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How to Play the Piano despite Years of Lessons: What Music is and How to Make it at Home. Rev. Ed. Paperback – 31 Dec 1976

4.7 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 239 pages
  • Publisher: East-West Publications (U.K.) Ltd (31 Dec. 1976)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385142633
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385142632
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 1.5 x 27.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 171,336 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book was a revelation to me. I was struggling to understand how to improve or how things hung together musically. I had purchased other books which only confused me further. This book takes the mystery out of music and the piano and I think its title is very apt. More books should be written in colloboration by experts and journalists. For me its added some good foundations and it has given me a further spur to continue improving. I am very happy to whole heartedly recommended it.
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By A Customer on 29 April 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am a professional pianist, more or less self-taught, and I first found this book in the Miami public library in 1984 or thereabouts when I was playing piano on cruise ships. I have bought two copies since, one of which went to a girlfriend. It teaches you the structure of music, the real stuff you need to know. And it's written with great charm and humour. Don't be misled, it'll teach you far more about piano playing than many music teachers. And at about quarter the price of one lesson. I love this book.
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Format: Paperback
This is a great book for learning to play the piano. It teaches about how music works and uses that as the driving force. The pace of the book is fast, you need to practice at each page otherwise you'll be floundering. So why 4 stars only? The problem that I had with this book is that it lacks enough complete pieces of music to allow you to practice effectively. You will need to a buy a book with easy piano scores in it to play. This books is best thought of as your teacher.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Except for the error about the origins of the musical scale in the opening chapter, this book keeps the promise made in the title. It is a genuinely practical book that can help you get into the music.
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"this book...will tell you how to take a tune, a melody, and turn it into a whole lot of music by knowing what you are doing and why you are doing it". (From the introduction)
And that is exactly what it does.
The authors describe it as "a subversive book" as it bypasses the mainstream methods of teaching music and cuts straight to the chase of what most people, both beginners and more advanced musicians, actually want to learn!
The style of writing is an absolute joy compared to most piano tutors. Humorous, interesting and designed to boost your confidence. Also very clear, concise and to the point with brief "in a nutshell" sections at the end of each chapter.
It makes you think about music and the piano in a new way. "The piano is a miniature orchestra" as it says.
By giving you accompaniment devices (basic skeleton, moving the layers around, listening to textures in music for arrangements, arpeggios, etc etc) you find yourself making music on your own much more quickly than you would have thought possible!
Having tried out many piano tutors over many years this is the one which had the quickest and most dramatic, and also the most profound and long-lasting effect on my playing.
My one criticism is that it should put much more emphasis on starting with your ears, picking out bass notes and counter melodies yourself and recreating what you hear with the book as a background help. Many years of struggling with piano tutors has taught me this is the only way not to get disheartened and bogged down in details! (Even with a book as superb as this one!)
As it is, the book does not mention this and instead implies the use of given chords and fake books which, to me, are musical passion-killers.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is not a book about music theory (in the sense of learning scales etc.), it is a book about understanding how music is made (i.e. about harmony). This book (and others on the same subject) helped me "see" the piano keyboard more clearly and helped me understand why a piece of music sounds good. From there, depending also on your imagination, it is not difficult to find interesting progressions, combine them with some rhythm and feel the pleasure of generating your own simple songs. The next step is to try to play by ear some tune you are familiar with and - surprise! - it works! Of course, you need some basic piano playing skills and, if you have knowledge of scales or music theory in general, you will progress faster. Nothing is free, there is no "magical" method to learn you what music is and how to make it, therefore one must also invest some time and energy into this. But it is very rewording!

There are also very good books about harmony (I also have Tonal Harmony, by Stefan Kostka, which has a theoretical approach), but his book has a very good, original way to presents the notions to beginners or hobbyists. I highly recommend it.
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Format: Paperback
This is without a doubt the greatest music book I
have ever read, in all seriousness. It can be understood by a 12-yr-old but is fascinating for jaded adults. It ranks as one of "DragonLord's 50 greatest books ever written". Buy this and throw out the rest of your music theory bookcase. Buy one copy for yourself and five for your unborn
children, even if you're not married yet. I have.
DragonLord
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This book is pure gold. After years of lessons, then a long break, I began taking lessons again three years ago. I would recommend that anyone interested in music should to read this book. I have purchased many music books over the years but the style in which this is written knocks them all into a cocked hat. The attention to detail is outstanding and it is obvious why it has been in print for 30 years. Excellent.
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