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#962760 - 03/19/04 02:43 PM Starting lessons @ 39
1to1 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/16/03
Posts: 21
Loc: Illinois
Hi,

Last Christmas we bought a new Kawai K-50 for our 8 yr daughter. I have always wanted to learn to play the piano. DD teacher had a few kids quit so I asked if sheíd consider teaching me. I was really embarrassed to ask since I couldnít even read music. I was so tickled when she said she would. She is a newer teacher and I am her first adult student. She was a little nervous but I know I was even more so.

I have been taking for three weeks now and absolutely LOVE it. I love practicing and was having problems with DD coming up playing the same thing I was on the high end. :rolleyes: I had a few words with her and she doesnít do it anymore.

Just wanted to share about my new passion. :3hearts:

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#962761 - 03/19/04 03:25 PM Re: Starting lessons @ 39
pianojuggler Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/16/04
Posts: 1515
Thank you very much for sharing. Here on the Forum, there are many adult beginners as well as "retreads" -- adults returning to the piano for the first time since childhood.

Welcome.

I never played piano as a child. I played the cello for a few years. Like most kids, I learned to read music and play the recorder in 3rd or 4th grade. Unlike most kids, I kept playing the recorder over the years, and I own about a dozen ranging from sopranino to bass.


Three years ago, I started taking piano lessons at age 38. Absolute rank beginner. It has been a challenge, but an enjoyable one. The hardest things for me have been reading bass and treble clef at the same time, and getting my hands to function independently of each other (still working on this!).

I can touch-type over 100 WPM. I can fly an airplane. I can juggle, passing clubs (a little) like the Flying Karamazov Brothers. I have never encountered anything as complex as playing the piano.

My teacher has other adult beginners; she also teaches harp and some of her harp students are adult beginners as well. I play in the student recitals along with the little kids. It's a humbling experience. We also have a holiday potluck with just the adult students.

Something you might really enjoy is reading "Piano Lessons" by Noah Adams. I also just finished "The Piano Shop on the Left Bank". Both are about coming (back) to the piano as an adult.

Stay in touch. I will be looking forward to reading your posts. Ask lots of questions. Share your triumphs and your pains. You are in good company.

pj

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#962762 - 03/19/04 10:13 PM Re: Starting lessons @ 39
Robert J Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/17/04
Posts: 88
Loc: west of Toronto, Ontario
Awesome job 1to1! I just started posting here, but I was an enrollment representative for one of Canada's largest private music schools. I once signed up a young enthusiastic fellow one Saturday afternoon. He was 73! I also signed up a couple in their late 50s/early 60s just before we put on a concert. It was a nagging passion for them. Even though I technically got a commission for that, it was far more rewarding to be a pert of the process of explaining the lifelong benefits. I went to their house to bring the paperwork and I got to see the piano, thousands of old LPs and a passion for life. That's what it's all about. One is never "too old".
_________________________
RJ

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#962763 - 03/22/04 06:10 PM Re: Starting lessons @ 39
Frank R Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/16/03
Posts: 569
Loc: Anaheim Hills, CA
39 seems young to me. Just think you will have many many years to enjoy your playing. I started taking lessons about 14 months ago at 56 and enjoy it more every day, well almost every day. This two part reading on both treble and bass clefs is killing me. But nothing works better than putting in the hours, it feels so good when I get it, then the hours don't matter. My goals are no different than a young persons, to get as good as I can and enjoy the process. Worst case I can play for my wife in our "golden years", weather she likes it or not. Like piannojuggler I have accomplished many other shills, hang glider pilot, college basketball referee, staying married for 32 yrs. on the 25th of this month etc. but this is by far the most challanging. I did play clarinet for about 4 years 45 years ago, and it's amaizing to me how much I remember. Not so much the staff but the timing and note values were still kind of there. My commitment will increase April 3rd as we will be taking delivery of a new black laquor Estonia 190 grand. Can't wait!!

Good luck,

Frank

PS Don't know if I should start a new thread about this question but let's see how this goes. My teacher who I am very pleased with is having me do a couple of different things and I wonder what you guys think. I am about 2/3 of the way thru the Alfred Adult book #2. My teacher says that this is very fast progress, although it doesn't seem like it to me. Also, among other things we have compleated all the cords and inversions in preperation for working from a fake book, which I have been doing for the last 5-6 weeks. I really enyoy this because it gives me a chance to play a lot of tunes that I like and still wotk on the basics every day. Also, keeps me from getting bored. My practice time is probabily a factor in doing several things,
1 1/2-3 hrs. per day. Any feedback about this method would be interesting.
_________________________
Keep a song in your heart!

Frank
--------------------------
It's not who we are that holds us back, it's who we think we're not!

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#962764 - 03/22/04 06:15 PM Re: Starting lessons @ 39
Brad Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/27/01
Posts: 254
Loc: Lexington, KY
I started at 38. I'm 43 now and still at it. I've enjoyed every second I've spent at the piano.

Brad

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#962765 - 03/23/04 06:12 PM Re: Starting lessons @ 39
Daren Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/11/03
Posts: 243
Loc: Staffordshire,England
Hi,
I played an arranger keyboard from the age of 28 which was just learning the treble clef along with just chords with the left hand,but at the age of 35 I wanted to learn the bass clef and learn to play the piano.
I am 37 now and after only 2 years of learning the piano I am a ABRSM grade 5 standard.I am really enjoying learning the piano so much better than just playing an arranger with just left hand chords.

Regards,
Daz

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#962766 - 03/23/04 07:06 PM Re: Starting lessons @ 39
plays88skeys Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/08/04
Posts: 3091
Loc: Richmond, VA
 Quote:
Originally posted by pianojuggler:
Thank you very much for sharing. Here on the Forum, there are many adult beginners as well as "retreads" -- adults returning to the piano for the first time since childhood.
I'm one of those "retreads!" Took for four years as a child and returned to the keyboard at the age of 45. I'm 52 now and can't imagine NOT taking lessons! I think adults have more of a tendency to embrace the piano and have it become a true passion because it's something we want to do, as opposed to a child who may be doing it because the parents want it for him/her.


 Quote:
I can touch-type over 100 WPM. I can fly an airplane. I can juggle, passing clubs (a little) like the Flying Karamazov Brothers. I have never encountered anything as complex as playing the piano.
I'm also a very fast typist - probably 90+ wpm, a lapsed member of Mensa and an accomplished needlework artist. Like you, this has been the ultimate challenge for me. Since I thrive on challenge, I am very driven to get better -- some days I achieve this, other days the piano defeats me. But I always come back for more.

 Quote:
Something you might really enjoy is reading "Piano Lessons" by Noah Adams. I also just finished "The Piano Shop on the Left Bank". Both are about coming (back) to the piano as an adult.
Both of those books are great reading! Also recommended are Playing the Piano for Pleasure[/b] by Charles Cooke. This book is one of the most helpful I've ever read for the adult student. Long out of print, a reproduction can be ordered from Amazon. It's pricey (around $40) but I promise it's worth the investment!

The best fictional piano book is Frank Conroy's Body & Soul[/b], which I've read three times. Every time I re-read it something else becomes relevant that was overlooked previously. The author really did his homework, using Peter Serkin as his primary consultant.

By the way, anyone that can juggle will probably have no trouble getting down polyrhythms! \:\)

Is this a great forum or what?!
_________________________
There are no shortcuts to any place worth going. - Beverly Sills

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#962767 - 03/23/04 11:15 PM Re: Starting lessons @ 39
RickG Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/08/02
Posts: 947
Loc: Texas
You all don't know what an inspiration it is to read about your "journey" to learn to play the piano. I commend all of you! There is nothing like the "high" one gets from making music! : )
_________________________
RickG

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#962768 - 03/24/04 02:12 AM Re: Starting lessons @ 39
Sushi Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/29/03
Posts: 52
Loc: East Bay, CA
Okay, I am a "middle aged" adult and for years wanted to learn how to play the piano my whole life. And now at 50 I decided to do it. I've been teaching my self for two months now and love every minute of it.

I also take Beginner Piano course at the community college. Its just amazing the comaradarie you get between each other in the classroom setting. Sometimes, we will get together for a group play. Every week we have to played a song for the class ala mini-recital.

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#962769 - 03/25/04 09:36 AM Re: Starting lessons @ 39
PattyP Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/07/04
Posts: 612
Loc: Texas
I too am a ďretreadĒ (love that term Juggler!) and am having a blast. I took lessons for less than a year as a kid, decided to quit because I wanted to start playing French Horn in grade school, and in my youthful folly, didnít think I could do both at the same time. And yes, this is the proverbial, ďI wish my Mother would have suggested that I do bothĒ. But, I certainly donít regret the French Horn. I loved band (especially the parades!) and it kept me on the inside of making music. Sometime after high school I discovered that I can sing and have been singing ever since (I just turned 48). So, Iíve always been involved in music in some form.

My ultimate goal is to make my own accompaniment tracks. I do a lot of singing in church and have done several weddings and funerals. Too often the accompaniment-track-making-companies donít have a particular piece Iím looking for and I donít like to always have to depend on a live accompanist (he/she likes a break now and then). So, instead of limiting my track library to just whatís out there commercially, I decided Iím going to learn how to play well enough to make my own accompaniment CDís.

And yea, I can type too. Donít know my wpm but I typed this post in 2.3 seconds (lol-just kidding). :p
_________________________
Patty

A tired dog is a good dog.

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#962770 - 03/25/04 01:00 PM Re: Starting lessons @ 39
Dirack Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/25/04
Posts: 4
I don't think it really matters to the student, only for the teacher because of the different things, children usually learn much quicker, although the elderly ( yes all you 20+ ;\) ) usually have more feeling for it \:\) . Heh, I now teach (you did NOT hear me say that btw ;\) ) to a mother and daughter, 45 and 12, and I must say it's quite a thrill to see what their good sides are and what they have in common. But age is never a bad thing \:\)

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#962771 - 03/25/04 02:59 PM Re: Starting lessons @ 39
pianojuggler Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/16/04
Posts: 1515
The difference between kids and adult students?

My teacher says when a kid comes for his lesson and says he hasn't practiced all week it's because video games, watching TV, tormenting younger siblings, hanging out at the mall, or something equally time-demanding outprioritized the piano.

When I show up and I haven't practiced all week (I usually don't have to say anything...it shows!), it's because my boss had a few extra things to drop in my lap, my sewer backed up and flooded the basement, I had to work on tax return or balance the checkbook, my carpool was an hour late, I simply got home and fell asleep before I made it to bed, or some equally lame excuse.

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#962772 - 03/25/04 03:23 PM Re: Starting lessons @ 39
jdsher Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/04
Posts: 643
Loc: Plano, Texas
1to1: welcome to the world of adult beginners. I am 39 and started about 5 months ago when my 5 year old son started "keyboard" lessons at his school. I have also had the experience where DS tries to interupt when I'm playing so that he can "practice too". My piano teacher told me a funny story about Van Cliburn. Supposedly, when he was a kid all his mother would have to do to get him to practice was to sit at the piano and play. He would hear someone playing "his piano" and come running to take over. Personally, I find it's best if I wait until DS is in the bath, or after he goes to bed before I can fully concentrate on the music.
Pianojuggler: Thanks for the book recommendations, I just put Noah Adams book on hold at the library. I find that having supplemental information, like books, Pianoworld, videos, and CDs, really helps to keep my interest and practicing up.
Frank R: My teacher started me out with the Faber and Faber book and after I had mastered most of the pieces in it I now play sheet music that either I pick out or she gives me. ie I was listening to a Horowitz CD with Schumann's Traumarei and I just fell in love with it. I found an arrangement which I can play and then I downloaded the "real" version to begin to add to it. My piano teacher has an incredible knack ?sp? for knowing what is just slightly above my comfort level.
_________________________
"In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity." Albert Einstein

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#962773 - 03/25/04 08:11 PM Re: Starting lessons @ 39
Bob Muir Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/01/03
Posts: 2653
Loc: Lakewood, WA, USA
Welcome to the club 1to1! I started last September at 43yo and I'm still loving it! I started out with an inexpensive digital keyboard to see how it went, but quickly realized that I needed a real piano; so I bought a used 5'7" Samick.

Frank, I'm using Afred's as well. I'm probably about a month away from finishing the first book. I think you're making excellent progress. Especially if you're supplementing with additional sheet music/books outside the course. In addition to "The Stranger" that I just started in the Alfreds, I'm tackling "Music Box Dancer". Very challenging!

Plays, thanks for the book suggestions! I've already read Adams' book and the Left Bank. Playing the Piano for Pleasure sounds right up my alley!

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#962774 - 04/01/04 07:56 AM Re: Starting lessons @ 39
Neus A. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/30/04
Posts: 83
Loc: Spain
1to1 & company, you are not alone. I want to share this same recently found passion. Last September I went to enroll my 9-years-old daughter on piano lessons in a nearby music school. I liked her teacher and without a second thought I enrolled too. I'm 40.
When I was 10 I started playing accordion at the Conservatory of Music in Barcelona. I had to quit after 7 years due to the unbearable preassure they put on pupils. For 23 years I did not play or read a single note. Now I play the piano almost daily for an hour and enjoy it immensely.
Please excuse my English.

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#962775 - 04/01/04 12:09 PM Re: Starting lessons @ 39
jdsher Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/04
Posts: 643
Loc: Plano, Texas
I've always been curious why the conservatories put so much pressure on students? Is it for the same reasons the military and the space program do it, so as to find out what your breaking point is. Is it necessary for all students to go through this even if they don't plan on performing in front of large audiences and are more interested in composing, or doing studio work. It seems to me that if you are trying to promote the art form, then wouldn't you want to "nurse along" those talented individuals who attend your school rather than forcing these kids to drop out or worse.
Jon
_________________________
"In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity." Albert Einstein

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#962776 - 04/01/04 10:51 PM Re: Starting lessons @ 39
di Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/01/04
Posts: 1
Hi all, I've always wanted to learn piano. I'm 25 and I've been trying to teach myself over the past 6 months or so.... I've got the first part of Fur Elise down pat (well maybe not down pat but I think it sounds pretty good for a beginner :-) but I'm having major problems with the second part... Is there anything I can try which might make learning Fur Elise a little easier....

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#962777 - 04/02/04 06:44 AM Re: Starting lessons @ 39
Neus A. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/30/04
Posts: 83
Loc: Spain
 Quote:
Originally posted by jdsher:
I've always been curious why the conservatories put so much pressure on students? Is it for the same reasons the military and the space program do it, so as to find out what your breaking point is .../...
Jon [/b]
My guess is that they are so strict with the intention of "producing" the best musicians of the area. Other potentialy good musicians with easier breaking points may not make it to the end, though. For them it's sort of "take it or leave it"

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#962778 - 04/02/04 08:07 AM Re: Starting lessons @ 39
cathys Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/10/03
Posts: 917
Loc: Virginia
1to1 - Another retread here at 43 \:D . Been back taking lessons for about a year and loving it. It's kind of like school when you go back as an adult your doing it for yourself and for no other reason than its something you want to do and even the hard things are fun and challenging. Thanks to all of you that mentioned the different books I'll need to look those up for myself as they sound like something I would enjoy.

CathyS

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#962779 - 04/02/04 09:35 AM Re: Starting lessons @ 39
pianojuggler Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/16/04
Posts: 1515
 Quote:
Originally posted by di:
Is there anything I can try which might make learning Fur Elise a little easier.... [/b]
Ummmmm.... Find yourself a good teacher?

There is nothing that will aid learning like a little diagnosis and feedback from a good instructor.

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#962780 - 04/02/04 03:46 PM Re: Starting lessons @ 39
jdsher Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/04
Posts: 643
Loc: Plano, Texas
di: pianojuggler is right, find a good teacher now before you start to incorporate bad habits. If you are playing the first part of Fur Elise with no instruction at all, I wonder where you would be with the tender guidance of a good teacher.
Jon
_________________________
"In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity." Albert Einstein

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#962781 - 04/02/04 07:03 PM Re: Starting lessons @ 39
Chopininoff Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/23/04
Posts: 5
I wouldn't call myself a newcomer to the piano. I learnt it as a kid. Hated it for ages until I had a couple of best friends who played fabulously and it got my interest up. But I stopped any kind of music making for 9 years due to school and university and juat got back into it a couple of months ago. I find I am loving it more and more (and more and more!) each day and it's like, there's half an hour before I need to leave for work, I'll sit down and work on a tricky passage; there's 15mins spare somewhere, I'll play one of the pieces through etc. Basically I find it hard to get off the piano (unless it's a really REALLY bad day!).

What I am taking up from scratch at 25 though is the violin. Gosh, being able to read music is good, I admit, plus knowing the crux of musical theory, but I find the notion of having to just "feel" for the right points on the fingerboard to press the strings hard, and when I concentrate fully on that, the bowing goes awry and it sounds like I'mm killing all the cats in the neighbourhood! I love the challenge though.
_________________________
It is music's lofty mission to shed light on the depths of the human heart. ~ Robert Schumann

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#962782 - 04/02/04 07:16 PM Re: Starting lessons @ 39
Chopininoff Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/23/04
Posts: 5
To di, I third the suggestion of getting a teacher. It might sound expensive/a luxury item/whatever to you at first (indeed I didn't think of getting lessons so quickly myself) but it does wonders. Because first of all, if you don't already know music theory, you will learn it a lot quicker and from there on appreciate music on a whole different level.My current teacher is the first one I had who talks about music to me as a true subject (I can ask anything and he can just go on and tells me all this stuff) and I love listening to his ideas and wealth of info.

Second, and more importantly, you stop the bad habits right there and then. You will be amazed at how a seemingly simple suggestion will ease your playing much more. Anyone (eventually) will be able to play the notes. It is *how* you play them and how easy you make it for yourself. You may well be making things harder for yourself than you realise. I am constantly amazed at how my teacher corrects my fingering or helps me relax more, and with a bit of practice at home on what he suggested, the piece is "suddenly" a lot better. And also if your teacher plays the pieces to you, you gauge so much more from it "live" than from a CD recording.

For the moment (for Fur Elise 2nd part), if you want instant advice though, learn to play both hands very well seperately, esp the right with the quavers/semiquavers (I forget which) until you hand more or less knows what it's doing without you having to focus 100% on it alone. It is a tricky bit, esp for a beginner, so take it slow. The other is at the section after the running notes, when the left hand does the single staccato notes, follow the fingering that is on the score (it should give you it) it goes 3-2-1-3-2-1 even if it is the same note all the way through. It might seem superfluous and too much trouble at first, but it's put there for a reason. It (when played well enough) adds more to the sound of the seemingly monotonous left hand, but to me anyway, more importantly, it tells you whether you have played the correct number of notes! When you get used to it, it is more interesting to play too. :-)

It would take time, but well worth it. But definitely, treat yourself to a teacher! Esp if you are good enough, and certainly keen enough to teach yourself Fur Elise!
_________________________
It is music's lofty mission to shed light on the depths of the human heart. ~ Robert Schumann

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#962783 - 04/02/04 07:16 PM Re: Starting lessons @ 39
TheloniousPunk Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/04/03
Posts: 821
Loc: US
I started at 42. Well, I'm STILL 42.

But I can kick the crap out of most 8-year-olds!

Okay, SOME 8-year-olds.

Don't give up. We middle-aged prodigies have to stick together.

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#962784 - 04/03/04 07:51 AM Re: Starting lessons @ 39
PattyP Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/07/04
Posts: 612
Loc: Texas
TP,



Where do I sign up?
_________________________
Patty

A tired dog is a good dog.

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#962785 - 04/03/04 08:45 AM Re: Starting lessons @ 39
Stu Ward Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/18/04
Posts: 18
I'm 28 nearly 29 and just about to have my first lesson

Piano arrives in about 2 hours !!!!!!!

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#962786 - 04/07/04 04:04 PM Re: Starting lessons @ 39
MLT Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/10/03
Posts: 356
This is a great thread. Im 32 and took up the piano about a year and a half ago. I still suck but I enjoy every minute of it.

I started out on a plastic keyboard and realized after I learned the notes that I would need a piano. Now I have a nice upright to play on and my wife is taking lessons too. Learning is great and the nice thing about doing it as an adult is that you dont make it more than it is.

I get up 45 minutes earlier than I used to and practice piano while drinking the morning Java. its a routine that I would sorely miss if it were gone and is one of the things that keeps me working.

I started with the Alfred series but swiched to Faber for book two. Now I use both with pretty good results. My preference would be towards the Faber overall though.

Its great to hear from everybody else on this subject.

Kirk

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#962787 - 04/07/04 05:04 PM Re: Starting lessons @ 39
Bob Muir Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/01/03
Posts: 2653
Loc: Lakewood, WA, USA
Kirk, what do you like about the Faber book 2 over the Alfred's book 2?

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#962788 - 04/07/04 06:46 PM Re: Starting lessons @ 39
MLT Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/10/03
Posts: 356
Hey Bob, how are things in Lakewood? Are you in the Puget Sound region?

I think Faber has a smoother progression than Alfred and I think the left hand gets used more as well. Alfred is very tied to hand position which is good for awhile but it was really difficult to transition out of that for me when I moved into other music. You may feel differently. Faber has you moving all over the keyboard much sooner. That said, I do like Alfreds emphasis on chords. The other thing is I think Alfred makes some rough transitions here and there but thats probably just my perception based on how difficult some of the pieces were for me to play. In general I would say that Alfred presents more difficult music sooner than Faber does.

Both are good series and now I think I get a good balance by using each of them.

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#962789 - 04/07/04 08:19 PM Re: Starting lessons @ 39
Bob Muir Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/01/03
Posts: 2653
Loc: Lakewood, WA, USA
"Are you in the Puget Sound region?"

Yep. Lakewood is just South of Tacoma which is about 30 miles south of Seattle.

Thanks for your assessment of Faber and Alfred's. I'm currently getting close to the end of Alfred's book 1; just finished learning Greensleeves. I already bought book 2, but I'll check out Faber the next time I'm in the music store.

I do like how Alfred's introduces a new key and then has a couple of pieces in that key. When I'm practicing the scale for that key, I can almost hear the echo of the songs I was learning. \:\) It's funny though that they introduced The Stranger in A-minor, but then didn't explain why it didn't end with an A in the final chord. My teacher tried to show my why it was in A-minor, but I didn't quite get it. Hopefully when I'm farther along in my theory...

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