How everything that has stopped you playing like a Piano Legend so far… shouldn’t!
Guest post by Mark Deeks
I spend a lot of my life having conversations with people who have always wanted to play piano. You know the kind of people who say to you at parties, “I wish I could just sit down at the piano and play…”. There’s always a “but” coming. And we all know the kind of reasons that will follow.
“I couldn’t afford it”.
“I’m too old”.
“I should’ve learnt when I was young”.
“My fingers are too fat”.
“My fingers are too short”.
“My parents made me go to lessons when I was a child and I gave up to play football”.
Let’s face it. We’ve all had this conversation with someone at least once. And for those of us who are professional pianists, we’ve had it a LOT! (It’s the equivalent of doctors being asked to look at someone’s dodgy elbow in the supermarket, I guess…)
I spend so much of my time having these conversations, and showing people the solutions to whichever problem has stopped them so far, that I decided it would be really good to put all of the answers down on paper so that everyone can see how they can get started much easier than they thought.
Essentially I am on a mission to help as many people as possible. That’s why the first section of the book is called “Forget everything you think you know about playing piano”. It’s not that I’m trying to create a legion of professional piano players, although obviously that would be exciting! What I want to do is allow as many people as possible to use piano as a hobby to improve their lives, be it with the physical or the many mental health benefits that come through having a hobby of this kind.
We are currently living in a time where there are so many stresses and pressures with everything from the Corona crisis to the need to appear perfect on social media. People are feeling pressure personally, professionally and financially, and what many people need right now is 10 or 15 minutes just for them on a daily basis where they can have something that allows them to switch off and forget the stress of the world. We all need to have a way to forget the pressures on us in our families and jobs and have something which allows us to drift away and relax.
What can be a real game changer for people is when I tell them about making sure they are comparing like with like, as adults are terrible for giving themselves a hard time before they start. Adults have a concept of finished products that children do not, and it can be a huge hindrance. Consider this: young children are entertained by the fact that they can walk up to a piano, randomly hit the keys, and get a noise out of an instrument they have no knowledge of how to play. Adults on the other hand simply hear noise. Why? Because they have the concept of the sound of their favourite artists or bands to compare the noise to, and it does not compare favourably!
As a result they subconsciously reinforce the idea that it would take years to do anything on the piano worth doing so there’s no point in starting. Tell me… that hasn’t been stopping you has it? My wife and I took up running a few years ago to improve our physical and mental health, not to become Olympic athletes. If we’d compared ourselves to Mo Farah, we would never have started, and that change of context changes everything.
I don’t expect you to become the next touring concert pianist, but what if you could be playing a few notes of your favourite Beatles tune or a bit of your favourite Coldplay song in quite a short period of time? News flash – you can.
And what if doing that would allow you to achieve something that makes you feel good and give you the kind of boost that those of us who have been around the piano all our lives know it can bring? You can.
So to help make that happen, “NOT Another Piano Book” is more a motivational book than a piano book. That’s why the subtitle is “How Everything That Has Stopped You Playing Like a Piano Legend So Far… Shouldn’t!”
I also want to demystify the marketplace so you can understand the descriptions of features and specifications you are looking at. I want you to know what the basic information you need to be looking for is when selecting which is the right instrument for you, even if you have never bought an instrument before. I want to reassure you that you don’t need to be spending thousands of pounds, and that getting started is not a process that is impenetrable or going to take years.
Sure, towards the end of the book I start to get you playing and show you some initial exercises you can do, making sure all the time that you feel good about the process and are not getting demotivated by being made to play “Frère Jacques” or “Old MacDonald”! I also show you the skills you will need to move around the keys like a pro, AND everyone who picks up the book gets free access to a video course called Classic Songs Unlocked, where I show you how to play all the chords you will need to play 31 classic songs.
I’m on a mission to help people just like you regardless of your level of experience or age. This is my passion, and if you’re excited to get started I’ll see you at http://notanotherpianobook.com
NOT Another Piano Book is out at the start of December and will be a pre launch price of 99p on Kindle and just a few quid as a paperback.
Mark Deeks has spent more than 20 years working as a musical director, pianist, arranger and teacher, and has built a really diverse group of musicians as a client base. From artists such as Faye Tozer of Steps to black metal bands Winterfylleth (a band Mark ended up joining!) and Drudkh. He has given Lenny Henry piano lessons, and written versions of songs by metal stars Sonata Arctica for symphony orchestra and choir.
Mark’s extensive work as a musical director has included everything from choirs for the BBC, Magic Radio, and his own Sing United, to music theatre shows such as West Side Story and The Sound of Music. He has conducted the Royal Northern Sinfonia and written string parts for Japanese post rock legends Mono. He has previous clients around the world including France, Canada, Finland and Holland, and has even co-written and toured a comedy musical with the BBC’s Alfie Joey.
Mark Deeks Music Page: https://www.facebook.com/MarkDeeksMusic
Play Piano in 30 Seconds Free Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/playpianoin30seconds
Image credit: Gavin Forster Photography
1 thought on “NOT Another Piano Book”
I need to get back on the bench myself and practice again. Haven’t in months and I’m sure my piano teacher (pre-COVID) would be appalled. I wish I could afford lessons with her again because it was nice for me to be able to point out things I didn’t understand and we’d figure them out together. She was so cool, but now without a job, lessons are the first thing I’ll have to give up, at least for 2021. Perhaps when things stabilize and my new job takes off, I’ll return. I love music and always wanted to get better at it, but somehow I just can’t get practice habits to stick. I’m working through making better habits all around right now, and practicing piano is one of my biggest priorities. I’m hoping to have a reasonable plan sketched out by Monday, because I miss it.