Roger Evans

How To Play Piano

St. Martin's Press

Remember when we had finally understood about an adjective (describing word) and a noun (person, place or thing), and then (copied from Fowler's) we were offered The term noun adjective (as distinguished from noun substantive) was not recognized as being one of the primary parts of speech. Right on, but what is a substantive?

A teacher can thrust a great burden upon a pupil by assuming a degree of general or even advanced knowledge. Enter Roger Evans, a man who cares about me. A man who understands that I am a dummy and is not afraid to imply it. How To Play Piano is a very important work. It is also a work of great courage. Who else but Roger (I feel we have known each other for ages) would draw a picture of a piano stool and add a caption reading PIANO STOOL OR BENCH? Who would itemize lid prop, music rack, pedals, keyboard, and caption them? My mate Roger would. He assumes only that you wish to learn to play the piano, and that a piano is something you have never laid eyes on. This, I maintain, is a good thing. Moreover, I have a theory. Since most books take a bit of getting into before the world goes away, and you begin to enjoy reading them, Roger quietly works through a few pages of simple stuff to sort of knock you into shape. In this way you do not get a panicky feeling for not knowing what a flatted fifth is straight off. There's humor, too. One is told to Keep moths and beetles out of your piano, and Never try to move a piano on your own, because you could seriously injure yourself or damage the piano. See?

This book is extremely easy to read. It is extremely easy to understand and the stages of learning one is led through are perfectly logical. One starts with one finger on the key of C (to the left of every group of two black keys C with picture) and continues from there. By page 102 there is talk of playing to an audience, and the book ends on page 104. It will not have you knocking out a little up-tempo Mozartian foot-tapper in the manner of dear old Alf Brendel, but it will get you playing the piano. It will begin to take away the dull ache of knowing nothing about the doing side of music. This the book for people who really want to learn, for people who are not afraid of starting right from scratch C perhaps for people like yours truly, who would love to start from scratch, which means at long last getting started. This book is not for experts, it is for people, and it cannot be praised highly enough.

by Lawrence Brazier

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