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Topic: Adult beginner starting Alfreds books  (Read 909 times)

Offline jbloggz

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Adult beginner starting Alfreds books
on: August 22, 2020, 04:20:44 AM
Hi,
I've been trying to work through the Alfreds adult all in one book 1 for about a month now, and it seems to be going pretty well (I'm up to around page 80). I don't have a teacher at the moment. I want to wait until the whole COVID situation dies down before going down that path.

The one thing I seem to struggle with is knowing when I'm ready to move on from one piece to the next. Is there any criteria I could use? I can spend one session playing a piece, and feel like I've mastered it, then the next day I'll try it again and struggle a bit for the first couple of attempts. Is this normal?

Also, when starting a new piece, unless its very similar to the previous one, I feel like its an impossible task and have no idea what I'm doing. After a while I then start to get it and it starts to come together fine, but I feel like I'm just rote learning it by this point. Is this also a normal thing?

thanks

Joe

Offline grantuss

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Re: Adult beginner starting Alfreds books
Reply #1 on: August 22, 2020, 08:55:46 AM
I'm adult learner as well Joe. I'm self teaching and I'm aware the limitations I have are I'm really just learning by rote and think I need to study the pieces rather than just memorise them to try and understand patterns in the music. Trouble is I find that not as enjoyable as learning a piece so don't do it properly. Lots of great teaching advice on here from years ago by a chap called bernhard. A lot of it way over my head but lots of great nuggets that make real sense to a beginner like me. Cheers. Grant

Offline volcanoadam

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Re: Adult beginner starting Alfreds books
Reply #2 on: August 22, 2020, 11:05:29 AM
80 pages in a month is quick, much too quick I'd say. Try to study the pieces day after another until they become effortless and you can play them reasonably well on the first attempt. Depending on the complexity of the piece it can take between few days to a month, or so (in case of that book at least).
Great advice from Grantuss - read Bernhard's posts, you'll find there plenty of answers to your questions.
VA

Offline jbloggz

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Re: Adult beginner starting Alfreds books
Reply #3 on: August 22, 2020, 12:23:24 PM
I probably should have mentioned, I did start learning for about 6 months a few years ago, so the first 30-40 pages went quite quickly. I've really slowed down for the last 10-15 pages.

That's a bit surprising to hear that it can take up to a month to learn some of the pieces in this book. So far the longest its taken me to be able to play one of the pieces reasonably is only an hour or so. I'm only up to "Happy Birthday", so everything so far has been pretty short and straightforward. I'm guessing it gets much harder soon!
I went back though everything today and it was only these last 15 pages that I struggled with on the first attempt.

I read some advice that suggested continually going back through the earlier pages, and only moving up the starting page once you can play it fluently. This seems like good advice right? So instead of being on a particular page, its more like you're on a range of pages, which slowing moves through the book.

I'll see if I can find these posts you guys are referring to. If you have any links handy that would certainly be helpful too.

Offline volcanoadam

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Re: Adult beginner starting Alfreds books
Reply #4 on: August 24, 2020, 08:27:12 AM
That would be a good place to start:
https://www.pianostreet.com/smf/index.php?topic=3039.msg28100#msg28100
Browse through his posts, you'll find plenty useful information.

A month may seem long for a beginner, but isn't that long at all. Many pianists work years on mastering their concert pieces.
If you work through a piece quickly and do not come back to it next day you won't learn much apart from reading. That's how our brains work - we learn what we repeat.
That book, as every method book, is organised progressively, so you can skip the easiest parts and learn the pieces that you can't just read through.
VA

Offline moodyblue

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Re: Adult beginner starting Alfreds books
Reply #5 on: August 29, 2020, 10:26:34 PM
I've always found it a real drag learning stuff from these books although no doubt they help.

I've recently (April) started to play again after maybe 20 years out so it's almost back to square one.

What motivates me is snippets of songs where the keyboard work is strong. I'll pick a section and continuously work on it over the course of a few days which I find improves technique and finger movement.
To a point you can make up your own exercises.

Hanon is a brilliant book for technique and finger movement by the way. It can be very repetitive and maybe quite dull for some but I've found this book a great springboard for learning.
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