So You Want To Play The Piano? – The Reviews

My book, So You Want To Play The Piano? has received some great reviews; both from professional musicians and critics, and the public. In fact it has received five-star ratings all round and I’m so excited! It does take a considerable amount of effort and graft to write and publish any book, as all authors will know, but this project has been really interesting and very worthwhile. If I’m able to help a few prospective pianists make a good start in their quest to play the piano successfully, then I’ve achieved my goal.

You can read all the reviews (those from professionals and Amazon reviews) on my website here. I’ve also received some great comments and feedback from bloggers too. I met Elena Cobb on Twitter a few months ago and have reviewed her excellent music tutor books; Higgledy Piggledy Jazz. If you want to start incorporating jazz into your music lessons or practice sessions then do consider these great volumes, which are written for different instruments and instrument combinations. You can find all details about Elena and her work here.

Elena has been so kind as to read my book and has written the following blog post (which I’m reblogging today):

Melanie Spanswick, British Concert Pianist & Author

Melanie Spanswick

Melanie Spanswick


It’s true to say that we live in the world where we are no longer required to drive long distances to meet people, or to learn about various things. With the power of the Internet we can easily forge relationships, and communicate our ideas and thoughts to the far-flung corners of the universe without leaving the chair in our studies.

I have first spotted Melanie Spanswick on Twitter. She was chatting happily about all things piano and everything she was saying made perfect sense. It didn’t take long for me to decide to follow-up the link and here it was! A book  entitled ‘SO YOU WANT TO LEARN TO PLAY THE PIANO?’ It contained all the answers to all the questions that are asked time and time again by parents, teachers, pupils and anybody who is associated with the instrument.

The book was published in April 2013 and now is available in all good shops throughout the UK and abroad, and I would recommend reading the book to anyone who wants to learn to play the piano!

By this point, you are probably thinking: “Why is she so enthusiastic about the book? And, what is her angle?’ Well, my angle is very obvious, to me anyway! I am a classically trained pianist and piano teacher and far too often, since I started my life and work in the UK (I still speak and write with a small accent), I had to search for something, or someone in the authority to confirm that I was right.

That I was right about the fees and practice schedules, about the repertoire and the important role of the technical exercises (scales etc) for the development of the elementary skills.

I was correct when I was trying to persuade a parent to get (buy, or rent) the instrument as soon as the child has started the piano lessons and not to wait and see ‘how the things would turn up’ and ‘let’s see whether he will enjoy it’. And more…

What makes this book really interesting is the fact that it will be useful for both sides: those who teach the piano and those who learn to play it. Parents and teachers, students and lecturers will all benefit from Melanie’s advice as it is written eloquently and without prejudice.


It is another interesting project conducted by Melanie, who is a concert pianist her self, and this is how she introduces the interviews on her website:

“I chat informally to established eminent classical pianists about their training, musical education and careers. I tend to ask similar questions but the answers are so diverse; it has been fascinating hearing how each artist’s respective musical education has shaped and influenced their careers.”  The interviews include:

Steven OsbornePeter Donohoe,  Murray McLachlanGraham Fitch, and many more. Please follow the links above to unlock this treasure chest filled with the words from professionals who proved that they know what they are talking about, when it comes to talking about the piano.

Melanie is also in demand as festival and competition adjudicator. Her articles on various musical topics are published here in the UK (she writes for the Music Teacher Magazine) and abroad. Please follow the link to the page where she is sharing her thoughts on the Role of a Music Adjudicator with the readers in Hong Kong, the Pianist Book Magazine vol. 7

What else to add? Melanie Spanswick is a beautiful woman and a genuinely nice person! And I want to say: THANK YOU! Mel for all your hard work – articles, interviews, blogs and vlogs! Everything you do is very useful and informative to all of us  – musicians, parents and teachers.

It’s true to say that we live in the world where we are no longer required to drive long distances to meet people. With the power of the Internet we can easily find the answers to our questions without leaving the chair in our studies. And when through our searches we discover the solution we have been looking for, we forge a connection which will hopefully last a lifetime.

You can read Elena’s blog here

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