Proposal

Late Bloomer Piano Player's Guide

Overview

The Late Bloomer Piano Player's Guide is a source book whose title that explains itself mostly. The baby boomer like myself has all grown up now and is ready to look at hobbies or unfulfilled goals as a way to spend their retirement years and do a little “blooming”. Whether they have a piano or one of the electric pianos they can benefit from my approach to teaching. But I don't teach just piano, I also teach musicianship. That involves understanding what makes a good musician. But my approach to explaining music from a wide perspective that includes all styles of music. North American music has centuries of tradition and influences from all of Europe. I cross paths for the different approaches of classical and popular music mainly because I sincerely believe that musicianship includes understanding the elements that we hear in pop music were the same elements that composers have understood for centuries. To some extent my students will potentially become composers if they have it in them.

What has happened since jazz music has become so popular is the popularity of the “fake book”. This phenomenon is a large part of my teaching that gets students learning to play the left and right hand while only looking at one staff of music.

 

The essential ingredient is the shorthand called a chord symbol placed above the staff.

By freeing up one hand the student learns to play something musical sooner because the two hands don't need to be engaged in complex varying rhythms that normally is found which presents unnecessary challenges.

I build up to two staves gradually. I suggest repertoire and provide examples from both traditional songs and a classical fake book approach. I remember when I first discovered that such a book existed that I became quite exited. Now there are several classical music fake books available.

I have been a performer and teacher for most of my life. The opportunity to sell a book that offers some insight into playing that explains what an adult loses as they grow older. It explains what children have that we don't have and attempts to reintroduce some of those qualities to the reader.

 

By freeing up one hand the student learns to play something musical sooner because the two hands don't need to be engaged in complex varying rhythms that normally is found which presents unnecessary challenges to a beginner.

 

I build up to teaching two staves gradually. I suggest suitable engaging repertoire and provide examples from both traditional songs and a classical fake book approach. I remember when I first discovered that such a book existed that I became quite exited. Now there are several classical music fake books available.

 

I have been a performer and teacher for most of my life. The opportunity to sell a book that offers some insight into playing that explains what an adult loses as they grow older. It explains what children have that we don't have and attempts to reintroduce some of those qualities to the reader.

 

My Biography

 

My path is by no means any more amazing than many great musicians. I have always been quick to adapt from the first time I picked up a classical book and was sight reading the Beethoven Sonatas based on what I knew about pop music, to switching from a pop, classical, jazz and rock background to Musical Theatre, and later becoming a writer through my teaching and blogging experiences. But I have had some great teachers and great opportunities.  When I decided music composition would be my main area of study I attended the University of Toronto but never graduated because they expected all students to study 20th century Canadian music even before studying Beethoven or Bach. I left university to join a rock band and got tired of that after 3 years to start directing Musical Theatre.

 

I then started arranging and composing for piano, bands, ensembles, choirs and orchestras.  My second instrument was the viola which I played for six years, mostly in my teen age years, and was a member of the Etobicoke Youth Orchestra under Barry Gosse. He was a great educator and musician and will never forget his powers of improvisation.

 

After doing Summer Stock theatre in cottage country for three years I was also able to do some Toronto productions of shows like Godspell and a couple of original productions. I became a ballet school accompanist and also grew from those experiences.

 

I did a year as Musical Director at the prestigious Royal York Hotel which had me develop ironically singing waiters and bar tenders. The position gave me the right to audition and develop the repertoire.

 

I decided in my 40's to go back to school to complete my Bachelor of Science in computer programming. This period was a bit of a setback musically.  I spent about 10 years in IT going to school, graduating and then becoming  a teacher at a college part time.  I've returned to music and started writing.

 

With a few years of blogging mostly on energy and the environment and dabbling in philosophy I decided to return to music full time. This made me happier composing and writing were just what I was needing. Now, while my some of my other projects are on hold,  I am working on the book, teaching music and continuing with web design.

 

The Target Audience

I touched on it in my overview but the growing demographic of seniors and retirees is growing steadily along with myself. This book will be good for any beginner but since adults are at a disadvantage I give some insights on how to overcome that disadvantage. I just turned 56 in September and still going strong. Not quite a senior yet but my appreciation of what seniors like has been a part of being a performer.  Studying jazz got me in touch with the wealth of music by great song writers like George Gershwin, Hoagy Carmichael and Jimmy Van Heusen. The piano styles of Jelly Roll Morton, Fats Waller, Teddy Wison, Errol Garner, Bill Evans and Keith Jarrett have all been influences on my playing.  But that does not mean that classical pianists did not have my attention. The biggest of all was Glenn Gould and some others include Vladimir Ashkenazy, Anton Kuerti and Sergei Rachmaninoff.

Plans for Promotion

Plans for Promotion coming soon

Why is Late Bloomer Piano Players Guide Better?

After years of watching and analyzing how pianists play and to hear them talk they generally don't seem to understand how they accomplish what they do. There are different styles of playing and schools of thought but my explanation about transfer of weight and using momentum and physical self awareness while maintaining a state of relaxation is both safe and an efficient way to play the piano.  In addition I advocate using a system I call deconstructing the song. The song structure, the physical challenge of demanding passages, the variations that can be applied to the harmony and the rhythm are all starting points for developing exercises or studies that make the musical journey much more interesting.  I say to the reader they should get inside the head of the composer and try to discover their intention. Sometime scales and exercises are useful but using the composers ideas for technical mastery is more rewarding.

I would like to suggest large print. Glenn Gould once  said that he could teach everything there is to know about the piano in half an hour. With this view and considering how reading has become a favourite pastime why not use large print and provide both old and young audiences a chance to enjoy learning without eye strain.