Note by Note: A Celebration of the Piano Lesson

Note by Note A Celebration of the Piano Lesson In this luminous book Tricia Tunstall explores the enduring fascination of the piano lesson Even as everything else about the world of music changes the piano lesson retains its appeal Drawing on he

  • Title: Note by Note: A Celebration of the Piano Lesson
  • Author: Tricia Tunstall
  • ISBN: 9781416540502
  • Page: 345
  • Format: Hardcover
  • In this luminous book, Tricia Tunstall explores the enduring fascination of the piano lesson Even as everything else about the world of music changes, the piano lesson retains its appeal Drawing on her own lifelong experience as a student and teacher, Tunstall writes about the mysteries and delights of piano teaching and learning What is it that happens in a piano lessoIn this luminous book, Tricia Tunstall explores the enduring fascination of the piano lesson Even as everything else about the world of music changes, the piano lesson retains its appeal Drawing on her own lifelong experience as a student and teacher, Tunstall writes about the mysteries and delights of piano teaching and learning What is it that happens in a piano lesson to make it such a durable ritual In a world where music is heard often on the telephone and in the elevator than in the concert hall, why does the piano lesson still have meaning in the lives of children What does it matter whether one child learns to play Bach s Minuet in G Note by Note is in part a memoir in which Tunstall recalls her own childhood piano teachers and their influence As she observes, the piano lesson is unlike the experience of being coached on an athletic team or taught in a classroom, in that it is a one on one, personal communication Physically proximate, mutually concentrating on the transfer of a skill that is often arduous, complicated and frustrating, teacher and student occasionally experience breakthroughs moments of joy when the student has learned something, mastered a musical passage or expressed a feeling through music The relationship is not only one way teaching the piano is a lifelong endeavor of particular intensity and power.Anyone who has ever studied the piano or wanted to will cherish this gem of a book.

    One thought on “Note by Note: A Celebration of the Piano Lesson”

    1. This book brought back so many wonderful memories of my 13 years of piano lessons. There were so many passages that moved me to tears because I remember having an intimate relationship with the pieces Tunstall described herself and her students playing.As I was reading this book, all that overcame me was how much I missed playing the piano and also how I would've loved to have a teacher like Tunstall. I had a wonderful relationship with my piano teacher and I would never want to give up my time [...]

    2. What an unassuming but remarkable little book! Tricia Tunstall, who teaches piano lessons, writes with great perceptiveness and feeling about what transpires between a student (most often a child) and a teacher in the long process of learning to play an instrument. This is a book about music and what it means to us, about the role of classical music in an iPod world, about pedagogy, and about childhood. I took piano lessons from the ages of 5 to 18, and Note by Note allowed me to revisit the exp [...]

    3. Note by Note is a series of essays that make a book. Tunstall looks into the process of learning and teaching piano, combining personal reflection on her students now, her childhood lessons. When it becomes relevant, she'll make a gentle digression into the theory of teaching music, the history of written music, genres of music, or the influence of the iPod on piano teaching. And then she'll bring it back to the real by tying her digression in to the story of one student, whether that's herself, [...]

    4. I really liked this book, even though I was bound to like it, since my daughter is a piano teacher, which gives me a motivation to read it and like it no matter what. As I hoped, the book gave me real insight and real closeness to the world of my daughter's vocation. As always, I am awestruck by people who can talk about music in words. I had also been a music student (clarinet) many years ago, and this book evoked many fond memories of my clarinet teacher. I learned a lot in reading it about my [...]

    5. A few weeks ago, Roger Sutton over at Read Roger (the Horn Book blog) mentioned that he was enjoying Tricia Tunstall's Note by Note: A Celebration of the Piano Lesson. So I picked it up from the library and got immediately swept away.Everyone who has ever taken private music lessons remembers something about their teacher vividly. My father *still* can drum up images of the nun he learned from (and the sharp rap of her ruler on his knuckles!) As Tricia Tunstall so astutely points out, "there are [...]

    6. An excellent, intriguing look at an enduring American childhood tradition: that of the piano lesson. Tunstall is the kind of teacher I'd love to send my kids to for music lessons: she's very aware of the limb kids go out on when they take up the arduous task of learning an instrument. Her portraits of students are brief sketches but memorable (such as ten year old Damian, who wants to learn hip-hop beats on the keyboard). For me, it was impossible not to draw parallels between Tunstall's pedagog [...]

    7. I was entranced by all things piano for a few weeks this summer. It began when I watched the excellent documentary on the Van Cliburn Amateur Piano Competition called _They Came to Play_. I followed that with a documentary on the making of a Steinway piano. And I finished it off with this essay celebrating the piano lesson. This book is a wonderful, very personal book on one piano teacher's experience giving and receiving piano lessons. I reveled in the author's experiences starting with her own [...]

    8. I absolutely loved this book, but music has always been such a colossal part of my life. I also took piano lessons for 10 years during my childhood, so it was wonderful to read about the piano lesson from the teacher's point of view. It was a beautiful and kind account of the many personalities she trains musically and of their journeys toward mastery, or not. She arrives at the conclusion that the pursuit of beauty in music is perfectly worthwhile, even if a performing career is never possible. [...]

    9. As a former child who suffered through, then grew to embrace and love piano lessons and the piano itself for much of my childhood and teenage years, I had high hopes for this book. I recently became the proud owner of our family piano and it holds many, many memories for me.But, I couldn't even finish this book, it was so boring. It is far too detailed with the music aspect, theory, basically all of the things that I initially hated about piano lessons before it occurred to me that through the p [...]

    10. This is simply a lovely book--as graceful and passionate as the sonatas and concertos Tunstall teaches her young students (age six to eighteen or so) to play. Tunstall clearly "hears beneath" the things her pupils say and the notes they play; she registers their fears, desires, and needs as they relate to and are reflected in the music. She explores the pop music that is a kind of constant Surround-Sound in our culture (she sees plenty of good in it), the uneven process of technical mastery, and [...]

    11. The book was the not the greatest. I skimmed here and there. I can't quite put my finger on it; hoping my book group will have the words for me! BUT: overall, I truly enjoyed reading the book and taking many trips down memory lane. I have been around pianos & lessons for a long time, starting at a convent and ending with an old baby grand in our apt. in Chicago. But I don't want it to end there. I'd love for Lila (and Charlie?) to take lessons and perhaps play again myself. I would love to h [...]

    12. A very interesting, thoughtful, and memorable book that I highly recommend. I agree heartily with the other positive reviews. Even if you haven't taken piano lessons, this will get you thinking about all the pianists and piano lessons in fiction: Miss Cobb in the Betsy-Tacy series, Beth in Little Women, Katherine in The Small Rain. If you have read and liked any of those books, you will want to read Note by Note. It's not just about piano lessons, but about what music means to each of us.(If any [...]

    13. I don't think I would have wanted this lady to be my piano teacher. I think she honestly tried to have an open mind about different types of music, but she was firmly entrenched in the "classical music is best" club. Also, she seemed to have a pretty rigid technique for teaching. Not every student thinks the same way or approaches music the same way and I'm not sure she really got that. That said, I do think she cared for her students and tried as best as she could to help them. I think the worl [...]

    14. The author gives piano lessons to young students. As an adult student, I found her approach wonderful and wish I had had a teacher like her as a youth. Surprisingly, much of her analysis of young students, applies to adults as well. The relatively brief glimpses into her personal life are most touching and one senses there could be another book of a more personal nature. This book is a must for any piano teacher and is a light and enjoyable read for any student. She offers hope that when childre [...]

    15. A great and fast read, particularly if you play piano or have some knowledge of music. I found it hard to believe a piano teacher could write so insightfully about the human circumstance as witnessed through her students. The piano gave them voice to emotions they hadn't yet experienced because of their youth. Great stuff. Then I saw she attended Yale, and contributed articles to various magazines so I now understand she is a writer of some measure. The last chapter in particular is poignant. Wh [...]

    16. This is an exceptional book. Written in 'first person', it is accessible to teachers, students, musicians, and non-musicians alike. The author is very good at relating how musical tastes can differ amongst students, and how those changes can and do adapt over time. The author further illustrates how a teacher can influence such changes, and in such a positive manner. The book is only 214 pages long, and the chapter breaks are sufficient that you may read one chapter per day, or so, and pick up o [...]

    17. This was a fantastic book. It held my interest from beginning to end and verbalized aspects of piano lessons I didn't know could be expressed so clearly. I play the piano, but the art of teaching someone to play the piano is a gift I do not possess and which I find to be even more awe-inspiring now that I've read Note by Note. As a sidenote, the documentary of the same name, Note by Note, is not related to this book, but is about Steinway pianos and I would highly recommend it to anyone. So, rea [...]

    18. Being a piano teacher by profession, I loved reading about my life. Tricia has students much like my own and her insight into their musical lives made me excited to see all my students this Fall. The chapter about the "recital" was so close to home. Reading it was just like talking to a friend the Saturday night after the big event. No one but a teacher would understand. But wait; you students would enjoy it, too. After all, this book is about students as well. Hey, I was a student once; I guess [...]

    19. This is an absolutely brilliant, brilliant book. Tunstall takes the seemingly insignificant world of the piano lesson, and illuminates it to show so much more about culture - most tragically, culture that's being forgotten. For anyone who has been moved by music - any piece, any kind, even once in their life - this book will surely keep you riveted. Tom's right - it's unassuming - but this is the type of extraordinarily-written story that deserves a large and welcoming audience.

    20. This is a wonderful story all about piano lessons; something many of us have our own experience with. The story goes through the author's various students and how she coaxes them into giving just a little more into their playing. Also, the author discusses her own role as both teacher and student herself growing up.Reading this book makes want to go sit down at the piano and play for a couple hours.

    21. This book took me back to my piano playing days and all that time devoted to mastering the instrument. I really enjoyed the author's perspective, one of the teacher, rather than the student. It reminded me of something that was such a huge part of my life, and helped shape me into the person I am today. I have a new appreciation for piano teachers and just how intimate the piano/student teacher relationship is.

    22. A nice little book. I like it not so much for what's in it-- a charming memoir/set of narrative essays on piano lessons-- as for how it resonates with recent experiences. My daughter and I both take piano with a gifted teacher, with plenty of ups and downs, and the process has taught me much about learning.

    23. I have never played an instrument, but I looked forward to what this author had to say about discipline, passion, and performance. Unfortunately, it did not hold my interest. I was looking for a chapter I could use in my consulting work as a professional development facilitator, but will not use this. Tunstall does create memories that anyone who has ever studied piano will relate to, however.

    24. Reading this book made me want to start playing the piano again. I loved hearing Tunstall's stories about her students, but was bogged down by the technical jargon. Thankfully, there wasn't too much of it. I thought the last chapter was a bit self-indulgent, but overall I was happy to rediscover the joy of playing the piano (even if only in theory).

    25. I normally don't give a book 4 stars that I've skimmed some parts. However, I just loved the book. I wished she would have been my piano teacher and I wish I could be a piano teacher like her. she mentioned a lot of songs that I found myself going to itunes to hear what they were and thinking that I should learn how to playe last 2 chapters are the best.

    26. If I wasn't a piano teacher this book would not have kept my attention for very long. Tunstall does write well, but the material is often musically-technical enough to slow the reading down. I do recommend this book to other teachers; I got several ideas that I will be implementing in my studio.

    27. Although this was our book club selection, I just couldn't get into it and gave it up to start Home Safe by Elizabeth Berg - which I loved. I just couldn't imagine wading through several hundred pages of musings about teaching piano lessons!

    28. Written by a lovely woman with a lovely writing voice, this book is simply the insights of a piano teacher into her students' psyches and what makes them tick. It's a little longer than it needs to be, but the last chapter is worth sticking it out to the end.

    29. A quick read, and fabulous account and observations about music and piano playing by a piano teacher. I'm envious of people who can play piano and I've wanted to learn since adulthood. Books like this push me closer toward that goal. See also, my "Piano Lessons" entry.

    30. So inspirational! I loved how the author pulled me in and I could totally relate to her experiences as a piano teacher and student. I loved how she related a love of music to the passion and joy and beauty found in life. I loved every chapter of this book.

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