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The ancient and well-worn Chinese saying has it that a journey of 1,000 miles starts with a single step (for those of you of a more mathematical bent, at 2.5 ft. per step that would be about 2,112,000 steps).

A familiar analogy here in the Forums is that it takes roughly 10,000 hours of practice, study and play to become a fairly "accomplished" pianist (a journey of it's own kind, which again at 1,000 hrs. of practice a year would take about 10 years to complete - 1,000 hrs. per year being an average of slightly under 3 hours per day, everyday.) Of course, 3 hours a day is a big stretch for many, and the time it really takes to become a skilled pianist is highly variable based on multiple factors. But this post is not about such stats.

Which is in the way of saying that after taking many more steps - or logging many more hours - I've reached a milestone, of sorts, along the long and sometimes frustrating (and often satisfying) journey towards that highly elusive goal of pianistic accomplishment or mastery (do we ever get there?).

The bottom line point here is that I've just finished my studies in Alfred 2 and will be moving into Alfred 3 after a brief vacation to the Outer Banks of N.C. right after Labor Day (kids back in school, rates reduced, water & air temps still warm - it doesn't get any better!), and after a brief period of reviewing select pieces in Book 2. I will also be joining Mark, IrishMak, Fitswimmer, Piano4 and other fine people in the Alfred 3 thread alot more often.

This completion of Book 2 and promotion to Book 3 is official because I signed the Certificate of Award at the end of Book 2 (just as I did at the completion of Book 1) which states this clearly, precisely and succinctly for all interested parties to see. Please note that I am authorized to sign it myself because I am self-teaching laugh

Now, to celebrate this milestone, here hopefully for your listening enjoyment are 3 of my favorite pieces from Alfred 2. These have all been presented before in the ABF as indicated, but I thought a joint appearance here would be a pleasant and convenient "recap":

From the April Piano Bar
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Light and Blue


From the 11th ABF Recital
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Etude, Op. 10, No. 3 (Theme)


From the June Piano Bar
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Intro and Dance (Those Were the Days)

With Regards (and with well wishes for your journey), JF


Every difficulty slurred over will be a ghost to disturb your repose later on. Frederic Chopin

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3 hours a day for 10 years ? I do about 1 hour a day, so in 30 years I will be a good pianist.

Serge



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- Robert Schumann

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Congrats John Frank!

You are proof that working an adult method can and will make you a pianist...

Welcome to Alfred book three. You are going to really like the pieces in this volume. There are a couple of clunkers, but for the most part quite enjoyable.

Mark...

PS: I play about 2.5 hours a day so I'm on the 15 year plan or there about...

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JF,

Thanks for letting us in regarding your graduation to Book 3! I hope you enjoy your graduation trip to the Outer Banks.

I am currently on page 26 of Book One... (but I am also working on a DVD piano by ear course).

Do you care to share with us any particular struggles and/or victories that were memorable during your two book journey? You started from scratch with Book One?

Congratulations Again, and display that certificate with pride! thumb

angelo

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Lovely playing, John. Quite an accomplishment. Congratulations.

Very nicely written and entertaining post as well.

Do you also play from lead sheets? (I'm assuming Alfred teaches playing from traditional full scores).

Lenny

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thumb

I love "Those Were the Days" and you played it beautifully.

You are certainly an inspiration to us self-teaching adults. Keep up the great work and best wishes to you for a continual success in your Alfred 3!

Warm regards,

Key Notes smile


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Serge88 - from what I've heard around here you're already a pretty well-rounded and accomplished piano player thumb

While 3 hours a day for 10 years should make you a real solid player, there is probably so much variation in experince to make these figures highly debatable, at best, and virtually meaningless, at worst.


Mark - thanks for the welcome to Book 3 - I'm really looking forward to getting into it in a big way, especially with your recommendation about the quality level of most of the pieces.


angelo - yes, I started from "scratch" in Book 1 and have been plowing thru I & 2 ever since (under my own stern eek guidance). It's been an exciting and uplifting adventure!

The most important things I've learned (thru trial & error mostly) and which I can heartily recommend to you are these 2 practice tips: (1) review old pieces constantly as you work on new pieces - honing the skills you acquired on the old pieces will help you polish them off, and also will assist you in your "attack" on the new pieces, and (2) don't give up on any given piece because of difficulties, but stay with it and hammer away at it until you've got it under control totally - IOW, don't write it off and move on to the next piece, because those difficulties that you gave up on will come back to haunt you and bite you in the butt later.


TryingToPlay (and aren't we all) - thanks for the nice words - no, I don't usually don't play from lead sheets, but I do modify or enhance many of the pieces I do play from full sheet music scores.

Regards to all, JF


Every difficulty slurred over will be a ghost to disturb your repose later on. Frederic Chopin

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Key Notes - thanks for thw well wishes - that means alot coming from a good Forum friend like you - glad you liked the "Days" piece - it was alot of fun to play - I'll be looking for your annoucement of your "graduation" from Book 1 to Book 2 in the not too distant future, so keep up the good work yourself! thumb

With warm regards also, JF


Every difficulty slurred over will be a ghost to disturb your repose later on. Frederic Chopin

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Congratulations, JohnFrank, on an important piano milestone! smile

However, I think you should demand a better teacher, because one who would commemorate an event like this with a signature only, and nary a happy face or gold star, is stingy indeed. wink

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Nice Work JohnFrank!

You took me down memory lane with these recordings. I also studied part of the Alfred series about 10 years ago and remember playing those very same pieces.

It has been a long journey as you say. While I may never reach piano mastery by professional or traditional standards, I often feel a sense of accomplishment especially when I play music I once thought I'd never be able to play. I feel as though I've come a long way since I played "Light and Blue" and the Etude 10 years ago, and I know a little bit about the journey that is still ahead of you.

Looking back, I would guess I probably wasn't as dedicated as you seem to be. I would go months on end without spending any appreciable time playing the piano then suddenly pick it up again. It's always been that way with me & the piano...on again, off again...but, I always seem to come back eventually. With your dedication, it probably won't take you too long to pass me up on your journey.

I'm looking forward to watching (hearing) you progress throught the next levels & beyond.

Enjoy your time on the Outer Banks!


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Congratulations on completing Book 2. Your "Those Were the Days" was excellent. I'm still hanging on with Book 1, still working on "Cafe Vienna" and "Lullaby", but I love hearing about the upcoming pieces in Books 1 and 2, and celebrate your accomplishments as if they were my own.


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Quote
Originally posted by Monica K.:
Congratulations, JohnFrank, on an important piano milestone! smile

However, I think you should demand a better teacher, because one who would commemorate an event like this with a signature only, and nary a happy face or gold star, is stingy indeed. wink
laugh Not so much stingy, but more just a stern taskmaster from the old school - he wouldn't want me to become a "head case" or too complacent, so his compliments are grudging and rare in his atempt to keep me focused on our long-range goals (i.e., tough love!) wink

Thanks for the congrats and Regards, JF


Every difficulty slurred over will be a ghost to disturb your repose later on. Frederic Chopin

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Opus45 - thanks for the kind words and your revealing post - I sometimes wonder what and how I'll be playing 5 or 10 years from now (or what I might be playing now if I had started 10 years ago!)

We're looking forward to the vacation trip to the Outer Banks - OkraCoke Island actually - never been there but heard alot of good things over the years - we usually go to Cape May on the Jersey Shore when we're not touring New England states. Thought we'd try something different this year - hoping the hurricane season goes into a lull while we're there!

Regards, JF


Every difficulty slurred over will be a ghost to disturb your repose later on. Frederic Chopin

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mom3gram - thanks much for the congratulations - and keep plugging away on Book 1 - pretty soon we'll be celebrating your promotion to Book 2, where the pieces are a little more challenging, but alot more interesting!

Regards, JF


Every difficulty slurred over will be a ghost to disturb your repose later on. Frederic Chopin

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Congrats JF!!!!! Yay laugh


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Great Job !!!

smile yippie


I'm a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.
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i dont get all this x hours a year to become a great player after y number of years, etc. each has their own pace and learning curve and desire.

it's not about the end. you'll find it is pretty much anticlimactic if you ever reach the end.

just enjoy the process. enjoy practicing, playing piano.
dont get into piano for the ego. do it for the pure enjoyment.

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That's all good & well brian13, but if you're going to learn to play beginner, intermediate and advanced level music on the piano you are going to have to put in the time.

Simply put, Less x equals More y regardless of your own pace, learning curve and desire.

I would be lying if I said it was alway pure enjoyment...sometimes it's been downright frustrating and physically painful, but it's always been worth it.


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John Frank, in my opinion the idea of having to play for 10,000 hours to become an accomplished pianist is highly exaggerated whatever one's talents and skills.

Probably 1,000 to 2,000 hours (according to talent and dedication) are going to make of most people piano players who can entertain others in a way not easily forgotten and give them great joy in the process. From there, one will only improve.
What an "accomplished" pianist is is highly subjective, but still 10,000 hours seems very high to me, I'd bet even many pianists coming out of a conservatory do not have that amount of hours in their fingers, and they play much better than many of us would probably consider a level of "accomplishment".

I write this because this is the "adult beginners forum" and some reader new to the forum might easily be discouraged from starting to play the piano in the first place.

I also write this because I myself have believed this for too many years, and this was one element that has put me off from starting playing the piano again. Little did I know how near I was to play things which I thought would have required long years of patient effort, based on the 10,000 hours theory...

I like the patient attitude, though.... wink


"The man that hath no music in himself / Nor is not mov'd with concord of sweet sounds / Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils." (W.Shakespeare)

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P.s. As we are by Chinese, I'd add another saying: the journey is the aim, not the arrival (I even think it was lao-tse for both).

He who starts or continues practicing the piano should ask himself whether he or she enjoys the daily dealing with the piano keyboard. If yes, the rest will come from itself and the journey will probably never end; if no (or never), one should think whether he is doing the right thing.

Again, some word of encouragement for the "almost beginners" who are perhaps reading: piano playing can be, and for most people is, fun from day 1.

Not everything you do will be the same fun, but you should be able to have your fun every day you sit on the piano.


"The man that hath no music in himself / Nor is not mov'd with concord of sweet sounds / Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils." (W.Shakespeare)

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