My First Piano Book celebrates and introduces the range and potential of the piano and provides a very clear guidance in learning to play.
The short introduction looks at types of pianos and takes us inside to explore how a piano works. The rest of the book is divided into two sections. Part one looks at the range and potential of the piano, as a solo instrument or accompanying other instruments in a duet, trio or with an orchestra. This section is structured around a number of key pieces of music, each selected to illustrate particular points, demonstrate the versatility of the instrument and encourage musical appreciation. For example Flight of the Bumblebee illustrates how fingers can ‘buzz’ around a keyboard. With real passion the author describes how piano music can sing, dance or paint a picture as in by Clair de Lune by Debussy. ‘The keys are black and white, but the sounds are full of colour.’
The second part of the book takes young learners through step by step lessons. Again there is a CD which accompanies this section and guidance to support learning to play 11 pieces. Each of these pieces represent one of the cast of animal characters featured in the book’s illustrations. Although the idea is that children work through this with a parent or teacher, the CD includes a helpful and clear commentary from the author, which is also available online.
The book introduces musical vocabulary, concepts and skills including pitch and melody, rhythm and notation. There are interesting facts throughout, for example poor Fanny Mendelssohn talented but overlooked unlike her famous brother Felix, and how a cat inspired a piece of music by Confrey.
This book follows My First Classical Music Book by the same team. It is a labour of love, the enthusiasm, experience and passion of the writer leap from the page. The attractive illustrations perfectly complement the text. There is humour in the text and the illustrations too, I loved the monkey playing so fast he seems to have eight arms. Captions and speech bubbles add extra information. The whole book is beautifully designed, very clear and user friendly. This would be a wonderfully enriching book choice for a child beginning piano lessons for the first time.