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#1685545 - 05/27/11 01:12 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
jazzwee Offline
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Very nice guys -- I didn't know these tunes. I'm building my knowledge here.

Ever since I started gigging the priority now has been to learn tunes. I thought it would be hard but my list has really grown fast. And a lot of tunes can be played just from the leadsheet without even actually knowing them.
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#1685563 - 05/27/11 01:44 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
knotty Offline
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Jazzwee,

My prediction is that you will get away from this approach and choose what I call the Bill Evans approach.
In my opinion, if one needs a Leadsheet to play a tune, he may as well not play it.

Instead, knowing a tune inside out allows for great things to happen. Plus, how many tunes can you possibly play in one evening?

Example:
If one needs a leadsheet to play a blues, he should not be playing the blues.

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#1685570 - 05/27/11 01:55 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: knotty]
scepticalforumguy Offline
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Originally Posted By: knotty

In my opinion, if one needs a Leadsheet to play a tune, he may as well not play it.


I share this opinion. It's amazing to think that we're in the minority though. I don't know how many musicians I've met (especially bassists for some reason) that don't feel the need to really know tunes.
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#1685593 - 05/27/11 02:40 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
jazzwee Offline
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I don't agree. I have little free time. Many vocalist tunes are presented to me at last minute. I'd probably never play them otherwise. The keys are changed at whim for every single one.

To develop the skill the play something without a leadsheet means you need to know the tune really deeply and that seems to come automatically. But if a tune changes key, do I care?

The tunes I play on this forum don't need a leadsheet, from Autumn Leaves to Very Early. But that's because I care.

Do I really need a leadsheet for Route 66 in F# or A, or E? Obviously not.

But on the other hand, that's why you learn to sight read. As far as I'm concerned, my ability to stay on the form from just a leadsheet is a skill I actually need to develop more. With an Ipad and an app that can transpose, it's pretty much limitless.

I solo on tunes I've never heard before...that a bad thing?
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#1685595 - 05/27/11 02:42 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
jazzwee Offline
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BTW Knotty -- I don't see a vocalist in your gigs. LOL smile Maybe that's why we look at it differently.

In the last six months, I've worked with so many singers and have learned all their weaknesses (counting down, tempo, key, ending, form...). Good experience but sometimes painful...
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#1685597 - 05/27/11 02:48 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: scepticalforumguy]
jazzwee Offline
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Originally Posted By: scepticalforumguy
(especially bassists for some reason)


CONFIRMED. Seems to be true of so many bassists. But this doesn't make any sense to me. Example, I played Blue in Green at the last gig.

This tune messes everyone up because once you lose the form, it's very hard to hear where you are.

So if I do a rubato start or an intro, we'd be lost. So the bass player specified to me, "I can only play this if we start on the top and I count".

Now this isn't some vocalist tune. Although I gave the bassist Windows and he even soloed on it (well) just by sightreading.

Maybe he's conserving brain power smile

I think some tunes need some Woodshedding. He can play with a leadsheet but still the form needs to be clear on some of these.

Naima can be confusing too. This tune has a constant bass line for many many bars.
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#1685608 - 05/27/11 03:12 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
knotty Offline
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That is only my opinion and prediction, but is not meant to be right or wrong.

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#1685644 - 05/27/11 04:57 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: knotty]
jazzwee Offline
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Originally Posted By: knotty
That is only my opinion and prediction, but is not meant to be right or wrong.


LOL smile -- I'm just saying when you're playing with vocalists, a little frustration sets in (on the part of the pianist)...and you wish sometimes you never saw the tune again (like Fever).

But I'm glad to have played with so many vocalists, especially the poor ones. It's a learning experience.

Talking about memorization though, oftentimes on some basic swing tunes, it's not necessary to memorize because one quick glance and you see all the ii-V-I's and typical modulations. Or iii-vi-ii-V-I. It's really shouldn't take any thinking anymore. So when I look at leadsheets, I typically grasp what I'll do on the solo pretty much immediately.

This is why I just concentrate on the difficult tunes, so I'm surprised a little (especially on this thread).
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#1685703 - 05/27/11 07:15 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
jazzwee Offline
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I have a story related to knowing tunes. I figured we needed to trade 4/8's so I just randomly said "Trade 8's on ATTYA". But the tune was not divisible by 8 so we could only go at it one chorus. 4's were to short in this case (at our tempo).

I wasn't looking at the Leadsheet. I was just playing from my memory. Whether it's divisible by any number should be visible easily when looking at the leadsheet. But it also told me that I couldn't tell you how many bars each particular tune is. I never paid attention before.

Something to add to the memory bank. I'm learning as I go here.
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#1685727 - 05/27/11 08:56 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
beeboss Offline
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Originally Posted By: jazzwee

Talking about memorization though, oftentimes on some basic swing tunes, it's not necessary to memorize because one quick glance and you see all the ii-V-I's and typical modulations. Or iii-vi-ii-V-I. It's really shouldn't take any thinking anymore. So when I look at leadsheets, I typically grasp what I'll do on the solo pretty much immediately.


Knowing a tune is so much more than being able to get through the changes though. If you don't know the melody how are you going to improvise melodically?

It is all about vocabulary I think - the more tunes you know properly the more melodic your playing will be.

Of course no one can memorise the thousands of standards and sometimes reading is necessary but it is such a liberation to play tunes without worrying about the dots. It also frees up some brain power which aids communication and creativity.

As recently I have been putting in some effort memorising Bach suddenly jazz tunes seem rather easy to memorise. Well worth the effort to do.
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#1685834 - 05/28/11 01:16 AM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
jazzwee Offline
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Beeboss, I'm not disagreeing on everything. It's just select disagreement. Like I said, I do have so many difficult tunes memorized and embedded in my psyche. But I do have less of the easier standards committed to memory.

But there are tunes that are not that difficult to absorb and mostly the point of them is to accompany a vocalist. Do I really care if my solo over "Fever" is so sophisticated?

I do agree about the melody. But once I get the shape of the melody over the changes, I can recall it from the leadsheet without necessarily having to memorize.

In a gig situation, some of these tunes may not come up again for several months.

But then again, I'm new to this. I suppose if you play the same tunes over and over, it will just naturally be memorized. I just don't want to dedicate a special effort for every single one. Just the ones I really like.

And no I don't have to memorize Blues in any key. Though it may take me 30 seconds to figure it out on the unusual keys.
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#1685907 - 05/28/11 06:40 AM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
beeboss Offline
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Originally Posted By: jazzwee
I suppose if you play the same tunes over and over, it will just naturally be memorized.


I find I need to make a special effort to memorise, just playing it repeatedly from the lead sheet is not enough for me, but we all memorise in different ways I guess.
Memorising fever should take no longer than 3 minutes.
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#1686044 - 05/28/11 12:21 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: beeboss]
jazzwee Offline
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Originally Posted By: beeboss
Memorising fever should take no longer than 3 minutes.


LOL - I just wish I never heard of the tune...3 minutes is too long. I've already memorized it. Now I want to forget it...

Anyway, kidding aside, some newer tunes that I've played on a gig a few times (and practiced) come back to memory quickly so in a sense the leadsheet is just a reminder. I am able to take it in big chunks.

Example is God Bless the Child.

But Beeboss, a tune like this with a lot of changes, can you really memorize it in several keys, especially if you don't play it that often? That sounds like a lifetime of work.

BTW - I would never think of using the "transpose" button on the keyboard. Just the transpose on the leadsheet iphone App.

Though I don't have all the tunes memorized (like Lullaby of Birdland in 3 or 4 keys), I have to say that I sat down and analyzed the progression though. I tend to do that on the more complex ones so the solo makes sense.
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#1686249 - 05/28/11 07:26 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
beeboss Offline
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Originally Posted By: jazzwee


Example is God Bless the Child.

But Beeboss, a tune like this with a lot of changes, can you really memorize it in several keys, especially if you don't play it that often? That sounds like a lifetime of work.


The best way is to learn it in a way that enables you to play it instantly in any other key.
If you memorise the root movement with reference to the key centres then it should be pretty easy to do just that. If you can sing the melody and play it in one key you should be able to instantly play it in any other key, it shouldn't even be difficult. In other words memorise the way the notes in the tune and the root notes move rather than memorising the notes themselves.

Of course there are zillions of tunes and it is many lifetimes work to learn them all but memory is like a muscle i think, the more you use it the better it works.
And the more melodies you absorb the better your melodic sensibilities become.
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#1686260 - 05/28/11 07:49 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
knotty Offline
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Registered: 03/01/07
Posts: 2991
Loc: Bethesda, MD (Washington D.C)
I've played All the things you hundreds of times. I'm still not sure I can play it through without the leadsheet.
I learned Cherokee last week with Beeboss' method. I knew it by heart the next day in 3 keys. I don't even know if it's in the book. Didn't bother to check.

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#1686352 - 05/29/11 12:33 AM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
jazzwee Offline
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Registered: 04/25/07
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Loc: So. California
Thanks Beeboss. If anything, the most difficult thing to memorize are the melodies. Especially with a sax player and vocalist, I seldom have to play them. So I get lazy.

The good news is this kind of memorizing can be done away from the piano.

Knotty -- I tried to memorize ATTYA in all 12 keys once. So I came up with a method, but then I forgot the method. smile

But without memorizing - I have to say that visualizing a tune in a new key using the Iphone App is pretty amazing. In a few seconds, I glance at the ii-V-I's, figure out the key centers and I can solo on it. In my group, we all use Iphones/Ipads now so I don't have to worry about changing keys at the last minute for the vocalist.

Here's the other aid. The vocalist can listen to the app backing track and figure out a key that suits him/her. Just transpose to the desired key and inform the group. I even have the singer tell me the tempo in a specific BPM. It's making them better musicians.
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#1686442 - 05/29/11 08:48 AM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: knotty]
beeboss Offline
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Registered: 07/18/09
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Loc: uk south
Originally Posted By: knotty
I've played All the things you hundreds of times. I'm still not sure I can play it through without the leadsheet.
I learned Cherokee last week with Beeboss' method. I knew it by heart the next day in 3 keys. I don't even know if it's in the book. Didn't bother to check.



Excellent Knotty, glad it is working for you. You can even mentally practice it in F sharp when you are on the bus (or whatever).
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#1686458 - 05/29/11 09:30 AM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
knotty Offline
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Loc: Bethesda, MD (Washington D.C)
Dave,

I think there's more to your bass movement method than meets the eye. It's no magic bullet, but I'm hoping that with practice, tunes becomes really easy to learn and memorize.
In addition, I feel it will help internalize a tune in terms of bass movement. So for example, Cherokee moves an m3 up on the bridge (1/2 tonal center up). If one remembers and thinks in those terms, then one will probably better absorb the sound of it.
Ultimately, the opposite happens and one can easily hear a tune once or twice and just "figure it out". When people do that, I'm always impressed ...

Bus? I will practice it mentally while my chauffeur drives the limo. Sorry, I meant while my wife drives the minivan... wink

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#1687840 - 05/31/11 02:28 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
chrisbell Offline
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Registered: 05/11/07
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Imho.
The 'only' way to learn to play a tune in other keys is to know the tune in "a" key.
In other words; internalize. Hear the tune/changes/subs/reharm/etc within.
And that means playing the tune a lot.
In fact ALL playing should come from within.

btw: for your enjoyment you piano nerds. :-)
A trad. Swedish fiddle tune played 4-hands, 1 piano. Arranged and performed by a jazz piano playing husband/wife combo.

[video:youtube]http://www.youtube.com/dominiquemusik#p/u/0/tSNn2J242Bk[/video]


Edited by chrisbell (05/31/11 02:30 PM)
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#1687890 - 05/31/11 03:39 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: chrisbell]
jazzwee Offline
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Originally Posted By: chrisbell
Imho.
The 'only' way to learn to play a tune in other keys is to know the tune in "a" key.
In other words; internalize. Hear the tune/changes/subs/reharm/etc within.
And that means playing the tune a lot.


Which is why it is hard to expend this kind of energy on a tune one doesn't like.

Most of the tunes I know well, like ATTYA, I've analyzed. Though if played in a different key, I wouldn't be able to transpose in my head at the pace of "....Ok guys, ATTYA in Eb, One-two-1-2-3-4-..."

And if can't do it with this kind of instantaneous reaction, then it doesn't count.

Can you experts all transpose ATTYA at this pace?

This is not the same thing as transposing Autumn Leaves in any key (which we should all be able to do).
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#1687914 - 05/31/11 04:11 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
knotty Offline
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i think it is the same. Just more difficult.

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#1687915 - 05/31/11 04:12 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
chrisbell Offline
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attya is a bit of cake. cycle of fifths with some sideslipping, starts on the VI, melody on the third.

but yes i agree, its hard to learn tunes that one doesn't like.

but seriously, playing in another key than the one you know when one has a transpose button on hand . . .
many a gig i have saved thanks to the + and - button.
smile


Edited by chrisbell (05/31/11 04:20 PM)
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#1687934 - 05/31/11 04:44 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
jazzwee Offline
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Remember Chris/Knotty - I said in the time frame of "5 seconds" or however long it takes to count down, which is necessary for this to be practical.

At least at my jam sessions, I haven't found anyone yet who can transpose complex tunes on the fly. So it's obviously a very advanced skill.

But though I can play anything with a transposed leadsheet, I dare not risk using that handy transpose button. smile The next tune will likely be messed up because I will forget. LOL. So I've never used it. Using an Iphone App to transpose the leadsheet is much safer.

...now having said that, my bass player started off a tune in the wrong key because he forgot to set the key on the App. We had to restart.
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#1687953 - 05/31/11 05:21 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
knotty Offline
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I have a guy that comes. He's pretty good. He doesn't have a realbook (or an app). At first I thought it was suspicious. Turns out he can play everything, even the tunes he's never heard before. If he's never heard it, he just waits until the second chorus.
He says down in New Orleans, where he's from, noone uses a book.

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#1687968 - 05/31/11 05:46 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
jazzwee Offline
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Wow - impressive.

There's a couple of guys in the group that don't need the real books either. They know most of the tunes. However, they don't transpose on the fly.

But both have been playing for a long time. 30-40 years. So that makes sense.

I've really only started to build my tune list recently so it's only now that I'm paying attention. I can see though that if you play the same tunes over and over, it does stick.

I'm a very poor music reader (even a lead sheet) because I can't keep an eye on the page. And if I'm not counting, I can get lost. So I've gotten into the habit of looking at the leadsheet in clumps, usually picking on ii-V-I movements). This has helped me look away since I have time to look back.

I bet that I will actually remember the whole thing eventually. I'm thinking of tunes like Lullaby of Birdland which I've played in several keys for a vocalist, and I'm still recalling chunks of it.

Fortunately so many tunes are easy.
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#1687982 - 05/31/11 06:03 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
knotty Offline
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i get lost when i don't know the melody. As long as I know the melody, I just sing it. Then I don't get lost. I hate playing tunes that I don't konw the melody too.
We played a chick tune last week "Sea Journey". I got totally wiped. I had no idea where the heck I was the whole time.

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#1688002 - 05/31/11 06:30 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
knotty Offline
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btw, I've been practicing sight reading 10 mins a day for the last couple months and enjoyed it a lot.

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#1688030 - 05/31/11 07:19 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: knotty]
beeboss Offline
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Originally Posted By: knotty
btw, I've been practicing sight reading 10 mins a day for the last couple months and enjoyed it a lot.

I try to do sight read everyday as well. Working my way through Chopin at the moment (sometimes very slowly). Sight reading does eventually get a little better but I will never be able to do it like many serious classical players, unfortunately.

I have a friend who comes over to jam and we often play a tune and take the sequence up a semitone (or tone) each time round. It is only possible with tunes we know quite well but it really helps cementing the sequence and structure in the brain. Like sight-reading the concentration required is horrendous, but it is good for you, a real work out for brain.
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#1688031 - 05/31/11 07:21 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
jazzwee Offline
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I hate to admit it Knotty, but my 8 year old is a better sight reader than I am. But doing classical music really helped.

I don't sight read at the piano hardly (no time). But I do sit down and read the classical scores by themselves and try to memorize.

There's so much needed to be done.

Lately, I've been focused on another aspect of my solos. Beyond just the notes and melodic content, I'm really developing the tension/release aspects of the flow of the solo. I was taught this awhile back but it's only now that I'm able to think about it as I play. Admitedly this is a more artistic aspect and harder to gauge success.
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#1688044 - 05/31/11 07:47 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
knotty Offline
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I've been using a method for sight reading, which I think is appropriate for adults beginners. I can see tremendous progress already. I stopped working on the omnibook a few months back. Just got back to it yesterday and I find it a lot easier.

I would love to be able to read my own arrangements, intro etc... Otherwise I just forget.

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