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#1932769 - 07/26/12 03:22 PM Re: Alfred's Basic and All in One Adult Piano Course Book #2 [Re: malkin]
sinophilia Offline

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Registered: 06/26/12
Posts: 1022
Loc: Italy
So, I'm doing the first part of Book 2... I must say I'm enjoying it because these pieces are about the same difficulty (and I would say they are as difficult as The Entertainer in Book 1) so I can go back and forth between them as my mood goes. At first I had quite a hard time playing staccato with the LH and legato with the RH, but I'm getting there.

My problem with these songs is I don't really want to memorize them, and right now this seems to be the only way I can play them smoothly. I think my sight-reading is improving but I still need to know what comes next, especially with a fast tempo. And yet I don't want to waste precious space in my brain for this kind of arrangements... even if they sound nice to me now. Anyway, I don't feel ready for other things - not even the popular songs from the Really Easy Piano series! laugh
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#1932777 - 07/26/12 03:38 PM Re: Alfred's Basic and All in One Adult Piano Course Book #2 [Re: Mark...]
zrtf90 Offline
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Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 2458
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
Don't worry about wasting precious space by memorising these easy pieces.

Memorising a piece doesn't use space - it creates it. Memory is a series of neural connections; the more you make, the more you can make. Memorising these pieces will make it easier to memorise harder pieces later on.
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#1932797 - 07/26/12 05:00 PM Re: Alfred's Basic and All in One Adult Piano Course Book #2 [Re: sinophilia]
Stubbie Offline
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Registered: 12/16/10
Posts: 510
Loc: Midwest USA
I agree with Richard. Don't worry that memorizing these pieces will take up room that you might want to use for other, better pieces. When you learn to count, you don't have to shove out 1 and 2 to make room for 9 and 10. grin

If you memorize them, and they stick in your memory, then they (the ones you like) make good warmup pieces. Plus, you will find that there's always something to work on, musicality-wise.
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#1932927 - 07/27/12 01:10 AM Re: Alfred's Basic and All in One Adult Piano Course Book #2 [Re: Stubbie]
sinophilia Offline

Gold Supporter until Sept. 05 2014


Registered: 06/26/12
Posts: 1022
Loc: Italy
Originally Posted By: Stubbie
I agree with Richard. Don't worry that memorizing these pieces will take up room that you might want to use for other, better pieces. When you learn to count, you don't have to shove out 1 and 2 to make room for 9 and 10. grin


Yeah, nice analogy smile

I don't know much about memorization processes, but I read a few things on neuroplasticity and it looks like the space you have is actually limited, like if you learn one thing really well your brain changes in a way that makes it harder to do some other things. The good news is you can always modify and increase the existing links and remodel your brain if you decide to learn something new!
But I'm pretty sure this doesn't really matter at this stage laugh

Talking about piano, what I'd really like is not to learn simple songs that I can play to friends (who would like them just because they know nothing about music), but to identify and learn the alphabet, the building blocks, patterns, motives that will make it easier and easier to learn what comes next.

Just random thoughts!
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Diana & Wally - Yamaha W110BW
Martha Argerich... is an incarnation of the artistic metaphor of the "eternal feminine" that draws us upward. (Sergio Sablich)

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#1933278 - 07/27/12 05:23 PM Re: Alfred's Basic and All in One Adult Piano Course Book #2 [Re: Mark...]
malkin Offline
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Registered: 04/18/09
Posts: 2748
Loc: *sigh* Salt Lake City
I'm sure you can find "research" to support any belief you may have. However, there is much consensus that the human brain likes patterns, so learning and recognizing patterns is probably useful.

Right now, I am trying not to memorize, but to learn to read fluently.
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A good student is one who makes the teacher feel like a good teacher.

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#1938003 - 08/06/12 03:35 AM Re: Alfred's Basic and All in One Adult Piano Course Book #2 [Re: Mark...]
sinophilia Offline

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Registered: 06/26/12
Posts: 1022
Loc: Italy
Still in the review section of book 2... can't wait to move on to new keys and chords, but there's a lot of new stuff here too! I'm afraid I'm moving a bit too fast and skipping some songs - not altogether, but I just read them, play the two hands separately and then together very very slowly, and that's about it. Alexander's Ragtime Band is one of them, I don't like the arrangement very much and my Julie Andrew's recording is so much better and quite different. I guess I will wait until I can play the original version.

Right now I'm polishing Light & Blue (which I like a lot!) and Hungarian Rhapsody, but I've already done La Raspa and the horrible He's a Jolly Good Fellow. But I'm in need of slow, relaxed music right now, and the Alfred book isn't offering any at this stage, so I'm also starting First Lessons in Bach.

What about you guys, where are you at?
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Diana & Wally - Yamaha W110BW
Martha Argerich... is an incarnation of the artistic metaphor of the "eternal feminine" that draws us upward. (Sergio Sablich)

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#1938109 - 08/06/12 10:44 AM Re: Alfred's Basic and All in One Adult Piano Course Book #2 [Re: Mark...]
malkin Offline
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Registered: 04/18/09
Posts: 2748
Loc: *sigh* Salt Lake City
I am at Plaisir d'Amour.

I have to work hard on broken chords--the endless barrage of bass clef notes is slow for me because I cannot read them very efficiently.

Fortunately, my teacher has me playing Martha Mier, whom I now call Martha My Dear, because the pieces are so fun.

When I played Light and Blue, my fingers acted like crowd of drunks leaving a bar after last rounds and staggering around the sidewalk, crashing into sign posts, parking meters, and each other.
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#1938142 - 08/06/12 12:00 PM Re: Alfred's Basic and All in One Adult Piano Course Book #2 [Re: malkin]
luvmusik Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/24/10
Posts: 8
Loc: Puget Sound, WA
Originally Posted By: malkin
...my fingers acted like crowd of drunks leaving a bar after last rounds and staggering around the sidewalk, crashing into sign posts, parking meters, and each other.
thumb Priceless! laugh

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#1938158 - 08/06/12 12:38 PM Re: Alfred's Basic and All in One Adult Piano Course Book #2 [Re: malkin]
sinophilia Offline

Gold Supporter until Sept. 05 2014


Registered: 06/26/12
Posts: 1022
Loc: Italy
Originally Posted By: malkin

When I played Light and Blue, my fingers acted like crowd of drunks leaving a bar after last rounds and staggering around the sidewalk, crashing into sign posts, parking meters, and each other.


laugh

I really wish I could play this kind of entertaining little songs to friends, though... well, some day it will happen. I just got Alfred's Jazz/Rock Course, too wink
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Diana & Wally - Yamaha W110BW
Martha Argerich... is an incarnation of the artistic metaphor of the "eternal feminine" that draws us upward. (Sergio Sablich)

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#1939185 - 08/08/12 06:06 AM Re: Alfred's Basic and All in One Adult Piano Course Book #2 [Re: Mark...]
sinophilia Offline

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Registered: 06/26/12
Posts: 1022
Loc: Italy
I'm getting restless with the first part of this book and I keep going back and forth... I will definitely skip some pieces. Now that Hungarian Rhapsody is done I'm jumping forward to Scherzo - I really like arpeggios!

Just watched a video of this song played by a real pianist and what a difference it makes even if it's an easy beginner piece! Oh the touch, and the fancy hand gestures...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CC7kR12Pn6k
_________________________
Diana & Wally - Yamaha W110BW
Martha Argerich... is an incarnation of the artistic metaphor of the "eternal feminine" that draws us upward. (Sergio Sablich)

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#1939628 - 08/08/12 11:39 PM Re: Alfred's Basic and All in One Adult Piano Course Book #2 [Re: sinophilia]
malkin Offline
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Registered: 04/18/09
Posts: 2748
Loc: *sigh* Salt Lake City
Originally Posted By: sinophilia
I'm getting restless with the first part of this book and I keep going back and forth... I will definitely skip some pieces...


I need my teacher to keep me focused. On my own, I would probably never even ever complete a one octave scale without some distraction interrupting me.

DidsomeonesaySQUIRREL?!
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#1940933 - 08/11/12 05:20 PM Re: Alfred's Basic and All in One Adult Piano Course Book #2 [Re: Mark...]
sinophilia Offline

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Registered: 06/26/12
Posts: 1022
Loc: Italy
hi malkin (looks like there's only the two of us here wink ), where are you in the book now? I just finished Scherzo but I' m getting a bit too distracted from the Alfred's because a friend gave me Clementi's Sonatinas op. 36 and even if I know it's too much I couldn't help having a look at the first one.

Anyway, my goal for next week will be to record a few songs from this first part of the book to see if I can really play them from start to end without stumbling too much. Then I will allow myself to move on...
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Diana & Wally - Yamaha W110BW
Martha Argerich... is an incarnation of the artistic metaphor of the "eternal feminine" that draws us upward. (Sergio Sablich)

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#1940990 - 08/11/12 06:56 PM Re: Alfred's Basic and All in One Adult Piano Course Book #2 [Re: Mark...]
malkin Offline
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Registered: 04/18/09
Posts: 2748
Loc: *sigh* Salt Lake City
I know--It's like our own private Book 2 world! I even posted on the Book 1 thread to encourage them to hurry up and come join us!

Plasir d'Amour, House of the Rising Sun, and Sakura. The last 2 weren't really assigned, but I hurt my hand on Martha Mier's Rocking Chair Blues because of a bit of overly enthusiastic practice, so I worked on the Alfred pieces to give my little finger a rest. At my lesson today, I got some good instruction about strategies to fix them up.

I see that you are in Italy. Where abouts?
I am in Salt Lake City, not too exotic!
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#1941014 - 08/11/12 07:35 PM Re: Alfred's Basic and All in One Adult Piano Course Book #2 [Re: sinophilia]
Lyn in AZ Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/13/11
Posts: 47
Loc: Arizona USA
Hi sinophilia and malkin
I've been working on book two for awhile. I'd been practicing with Alfred's All Time Favorites after getting through Level 1 - some of the songs are also in book two so it gave me a little bit of a jump start.
I'm still trying trying to nail the chords for Solace and working on La Bamba.
I'm really enjoying the songs in Level 2.
(Which has not been the usual comments in previous threads of Level 2)
I also have the Jazz Rock Course but haven't gotten past the first couple of songs.

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#1941019 - 08/11/12 07:46 PM Re: Alfred's Basic and All in One Adult Piano Course Book #2 [Re: Mark...]
malkin Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/09
Posts: 2748
Loc: *sigh* Salt Lake City
Welcome Lyn!! I'm glad to know there's another happy book 2'er out there!

I had a ton of fun with La Bamba. My husband had the idea of having me watch youtube videos of lots and lots of La Bambas out there--what a riot!

In the midst of La B, I missed my lesson (due to an Emergency Room visit), but when I finally got back, my teacher passed it off with a happy face! He said that students often struggle with it.

For Solace, I had to remind myself that it is a dirge, so it is ok to play it even slower than slow.
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#1941231 - 08/12/12 06:31 AM Re: Alfred's Basic and All in One Adult Piano Course Book #2 [Re: malkin]
sinophilia Offline

Gold Supporter until Sept. 05 2014


Registered: 06/26/12
Posts: 1022
Loc: Italy
Welcome Lyn!
I also have the Jazz/Rock course but without the CD I have a hard time picking up the rhythms. I thought I would find most tunes on YouTube but it's not the case.

@malkin, I am up North in Verona, not far from Venice. In the US I've only been to NY and California. Would love to see a bit more next time.
_________________________
Diana & Wally - Yamaha W110BW
Martha Argerich... is an incarnation of the artistic metaphor of the "eternal feminine" that draws us upward. (Sergio Sablich)

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#1946778 - 08/21/12 05:11 PM Re: Alfred's Basic and All in One Adult Piano Course Book #2 [Re: Mark...]
Giano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/11/10
Posts: 30
Loc: England
Hi everyone, just thought I'd introduce myself (..again)

I say again because I started playing 2 years ago almost to the day but I stopped last June when I was finishing uni and doing some travelling. I've only just got back into it in the last 2 weeks.

I've been working through Alfred and I've gone back through book one as a refresher and I'm up to Plaisir D'Amour in book 2 (which I HATE for some reason). It's strange that a lot of my muscle memory is still there but my reading and theory knowledge has dropped so I feel like I'm not quite sure what level I'm at right now haha..

I'm debating getting a teacher at the moment. I live in a small town of which I have no idea if it has any teachers which means I'd need to travel. My other option is getting one in the city I work in which would be a bit of a pain because my hours are extremely erratic, I think I have only finished work when I planned to once in the last month which would make scheduling a lesson after work a nightmare. I feel as though Alfred is forcing me down a route of a very blocky left hand which I don't like at the moment, and a bit of guidance around a few classical pieces would be great. Anyone have any thoughts on teachers and finding good ones?

Sorry for the long post but I felt a little more enthused with the material (which is a touch boring mostly I find, but I do like the progress I'm making) after reading through this thread so I thought I'd come around here a little more often. Happy playing all!

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#1946786 - 08/21/12 05:30 PM Re: Alfred's Basic and All in One Adult Piano Course Book #2 [Re: Mark...]
zrtf90 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 2458
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
Hate no more smile

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Richard

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#1946935 - 08/21/12 10:10 PM Re: Alfred's Basic and All in One Adult Piano Course Book #2 [Re: Mark...]
malkin Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/09
Posts: 2748
Loc: *sigh* Salt Lake City
I thought I might have to go to New Orleans and work in a house of ill repute after House of the Rising Sun took so long, but finally I have moved on to Rock-a-My Soul.

With the drone in the left hand, it sounds like the bosom of Abraham is somewhere up near Glascow; who woulda thunk it?? Ach! RRRRRackaMaiSoul!
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#1946936 - 08/21/12 10:12 PM Re: Alfred's Basic and All in One Adult Piano Course Book #2 [Re: malkin]
malkin Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/09
Posts: 2748
Loc: *sigh* Salt Lake City
Emmylou could make Hanon sound pretty!
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#1946938 - 08/21/12 10:17 PM Re: Alfred's Basic and All in One Adult Piano Course Book #2 [Re: Mark...]
PianoStudent88 Offline
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Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3196
Loc: Maine
Giano, I agree with you about Alfred's blocky LH. Some things you might try -- one in the area of method books, the other in the area of repertoire.

Method books: check out Piano Adventures (regular, not Accelerated or Adult). The music composed and chosen by the Fabers for this series moves the LH around more than just banging the same IV V I chords all the time.

Repertoire: you could have a look at pieces from the Anna Magdalena Bach Notebook. Alfred has a nice edition of selections from the notebook. (Yes, their Adult method sucks, but they have some nice editions of repertoire.) You could also check out any of a variety of graded literature books: Snell has a series, the Fabers have a series (Developing Artist literature), Bastien has a series, the RCM testing system has a series in Celebrate Piano (not Celebration Piano, which is their method book series, although if you want method book music, you could check it out).
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#1946946 - 08/21/12 10:39 PM Re: Alfred's Basic and All in One Adult Piano Course Book #2 [Re: Mark...]
MaryAnn Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/16/11
Posts: 388
Loc: Japan
Hi Giano. When I got bored with my method book I downloaded some freebies here: http://www.gmajormusictheory.org/Freebies/Intermediate4.html

The piece I settled on first was Minuet in G, from the Anna Magdalena Bach notebook. I've pretty much given up on the method books since then. I've been doing all classical pieces, some my teacher assigned from a Baroque piano book and some I've downloaded from IMSLP: http://imslp.org/wiki/ (I'm finding Schumann's Album for the Young a good source of reasonably easy pieces to learn, and a change from baroque--Tsaikovsky's album for the young has also been recommended to me)

I'm discovering that I'm really weak on chords, though, so I might go back to Alfreds (which was never my main method book, but a backup)

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#1947023 - 08/22/12 01:58 AM Re: Alfred's Basic and All in One Adult Piano Course Book #2 [Re: Mark...]
sinophilia Offline

Gold Supporter until Sept. 05 2014


Registered: 06/26/12
Posts: 1022
Loc: Italy
MaryAnn, I had a similar experience, I was getting tired of Alfred's book 2 so I started the Minuet in G... then I realized it's taking me a bit too much time to just play the first 16 measures to tempo, and I also saw that there is a bit of two-part playing in the final part, and this made me think again.

Right now I've decided to push through Alfred (about 1 hour a day), studying the theory and chords and sight-reading everything, but skipping the polishing part on most pieces except those I like better. I really think I need to at least finish book 2 before I tackle "real music", but I allow myself no more than 5-6 months to do that. I need the theory and repetition but I definitely don't need to learn and memorize dozens of silly arrangements when with some more effort I may soon be able to study the original pieces.

Other than that, I got the Alfred's book on scales, arpeggios and cadences and I'm practicing a bit of that now and then, as suggested by a friend of mine who has been playing piano all her life and regrets not having studied enough "technique" when she started.

I'm still uncertain about what to do on top of this; I started noodling with the Alfred's jazz/rock course, because I'm really weak on rhythm. At the same time I'm also attracted by classical music - had a look at Clementi's sonatina no. 1 and Bach's Prelude in C major - but I'm afraid I might hit a wall very soon with that kind of music. I could probably play some of it after a thousand repetitions, but I'm afraid to pick up bad habits and wrong gestures (I don't have a teacher). My hands are still so stiff, especially the LH. We'll see.
_________________________
Diana & Wally - Yamaha W110BW
Martha Argerich... is an incarnation of the artistic metaphor of the "eternal feminine" that draws us upward. (Sergio Sablich)

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#1947037 - 08/22/12 02:34 AM Re: Alfred's Basic and All in One Adult Piano Course Book #2 [Re: Mark...]
MaryAnn Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/16/11
Posts: 388
Loc: Japan
sinophilia, I think it took me about 2 months to learn the minuet, and that was with my teacher taking out some of the trickier bits. I worked on it 8-16 bars at a time, and was just really patient with myself (usually). It was probably a bit premature, and since you don't have a teacher, perhaps ill-advised. But, if you're bored with Alfred's it would be good to find something you do enjoy...

Someone recently posted some examples of repertoire books that were graded and had more helpful information about how to play it, etc. I'll dig around and try to find that...

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#1947038 - 08/22/12 02:45 AM Re: Alfred's Basic and All in One Adult Piano Course Book #2 [Re: Mark...]
MaryAnn Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/16/11
Posts: 388
Loc: Japan
it might be this post I was thinking of:
Originally Posted By: Para Otras
http://www.kjos.com/sub_section.php?division=5&series=248

You could invest in this series instead. I would say the four essential books are each except for the Christmas - I don't usually make students purchase Christmas books unless they want to. I won't lie; it isn't necessarily the most exciting. But it is the closet to 'real' that my adults enjoy. You may like it too.

It leads very well into one of these two series:

1) Piano Repertoire (requires: Baroque and Classical; Romantic and Contemporary; Etudes; Fundamentals of Piano Theory; Scale Skills - 5 books total)
http://www.kjos.com/sub_section.php?division=5&series=147

Alternatively, you could buy the ones that are called 'Essential Repertoire..." but I do not think they are as good because they leave out so much.

2) Various books from the "Master Composer Library"

It could also lead into others, but I think this is one of the better series for self-teaching students because it provides SO many pieces per level.

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#1947533 - 08/22/12 10:10 PM Re: Alfred's Basic and All in One Adult Piano Course Book #2 [Re: Mark...]
malkin Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/09
Posts: 2748
Loc: *sigh* Salt Lake City
Check out Martha Mier Jazz Rags and Blues. Not too hard and lots of fun. I got the one with a CD and the recordings are pretty good--just the pieces as written.
_________________________
A good student is one who makes the teacher feel like a good teacher.

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#1948185 - 08/24/12 12:19 AM Re: Alfred's Basic and All in One Adult Piano Course Book #2 [Re: Mark...]
gahdzila Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/13/11
Posts: 175
Still slowly plodding my way through Alfred's 2. I started on Burlesq one week ago. It's not too bad.

My other stuff is still *WAY* more fun:

I'm working on Mozart's Sonata Facile. Been working on it a while, actually...and expect to be working on it a *LOT* longer. I'm kinda in a funk with it now...I'm growing weary of it, and I'm progressing slowly, which makes it harder to stay motivated. I really like the piece, though, and it's one of those easily recognizable pieces you can play for anyone and they'll enjoy it, and I'll get a huge sense of accomplishment from finishing it, so onward I trudge!

A few weeks ago, my teacher played a few jazz pieces for me and asked me to choose one to work on. I shrugged and chose "Night Train," as it was the most familiar tune to me. It's not a terribly difficult arrangement. But I just couldn't get into it. Blah. She asked me last week if I enjoyed it, I told her no, she suggested giving it another week, I agreed....and we dropped it today. Strange - I do enjoy listening to certain jazz and blues on occasion, but playing it just feels like a chore.

So, to choose something new, my teacher played two post-romantic pieces I'd never heard by Russian composers I've never heard of, and asked me to pick one, and I excitedly replied, "BOTH!!!!" Go figure! When I first started piano, I never expected that I would get excited over music like this! Yippee, piano is fun when you're working on stuff you like! grin Miniature Waltz by Vladimir Rebikov is the one I'm working on right now; the other is Ivan Sings by Aram Khatchaturian (haven't started on this one yet).


Edited by gahdzila (08/24/12 12:24 AM)
Edit Reason: Addendum

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#1948223 - 08/24/12 02:03 AM Re: Alfred's Basic and All in One Adult Piano Course Book #2 [Re: malkin]
sinophilia Offline

Gold Supporter until Sept. 05 2014


Registered: 06/26/12
Posts: 1022
Loc: Italy
Thank you everybody for your suggestions!

@MaryAnn, I will try and be patient with the Minuet in G... even if it took me 20 days to learn how to play the first half slowly and I start making all sorts of mistakes as soon as I try to play it out of memory.

Today I think I will try Bach's Prelude in C major, which is discussed in another thread here on PW. I'm sure it will be more difficult than it looks but it's so charming and a great exercise in octaves and even tempo. I really need a break from stuff like Calypso Carnival and the like wink
_________________________
Diana & Wally - Yamaha W110BW
Martha Argerich... is an incarnation of the artistic metaphor of the "eternal feminine" that draws us upward. (Sergio Sablich)

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#1948517 - 08/24/12 01:54 PM Re: Alfred's Basic and All in One Adult Piano Course Book #2 [Re: malkin]
Lyn in AZ Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/13/11
Posts: 47
Loc: Arizona USA
[quote=malkin]I thought I might have to go to New Orleans and work in a house of ill repute after House of the Rising Sun took so long,

I love that song but it took me awhile to get it too. Just doesn't look that hard either.

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#1948583 - 08/24/12 03:51 PM Re: Alfred's Basic and All in One Adult Piano Course Book #2 [Re: Mark...]
PianoStudent88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3196
Loc: Maine
Gahdzila (my spell-checker wanted to change your name to Handsome smile ), I love everything by Rebikov I've found in my various collections; my only complaint is I can't find enough of him. And I just learned Ivan Sings (#61 in the current ABF recital), and I think I'm going to like Khachaturian just as much. Enjoy!
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