Alfred Publishing is a respected leader in piano instruction method books. Worldwide, many students have found “middle C” with Alfred and have continued a musical partnership together, with the invaluable guidance of their teacher.

In recognition of Alfred’s tremendous contribution to music education, Kawai has joined forces with the venerable publisher to include in several digital piano models the first-year lesson songs from three method book series: Alfred’s Basic Piano Library, Basic Adult Piano Course, and the new Premier Piano Course. For details on the book titles and corresponding Kawai digital piano models containing the recorded songs, please scroll down to the bottom of the page.*

As succinctly described on Kawai’s website, “You can play along with any of the pre-recorded Alfred songs [built into Kawai’s digital pianos]…and adjust the tempo, mute either hand, and even compare [a recorded performance of yourself] to the built-in professional performance.”

This partnership between Kawai and Alfred Publishing makes for a digital piano feature that is exclusive to Kawai.

To access the built-in material, press the button on the left side of the instrument’s panel labeled “Lesson” (on all CA models and the CN41). Use the two “Menu” buttons to the left of the display screen to determine the Alfred method book you want to call up (which will be detailed in the display screen).

The two “Value” buttons to the right of the display screen allow you to locate the song within the book. By the way, the order of songs in the instrument is the same as they appear in the book. (And the piano’s owner’s manual gives you tips on quickly accessing specific songs.) Finally, the “Play” button on the right side of the panel will start the selected song.

This built-in material is a great resource for students studying with teachers who use Alfred’s books: The songs in the piano allow you, the student, to review a quality performance of the music in the books. Within your practice routine, it’s a handy reference tool for checking your rhythmic and note accuracy. And even if your teacher uses a different method book, the built-in Alfred material provides further music you can explore at your own pace.

In a more proactive light, you can play along with the built-in Alfred pieces by muting the right or left hand parts, using that handy balance slider to the right of the display screen (on all CA models and the CN31 and CN41). Just move the slider all the way to the left to hear only the recorded left hand part (thereby muting the right hand) and vice versa. You can then play the part that you’ve muted along with the built-in recording.

Playing such “duets” with the instrument encourages hand independence, because you’re concentrating on each hand separately. This “duet” approach also nurtures your ability to play with a steady pulse (the recording does not wait for you!). You may also adjust the playback tempo to a reasonable speed for your current level of ability.

Naturally, during your practice routine, you may encounter certain sections of music that are more challenging than others. Perhaps you’ll want to practice a troublesome passage several times in a row. There’s a button, “A-B Loop” (found on all CA models and the CN41), located on the right side of the panel that allows you to mark a section of the built-in Alfred piece so that the selected phrase repeats endlessly–allowing you to practice it over and over.

To use this feature, call up one of the Alfred pieces in the instrument. Press the “Play” button and, as you listen, press the “A-B Loop” button once to mark the beginning of the section you’d like to have repeated (looped). Then, press that same button again to mark the ending point. T

he loop will immediately begin (prefaced by a one measure count-in, by way of a metronomic “click”). To cancel the loop, press the “A-B Loop” button once again. The playback of the piece will then resume, minus the loop. This loop function may also be used with any of the CA series’ built-in finger exercises or Hanon pieces.

You might take a gander at the piano method book section of Alfred Publishing’s website to view more details on their highly-regarded educational series:

Until next time, enjoy having Alfred by your side. IYWKP,

Barry Baker

* Every selection in each of the following five Alfred publications is found in the CA model Kawai pianos (CA51, CA71, and CA91) and the CN41: “Premier Piano Course” Lesson Books 1A and 1B, “Basic Piano Library” Lesson Books 1A and 1B, and “Basic Adult Piano Course” Lesson Book 1. Additionally, the CN21 model has two of the above Alfred books built-in: “Basic Piano Library” Lesson Books 1A and 1B. Finally, the CN31 model has those same two books plus the first lesson book from the “Basic Adult Piano Course.”