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Piano Plain and Simple, Volume 1.

Piano Plain and Simple, Volume 1, w/CD, by Cynthia Pace. distributed by Hal Leonard Corporation, 2009.; (800) 637-2852; 144 pp. $16.95.


Cynthia Pace's Piano Plain and Simple, Volume 1 is a method book for the adult beginner who wants to learn it all: reading, transposition, written theory, improvisation--the works. The method's newly recorded CD greatly enhances Pace's curriculum.

The layouts are clean, and the text is well-written and lucid: I, for one, have never seen more exact instructions for working with flashcards and CD tracks. Unlike many adult methods, Piano Plain and Simple teaches true multi-key comprehensive musicianship; the teacher would need to consider the adult student's musical goals and learning style before using this book. For example, this first volume, among other things, covers all 12 major key signatures, all 12 major chords and 6/8 meter. The book would be suitable for a hardworking adult student, but it is not for a laid-back private student or a Recreational Music Making class.

The music itself mixes folk, classical, pop and jazz with original pieces. In addition, the CD instrumentations, written and recorded by the author, are imaginative and sometimes delightfully unexpected. To cite two examples, Pace adds a funky bass line to the traditional folk song "The Cuckoo" and Caribbean instrumentation to the children's song "Hey Lolly." As is so often the case with accompaniment CDs, the tempi are quite fast. In addition to the standard audio tracks, however, the CD contains MIDI tracks that can be adjusted for tempo.

Overall, the method is well-constructed, thoughtful and musical. Just choose your student carefully.--Reviewed by Susan Geffen, NCTM, Plano, Texas
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Author:Geffen, Susan
Publication:American Music Teacher
Article Type:Brief article
Date:Dec 1, 2009
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