Cover Image: How to Play the Piano

How to Play the Piano

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Member Reviews

Short and sweet and very informational. As someone who has had a passion to learn to play the piano, it was fun to learn along with the easy instructions in this book.
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I love this book. Instructions were so easy to understand and follow and of course constant practice will make one better in this skill. Thanks to the author for the tutorial and the publisher for the ARC.
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James Rhodes understands the desire, longing, and frustration of people like me who want, really want, to play piano yet for some reason were repeatedly thwarted in our attempts. We long to be the person who can bring a party to life or jump in to play for the youth Christmas play, and we fantasize about wowing everyone!  I had two piano teachers and still never got it. Thank you, Rhodes, I'm having such a wonderful time!

It works! Get this book! And a candelabra!
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How to Play the Piano by James Rhodes takes the task of learning to play the piano and both breaks it down and offers an achievable reward. The hope, of course, is that the reward will encourage the reader/student to continue learning and progressing.

First, the act of playing the piano is broken down into easy-to-digest chunks that have as their goal the ability to play a specific piece of music. The foundations here are the same ones needed for further study but some basic elements are mentioned but set aside because they aren't needed for this piece. I find this a wonderful pedagogical strategy. Limit overload while keeping focus. Rely on the reward, playing a beautiful piece of music, to get students to want to learn more.

Second, the use of a relatively simple piece as the goal makes this something that almost every student will be able to do if they have any interest at all in playing the piano. Being able to see, well, hear the result in a relatively short period of time likely will make many hesitant students decide the future rewards will be worth the future efforts. Rhodes never makes it sound like you are learning everything you need. He mentions what he is glossing over and that, should you choose to learn more, you'll learn that. As the piece builds so too does the student's confidence.

I would recommend this to anyone who has ever considered learning a musical instrument and in particular the piano. I would also suggest this as something a parent might want to get for a child who is on the fence about playing. This is something that can be used as a short term challenge with the idea that the child can decide after completing it whether they want to continue. Some will no doubt say no but those who say yes will be continuing based on their own decision and not that of the parents.

Reviewed from a copy made available by the publisher via NetGalley.
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How to Play the Piano by James Rhodes is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in early April.

Rhodes teaches Bach’s Prelude No. 1 a little bit at a time with a plain-spoken, encouraging instruction (on sight-reading, finger placement) for busy people. The Prelude seems to be an ideal selection that has each hand playing close to the other alternately, rather than having to synchronize/harmonize straight away.
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Truly a beginner’s Guide! If you’ve never played or taught someone how to play, this book takes you slowly and kindly through the ins and outs of piano playing and teaching! Very easy and simple to grasp! Illustrations are very detailed and helpful!

It’s not extensive but has just enough to get whet your appetite. 

Àn excellent introduction to piano playing with a mini crash course in music education. Written in lamens terms with wit and candor!
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I found this a totally approachable method of learning to play the piano.  The author stresses again and again (and again) precisely what is necessary to learn the piano:  patience, practice and repetition.  I think this would be a useful book to anyone yearning to learn the piano.  The author breaks down each section, piece by piece and bar by bar and by using a single piece of music, gives the student the opportunity to feel a sense of accomplishment by the end.  Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this title!  #HowToPlayThePiano #NetGalley
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Even if I DIDN'T want to learn how to play the piano, I would read this book just for Mr. Rhodes wit.  Honestly, I wanted to read through to the end without stopping, just to see what he was going to say next. On his teaching style, for example, "I know I sound like a particularly irritating teacher who was bullied as a kid and is finally able to take revenge by making others suffer, but it'll so be worth it in the end.". 
A zinger right in the middle of a lesson: "So let's without smirking, look at fingering."
Comments on your progress:  “If this prelude is the most beautiful girl or guy in the bar, you’ve now broken the ice, danced like an idiot, and yet still somehow managed to get their number.”
If your learn to play the piano while reading this book, then good on you!
Really though, Rhodes' no nonsense you-have-to-practice approach will indeed have you playing the piano in short order.  My only caveat is the British terms vs. America terms - be aware they differ, in music, i.e. singular "stave" for "staff" and "semi-quaver" for 16th note. Otherwise, get this book - you will enjoy it and possible even gain a new skill by the time you're done laughing.

This ARC was provided to me by NetGalley @NetGalley #NetGalley
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A short and condensed introductory book to start playing the piano. The author shares his experiences. Also, James is able to explain the techniques for the beginners in a simple and easy way despite his an experimented musician. Also, I liked the illustrations with the diagrams describing the fingers positions. This book is very useful and helpful.

#HowToPlayThePiano #NetGalley #TheExperiment
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While I have played piano for decades, I was still curious to see what it'd be like to learn it from a book. So no, I am no approaching this it as someone new to the instrument, but it doesn't mean it wasn't worth reading at all. If nothing else, this is an incredibly well-done book that will show you what it IS like to be taught from a professional (and you actually are - just not in person!). The author writes in such an encouraging manner, with simple steps, and a few hard truths (sorry, but yes, sometimes you really are playing the same bar a billion times for a billion hours, give or take a million). I believe anyone interesting in trying to learn piano, but aren't sure they want to yet pay for lessons, should go with this cheaper option. It'll give you a very good sense of not just what it's like to play a piece you never imagined you could play, but a sense of how to play, and properly (please don't teach yourself via YouTube videos - so many make me cringe). I didn't expect to like this as much as I did, but I really, really did like this book. Highly recommend for you want to be pianist - this will get you one step closer!
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I wholeheartedly agree with the author. Music should be an integral part of a child’s education. 
Unfortunately, that is not the case for many. However, this book can make it possible for anyone to attain that denied music education  and learn how to play the piano by simply following this very entertaining and well written book with easy to follow instructions. The author also provides his video link to use along with this book as a means to increase your progress, if you so desire. 
To those who think it’s too late to learn to play the piano only have to pick up this book, turn that television off for a bit, and let James Rhodes show you how it’s possible and achievable.
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This is a good explanation on how to play the piano.  If the reader takes it show and practices each lesson or idea as it is presented, they will have success in beginning to play the piano.  It is a great resource for someone learning to play the piano by taking lesson.   It is also great for someone who wants a little knowledge in reading music and playing a song on the piano.
​I liked that this book takes a concept which can be confusing and breaks it down.  For instance, page 18 shows line notes and space notes.  It describes what these notes mean and an illustration of the same thing on the piano is below.  I like that the author tells the reader to stop and explore this concept on the piano before going further.  Learning by doing that is supplemented by an explanation is a terrific way to learn.
I received an ARC from NetGalley for an honest review.
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Anyone who loves the piano and would like to learn how to play it, would find this book very helpful. The author's writing tone is witty, playful and friendly- just what you'd need to encourage you to keep playing. Thanks Netgalley for the eARC.
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How to Play the Piano was a delightful read on so many levels. Rhode's commentary is witty, fun, and approachable, and his instructions are beautifully clear and concise. The first half of this book opens with general musical (and piano) know-how for absolute beginners, before breaking down the prelude bar by bar, in short easy steps. I do play the piano a little (I completed up to Grade 5 ABRSM), and I thought this guide was perfectly laid out. I love the idea of introducing someone to the instrument by teaching them a simple piece. It's a method where you get an instant result, which would be encouraging in a manner that would hopefully lead those people on to study the piano more fully. Accompanying the book are four short videos and a copy of the sheet music. My only tiny gripe was that, when the book notes where to find the videos, it gives only a main website address. It took me several minutes of searching through all the pages on the site before I found the videos and music, as it was not obvious where they would be. A note of the full direct link would make things much easier for readers.
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