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How to Play Popular Piano in 10 Easy Lessons: The Fastest, Easiest Way to Learn to Play from Sheet Music or by Ear Paperback – November 28, 1984

4.3 out of 5 stars 96 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Sammy Cahn President, Songwriter's Hall of Fame I have "High Hopes" this book can teach you to play -- "All the way" -- and you know you can't "Call Me Irresponsible."

About the Author

Norman Monath has taught piano and has professionally for more than 25 years. He has written numerous songs, some in collaboration with Hal David and Cahn. During his tenure as music editor at Simon and Schuster, he edited the songbooks of Gershwin, Rodgers & Hammerstein, Burt Bacharach/Hal David, Cole Porter and many others.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 141 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone; Reprint edition (November 28, 1984)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671530674
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671530679
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 0.4 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (96 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #228,736 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
For the beginner, this book is excellent. I have looked at many piano books when I first began playing, and most of them were usually too complicated, or too simplistic. This book, however, was one that fell right in the middle and helped me understand all kinds of important ideas in music, such as harmony and melody, building chords and scales (and understanding HOW), reading music, how to understand progressions, and how to play by ear and improvise. It is certainly geared toward getting you "up and playing" in the simplest, fastest way, at a moderate pace, with a good depth of information that does not get overwhelming. Because of this, this book is probably suited much more for the person who has no music experience and wants to learn the basics of how to play out of fake books and begin improvising. It is probably not good for those who want in-depth and more advanced theory of music, but it is an excellent book to use as a stepping stone toward more adva! nced piano study. This is a must have book for any beginnger.
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Format: Paperback
There seem to be two main ways of teaching the piano. In the first, one grinds along like a junior typist learning which keys to strike in response to printed music. The sheet music starts easy and gets harder. One's brain and fingers get better at working together. When one is pretty good at pounding out notes in pretty hard compositions, one is considered a pretty good piano player.
The other way of teaching focuses on learning chords and music theory. The idea here seems to be that, if one has the theory, one can figure out where to place one's fingers. So, one learns a melody and then, using music theory or a fake books adds chords. After a little practice, the devotees of this method argue, one can actually make music, i.e. play tunes that you like and make them sound good, though not necessarily the way they are written on sheet music.
Both approaches have problems. The first is drudgery, and if one really wants to make music, you have to engage in this drudgery for years. The second requires, but doesn't teach or encourage, a great deal of facility hitting the right keys. It's very fun to know how music is put together and how one might play it. Yet it is very frustrating not to have developed the physical coordination to actually do it.
The Monath book uses the second approach. It is a delightful introduction to music theory, chords, scales, and how music is put together. Like many of the books that follow the second approach, the style verges on the messianic. Yes, one starts playing songs almost immediately. Unfortunately, without a good deal of practice, those first songs might take an hour or so to pick through.
If you have some facility on the keyboard, this might be a very helpful book.
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Format: Paperback
Having taught piano the "traditional" way for 20 years, I bought this book for a student who already played by music but wanted to learn to play off a chord sheet (used a great deal by Christian Praise Bands). Mr. Monath uses very clear terms to describe how to play on the piano basic chords found in most fake books. I have too often found that the pianist who learns by using a traditional piano course method, can't play basic chords or play by ear. This book gives examples of songs to try to play using the right hand melody line and chords. I wouldn't recommend this book for someone who doesn't read music at all, but for anyone who's had traditional piano lessons and can play basic right hand melodies, it's a great way to learn to play chords and fill in from fake books or praise music.
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Format: Paperback
I'm a 30 year old man and I started playing the piano 3 months ago and decided to teach myself with books. I started with Russell Baker's books (1-5) which are great to get you started if you know absolutely nothing about music - like me. I progressed to buy some sheet music and the lights just went out. There were so many notes and I could not process them quickly enough, particularly co-ordinating the right and left hand.

I saw this book and read it, and within 2 weeks was playing a tune by Oasis that I could hardly read before. The key (no pun intended) is in the use of chords which are based upon mathematical rules. Once you understand the (simple) rules, you only have to find one note in the bass and develop the chord from there. This takes care of so much mental effort and also helps you to understand the form, structure and tone of the music. I feel so much more accomplished and learning the chords comes very quickly indeed.

So it's very good, the only proviso being that you need to be able to read the notes of the melody and know what each key is to extract maximum benefit. The book does cover this in more detail towards the end, but rather raced through some bits.

My advice to all those adults coming to the piano and music for the very first time is to find a good, simple "Welcome to your first piano" book and practice the simple tunes therein. Build confidence. When you can read the melody and know the names of the notes, you just have to buy this. Perhaps some purists may think of it as "cheating" but the author gives a very clear statement of intent and makes no apologies for the methods.

I love the clear, concise and lively prose the book contains. It makes reading it all the more fun.
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