What are the best method book for adult beginner?

Posted by: thelullaby99

What are the best method book for adult beginner? - 03/06/11 02:22 AM

Pardon if there is similar topic already existing!

I'm looking for book teaching piano for adult beginner, self teaching. I went around Amazon and the responses for Alfred's Adult Basic are not very good, but some recommended Thompson's. My goal is to play classical pieces well, of course not too advanced but I don't want to learn 'shortcut' methods. I want to learn the proper methods.

Suggestions are highly appreciated!

Sincerely,
thelullaby99
Posted by: Lord Akela

Re: What are the best method book for adult beginner? - 03/06/11 02:26 AM

Alfred's Adult Basic is actually highly recommended here. I'm a beginner and I found it to be excellent.
Posted by: thelullaby99

Re: What are the best method book for adult beginner? - 03/06/11 02:33 AM

Do you mean Adult Basic Adult or All-in-one Course? The only one I'm seeing around here is All-in-one. Are they the same?
Posted by: ll

Re: What are the best method book for adult beginner? - 03/06/11 06:06 AM

They are essentially the same.

I recommend the All-in-One over the Basic, however.

It is a good series for self-teaching.

Others include Bastien, Faber's Piano Adventures, Hal Leonard: all in adult versions, as well as the 'childrens' series (not that they are any easier! same material, different presentation).

There are also children methods: Music Tree (the one I use to teach, but does require a teacher pretty much), Piano Town, Alfred's Premier (stay away from the basic library!)...

So many really. And not a single one of them is 'the best.'

It depends on the student and what they want to learn, and how much they're willing to spend. Each method has its strengths.
Posted by: cunparis

Re: What are the best method book for adult beginner? - 03/06/11 08:23 AM

Originally Posted By: thelullaby99
Do you mean Adult Basic Adult or All-in-one Course? The only one I'm seeing around here is All-in-one. Are they the same?


I used Alfred's and highly recommend it but I haven't tried others. The good thing about Alfred's is there are threads here for each level so you can get some support/help/feedback. There are also youtube videos for most of the pieces so you can hear how it's supposed to sound and see it played. that was a help for me.
Posted by: findingnemo2010

Re: What are the best method book for adult beginner? - 03/06/11 11:29 AM

If your being self taught, Alfred's all in one is the best in my opinion. There's really no best method I've come to realize. It's all one mans opinion from another and they all pretty much teach the same thing minus the repertoire.
Posted by: Marvelle

Re: What are the best method book for adult beginner? - 03/06/11 01:45 PM

Another one to check out is Fundamental Keys by Rachel Jimenez. I'm very much a newbie, and have been using it for about a month and so far I feel like I'm making progress. You order the book through Lulu, and there's a web site with videos you can purchase that clarify things well.
Posted by: thelullaby99

Re: What are the best method book for adult beginner? - 03/06/11 04:44 PM

Thanks everyone, I have thought about which books to use and decided to go with Alfred's All-in-one book level 1.

Marvelle: Thanks for the recommendation! I read your e-mail and was glad that you took the time to respond. However the book in question is not available in Amazon (my preferred online store) and I don't want to use video lessons for many reasons. Once again, thanks!
Posted by: Marvelle

Re: What are the best method book for adult beginner? - 03/06/11 05:08 PM

You're welcome. The popularity of Alfred's with so many folks here indicate you made a good choice. Best of luck!
Posted by: Baroque Style

Re: What are the best method book for adult beginner? - 03/06/11 08:54 PM

I use "The Piano Handbook: A Complete Guide for Mastering Piano" by Carl Humphries, plus Hanon as method book. You might want to read the reviews on Amazon, where people are comparing it with Alfred's all-in-one.
Posted by: ll

Re: What are the best method book for adult beginner? - 03/06/11 08:56 PM

Originally Posted By: MandarinTree
I use "The Piano Handbook: A Complete Guide for Mastering Piano" by Carl Humphries, plus Hanon as method book. You might want to read the reviews on Amazon, where people are comparing it with Alfred's all-in-one.


I actually would not recommend this. The Piano Handbook is great, but it is NOT an instructional book - more like a reference or quick summary.

Hanon is also not a method, but a series of finger exercises.
Posted by: Baroque Style

Re: What are the best method book for adult beginner? - 03/06/11 10:19 PM

Originally Posted By: ll
Originally Posted By: MandarinTree
I use "The Piano Handbook: A Complete Guide for Mastering Piano" by Carl Humphries, plus Hanon as method book. You might want to read the reviews on Amazon, where people are comparing it with Alfred's all-in-one.


I actually would not recommend this. The Piano Handbook is great, but it is NOT an instructional book - more like a reference or quick summary.

Hanon is also not a method, but a series of finger exercises.


Would Alfred's all-in-one be good method book, or you recommend any other books? cheers,
Posted by: thelullaby99

Re: What are the best method book for adult beginner? - 03/07/11 11:50 AM

Guys, I'm steering myself into doing ABRSM exam pieces according to grade. Like, I'll 'study' the pieces from grade 1 etc....by buying the music sheets. Good idea?
Posted by: cheechako

Re: What are the best method book for adult beginner? - 03/07/11 02:02 PM

I'm just a beginner myself, so I don't feel qualified to make claims about the best, great, or even good. And I'm still in the early stages with my method book, so again, I don't know how good it is.

But my method book is software from eMedia. It seems like a logical step in the progression of teaching (especially self-teaching) methods. Books and videos offer zero feedback. But, thanks to MIDI, this software can point out what I did wrong.

It still cannot monitor my posture and is not able to measure dynamics like ppp-fff, so I plan on finding a teacher when I have the cash.
Posted by: Cobra1365

Re: What are the best method book for adult beginner? - 03/07/11 02:18 PM

Cheechako: I also have eMedia software. It is actually pretty good. My only two observations so far.

1) all the books/learning material I have been using previous had me learning with teh left hand one octave lower. This program has you starting with Middle C with both hands...sort of had to "unlearn" everything to make it feel right.

2) If the music score is more than one page, the program advances to the next page too fast. If you haven't read ahead by two or three measures, it advances and you are stuck.
Posted by: thelullaby99

Re: What are the best method book for adult beginner? - 03/07/11 02:22 PM

Cheesako and Cobra: does this software require hooking up with a digital piano? I also want some feedback if possible, but my practice piano is an acoustic.
Posted by: Cobra1365

Re: What are the best method book for adult beginner? - 03/07/11 02:53 PM

Originally Posted By: thelullaby99
Cheesako and Cobra: does this software require hooking up with a digital piano? I also want some feedback if possible, but my practice piano is an acoustic.


Yes, unfortunately, it requires a USB hook up (digital Piano/Keyboard). Sorry.
Posted by: cheechako

Re: What are the best method book for adult beginner? - 03/07/11 03:33 PM

The version I have will let you use a mic to monitor your playing. However, since that is not a direct connection, I have no idea of the accuracy. I've never tested it, of course - I have no need for that feature.

To be honest, without the MIDI feedback, I would go with one of the popular method books. While popular doesn't equal instant feedback, it increases the odds that you can get feedback, advice, and tips from the forums, etc.
Posted by: findingnemo2010

Re: What are the best method book for adult beginner? - 03/07/11 03:48 PM

Originally Posted By: ll
Originally Posted By: MandarinTree
I use "The Piano Handbook: A Complete Guide for Mastering Piano" by Carl Humphries, plus Hanon as method book. You might want to read the reviews on Amazon, where people are comparing it with Alfred's all-in-one.


I actually would not recommend this. The Piano Handbook is great, but it is NOT an instructional book - more like a reference or quick summary.

Hanon is also not a method, but a series of finger exercises.

I'm not a teacher but I wouldn't either. It's a handbook.
Posted by: ll

Re: What are the best method book for adult beginner? - 03/07/11 03:54 PM

Originally Posted By: MandarinTree
Would Alfred's all-in-one be good method book, or you recommend any other books? cheers,


Yes, AIO would be a good book, but as I mentioned earlier, any book will do, really.

Originally Posted By: thelullaby99
Guys, I'm steering myself into doing ABRSM exam pieces according to grade. Like, I'll 'study' the pieces from grade 1 etc....by buying the music sheets. Good idea?


No, that's actually not a good idea. The ABRSM grade pieces do not give enough preparation for the next level - the jumps are too steep. Not to mention, Grade 1 in ABRSM assumes that the student has been studying for several years.

I would suggest a book of simple classics instead, or maybe a repertoire series. That will be far more beneficial and logical.
Posted by: tangleweeds

Re: What are the best method book for adult beginner? - 03/07/11 04:14 PM

I'd advise accompanying Alfred's with an preparatory level book of traditional classical teaching literature, like the Keith Snell Piano Repertiore series from Kjos or the Festival Collection by Helen Marlais from FJH.

I liked these series myself because I could listen to their CDs and choose to learn & polish the pieces I most enjoyed listening to. While Alfred's is full of chord-y gooness (very handy to learn), the classical stuff seemed much better to me for learning finger independence.

But looking back at my learning process (I used just the classical stuff at first), I think I would have done better to use a judicious mixture of that with a structured method like Alfred's. At the time, I didn't find the Alfred's tunes inspiring enough to compel me to the piano, but when I went back and started using them for sight reading practice, I found them very, um, nutritious.

At the time, I didn't have the mental concept for the "weekly throw-away" piece, but if I were to do it all over again, I'd use the Alfred's pieces for that, and use the baby classical teaching pieces which caught my ear and circled enjoyably in my head as my selections to polish.
Posted by: ll

Re: What are the best method book for adult beginner? - 03/07/11 04:29 PM

Originally Posted By: tangleweeds
I'd advise accompanying Alfred's with an preparatory level book of traditional classical teaching literature, like the Keith Snell Piano Repertiore series from Kjos or the Festival Collection by Helen Marlais from FJH.

...

At the time, I didn't have the mental concept for the "weekly throw-away" piece, but if I were to do it all over again, I'd use the Alfred's pieces for that, and use the baby classical teaching pieces which caught my ear and circled enjoyably in my head as my selections to polish.


I'd suggest holding off on the early repertoire until about page 100-110 for the classical repertoire or supplemental pieces. The thing about Alfred is, they aren't really pieces you want to polish. You just want to learn the theory and technique (and get a gradual piece to work on).

As for throw-away pieces, I don't think they hold any value until you are at a bit higher of a level: out of the method books, for instance.
Posted by: thelullaby99

Re: What are the best method book for adult beginner? - 03/07/11 06:25 PM

Thanks tangleweed!
II: when is the best time to start the repertoire? you mention '...after about 100-110 from classical repertoire/supplemental'. does it mean until after I master Alfred's?
Posted by: ll

Re: What are the best method book for adult beginner? - 03/07/11 06:31 PM

Originally Posted By: thelullaby99
Thanks tangleweed!
II: when is the best time to start the repertoire? you mention '...after about 100-110 from classical repertoire/supplemental'. does it mean until after I master Alfred's?


Typically teachers don't start students on repertoire until they complete a few levels of a method series. I personally start adults sooner rather than later because I feel they are better equipped (less coordination issues, more developed brain, etc) to start it after they learn the fundamentals.

If you really want another method that will dive straight into classical music, Keith Snell also has a 'Beginning Piano' series:

http://kjos.com/sub_section.php?division=5&series=248

Completing that would prepare one for the prep level of the same series. I happen to like it very much. Otherwise, yes, around page 100 or so of Alfred is when I think an adult could handle beginning classical music.

Edit: by the way, for those of you afraid of key signatures (!), the Multi-key Reading book is an excellent supplement to any method.

Edit 2: The Beginning Piano series can also be used right from the beginning of the Alfred's if you want supplemental material, or by itself as its own method!
Posted by: cunparis

Re: What are the best method book for adult beginner? - 03/08/11 01:17 AM

Originally Posted By: tangleweeds
I'd advise accompanying Alfred's with an preparatory level book of traditional classical teaching literature, like the Keith Snell Piano Repertiore series from Kjos or the Festival Collection by Helen Marlais from FJH.

I liked these series myself because I could listen to their CDs and choose to learn & polish the pieces I most enjoyed listening to. While Alfred's is full of chord-y gooness (very handy to learn), the classical stuff seemed much better to me for learning finger independence.


This is precisely where I ended up in my "After Alfred's Level 1 - Am I ready for a repertoire" thread:

http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/1636074/1.html

Now that I'm in Snell's preparatory classical book, I see that it has much more finger independence than Alfred's. In Alfred's, most of the left hand is either chords (which could be inverted) or it plays when the right hand is holding a note. This makes it easier. In the Snell book it seems both hands move independently. I thought the prep book would be easy since I had finished Alfred's level 1 but it was not as easy as I thought so I'm glad I started with prep.

I will still do Alfred's two but I will suplement it with the Snell & Festival Collection series. The CDs included with Festival is a good deal so that I can pay attention to the more subtle things like dynamics, expression, etc.

The good thing about a method book is that it will teach specific things such as passing the thumb under the fingers or playing right hand over left, for example, and then have a song where that is required.

I don't mind spending extra time at the prep & level 1 levels because I think with a solid base one can go quicker at the higher levels.
Posted by: EmmaB

Re: What are the best method book for adult beginner? - 03/13/13 04:46 PM

I agree, it can be really difficult to select something from the wide selection now circulating the market. We asked our teachers to list their top three picks and they chose: Faber & Faber, Bastien, and Alfred. If you want to check their responses, you can find them here: http://www.musikalessons.com/news/1/ask-a-teacher-piano-methodologies
Posted by: Marco M

Re: What are the best method book for adult beginner? - 03/14/13 05:28 AM

Targeted to especially train adult beginners for classical music, not boring you by kids/folk/country/movie pieces but only presenting classical tunes, this book is an excellent one and I am surprised that it isn´t more popular:

The Classic Piano Course, by Carol Barratt
(I recommend the Omnibus Edition, comprising books 1-3, subtitled 'The Complete Piano Course for Older Beginners', because it costs almost the same than buying only one single book out of the series)

It in my opinion is perfect for
a) total (adult!) beginners having the support of a teacher.
b) the adult beginners with previous keyboard instrument experience from the past, at least basically remembering how to read notes, who now are about to restart learning piano playing from scratch; you need some self discipline, because it advances quite quickly with each piece introducing two new difficulties at a time.

Instead of biasing you to largely end up in the left hand with chords only playing, this method nicely trains hand independence and as well a nonconstrained left hand use.
Posted by: BrainCramp

Re: What are the best method book for adult beginner? - 03/14/13 12:39 PM

Lullaby,

I'm here in the States, and using the ABRSM grades as a "teacher-less" strategy. I've no plans to take the exams. I'm now getting ready to start working on grade 2 pieces. I've worked on about 10 of the grade 1 pieces over the past year.

The thing I like about the ABRSM scheme is that the ABRSM has assigned a grade level to just about every classical piece known to man. That keeps me from attempting pieces that are much too hard for me. (They all LOOK hard when I start them!)

You might find the forums on the ABRSM.org site helpful. The teachers' forum has discussions of method and repertoire books for students at various levels.

Often the books they use in the UK aren't sold here. I've found that ordering them online from the ABRSM store or www.musicroom.com is easy.

I had some piano lessons as a kid, and had played other instruments a bit, so when I wanted to take a stab at piano again on my own I got The Piano Handbook by Chris Humphries. I like it because it works with classical pieces. However, it's not for a true beginner.
Posted by: Marc Harris

Re: What are the best method book for adult beginner? - 03/14/13 02:25 PM

A number of reviews of the Alfred books on Amazon.com complain that they use the "Middle-C" method (which, as I understand it, has the right hand thumb, and possibly the left hand thumb pretty much fixed on middle C, and other fingers relative to it).

The reviewers seem to think that this teaches bad habits, causing students to translate directly from position on the stave to finger, instead of from stave to note name, and note name to keyboard location. Also that it teaches a habit of keeping the hands stationary which will need to be re-learned as the student advances to pieces that use a wider range of notes.

Is this a valid concern--especially at the complete adult beginner level? Or are these reviewers just forgetting that we must learn to crawl before we walk, and walk before we run?
Posted by: scorpio

Re: What are the best method book for adult beginner? - 03/14/13 03:21 PM

Originally Posted By: Marc Harris
A number of reviews of the Alfred books on Amazon.com complain that they use the "Middle-C" method


This may depend on which Alfred book we are talking about. However, I am on page 105 of "Alfred's Adult All-in-One Course Level 1", and from what I can remember, only 3 (maybe 4) pages were devoted to "Middle C Position". I don't think we revisit Middle C ever again. This is just my experience.
Posted by: Polyphonist

Re: What are the best method book for adult beginner? - 03/14/13 03:32 PM

Originally Posted By: scorpio
Originally Posted By: Marc Harris
A number of reviews of the Alfred books on Amazon.com complain that they use the "Middle-C" method


This may depend on which Alfred book we are talking about. However, I am on page 105 of "Alfred's Adult All-in-One Course Level 1", and from what I can remember, only 3 (maybe 4) pages were devoted to "Middle C Position". I don't think we revisit Middle C ever again. This is just my experience.


I agree with Marc Harris that Middle C Position for too long teaches bad habits, for all the reasons he discussed (particularly the fact that the hands remain stationary and the association from the note on the score to the finger-"Oh, that one is on the second line from the bottom, so that means I use 3" and immediately playing whatever note 3 is on at the moment. wink
Posted by: cunparis

Re: What are the best method book for adult beginner? - 03/14/13 03:36 PM

Originally Posted By: Marc Harris
Is this a valid concern--especially at the complete adult beginner level? Or are these reviewers just forgetting that we must learn to crawl before we walk, and walk before we run?


I'm just a beginner myself, I finished Alfred's all in one book 1 and took a break after that. But I do play from fake books twice a week. I don't know how to explain it but I play intuitively based on intervals. Whatever finger I'm playing, if the next note is one note above I know it's the next finger. If it's two notes above I know to skip a finger. I don't even think about it, it just happens.

Is there a name for this?

so I wouldn't worry about the alfred's book using positions. once you start playing music without the finger numberings you'll figure it out on your own. it becomes intuitive.
Posted by: Polyphonist

Re: What are the best method book for adult beginner? - 03/14/13 03:43 PM

Originally Posted By: cunparis
I don't know how to explain it but I play intuitively based on intervals. Whatever finger I'm playing, if the next note is one note above I know it's the next finger. If it's two notes above I know to skip a finger. I don't even think about it, it just happens.

Is there a name for this?



It's called basic sight-reading. wink

When you get to the more advanced levels of reading, instead of picking out the music note by note like this, you will, without thinking about it, be reading ahead of where you're playing, and reading a series of notes at once instead of just one at a time. This will enable you to sight read faster and more cleanly. Getting there is a gradual process. I could go on and on about this (I've actually given talks on it) but I will stop before I'm carried away with my rant. wink
Posted by: cunparis

Re: What are the best method book for adult beginner? - 03/14/13 03:53 PM

Originally Posted By: Polyphonist

It's called basic sight-reading. wink

When you get to the more advanced levels of reading, instead of picking out the music note by note like this, you will, without thinking about it, be reading ahead of where you're playing, and reading a series of notes at once instead of just one at a time. This will enable you to sight read faster and more cleanly. Getting there is a gradual process. I could go on and on about this (I've actually given talks on it) but I will stop before I'm carried away with my rant. wink


I thought sight-reading meant when you can play music seeing it the first time.

I think of it as "playing by intervals". since i'm just seeing the interval and then playing the finger corresponding to the interval. so the playing is based on intervals and not note names.

in any case I think the alfred books are great. After book 1 I went to a classical repertoire book and i lost interest. I'm not too much into classical music. so if one prefers folk music then Alfred's is quite good.

The most important thing is to just play regularly and not stop.
Posted by: Polyphonist

Re: What are the best method book for adult beginner? - 03/14/13 07:58 PM

Originally Posted By: cunparis
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist

It's called basic sight-reading. wink

When you get to the more advanced levels of reading, instead of picking out the music note by note like this, you will, without thinking about it, be reading ahead of where you're playing, and reading a series of notes at once instead of just one at a time. This will enable you to sight read faster and more cleanly. Getting there is a gradual process. I could go on and on about this (I've actually given talks on it) but I will stop before I'm carried away with my rant. wink


I thought sight-reading meant when you can play music seeing it the first time.



Your thought was correct. wink
Posted by: LarryTo

Re: What are the best method book for adult beginner? - 03/14/13 11:01 PM

I suggest you look at The Piano For All Method which is very simple!

You begin with Chord based Popular Rhythm Style Piano which is very EASY but sounds incredibly like the ‘real thing’. This helps you to achieve a professional sound almost right from the start.

Once you are sounding great and having lots of fun (which motivates you to learn more) you can then expand step-by-step into Ballad style, Blues, Jazz, Ragtime, Improvisation and creating your own melodies. You will even learn how to read music AS you learn how to ‘play-by-ear’ and eventually you be able to play some amazing Classical pieces.

Visit Piano For All to learn more about training methods.
Posted by: alans

Re: What are the best method book for adult beginner? - 03/15/13 04:41 PM

The go-to book around here seems to be the Alfred Adult course and I don't understand why because I find it moves around too quickly. I tried the Piano Adventures Adult
books and I also didn't like them because each new piece felt too far from the last
one I had just done. So I'm now using the Piano Adventures kid's books and I find
these really easy and a gentle gradual progression. I don't mind the coloured pictures
which are kind of sweet and I just really enjoy not having to leap from one big
idea to another.
Posted by: keystring

Re: What are the best method book for adult beginner? - 03/15/13 04:55 PM

Originally Posted By: alans
The go-to book around here seems to be the Alfred Adult course and I don't understand why because I find it moves around too quickly. I tried the Piano Adventures Adult
books and I also didn't like them because each new piece felt too far from the last
one I had just done. So I'm now using the Piano Adventures kid's books and I find
these really easy and a gentle gradual progression. I don't mind the coloured pictures
which are kind of sweet and I just really enjoy not having to leap from one big
idea to another.

Ther has been this kind of feedback before. I also remember an adult student whose teacher recommended that he use the children's book, because it was more thorough, since he was serious.
Posted by: heathermphotog

Re: What are the best method book for adult beginner? - 03/15/13 10:56 PM

Hmmm I like the Alfred adult books, but I do find them jumpy. I think I'll pick up the kids books too. Thanks for the info!
Posted by: heathermphotog

Re: What are the best method book for adult beginner? - 03/16/13 03:43 PM

OK ... so after much poring over the Alfred Premiere and Faber Piano Adventures books, I broke down this afternoon and bought Faber Piano Adventures. I bought 3A - the ones aimed at kids. And I am so glad that I did! I bought the lesson book, theory book, technique book and popular music book. I have honestly gotten so much out of just the first few pages of the lessons and technique books. I am excited to see where this leads me smile
Posted by: Mete

Re: What are the best method book for adult beginner? - 03/20/13 10:26 AM

I finished Denes Agay's "Learning To Play Piano: Book 1" in about 4 months and I am halfway through the second book and I think there are 4 of them. I can't say that these are the best series, since I haven't used any other. I consider ordering all of Alfred's Adult Piano Course All-in-One series. It's widely recommended in PW forums. I may use first book for some sight-reading and encourage my teacher to continue from second book of Alfred's instead of Denes'. Well, one reason is that, Denes Agays' book cover has some kids playing piano on it and I, as a 33 old male, have to put it between two other books. I am almost twice as old as the next oldest student and that's enough humilition. blush
Posted by: Michael_99

Re: What are the best method book for adult beginner? - 03/20/13 06:59 PM

Hello thelullaby99,

Good morning, Good afernoon, Good evening,


I have read your post, here.

I'm looking for book teaching piano for adult beginner, self teaching. I went around Amazon and the responses for Alfred's Adult Basic are not very good, but some recommended Thompson's. My goal is to play classical pieces well, of course not too advanced but I don't want to learn 'shortcut' methods. I want to learn the proper methods.

I know nothing about Alfred's Adult Basic but thousands of piano players own it so what is awesome is that thousands of people have that book/s and can help you with questions. So if you are teaching yourself, there are countless reasons to get the book/s.

I on the other hand have had teachers for many years playing the sax, so I am cool learning to play the piano.

While it is rare that John Thompson Modern Course for the piano is seldom mentioned, I think it is awesome. I am in the first book of 5 books. It is in book 1 at page 43 that you get to play your first classical piece of Mozart and then from then on there are lots of classical pieces. It has been said that there can be for some a steep learning curve and it is fair to say that there is no fooling around. You have to go as always, slowly and accurately when you play, but the pieces are awesome to play and hear. There are 5 books of 70 pages each of music and is only 10 dollars per book. I will probably be a 100 by the time I get through book 5, but it is going to be a great journey.