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#1481211 - 07/25/10 03:04 PM Another convert.. Method books?
zender Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/25/10
Posts: 3
Hey everyone,

As a new user, I just want to say hi and express my gratitude to those maintaining this great resource.

I am a 25 y/o everyday working stiff who does music on the side as a amateur. My experience is mostly in clarinet and bassoon of over 15 years. I also play electric bass. Will all this music experience I am definitely regretting not having better keyboard skills for composition and recording accompaniment (never took formal lessons).

From my days in prep school, I remembered everyone taking piano using the Suzuki method. I've grabbed a few books for self study and I'm making some progress, but I because of my background, I have a hole left in my soul which I think needs to be filled by a comprehensive method/reference book (sorry, bad humor).

Anyway, I remember from my clarinet days that there where great comprehensive all inclusive books like the Klose method ( http://www.scribd.com/doc/16753489/Klose-Clarinet-Method ) that when from absolute beginner to All-State band level repertoire (for the mere price of about $50-60 US upfront, its a BIG book). I wish I had a full blow reference book as such for piano, but I have not found anything yet.

My interest are just the fundamentals. I don't really have an issue with theory, prep school and jazz bass took care of that. I would eventually love to at least fake an attempt at anything from Chopin to Dream Theater to Stevie Wonder or Hiromi- maybe some Chick Corea. That's mostly talk and fantasy.. I'm still working the Suzuki books, fighting boredom. But Most importantly, I would like to have the tools available to compose and record on a higher level. I've heard about the Alfred series books, but I'm not quite convinced to make the investment. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.


Edited by zender (07/25/10 03:12 PM)

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#1481218 - 07/25/10 03:19 PM Re: Another convert.. Method books? [Re: zender]
eweiss Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/28/09
Posts: 2393
Loc: Beautiful San Diego, CA
Hi Zender and welcome to PW. Love the bassoon by the way. You say you want a reference book. But first, do you want to go the note reading and/or chord based route?
Play New Age Piano

#1481227 - 07/25/10 03:29 PM Re: Another convert.. Method books? [Re: eweiss]
zender Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/25/10
Posts: 3
Absolutely the note reading route. I can fake a lot of pop songs already (Radiohead, Tori Amos), but I can't really use any intuition on the voicing or embellishments, since I have none! haha. Thanks.

I guess ultimately, If I could have one of each, and stay under $100, that would be fine too. I just don't want to start a method book collection for piano. I've already spend a lot for the other instruments I've mentioned.

Edited by zender (07/25/10 03:32 PM)

#1481356 - 07/25/10 06:53 PM Re: Another convert.. Method books? [Re: zender]
ll Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/14/08
Posts: 1101
You can spend about ten bucks on a beginning method - maybe Alfred's or such to get your fingers going and knowing what they should do. It's actually a very good series when it comes down to it, but you really can't go wrong with any of them.

After that, you begin with classical repertoire. http://www.kjos.com <--look under 'Keith Snell Piano Repertoire'

You could honestly just buy the "Beginning Piano Repertoire" and "Beginning Piano Technique" book, and ignore the method book altogether too. That comes to around $10 as well. Once completing those, the series breaks off into four books: Baroque and Classical (essential at early levels), Romantic and Contemporary (not so essential at early levels), and Etudes (mixed reviews on their value - I happen to like them), and Fundamentals of Piano Theory.

Don't think you'll get to Chopin without doing any theory. The amount you learned in band and such is not really enough for that (trust me, I know - clarinet and percussion were my life in high school).

If you have an interest in other styles, the same publisher has hired comtemporary artist to write in the styles of Jazz, Musicals, New Age, etc etc etc - and they're fun little pieces, I assure you, as my students tend to love those books the most! The more you do at any level is better, but don't be daunted by all the pieces in the books. You don't need to do them ALL at every level.

Suzuki will move WAAAAAAAAAA (deep breathe) AAAAAAAAY too quickly. You need something more progressive. Keith Snell is one, which I like, but there are many others:

Succeeding with the Masters
Masterwork Classics
First Impressions (said to be an intermediate method, but I've seen it used as a beginners method with adults after a few short hand-training weeks)

I think you're best investment would be meeting with a teacher, if even once a month. That will get you learning quickly and effectively (hoping the teacher is good, of course).

Let us know more specifics and we can most certainly point you in more directions.
II. As in, second best.
Only lowercase. So not even that.
I teach piano and violin.
BM, Violin & Percussion Performance 2009, Piano Pedagogy 2011.

#1481408 - 07/25/10 08:37 PM Re: Another convert.. Method books? [Re: ll]
zender Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/25/10
Posts: 3
Thanks for all the suggestions. I think the information provided will be a good start. I've mostly confirmed my suspicions that there is not a Klose equivalent for piano. But the books that have been mentioned are relatively inexpensive on their own.

Out of curiosity, more explanation on the need for theory for Chopin would be appreciated. Certainly, I see the need for theory in constructing walking bass lines and improvising solos as I have done for jazz bass. The theory I studied in prep school was also quite extensive. Are you referring to some of the more complex chord structures such as 11ths 13ths or inversion chords? Is that music modal? I would be curious to understand the role of theory in being able to play complex music such as Chopin and Liszt...

#1481501 - 07/25/10 11:25 PM Re: Another convert.. Method books? [Re: zender]
ll Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/14/08
Posts: 1101
You have to understand that no method - even Klose, which I first learned from as a child - is perfect. The only thing about Klose is that you're paying 60 bucks for a book that was essentially a compliation of sheet music with theory involved. Which is the same thing all those I mentioned are.

Theory will supplement you're knowledge of how to play what in the same regards a method book would. Thus, you use theory and sheet music together to create a personally crafted method. This is ideal because you can choose the pieces YOU want at every level. Trust me, you want to enjoy the pieces you're learning from in order to graduate.

Theory, specifically, is important because it helps you understand the direction and patterns of music - particular to the piano - at such high levels. This is essential.
II. As in, second best.
Only lowercase. So not even that.
I teach piano and violin.
BM, Violin & Percussion Performance 2009, Piano Pedagogy 2011.


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