Book Review: Piano Lessons by Noah Adams

Today, I will share with you my brief review of a book called Piano Lessons: Music, Love, and True Adventures by Noah Adams.  This book is a peek into the author’s life for a year (each chapter is a month) as he experiences buying and learning how to play piano.  The book also contains accounts of interviews he was able to conduct with famous pianists as part of his job as a host of NPR’s All Things Considered.  For most of the book, the author attempts to teach himself piano using a few different methods, and also finds himself at a piano camp called “Autumn Sonata” in Vermont.  By the end of the book, after no small amount of toil, the author successfully learns how to play a rendition of Traumerei for his wife as a Christmas surprise.

This is a wonderful book to read.  Teachers, parents, and students (especially adult students) will find this book interesting and inspirational.  The writing style is light and easy to read, full of colorful descriptive words and light humor.  I enjoyed occasionally reading a chapter before bed over the course of a month or two.


For more ideas of books to read, consult the Reading List page here.


Questions, Teaching Piano

Forum Q&A | Teaching Adults Versus Children/Teens

These week’s Forum Q&A was prompted by a comment by Kaylee on the facebook page.  Kaylee asked for advice about teaching an adult student who is older than she is.  If you have advice to offer, please visit the facebook page and leave a comment!

But for this Forum Q&A, we will focus on the general question about the differences between teaching adults versus children/teens:

What differences are there between teaching adult students and children/teens? What adjustments to your approach must be made when teaching adults?  What method books or repertoire do you like to use with adults students?

Contribute your thoughts in the comments below!

Photo Credit: klipsch_soundman | CC 2.0

repertoire / methods, Reviews

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


  • 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.


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.) Continue reading “Book Review: “Returning to the Piano” by Wendy Stevens”

repertoire / methods, Resources

A New Adult Student Book on the Market: “Returning to the Piano” by Wendy Stevens

Check out this announcement at the blog: Wendy Stevens has written a new adult piano book entitled: Returning to the Piano: A Refresher Book for Adults.  I often have a hard time deciding what adult method to use with my adult students.  Especially when they aren’t true beginners and have had previous experience with piano, I don’t like putting them through overly method-y books!  In addition, many adult students want to learn pieces with tunes that are familiar to them.  This book looks like it may be a good alternative for those types of situations, or simply as a supplement to an adult method.

Here is the description from the Hal Leonard site:

I just ordered a copy from and I can’t wait for it to arrive so I can try out all the arrangements myself!  =)

Announcements, repertoire / methods, Reviews

Book Review: Especially For Adults by Dennis Alexander

Book Review: Especially For Adults Book I, by Dennis Alexander.

I just discovered this book of fabulous Early Intermediate to Intermediate Level piano solos.  I bought this book for a student, and it has been a real hit so far!  I am very pleased with this purchase.

This book would make an excellent supplement for a high-school or older student, no matter what method book they are using.  The pieces are appealing to the ear and rewarding to work on.  They would also make great recital pieces.


  • Day’s End
  • Feelin’ Fine
  • Flamenco Fever!
  • (Theme from) Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2
  • Lost in Time
  • On Ol’ Broadway!
  • Plaisir d’amour (The Joy of Love)
  • Polovetsian Dance (from Prince Igor)
  • Reflections
  • Shelby’s Waltz
  • Sneaky Kinda Rag

My personal favorites from this book are Polovetsian Dance (a modern twist on the familiar orchestral theme from Prince Igor) and Reflections.  All the pieces are great, though, and without being too difficult.  The book covers a wide range of musical styles and moods.

Dennis Alexander also has a Book II and a Book III as well – I have not seen them yet, but am looking foward to trying them out!

My rating: 5 stars (out of 5 stars)