Thomas Carlyle wrote, “Music is well said to be the speech of angels.” Victor Hugo told it this way: “Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and cannot remain silent.” Perhaps Hans Christian Andersen said it best with the simple statement, “Where words fail, music speaks.” There is something about music that transcends verbal communication, bringing a deeper meaning to the listener than can be obtained through any other experience. With its ability to simultaneously create melody, harmony, and rhythm, the piano stands alone as the most versatile and expressive of all musical instruments. Thankfully, because of the assistance of the incredibly complex piano action mechanism, and the ergonomically arranged repeating pattern of the keys, the piano can be played with a great deal of success by nearly anyone.
The Everything® Piano Book is for the beginner with no prior piano experience, and progresses step by step to an intermediate level. The later chapters in particular may be challenging, especially if the earlier chapters have been glossed over and not completely mastered. Do not get discouraged if this is the case. Everyone learns at their own pace, and it is no problem to put this book aside for a time until your abilities catch up to the material being presented. Just be sure to devote enough time to master each chapter fully before proceeding to the next. You will eventually get to a point where you have mastered all of the material in this book, at which point you may use it as a reference work to be revisited over and over again, as you find new uses for the material presented as your abilities increase.
To get the most out of this book, the reader will need to supplement its contents with a variety of outside resources. Finding a good teacher is an important step, and the reader is encouraged to seek out recommendations for piano teachers from friends, family, and colleagues. You can jump ahead directly to Chapter 21 for tips on finding the right teacher once you are ready to take the plunge, but you may want to work through the first six or seven chapters first to make sure the piano is the right instrument for you before committing to weekly lessons.
Since this book is designed to give you a very broad knowledge of the piano and how to play it, by necessity each topic is limited in its depth. Recognizing that each main subheading covered in the table of contents is just the beginning of your studies will go a long way to ensure that you always seek out additional method books and texts to complete your knowledge. For example, most of the musical exercises in this book are written in the key of C, since most people find that key the easiest to play. However, the reader is encouraged to transpose each example and play it in several different keys as your abilities and talents allow. The musical examples in the text and on the accompanying CD are usually short excerpts created to demonstrate a specific technique or idea. Be sure to include in your playing complete musical works that you can find in music books and sheet music written specifically for your current ability level.
Finally, always remember that making music is above all fun and rewarding! Progress at your own pace, never losing sight of the fact that playing the piano is a lifelong pursuit and not something that should be constrained by a strict timetable or deadlines. Let the path taken be the one that you choose for yourself, with your own goals, desires, and motivations. Let the music you express through the piano be uniquely yours, as individual as your fingerprint. As Henry David Thoreau wrote, “If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.” This book will start you on that journey.