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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fellow Musician Finds He's Not Alone
Bought based on a newspaper review hoping it would help with my mid life guitar blues struggle. I'm not trying to play Chopin but I would like to noodle a convincing blues on the guitar. As well as being enjoyably written it was interesting to see the frustrations of the wannabe classical pianist mirroring those of the UK bluesman. It's all music. The inner workings...
Published 18 months ago by Townheadbluesboy

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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars What an ego
It's certainly a gripping book. Playing the piano is my private pleasure so I lived every moment of his tortured relationship with the Ballade. He gives the impression of being about 90% honest with his readers - the excruciating description of the Ballade's first public moment in France, his teacher eventually trying his best to sack him....But the big question, in my...
Published 18 months ago by Dashwood


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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fellow Musician Finds He's Not Alone, 26 Feb 2013
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Bought based on a newspaper review hoping it would help with my mid life guitar blues struggle. I'm not trying to play Chopin but I would like to noodle a convincing blues on the guitar. As well as being enjoyably written it was interesting to see the frustrations of the wannabe classical pianist mirroring those of the UK bluesman. It's all music. The inner workings of the Guardian and intricacies of the major stories of the day provided relief from the technicalities piano fingering.

It's good to know that someone else really should know their scales and that practice and family life involve a bit of sneaking out - more family drama and talent contests on TV please.

I've tried the practising early in the morning and it works! All mid-life aspiring rockers and maestros should read it.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, inspiring, 25 Feb 2013
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Absolutely loved this book. I'm a diabolical piano player, (I started lessons ten years ago, and still haven't managed to memorise a single piece of music, or play anything worth listening to) so this story of managing to squeeze in just a small amount of piano practice amongst a maelstrom of working life, really grabbed me. Told in diary entries, and covering the build-up to a nerve wracking performance, it was surprisingly engrossing. Plus the backdrop of life as the Editor of the Guardian was a real insight. If you play the piano badly, (or quite well) I could not recommend this book any higher. Really, really good.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All amateur musicians particularly pianists will love this book, 25 Feb 2013
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I enjoyed this book as much as anything I have read in the last 5 years. It is a testament to his skill as a writer that he is able to make the process of learning a piano piece by an amateur a "gripping" read. (True, he is a newspaper editor, so he should be able to write) There is plenty of other narrative about his work as Guardian editor to fill in the gaps, but his stories about his amateur musical gatherings are equally interesting. For anyone like me who found out about this book through a newspaper review, I would urge you to buy the book as well, the reviews by no means tell the whole story. His notated Ballade score at the back on it's own makes it worthwhile (NOTE: I bought the print version and I'm glad I did that, as referring to it is easier unless you are very adept with your e-reader) . PS: I am not sure I believe his frequent assertion that he doesn't know scales, as it seems inconceivable that one can sightread (which he says he can do well) without scale/chord/harmonic knowledge.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read it and then play it again!, 21 Mar 2013
Started learning the piano very young? tick. Never had the patience to learn scales and harmony properly? tick. Took it up again later in life, with the desire to improve? tick.
Anyone who shares these starting points with Alan Rusbridger will relish this book, which demonstrates how important regular practice is to making progress with learning a piece. I was so hooked on his progress that I stopped reading the Guardian for a week, in order to finish the book. Then I bought his recommendations for amateur pianists, to give a structure to my practising sessions. This has changed my life, as the challenge which he set himself changed his. There are some fascinating choices which lead to surreal situations: practising the Chopin Ballade in an empty Libyan hotel the day before the airport was closed and he was able to leave the country with a hitherto imprisoned Guardian journalist. One could argue that it was BECAUSE he spent twenty minutes a day learning to play such a difficult piece that he was able to assume all the other responsibilities of editor, journalist and family man. I was left just wondering who did the washing up.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Every amateur adult musician should read this. . .., 14 Feb 2013
As I began to practice a new piece to re-take grade 7, looked at the recommended speed, I wondered would my fingers have the dexterity to play it and did I have, as a middle manager of a core department have time to learn it by the due date? Alan Rusbridger's inspirational book sounds out an impressive 'yes' for us all. This record of Alan Rusbridger's own personal and very honest journey to juggle pursuit of an ambition to master a Chopin epic while managing a hectic and unpredictable 24:7 job as Editor of The Guardian not only provides inspiration but is a compelling account of an unforgettable year in the media, an insight into purchasing my favourite instrument, the piano, against what became a major rebuilding project. Not only that but this book affords an incite into the impact on musicianship of this digital age. You can judge the true impact of a book when you start purchasing its bibliography! And are those fingers dexterous enough? Do I have time? Yes I do.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 14 Mar 2013
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M. Roper - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Play It Again: An Amateur Against The Impossible (Kindle Edition)
What a great book. Couldn't put it down. Some of the technical detail will only be of interest to serious pianists however.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I love this book, 26 Feb 2013
By 
Alfred J. Castino "alcastino" (San Francisco) - See all my reviews
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This book was very interesting and fun to read. I enjoyed both the piano story and the stories about journalism during this period. I also am an adult getting into piano lessons so I found the diary most useful and interesting, particularly the interviews with famous musicians.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Play It Again, 24 Jan 2013
By 
S Riaz "S Riaz" (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Play It Again: An Amateur Against The Impossible (Kindle Edition)
Alan Rusbridger is the editor of the Guardian, so has little time for hobbies, but has a passion for music and for playing the piano. At an annual 'piano camp' he is inspired when a fellow attendee plays Chopin's Ballade No 1 A piece, which inspires dread in even professional pianists. Rushbridger is now in his fifies and restarted piano lessons in his late forties. He has a demanding job in news, which is now updated constantly 24 hours a day, and has little time for anything outside work. Yet, despite all that, he decides to set himself a challange to pay the piece of music which both daunts and calls to him.

It is difficult to describe this book. It is partly full of fascinating musical digressions, from the author's attempts to find the perfect piano for the music room he is building at his country cottage, to watching other amateur pianists performing the piece on YouTube, taking lessons and discussing the piece with musicians and partly it is a news diary. During the year that Rusbridger was desperately attempting to find time for practice, he was also dealing with some major news stories, such as WikiLeaks, phone hacking and the Arab Spring. The book jumps delightfully between topics, leaving you at times impatient to leave the news and get back to the music - as I am sure Rusbridger felt himself. At one part of the book he mentions a 'sneery' article about his love of music, but you can only applaud his passion for the music (and instrument) he obviously loves and the whole book is a pleasure to read, whether you are a musician or not.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Would-be piantist, 21 Mar 2013
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This review is from: Play It Again: An Amateur Against The Impossible (Kindle Edition)
I haven't finished it yet but I'm dreading doing so. I'm loving every minute of it, especially because we have one or two things in common but not many. His standard is obviousy superior to mine but the wonderful thing is, this book gives one hope. I too am a good sight reader and find it impossible to commit the score to memory but what Alan Rusbridger has achieved is extraordinary and he does make one feel desparate to have a go. And that's just what I am doing. He describes his journey to achieve his goal so well and how lucky he is to be able to obtain opinions of so many eminent pianists and other experts. Although he is not affraid to display his talents, he is also very self-effacing and I found myself laughing aloud, especially when he talks of his exasperated piano teacher making him feel like a child again. Not only to have learned the Ballade to performance standard, but to have written a book and edited The Guardian through troubled times, is mind-blowing and wonderful. Thank you Alan Rusbridger for sharing your journey in such an honest way.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring, 18 Feb 2013
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This review is from: Play It Again: An Amateur Against The Impossible (Kindle Edition)
I am a lapsed muscician too and this book gave me the inspiration me to start playing again. I enjoyed every page!
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