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#2122786 - 07/25/13 12:44 PM Easy Piano sheet music harmful in long term?
Daniel Corban Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/17/13
Posts: 215
Loc: Canada
I am going to buy some video game sheet music. There are two versions of the book. They both have identical pieces, but one version is transcribed for easy piano, and the other is the accurate transcription.

I looked through both and I could play the easy piano versions with a bit of practice. There are fingerings noted and sometimes the piece is transposed to an easier key. The regular versions would require a lot more practice and I may still not get them accurate, since there are no fingerings noted. The lack of fingerings is a big detriment for me, since I am not experienced enough to know the best fingerings for a given phrase. I also notice the regular version has chords and phrases which would require distinct voicing. The easy piano versions are not as complicated.

I am leaning toward the easy book, as it will allow me to make decent progress. However, I am concerned that if I learn the easy versions, it will make it more difficult to learn the regular version later (probably within a year at my current rate of learning). Anyone have any experience with this situation or comments in general?
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#2122789 - 07/25/13 12:49 PM Re: Easy Piano sheet music harmful in long term? [Re: Daniel Corban]
Andy Platt Offline
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Registered: 04/28/10
Posts: 2380
Loc: Virginia, USA
Does reading simple words make it harder to read difficult words? No, and neither will this.

Now, you can argue whether it's better to play other music until you are ready to tackle the harder version and not learn both? That would be a legitimate question. But it won't make it harder if you've learnt the easier one.

The reverse may not be true. I played "easy" versions of a few pieces I've now learned the full version of. The most recent example was Chopin's Nocturne in Eb. Well, it so happened that I picked up the book that had the easy version and was just playing through a few pieces for reading practice - I reached the easy version of the Nocturne and couldn't play it. It just wasn't right!
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#2122791 - 07/25/13 12:51 PM Re: Easy Piano sheet music harmful in long term? [Re: Daniel Corban]
Daniel Corban Offline
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Registered: 05/17/13
Posts: 215
Loc: Canada
The concern is for muscle memory. I would be able to play the easy version from memory. Once I started learning the "real" version, my muscle memory may interfere.
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#2122806 - 07/25/13 01:28 PM Re: Easy Piano sheet music harmful in long term? [Re: Daniel Corban]
wouter79 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/14/10
Posts: 3501
>Does reading simple words make it harder to read difficult words? No, and neither will this.

I see that different.

I think reading simple words, no matter how many you read, never prepares you for the difficult words. You simply have to start reading the difficult words (sentences, books..), and the earlier the better. Of course, this only after reading the easy words to start with. Just my 2cents...
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#2122814 - 07/25/13 01:40 PM Re: Easy Piano sheet music harmful in long term? [Re: wouter79]
tangleweeds Offline

Silver Supporter until Jan 11 2012


Registered: 12/21/08
Posts: 1269
Loc: Portlandia
Originally Posted By: wouter79
I think reading simple words, no matter how many you read, never prepares you for the difficult words. You simply have to start reading the difficult words (sentences, books..), and the earlier the better. Of course, this only after reading the easy words to start with. Just my 2cents...

I would say that developing fluency with simple words enables one to learn more complicated words by context/extrapolation.

To translate to music, the more fluent I am at reading individual notes and recognizing intervals, the easier it becomes for me to recognize chords and arpeggiation.
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#2122820 - 07/25/13 02:01 PM Re: Easy Piano sheet music harmful in long term? [Re: Daniel Corban]
scorpio Online   content
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Posts: 507
Loc: Connecticut, USA
Originally Posted By: Daniel Corban
However, I am concerned that if I learn the easy versions, it will make it more difficult to learn the regular version later (probably within a year at my current rate of learning).

If you feel that you are that close to the piano solo version, then why waste the time, energy and expense?

Having said that, there are some very good players here at PW that have been playing for 3-5 years and are still working out of the "Easy Piano" books. From what I understand, "Easy Piano" is considered intermediate.
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    #2122829 - 07/25/13 02:30 PM Re: Easy Piano sheet music harmful in long term? [Re: Daniel Corban]
    carolinagirl Offline
    Full Member

    Registered: 05/01/13
    Posts: 54
    I started learning to play in April of this year. I bought up a selection of easy books. Now I kind of regret that because I don't want to learn "wrong". I'll give you an example. I wanted to play Fur Elise in the worst way. I got some easy music and got it pretty quick! And then I listened to the "REAL" version and was pretty disappointed. So now I am learning to play it right. I can play the first part quite well. I am getting pretty good at the second part. The 3rd part is very similar to the first part, so that's easy too. And that's as far as I have gotten, but I am very happy with that progress, and this piece will be something I'll play forever. I am only using intermediate books from now on, even though it takes a considerable amount of time to play a selection from them well. It's worth the effort.
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    #2122832 - 07/25/13 02:34 PM Re: Easy Piano sheet music harmful in long term? [Re: wouter79]
    Andy Platt Offline
    2000 Post Club Member

    Registered: 04/28/10
    Posts: 2380
    Loc: Virginia, USA
    Originally Posted By: wouter79
    >Does reading simple words make it harder to read difficult words? No, and neither will this.

    I see that different.

    I think reading simple words, no matter how many you read, never prepares you for the difficult words. You simply have to start reading the difficult words (sentences, books..), and the earlier the better. Of course, this only after reading the easy words to start with. Just my 2cents...


    Of course, but that wasn't the question ....
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    #2122841 - 07/25/13 02:56 PM Re: Easy Piano sheet music harmful in long term? [Re: Daniel Corban]
    justpin Offline
    500 Post Club Member

    Registered: 03/25/12
    Posts: 504
    Loc: Holmes Chapel
    I had a situation like this.

    The full version of Lost my Pieces vs the easier version.

    I found that there were similarities and initially my hands would go for a note which would have been played on the easier version when my eyes were telling me something else.

    It took a few tries to work it out, it took a lot longer to figure out the full version

    Same with a Chopin piece Prelude op.28 no 7 I could play the Casio version after an hour.

    The full version was somewhat more complicated but had similarities took about a week and a half to get it. YMMV of course as I am just a rookie.



    My thoughts are if you need to go into your zone of proximal development if you stick in your comfort zone you won't develop so you should go for something just out of reach but not too far out of reach so you're not demotivated.

    Maple leaf rag is way above my level and it was depressing to only be able to play a couple bars after a few days. While a entertainer is an easier piece and after a few days I could play the first page.

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    #2122851 - 07/25/13 03:05 PM Re: Easy Piano sheet music harmful in long term? [Re: Daniel Corban]
    Cici_0128 Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 06/25/13
    Posts: 4
    I think this it the thing, if you learn what your capable of learning now, you get better and better at all aspects of music. Every new song you learn to read will have new challenges in it for you even if it seems just as easy there is always a tricky part of a song you will learn a lot from mastering. Your music reading skills will improve and you will gain better rhythm and timing along the way. Soon you will find you are ready to move on to progressively harder pieces of music. Just make sure you continue to challenge yourself with slightly harder pieces little by little. I am new to piano but have been playing guitar for years and it was the best way for me to improve. Some things just take time but you'll have fun along the way and get there faster if you play play play!!.

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    #2122861 - 07/25/13 03:24 PM Re: Easy Piano sheet music harmful in long term? [Re: Daniel Corban]
    Daniel Corban Offline
    Full Member

    Registered: 05/17/13
    Posts: 215
    Loc: Canada
    If the regular version of this book had fingerings, it would be the obvious choice. The fingerings are the critical difference for me.

    I am considering the easy version so I could quickly play the melodies to entertain my daughter and also relax a bit from the intense learning I do with classical. However, I'd like to be able to actually perform these pieces someday, so the easy version almost seems like a waste of time.

    I've only played a bit from the online sample pages from each book. I'll take a look at the books in person tomorrow and see just how out of reach the regular versions are. The book is marked "intermediate-advanced".
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    #2122864 - 07/25/13 03:34 PM Re: Easy Piano sheet music harmful in long term? [Re: Daniel Corban]
    Briguy65 Offline
    Full Member

    Registered: 10/08/02
    Posts: 285
    Loc: So California
    I learned Scott Joplin's "the entertainer" from an easy version of the sheet music and memorized most of it. Many years later I came across the published version that Joplin played -- it was much tougher -- but my muscle memory did not interfere -- I don't have the new version memorized either though. Anyway, I don't think it will hurt to play the easy version first. The hard version can be really tough depending on your flexibility, speed, skill, ability to read music, etc. But eventually it comes and you'll learn it.

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    #2122874 - 07/25/13 04:01 PM Re: Easy Piano sheet music harmful in long term? [Re: Daniel Corban]
    Allan W. Offline
    Full Member

    Registered: 10/03/12
    Posts: 371
    Loc: Michigan
    For me, muscle memory doesn't interfere with learning a harder version of a piece. And I find that I can play both just fine.
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    #2122985 - 07/25/13 07:48 PM Re: Easy Piano sheet music harmful in long term? [Re: Daniel Corban]
    Enthusiast Offline
    Full Member

    Registered: 05/04/13
    Posts: 232
    Loc: UK
    Originally Posted By: Daniel Corban
    If the regular version of this book had fingerings, it would be the obvious choice. The fingerings are the critical difference for me.

    I am considering the easy version so I could quickly play the melodies to entertain my daughter and also relax a bit from the intense learning I do with classical. However, I'd like to be able to actually perform these pieces someday, so the easy version almost seems like a waste of time.

    I've only played a bit from the online sample pages from each book. I'll take a look at the books in person tomorrow and see just how out of reach the regular versions are. The book is marked "intermediate-advanced".


    Can I have the name of the books or a link? I really like videogame music. It'd be great if they have books for other instruments too.

    Isn't it always the way though that you start off with simple pieces and gradually move onto more difficult ones. Sometimes it'll be more difficult versions of the songs you were playing earlier.

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    #2122992 - 07/25/13 08:02 PM Re: Easy Piano sheet music harmful in long term? [Re: Enthusiast]
    Daniel Corban Offline
    Full Member

    Registered: 05/17/13
    Posts: 215
    Loc: Canada
    The books in question are the Alfred Super Mario and The Legend of Zelda series for piano. They provide both easy and advanced versions of each.
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    #2123000 - 07/25/13 08:27 PM Re: Easy Piano sheet music harmful in long term? [Re: Daniel Corban]
    Allan W. Offline
    Full Member

    Registered: 10/03/12
    Posts: 371
    Loc: Michigan
    I think the best video game piano arrangements are the Final Fantasy Piano Collections series. I have a compilation book and enjoy playing them a lot. http://www.amazon.com/Final-Fantasy-VII-Piano-Collections/dp/4636831837/ They're intermediate - advanced difficulty though.

    There's also an easy compilation edition (http://www.amazon.com/Final-Fantasy-Piano-Sheet-Music/dp/4401023285/) but I have no experience with it. Unfortunately the sheet music books are so expensive...
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    #2123064 - 07/26/13 12:33 AM Re: Easy Piano sheet music harmful in long term? [Re: Daniel Corban]
    Clayman Offline
    Full Member

    Registered: 01/07/13
    Posts: 300
    Loc: Prague, Czech Rep.
    I think it's not a big deal. Sure, if you want to jump right into deep water, get the harder version but you might find it a little too hard to get the gratification of playing even a little bit of it correctly. But starting with the easier version and working your way up will surely do you no harm.
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    #2123104 - 07/26/13 01:38 AM Re: Easy Piano sheet music harmful in long term? [Re: Daniel Corban]
    Whizbang Offline
    500 Post Club Member

    Registered: 10/27/12
    Posts: 758
    I wouldn't stress.

    Yah, if you learn an easy version and then immediately try to learn a hard version, you'll be at cross-currents.

    But if you learn an easy version now and then play a bunch of stuff to improve your skills and then later come back to the harder version, you'll run into some stuff, sure, but you can lay down new patterns comparatively easily.
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    #2123113 - 07/26/13 01:54 AM Re: Easy Piano sheet music harmful in long term? [Re: Daniel Corban]
    Sweet06 Offline
    Full Member

    Registered: 06/22/13
    Posts: 408
    im doing the easy versions.... its fun and the hard ones are easily a year down the road... will be equally fun getting a "spiced up" version to do later of a song you really love...
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    #2123163 - 07/26/13 05:23 AM Re: Easy Piano sheet music harmful in long term? [Re: Daniel Corban]
    Brian Lucas Offline
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    Registered: 09/04/11
    Posts: 959
    "Easy Piano" covers such a wide range anymore. Not only is it usually a simplified arrangement, quite often they are put in "easy" keys like C, F or G. So if you play along with a recording, it might be off. I noticed if a student is looking for a theme song and I go on Musicnotes.com to see what's available, quite often there are multiple easy piano versions. Some I wouldn't necessarily classify as easy, some are young child level. It varies greatly.

    In the short term I don't think it hurts. It definitely helps you improve your reading skills when there are fewer notes. You just have to use your judgement on whether easy means easier version or if it means kid version.
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    #2123173 - 07/26/13 07:16 AM Re: Easy Piano sheet music harmful in long term? [Re: Daniel Corban]
    rnaple Offline

    Silver Supporter until April 24 2014


    Registered: 12/23/10
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    Loc: Rocky Mountains
    My teacher had me get the hard version along with the easy. So I could look at both. Compare and learn what and how. She actually prefers that I get the Original. With some that is not possible.
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    #2123202 - 07/26/13 08:58 AM Re: Easy Piano sheet music harmful in long term? [Re: Daniel Corban]
    sinophilia Offline

    Gold Supporter until Sept. 05 2014


    Registered: 06/26/12
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    I haven't been very happy so far with the few easy piano books I bought. First of all, the arrangements are not that easy - sometimes more intermediate than beginner. Secondly, it's not easy to make them sound good, even when they are not too bad themselves.

    If you stick to classical music there's actually plenty of stuff that's very feasible and entertaining without the need to be simplified. Many composers wrote beginner pieces and studies. But if one absolutely wants to play the Maple Leaf Rag after a few months at the piano, an easy version is definitely needed and won't do no harm!
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    #2123271 - 07/26/13 11:26 AM Re: Easy Piano sheet music harmful in long term? [Re: Daniel Corban]
    malkin Offline
    2000 Post Club Member

    Registered: 04/18/09
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    Loc: *sigh* Salt Lake City
    I pretty much agree with sino. The only harm in simplified arrangements is that I don't like how they sound, so playing them isn't satisfying.
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    #2123319 - 07/26/13 12:56 PM Re: Easy Piano sheet music harmful in long term? [Re: Daniel Corban]
    Kymber Offline
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    Registered: 09/25/08
    Posts: 1348
    Loc: MA
    I don't think its a problem at all. I understand why some may think so but learning songs you are familiar with makes the whole process of learning more enjoyable.

    I think the key is, when you get to the more advanced versions of the songs just learn it as you would learn any other new song you. Don't think of it as how it is different from the previous version you learned.
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    #2123439 - 07/26/13 05:20 PM Re: Easy Piano sheet music harmful in long term? [Re: Daniel Corban]
    Enthusiast Offline
    Full Member

    Registered: 05/04/13
    Posts: 232
    Loc: UK
    Originally Posted By: Daniel Corban
    The books in question are the Alfred Super Mario and The Legend of Zelda series for piano. They provide both easy and advanced versions of each.



    Thanks I may get the Zelda one and also the Final Fantasy book.

    I don't think it's harmful at all if your progressing along in the right way and pace for you. What about those who learn to play songs through Synthesia? That might be bad.

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    #2123545 - 07/26/13 09:33 PM Re: Easy Piano sheet music harmful in long term? [Re: Daniel Corban]
    Amaruk Offline
    500 Post Club Member

    Registered: 12/02/11
    Posts: 802
    Loc: New England, USA
    I also don't think it is harmful in any way to play the easier versions.

    In fact, I think it is important that you play music that inspires you regardless at your level. If you take on a too difficult piece (the original version) you might lose interest in playing piano. I teach my son to play the piano (he also takes piano lessons from a teacher) and I teach him easy versions of songs he likes. Since he is new to the piano I start from an easy piano version and simplify it further for him. It is works great as I feel the songs in his piano books are too generic and quite boring in many cases. And the real versions are way to hard for him at the moment. This way we have managed to keep the fun in making music which I think is very important. And you will soon discover that any time spent at the piano is rewarding. Just make sure you have fun at all times!
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    #2123615 - 07/27/13 12:31 AM Re: Easy Piano sheet music harmful in long term? [Re: Daniel Corban]
    rnaple Offline

    Silver Supporter until April 24 2014


    Registered: 12/23/10
    Posts: 2055
    Loc: Rocky Mountains
    I think I might benefit this with more comments. My teacher in focused on teaching me understanding. Because I intend to write in the end.

    This thread isn't about the teaching books. Still I comment. Alfred's is focused on teaching you something. They don't have to be written how they are. They are written to train something.

    Even then, I know and my teacher knows. My autonomic mind/nervous system, is not wanting to be trained. It is an ongoing battle at this point. Everything from complete blank in my mind, to confusing which finger I'm playing. Including it trying to introduce excuses in my mind. I know all this already from physical training or more so endurance training. I understand what is going on. The base (autonomic) mind is always trying to take control and is not your friend. It is to obey, not control.

    I'm working on one piece from John Williams. I have an easy piece from him. Not a hint of another arranger or anybody involved. I'm judging that it is the writer/arranger's judgment on what is easy. This particular piece is close to the hard version (level 5 probably intermediate?). Leaves out things I shouldn't be trying to do at an easy level. Yes, it's an easier key to work with. One should train simpler physiological things before more complex. If we try to do more complex without the simpler training first. We run into trouble, physiologically. A good writer/arranger knows this. I think John does a wonderful job on his easy pieces.

    I think we might consider who is the arranger or writer on easy pieces. Some arrangers might not be so good?

    I know that Canon in D. The very best version of it on piano is simpler than some I have heard. Some versions, the arranger tried to get fancy to match what violins do beautifully in a clumsy way on piano.

    Overall.... Easy doesn't hurt you. You need easy when at that level. You shouldn't be trying to train yourself to run, when you haven't learned to crawl yet. Much less walk. Trying to use; Easy hurts you, as an excuse is just that. An excuse to sabotage your learning.
    Hard can be used to bring to your realization how badly you need the simple training. It can be used to make you take the simple training much more seriously.
    Easy pieces or books that one doesn't like. Perhaps it is the arranger that isn't that good? You might like another arranger better?
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    #2123722 - 07/27/13 09:16 AM Re: Easy Piano sheet music harmful in long term? [Re: malkin]
    Palmpirate Offline
    Full Member

    Registered: 01/31/13
    Posts: 220
    Loc: B.C.Canada
    Originally Posted By: malkin
    I pretty much agree with sino. The only harm in simplified arrangements is that I don't like how they sound, so playing them isn't satisfying.

    Ditto. but go ahead if that's OK for you.Taking on a harder version will take longer so much depends on your timeframe and patience with yourself.
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    #2123740 - 07/27/13 10:05 AM Re: Easy Piano sheet music harmful in long term? [Re: Daniel Corban]
    Daniel Corban Offline
    Full Member

    Registered: 05/17/13
    Posts: 215
    Loc: Canada
    I went to the store and skimmed over both versions of both books. I decided to get the regular versions and not the easy, for a few reasons. First, the regular versions seemed within my reach. There are a few pieces, particularly some of the Zelda pieces, that will take some effort, but overall, I could probably play most of these with a couple days of practice or less. Second, the easy books clearly suffered in accuracy on some pieces. Just from sight reading, I could see that they would not be similar enough to the real deal to be satisfying.

    While the easy books were not kid stuff, they are basically at, or slightly below my level. Easy enough that I could sight read and play through many of them, which is actually why I was considering them in the first place.

    I still have concerns that easy pieces may interfere with "urtext", but I haven't had the chance to test this yet.
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    #2123775 - 07/27/13 11:21 AM Re: Easy Piano sheet music harmful in long term? [Re: Daniel Corban]
    scorpio Online   content
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    Registered: 11/30/12
    Posts: 507
    Loc: Connecticut, USA
    Hi Daniel. I am asking this for me and my self awareness. How long have you been playing? I have been "self-teaching" for seven months. I need a teacher, I know that. I have somewhat lost my way. I have looked at those books and there is no way that the "regular versions" are "within my reach". I notice that you are doing Alfred Book 1 too. What the heck am I doing wrong? (rhetorical) I realize it is not prudent to compare progress and development. Just a bit frustrated. No need to reply, I am typing and thinking out loud.
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