Book Review: “Returning to the Piano” by Wendy Stevens

Summary

  • Title: Returning to the Piano: A Refresher Book for Adults (click to view on Amazon)
  • Composer/Arranger: Wendy Stevens
  • Publisher: Hal Leonard
  • Number of Pages: 96
  • Level: Elementary – Early Intermediate (pieces are in order of difficulty).
  • Other Information: Includes a CD.

Review

As the title suggests, this book is intended for adult piano students who are returning to the piano.  Even in the first few pieces, the students’ hands are not confined to “positions” as in many methods; therefore, this book may be a good solution for students who already are accustomed to moving around the keys, or for the student who would benefit from becoming more comfortable doing so.  (I would not recommend using this book with beginners because it is clearly not intended for that use.)

Students and teachers alike will enjoy the great variety of literature, including classical, popular, movie themes, folk tunes, and original pieces.  This variety, plus the fact that the book has 96 pages, makes it a good value for the price.  In using this book with a student, I have been pleased with the quality of the arrangements so far: they are simplified just enough for the student without sounding too watered down.  See the links below to view a full list of titles.

As the pieces progress in difficulty, the book takes the time to explain various concepts to help the student in their pieces.  There are practice tips, rhythm exercises, definitions of musical terms, theory explanations (scales, chords, etc.) and more.

The accompanying CD contains accompaniment tracks for the student to play along with.  Each accompaniment is included on the CD twice: once at “practice” tempo, and then again at “performance” tempo.  The accompaniments really sound great! Students will enjoy using the recordings to aid their practice (to ensure a steady beat, to check rhythms, for inspiration to play musically, etc.).

Wendy Stevens has found the perfect niche: to my knowledge, there is nothing comparable that is intended for returning adult students as opposed to adult beginners.  Returning to the Piano has filled a gaping hole in piano teaching literature in a way that will please both students and teachers.  Bravo!

Links

PG
Joy Morin is a piano teacher in northwest Ohio (United States) who enjoys keeping her teaching fresh with new ideas and resources. ColorInMyPiano.com serves as a journal of her adventures in piano teaching as well as a place to exchange ideas and resources.

Joy has blogged 1129 posts here.

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2 Comments

  1. Posted 14 October 2010 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    Use this book and love it – kudos to Wendy for recognizing that there was a definate gap in the materials that were out there. Has saved me lots of time searching for appropriately leveled material for these returning adult students (and even older teens). Love the mix of pop/classical/movie themes. Thanks for this review – will refer people here when I suggest they pick up this book!

    • Posted 15 October 2010 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for the comment, Andrea! It certainly is a time-saver.

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