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Posted By: Stormbringer What Books + What Sequence? - 02/26/21 04:41 PM
What Books + What Sequence To Learn?

I know this has been covered. I have read a lot about it on this forum. But a lot of it is 10+ years old. Many excellent books have come out since then, so it would be helpful to hear a more present day suggestion or two. What books, what sequence would be a good way to learn how to play piano?

I took a few lessons a very long time ago, and I like to blame quitting on the slowness and irritation of the Alfred's method books. I've dabbled in other instruments in the distant past as well: French horn, trumpet, electric guitar, and drums. Though it's been a long time, I do have a little bit of a background in musicianship.

I like many types of music.

I will get a teacher eventually, but I have to start out self-taught.

I'm thinking of buying a theory book, Alfred's Adult all-in-one book 1 only (yikes!) or Keith Snell, one or more Schirmer's books, and/or RCM. I am open to going the Festival Collection series route if you think that would be good.

Hopefully "II" is around to comment as well. I liked what she said in her 2011 replies. I wonder what she would say today after teaching and playing for an additional 10 years.

I'd like to jump into repertoire as soon as possible. Not sure If I want to spend too much time in method books or not.

My thanx in advance to anyone willing to help me smile

Posted By: WeakLeftHand Re: What Books + What Sequence? - 02/26/21 05:21 PM
Hi Erik,

Just a couple of comments, although I'm only a relative beginner myself (RCM 3 piano; RCM 2 sax, etc.) and not a teacher.

If you found Alfred's irritating all those years ago, then perhaps trying a different method would be a better option for you? A popular one would be the Faber's Adult All-in-one. I started with that and would recommend it. It's probably the 2nd most popular method for beginners in this forum.

I'm not familiar with Keith Snell or Schirmer's methods...but am very familiar with RCM. I follow that curriculum on 4 instruments at the moment. It's not a method per se. It's a curriculum or a path. It provides you with guidance on what repertoire, etudes, scales, and ear training should be covered at a particular level. So it's a compilation of materials. There is no "teaching" involved. You're on your own, so to speak. Therefore, I do recommend a teacher for it. However, some have followed the curriculum loosely without a teacher and I think that's totally an option.

I know adult beginners are always eager to get going and find method books boring. I have personally found that skipping the fundamentals will come back to haunt you. So I don't recommend it. Despite having a couple of years of music lessons as a child/teen, I was poorly taught and was asked to start from the beginning.

I'd recommend a method book (maybe Faber's as mentioned above) and then go onto RCM. I think that's a good path and is certainly working well for me, not just in piano. Do note, however, that RCM is very classical-leaning, so if you want other genres, you're going to have to supplement. There are also other genres offered by ABRSM and Rockschool.
Posted By: SonatainfSharp Re: What Books + What Sequence? - 02/26/21 05:30 PM
Faber and Faber have an Adult Piano Adventures all-in-one course that is quite lovely. Very different from the older pedagogy already mentioned. There are simultaneous repertoire options available, as well. Journey Through the Classics is great.
Posted By: newer player Re: What Books + What Sequence? - 02/26/21 05:58 PM
Alfred's has a good basic music theory book series. The following includes all 3 books and audio.

Posted By: earlofmar Re: What Books + What Sequence? - 02/26/21 08:41 PM
Since you already have a bias against Alfred's I would not go there, as that bias can fester into animosity and not help you. But I think whatever method book you choose is irrelevant, it is just a starting point and a guide. The main idea is to be playing music (at the correct level) that you like, as soon as possible. You can do this in conjunction with a method book or even without one, that is your choice.

If you are going to go the more classical route I would recommend the Keith Snell Essential Piano Repertoire of the 17th, 18th, & 19th Centuries
Posted By: Stormbringer Re: What Books + What Sequence? - 02/27/21 01:45 AM
Thank you all very much for your help.
Posted By: ebonyk Re: What Books + What Sequence? - 02/27/21 03:00 AM
I highly recommend Piano Safari for the Older Student, they have a solid concentration on technique, as well as a large YouTube channel that demonstrates all the lessons.

Piano Safari
Posted By: Stormbringer Re: What Books + What Sequence? - 03/01/21 01:45 AM
Thank you Lisa. Like your Chopin quote in your sig : )
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