Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Remembering John Thompson's Piano Course (red books)
Just another remembrance (without war) of my boyhood – those red piano lesson books – “John Thompson’s Modern Course for the Piano”. They’re still available new on Amazon, complete with certificates of achievement. Even by the Third Grade, it doesn’t look very advanced (you can thumb random pages on Amazon). I don't think I have any of them lying around any more.
I remember the first half-sized booklet, “Teaching Little Fingers to Play”, which starts with a “Tom Thumb March”, on one note, middle C. (There is a scene in Alban Berg’s “Wozzeck” with only the note “B”.) Each successive piece introduced one more note. Rather like Taylor Swift ("Mine")!
I remember the “gold stars” on finishing a piece. I remember that “cross hands” was a big deal. So was “melody in the left hand” (a Massenet Elegy). Somehow the Bach Musette comes to mind.
Later, a saleman sold "us" on the Sherwood Music School course.