Kim, a faculty member at the Michigan State University’s Community Music School, teaches the basics of the piano in this debut guide.
Many people would love to know how to play piano but are intimidated by the instrument’s numerous, unmarked keys and the opacity of its sheet music. The author seeks to demystify both in this book, which covers the basics of the piano’s layout and musical notation for aspiring ivory-ticklers. After starting with an explanation of the keys and their scales, Kim goes on to take readers through the concepts of basic rhythm, finger numbering, time signatures, pitch, and intervals. She also explains the various symbols that one might encounter in piano sheet music, as well as the major and minor chords. The book is set up so that a student may take an active role, both by practicing the songs and by answering questions by filling in blanks included in the book. Each section ends with playing suggestions, short quizzes, and a simple musical selection that demonstrates a specific lesson. Readers will be pleasantly surprised at how quickly they’re able to try their hands at classic compositions, such as “Ode to Joy,” “Jingle Bells,” “Brother John,” “Amazing Grace,” and “Silent Night.” The author wastes no time on pleasantries, diving into the information without so much as an introduction, and overall, she writes in a simple, direct prose, generally using as few words as possible. There are occasional typos (“That is called as The Grand Staff”), but they don’t hinder comprehension, particularly as there’s relatively little text. This work is bare-bones, covering exactly what the reader needs to know and not a sentence more. For this reason, Kim manages to fit a large amount of information into this relatively thin work. Her pedagogical style may not be a perfect fit for all learners, but aspiring players seeking to teach themselves directly from the page couldn’t find more straightforward instruction.
A no-frills how-to manual for piano.