PIANO LESSONS by Noah Adams

PIANO LESSONS

Music, Love and True Adventures
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 A report on surviving the midlife crisis while tickling the ivories. The stereotypical yuppie drives a Volvo, vacations in New England, has a really fulfilling job, and listens religiously to ``All Things Considered'' on NPR. Noah Adams, we learn in this rambling journal, drives a Volvo, vacations in New England, and has a really fulfilling job cohosting ``All Things Considered.'' This book documents a year in Adams's life spent pursuing a dream: to become proficient at the piano. Freaked by the thought that he's 51 years old (``I have outlived Schumann by six years,'' he frets), Adams is even more shaken up when he reads the obituary of Lewis Thomas, only to learn that they both shared a passionate desire to learn how to play the piano--only Thomas didn't live long enough to fulfill his dream. Goaded into action by the shadow of the big ``D,'' Adams scrapes up enough spare change to purchase a new Steinway (although, he assures us, it was the cheapest one on the lot), along with some fancy computer software. His position as a radio talk meister gives him the opportunity to interview a slew of keyboard wizards, from popsters like Tori Amos to the classical prodigy Leon Fleisher, who, after losing the use of his right hand due to a repetitive-stress injury, has made a new career as a one- handed recitalist. However, Adams has little background in piano pedagogy or performance, so much of what he relates is pretty basic. Meanwhile, he flits from system to system, now attempting a mail-order course in improvisation, now dipping into a week-long intensive course in Vermont. The book (and year) ends triumphantly when Adams surprises his wife with a Christmas Eve recital. Warm and fuzzy reading from a warm and fuzzy guy; just be happy that you don't have to hear him play. (Author tour)

Pub Date: March 15th, 1996
ISBN: 0-385-31404-3
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: Delacorte
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 1996




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