive Pieces for Keyboard, Grades 1-10. It has 150 Bach chorale lines in all keys laid out to go through them at each level. LOVE it. I do about six a day and start over when I've gone through them either at the same level because they're completely new by the time I wrap around. Or if I'm cruising I start up at the next leveI.

I also do the RCM and Faber appropriate level sight reading and then use my library of classical music and Jazz and Blues that I got to play, but then set aside as I got my rhythm honed in on choosing curriculum. Those I just pick up one at least a level below me after I've finished the others and go line by line until the timer goes off that I've done 15 minutes. It's a wide variety of materials and with the Snell series I have level graded material covering all the classical repertoire. Jazz, Rags & Blues is great for that side of things as well. But honestly the Bach has improved my sight reading by leaps and bounds.


but think how good I could be in five years...
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Hi all,

I’ve been lurking in the forums for a good six months now without posting, enjoying all the wonderful posts in this thread and others, getting inspired by your progress. I finally got a piano exactly one month ago and have finally been able to start learning myself. I’m 51, never played an instrument of any kind before so have no illusions about this being easy! i have no agenda of “must learn to play aspirational piece x and y by z time” - this is something I hope to continue for many years into retirement in a few years. There is so much wonderful music at every level to discover, I don’t need to rush to butcher pieces I of course eventually hope to play myself many years in the future.

I’ve read this entire thread at least twice and decided on Faber over Alfred’s. I have the PA Adults AIO books, as well as the Accelerated versions and a bunch of supplementary books - figuring whatever I don’t play now can be sightreading fodder down the line. I have really enjoyed the PA books so far, there have been very few pieces which I haven’t enjoyed musically even if they are so simplified necessarily.

In the first 3 weeks I worked through each piece in the first 8 units or so of the first book, up to and including When the Saints, getting each piece up to tempo to play along with the Faber PA iPad app, with my best efforts at this point of dynamics etc. it’s a nice app - though wish they had all the annotations/slurs etc that the books have. New World Symphony was really lovely early then surpassed for me by Shepherd’s Song, various minuets, Simple Gifts.... ahhh so many nice delights! I average 2 hours a day practice though recently that seems to have been increasing to longer.

I also decided by that point to get a teacher to hopefully ensure I wasn’t starting off in the wrong direction - playing the keys with my toes instead of fingers or whatever. Had my first lesson a week ago and my second today. While I’m definitely too nervous still to play well with her in person I have at least had some recordings on the piano to show what the pieces were like before the pixies glued my fingers together when she arrived. She has been very kind and positive, apparently not many of her adult students are able to commit as much practice time and she was surprised by my progress which is undoubtedly a credit to the Faber approach.

She told me to carry on with the Faber if I want to with the “extra” time I put in and she gives me technical exercises plus pieces from some of my other books. Having passed her first choice of piece last week she has upped the bar far higher today to Kabalevsky Op 39 #18 (Galop), which has my brain melting at the prospect. HS is fine, but HT with the independent rhythms and so many leaps and hand shifts is a bit scary. For technical work she has me doing 1,2 & 3 octave C Major/A minor scales HT at various speeds. Oh and the arpeggios HS and HT. It seems a bit intimidating on paper but giving her benefit of the doubt as I guess we both need to figure out the right pacing of what is realistic without being too frustrating. We shall see how I feel after the next month!

During the last week I also worked through Faber units 9 & 10 - some really nice pieces I enjoyed. Currently working on Sleeping Beauty Waltz which is one of my favourites. That measure 24 is the only real sticking point I found, trying to play that lick consistently and accurately at speed so as to match the desired pace of the rest of the piece has been a challenge. She gave me some tips for that today when I asked so will work on that in the background as want to finish that one off. Darn those weak 4th/5th fingers...

Anyways just wanted to say hello and thanks to all who have shared their experiences here, it has been tremendously helpful! There is just so much to learn and loving every minute of it. I hope to be continuing with Faber in the coming months if possible, it may depend on how much time the teacher’s ”homework” takes from my sessions. I would love to finish book 1 and the second books are all sitting there ready.

Oops this ended up much longer than I planned - forgive my enthusiasm. I will go back to lurking, reading and listening to your recordings and continue to be motivated to improve and progress.


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@kiwidude

Welcome to the forum. Wow you have achieved a lot so far. I wish you well on your journey and would encourage you to not go back to being a lurker and continue to post. It is interesting to see how others are progressing and we can support each other even though we are all working on different levels. I have just started work on Unit 11 of the Faber Adult Piano Adventures AIO .

@wish4 Thing

Well done. Listening to this it shows all your hard work is paying of. You have the speed of the piece, the dynamics and sound playing well to my ears. Your playing to me sounds smoother and softer than some of your earlier pieces so shows you are improving on the touch of the keys also. I only wish I was half as good as you .

Thank you for sharing all your recordings they are a great inspiration.

I will share one of my own recordings once I work out how to get them from the piano onto the computer and onto this forum.

@Ojustaboo

I too came to Faber Adult PA AIO with some previous piano experience but was not able to get my fingers nimble enough to play well. particularly at fast tempos With Faber PA AIO I have found that there is a lot to learn in every unit and I specifically like that it is developing the artistry side of playing as well as everything else.

I hope that you are also able to get a lot out of it and enjoy the progress. This forum is very good to support you with your progress.

@pagirl

I too are now one Unit 11 I am currently working on Danny Boy . I skipped Chinese Kites as I like Danny Boy so decided to learn this one first. I will go back to Chinese Kites after.

Re major scales
Thank you all who contributed to this discussion. It is always good to get other peoples perspective on this . Enw10 the way you describe the way you remember the scales through the patterns is very interesting. It has given me food for thought, so thank you .


Working on Faber Adult Piano Adventures AIO Book 2 Unit 3

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Welcome Kiwidude,
Congratulations on your excellent start...just imagine where you'll be in five years with consistent effort!

Since you're right there at the start I must at least put in the request to hear each week what your teacher assigns you. It's been a long long time for me from having a teacher and I'm especially curious how she'll lead you along the technique path.

Again, welcome!

Holly


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Welcome, Kiwidude!

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