This is a wonderful book for any dedicated amateur pianist. It contains great, detailed advice for planning practice sessions--more practical detail than I've seen in any other piano book. Moreover, the writing is delightful. Mr. Cooke was a journalist for the New Yorker in the 30's and 40's and obviously really knew his craft. While most of the book is devoted to improving piano skills, he does drop a hew hilarious anecdotes. One priceless one involves his use of a silent keyboard and how he manages to drive James Thurber crazy with all the mysterious tapping. I've incorporated many of his suggestions for improving practice into my own daily routine. His suggestions are practical, spot-on, well documented and easy to understand. Some bits of the book are somewhat dated. I take personal exception to his recommendation of Hanon. But, all in all. if you're a dedicated amateur pianist, this book should be on your shelf.
This is a very insightful book and just as relevant today as when it was first written. The author excites the reader to want to practice is a more meaningful way, because it results in a more thorough knowledge of the music and how to play it. He lists some suggested repertoire which is helpful and just an overall good view of the subject.
This is a great book for any aspiring pianist, filled with helpful hints from many of the great pianists which Charles Cooke collected during his years working for the New Yorker magazine. Yes, a few of his suggestions such as the use of Hanon might be dated, though a few of these exercises might be useful for certain technical problems. I still recall the advice of one great pianist who when asked whether it was better to have large hands or small hands, replied neither one, because you don't play with your hands you play with your mind. The book is worth reading for that piece of advice alone.