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Posted June 6, 2005
For all the many self-help, how-to books published The Maran Family has polished the book-led guide to learning to a fare-thee-well. This well-conceived and very well written book is an excellent introduction to the joys of sitting down in front of a piano keyboard and actually creating music instead of fantasies.As one of the maranGraphics books (others include such wide ranging topics as Weight Training, Computer Guides, Dog training, Guitar, Yoga, and Knitting and Crocheting!), this volume uses the technical consulting of Frank Horvat, a composer, performer and piano teacher, and then applies the approach to the keyboard in a highly visual series of photographs and schematics that begin a survey of the types of keyboard instruments, the history of the piano, and progress to the basics of what makes a piano make music and ultimately walks the willing student through a very sound technique of learning.As a life-long pianist I am amazed at the facility developed in this beautifully designed book. For those who question learning to play the piano by a 'how to' book, just peruse the careful steps and clarity of instruction offered by this helpful guide. Much musicology is included and many examples of fine piano music are used in the lessons. Whether it is the classical route you wish or the popular medium of chord based music or the intricacies of blues and improvisation, the steps are here. At the end of the book is a fine discussion on how to choose your piano from the many types that exist and even a discussion on the various periods of piano music history (although brief these are succinctly to the point).Terrific for the adults who moan 'if I'd only taken lessons as a child' as well for the young students who are willing to commit to the goal of learning to 'make their own music', this Illustrated Guide to the Piano is a solid source of didactics. And for those addicted to the computer, there are even 'MP3 files available to listen to and play along with for all the chords, scales, exercises and practice pieces in this book.' Truly a book for the 21st Century! Grady Harp
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