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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 2 January 2012
I came across Bill's book after watching several of his excellent piano tutorial videos on his YouTube channel [...]).

It seemed that for a "pianist" of my calibre (i.e. one who is mainly self taught, fairly musical, can bang out a passable tune using chords and who knows a bit of theory - but is in no way a "proper" piano player) this book might be just the ticket. And indeed it is.

As another reviewer pointed out, you can use the book as a "standalone", but it's best when used alongside the YouTube channel, because it's great to see Bill demonstrating the things that the book is teaching, and it helps you to find out if your effort is remotely right! This is a really innovative way of enhancing the teaching aspects of the book, and works very well.

If you've never even touched a piano before, this may not be the book for you, but if you're passingly familiar with it and - like the subtitle suggests - you want to learn "the stuff your teacher never taught you", then you can't go wrong. My playing has improved no end - highly recommended.
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on 3 August 2011
This isn't a book for beginners. It's for people who perhaps had a few piano lessons at school and regret having given it up. I love the online videos that really help to understand with lots of musical examples. Combined with the book, you get a good re-introduction to playing piano. The sections on improvising are particularly useful to me as I like to put together accompaniments to my singing. Such a relief not to play block chords all the time! Definitely recommended to anyone who wants to take up the piano again.
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on 22 May 2012
I purchased this book in response to several of Bills excellant videos on UTube, and like his tutorial vids he doesn't disapoint with the 'How to really play the piano' book.

As mentioned by another reviewer this book is not for a complete beginner, uses musical score in basic then more advanced format and does favour the 12 bar blues with a detailed starter section in that area but it is all applicable to the enjoyment of this instrument further and stimulating you to progress.
Cheers Bill : )
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on 9 June 2013
You need a bit of prior knowledge of music notation, mine came from the guitar, but you can see what he is saying about harmony and the link to Youtube videos is really useful. I'm learning the piano for the first time, even though 67 years old is perhaps a bit late. But Bill's explanations are clear and I can already amuse myself by playing a few a few basic tunes and rhythms, complete with chords. The book helps you to build your own chord structures as long as you work at learning your scales. I'm really please with this book.
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on 29 March 2011
This book fills a real gap in the market. If you got frustrated with piano lessons because you only ever learned classical music, it's a must-have.

I found it through watching the author's videos on YouTube (which are brilliant) and I have to say that the best way to use the book is alongside the videos, though I guess you could use it by itself if you didn't have an internet connection.

You need a bit of basic music knowledge but not loads. If you can read basic piano music you'll be OK. The author says right at the start that the skills in the book aren't easy and need loads of practice, but he makes everything really clear.

If I had one criticism it would be that the chapter on improvisation is a bit too focused on 12 bar. However, I can see the point that this is one of the easiest ways to get into improvisation.

Overall it's absolutely excellent, especially if you use it alongside the YouTube vids.
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on 13 February 2014
If only I had read this years ago. Bill Hilton writes as well as he talks on youtube/jamcast. Really clear and absorbing, finally shedding light on many music mysteries/terminology. Now trying to do it justice on my piano. Incredible value for money. Worth ten stars if they existed!
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on 17 July 2015
To me it has been very satisfying indeed to work with Bill Hiltons book. I was taught to play the classic piano as a child thirty years ago. Later by myself I also got to play by chords to some degree. With this book however, I have enjoyed a more systematical approach to the work with chords and rhythm and combing, and I find Bill Hiltons style and examples easy to understand. This book indeed has contributed to my fun and excitement of playing the piano. I recommend also Bill Hiltons piano videos.
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on 15 September 2015
A brilliant book. Don't let the focus on blues and jazz chord progressions fool you into thinking this is just for the 'popular' pianist: there's some really good and useful information in here, and the explanation of harmony and chord progressions is excellent!
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on 26 September 2013
I actually brought this book in digital format but wanted to leave a review.

This book is kind of exactly what the title says and is clearly written to give you the knowledge that you need.

This book won't be very helpful to you if you have never played the piano before however; if you have had formal lessons or have studied the piano, know the basics and can do a bit of sight reading you will get a lot from this book, whilst it certainly doesn't spoon feed you - it does give you the tools you need to become a pretty decent piano player (even a pianist if you practice!) I could even insert a cheesy and cliched proverb about teaching people how to go fishing but I will leave that I think.

Anyway all in all more or less whatever style you wish to play in, this book will help you understand the theory behind what you are doing and give you some good practical examples - I cannot reccommend it highly enough.
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on 20 June 2013
I came back to the piano after 30 years away and wanted something to get me back on my feet, and came across this nugget, which has turned into the most useful book I have ever come across. This man is a pedagogical genius. The progression is simple, easy to follow and yet musically intricate and engaging, making the most basic compositions and tunes sound rich within the first few pages. Bill Hilton deserves a medal, and his videos are excellent too. Inspiring stuff. I have learnt more in two weeks of watching and reading Bill Hilton than in years of traditional lessons back in my youth...
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