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Naked on the Bench: My Adventures in Pianoland Paperback – September 22, 2013

4.8 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews

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Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal
The bestselling author of "Encyclopedia an Ordinary Life" returns with a literary experience that is unprecedented, unforgettable, and explosively human. Hardcover | Kindle book
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Spielberg's commitment to straightforward storytelling allows her to avoid the sentimentality sometimes found in other memoirs. She allows events to speak for themselves, and the book reads like a series of episodes--a well-paced, readable collection of anecdotes that delicately leaves gaps of time between its chapters...Spielberg reveals the perseverance, humility and self-awareness it takes to become a successful artist without becoming self-centered...A well-paced musical memoir about the value of perseverance." - KIRKUS REVIEWS


"Her book is full of funny narratives about a young woman who is not only passionate about her art but also about life...Indeed, this memoir is a must-read for all who are trying to find their place in the world. In the end, one cannot help but admire Spielberg's drive and determination, not only to reach the pinnacle of success but most especially to find the real measure of her triumphs."-Maria Beltran for Readers' Favorite

From the Back Cover

"Play hooky from work and curl up with Robin Spielberg's new memoir, an exquisitely woven tapestry of her life. You'll eagerly turn each page, not knowing whether to laugh, cry, perch on the edge of your chair, or all three. Robin is a mesmerizing storyteller.-Dr. Andrea Farbman, Executive Director, American Music Therapy Association

"Who does she think she is, anyway? She's Robin Spielberg, that's who! You'll bask in the glow of Spielberg's spotlight as you follow her gutsy journey from precocious New Jersey school girl to international piano star.-Robin Meloy Goldsby, author of "Piano Girl" and "Waltz of the Asparagus People"
"A wonderfully detailed portrait of the artist...captivating descriptions and beautifully paced flashes of humor and pathos..."-Marion Winik, author of "Highs in the Low Fifties"

"Whimsical and charming, Naked on the Bench reveals that an open heart and sense of humor are essential companions for living life and making art. Robin Spielberg's words are as inspiring as her music!"
-Jenn Gordon, Steinway & Sons, Concert & Artists Dept.

"Irreverent, brave, funny and heart-breaking, "Naked on the Bench" has the appeal of a page turner, the depth of an autobiography, and the lessons from a true artist. It's a wonderful lesson wrapped in a treat."
-Felicity Huffman, Oscar nominee/Emmy & Golden Globe-winning actress

Naked on the Bench chronicles Robin Spielberg's journey as accomplished pianist, composer, actor, entrepreneur, producer and touring musician. Her tales from childhood, years as an aspiring actress in New York City and travels as a musician alternate between poignant and hilariously absurd. Whether studying with David Mamet or performing for news anchor Peter Jennings, in her elusive quest for a measurement of success Robin stumbles upon the secret to her dreams in the most unlikely of places.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 374 pages
  • Publisher: Spobs Music, Incorporated (September 22, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0970563353
  • ISBN-13: 978-0970563354
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,762,263 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This memoir is wonderful on so many levels! I tried unsuccessfully to pace myself in reading it because I didn't want it to end. First, this is a hilarious, touching, insightful story about growing up as an artist/musician, and being "different" from all the other boys and girls. Every artist/musician will be able to identify with that part of the book.

Next, a brutally honest look about what it means to try to turn a passion for the arts into a career...in this case acting. This book should be given to every young aspiring actor to see what it REALLY means to try to make a career in it.

Finally, as Robin learns to make a career out of music, what it REALLY means to be a professional performing artist. It breaks open imagined story book tales of glamour, and shows the nuts and bolts of what it's about.

Throughout she shares her experiences and what she learns with lots of humor (I literally LOLed...a lot!), with compassion, and incredible intimacy. She really lays bare her soul. If you're familiar with her music or have been to her concerts you will know what I mean. And if you're not, you're in for a treat as you discover this beautiful person who magnanimously shares her window on life with us...after all, isn't that what being an artist is about?
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Format: Paperback
"Naked On the Bench: My Adventures in Pianoland" is the delightful memoir of pianist/composer Robin Spielberg, one of my favorite artists ever. Robin and I have been friends for many years, so although there were not a lot of surprises for me in the book, reading it was like getting to know Robin all over again. An extraordinarily positive and upbeat person, Robin tells her stories with humor, wisdom, and total honesty. The book is divided into six parts plus a prologue, so the stories aren't always in chronological order, but jumping back and forth in time allows the book to read like a compelling collection of short stories grouped by common themes.

The book begins with a recurring childhood dream where Robin discovers secret rooms inside her piano and is able to meet regularly with a grandfather she had never met and to hear him play. From those magical moments, we travel through the life of a budding artist from her hyperactive childhood thinking everyone must have an orchestra playing in their heads like she did to the poised and polished concert artist she is now. Quite a few chapters recount the years in New York City when Robin played in upscale piano rooms during much of the day and acted in theater productions by night. One of the founding members of the Atlantic Theater Company, she was able to juggle her pianist and acting selves for an impressive period of time, and many of those stories are enlightening, laugh-out-loud funny, and tear-jerking - some all at the same time! Robin also tells her very human stories of love lost, true love found, and the miracle of her daughter, Valerie.
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I have to admit I'd never heard of Robin Spielberg before reading this book. It was recommended to me by another musical professional. I enjoyed the book very much. Very honest and entertaining. I know that another reviewer criticized the title for being silly, misleading. I guess if they'd taken the time to read the book that it comes from a particular performance in her life and the feelings that resulted from that performance. In any case, there are stories that will make you laugh and others to touch your heart. It's a memoir of an artist's journey. For all of the artists our there, we can certainly relate to some of her experiences; good and bad. I applaud her for sharing her life to inspire fellow artists, and those who want to take her journey with her.
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I had expected Robin Spielberg's Memoir, "Naked on the Bench" to be a smooth ride over the plains of "pianoland". Instead, I found her story a journey which traversed mountains and valleys of emotions and ideas. I laid aside everything else to complete the book in two days. Robin's recollections are inspiring and meaningful to me. As I read about her struggles and triumphs, I laughed, cried, and did both simultaneously. As one interested in the creative process and the relationship between life and art, I appreciated the insight into the events that sparked Robin's creativity and which underlie her musical pieces I love so well. As a fellow pianist, I can relate to Robin's reflections. Whenever I've played her compositions for our church services, there are always compliments about the music and questions about the composer (such as, "Who is Robin Spielberg? I've never heard of him!")

More than an exciting journey, I found nuggets of wisdom which Robin relayed from her mentors and sometimes from her own experience. "Already there" has become my new mantra. And I need to have Robin's courage to allow my soul to be "naked on the bench".

Having been privileged to accompany Robin on her piano pilgrimage, I can now listen to and play her music with fresh insight.
Linda Carroll
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