This is the intro, the text is below for a quick glimpse, and I hope to have the first chapter up next week for your comments.
I´m not going to introduce the introduction, so here goes!
TRACK1 INTRODUCTION AND HOW TO USE THIS AUDIO PODCAST.
Hello! Welcome to PLAY IT BY EAR, which puts the “ear” into learn and the “play” into playing the piano. I´m Rose, and it is my heartfelt wish that this audiobook help you play the piano the way you want.
Perhaps you´ve had piano lessons in the past and want to take it up again, or you want to learn to improvise,
perhaps you want to play with others, learn what chord symbols mean, accompany singers, or yourself (!), or you want to learn along with your child,
perhaps you play another instrument, or you can play from sheet music but can´t do a thing without it,
– Or – if you are starting from scratch – this is designed for you. It´s how I´d have liked to have been taught.
I asked my mother for piano lessons aged four, and I´ve been learning ever since. When I began in the 1950´s, in England, I was taught in the conventional way: learning to read music and then learning to play what you read. It wasn´t till the early ‘70s that meeting with two sax-playing women made me realise that I too might be able to play the sort of music I was listening to: jazz, reggae, soul, gospel, highlife, afrobeat , funk – basically African music, whether from Africa or the Caribbean, North or South America . So I put away my books – and found I couldn´t even play a nursery rhyme without the dots. My “ear” was underdeveloped, so was my ability to play rhythm, and my memory was poor.
Then I moved to Liverpool in 1973, and was totally in awe of musicians who played by ear – in turn, some thought my ability to read music was magical. Later on I was struck by how stupid it was to teach an art for the ear by means of a completely different sense organ, the eye. When I heard Ian Carr say that jazz was “talking” I thought how odd it would be if we were prevented from talking until we could read and write. We learn to talk by listening and making sounds and imitating: perhaps we can learn to play the piano the same way.
Here is the first chapter of the audiobook. A complete beginner can start here, but for someone with more experience, the steps will be stepping stones to skip over. Set yourself up with the means of listening to this at your side by the piano or keyboard, so you can pause it easily. The essential instructions come at the beginning of each track. Then come more detailed instructions, explanations and diversions “Try this!”, to listen to at your leisure. For example, a returning learner could go to step 3, introducing the scale that uses all the notes, and find it novel to play without the music: the improvising starts here.
I very much look forward to your feedback.