Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 2 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

Gifts and supplies for the musician
SEARCH
the Forums & Piano World

This custom search works much better than the built in one and allows searching older posts.
Ad (Piano Sing)
How to Make Your Piano Sing
(ad) Pearl River
Pearl River Pianos
(ad 125) Sweetwater - Digital Keyboards & Other Gear
Digital Pianos at Sweetwater
(ad) Pianoteq
(ad) P B Guide
Acoustic & Digital Piano Guide
Who's Online
120 registered (ando, Alexander Borro, anotherscott, accordeur, 661-Pete, 33 invisible), 1675 Guests and 23 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Quick Links to Useful Piano & Music Resources
Our Classified Ads
Find Piano Professionals-

*Piano Dealers - Piano Stores
*Piano Tuners
*Piano Teachers
*Piano Movers
*Piano Restorations
*Piano Manufacturers
*Organs

Quick Links:
*Advertise On Piano World
*Free Piano Newsletter
*Online Piano Recitals
*Piano Recitals Index
*Piano & Music Accessories
*Music School Listings
* Buying a Piano
*Buying A Acoustic Piano
*Buying a Digital Piano
*Pianos for Sale
*Sell Your Piano
*How Old is My Piano?
*Piano Books
*Piano Art, Pictures, & Posters
*Directory/Site Map
*Contest
*Links
*Virtual Piano
*Music Word Search
*Piano Screen Saver
*Piano Videos
*Virtual Piano Chords
(ad) Estonia Piano
Estonia Pianos
Topic Options
#1022912 - 11/07/08 08:21 AM Charles Cooke's Book
loveschopintoomuch Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/05/06
Posts: 4690
Loc: Illinois
I have been in a really huge dry spell lately---motivation-wise. \:\(

I could use some inspiration. Has anyone read Charles Cooke's book Playing for Pleasure?

Considering purchasing it but would love to hear any comments.

Many thanks,
Kathleen
_________________________
After playing Chopin, I feel as if I had been weeping over sins that I had never committed, and mourning over tragedies that were not my own." Oscar Wilde, 1891

Top
(ads P/S)

Petrof Pianos

#1022913 - 11/07/08 08:41 AM Re: Charles Cooke's Book
cruiser Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/19/07
Posts: 1172
Loc: Cornwall, England
...there's always Chopin's 48.1 to keep you occupied, Kathleen! ;\)

I have the book you mention and I've found it very interesting, helpful and readable. Cooke obviously had a good sense of humour and it comes across in this book.

I found the section on mastering difficult passages - or "fracture's", as Cooke calls them - to be particularly helpful.

For amateurs such as we, this book has much valuable insight. Cooke reminds us that we're playing piano, above all, for pleasure (we are, aren't we?). He concentrates on repertoire, giving many excellent - imo - suggestions as well as listing his own achievements, which he organised into groups of 5 pieces.

He also gives help with technique but, be warned, he was an advocate of Hanon!

I recommend this book even though it was, in my case, quite expensive.

My best to you, as always
Mike \:\)

Top
#1022914 - 11/07/08 08:50 AM Re: Charles Cooke's Book
Donna R. Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/26/07
Posts: 794
Kathleen, I have the book and like Cruiser I found the section on "setting fractures" particularly helpful. He also has a section on deconstructing pieces to help with memorizing that I think would probably be useful to someone who finds memorizing difficult (I'm fortunate enough to have a good memory that's holding up so far \:\) ). But I also found it interesting from the perspective of analyzing a piece to develop a greater understanding of how it "works". I'd recommend it if you can get hold of it at a reasonable price. I got mine from an online used book seller in the UK for a fraction of what I'd have had to pay for it in the US.

Top
#1022915 - 11/07/08 08:50 AM Re: Charles Cooke's Book
sotto voce Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 6163
Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
+1

It's a great little book, Kathleen—useful and a good read, too.

As cruiser mentioned, there are many interesting repertoire suggestions (including some that weren't on my radar previously, like Griffes' "The White Peacock" and Palmgren's "May Night").

It's been praised here many times, though it's gone in and out of print over the years and that could be why cruiser found it to be expensive.

Steven

p.s. Speaking of motivation, I still haven't finished Seymour Bernstein's With Your Own Two Hands.
_________________________

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
—Albert Schweitzer

Chopin: Allegro de Concert Op. 46
Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
Fauré: Ballade Op. 19

Top
#1022916 - 11/07/08 08:57 AM Re: Charles Cooke's Book
cruiser Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/19/07
Posts: 1172
Loc: Cornwall, England
 Quote:
Originally posted by sotto voce:
p.s. Speaking of motivation, I still haven't finished Seymour Bernstein's With Your Own Two Hands. [/b]
Not wishing to hijack... but this is another highly recommended book I'm having trouble finding!

Top
#1022917 - 11/07/08 09:10 AM Re: Charles Cooke's Book
Donna R. Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/26/07
Posts: 794
Hi Cruiser,

Also not wishing to hijack, but it looks as though there's a few copies available on Amazon.com at the moment, starting around $30 + shipping.

Top
#1022918 - 11/07/08 09:43 AM Re: Charles Cooke's Book
Oxfords Gal Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/21/06
Posts: 1553
Loc: Jacksonville, Florida
Hi Kathleen,

Maybe the honeymoon between you and Chopin is over or stale. \:D Have you tried looking for other type of music?

Maybe you reached a saturation point. I find that if I like something and I go overboard I just end up doing too much in too little time and get burned out. I usually do things in moderation to avoid that even if I want to do more that way the motivation stays with me instead of ebbing out.

I went through a bit of demotivation recently and it was due to too much material thrown at me at once. Once my teacher scaled me down to a more manageable amount of work, I found practicing a pleasure and motivation has sored.

I now have time to explore other music just for fun and that makes it always fresh and exciting.

I have cookes book and I think I read a few pages before I fell asleep.
_________________________
Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear, Fuzzy Wuzzy had no hair.>>> Herman Munster

Top
#1022919 - 11/07/08 10:23 AM Re: Charles Cooke's Book
Stanza Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/18/02
Posts: 1458
Loc: Chapel Hill, NC
One of the funniest things I have ever read was in Cooke's section about the value of playing for others. Paraphrasing won't do it justice, but he decribes how when friends would come over he would excitedly want to play a new piece for his less-than enthusiastic guests. Later he relates the retribution when he goes to the home of a poet who proceeds to recite some incredibly long sonnet...It was written in a very amusing manner.
_________________________
Estonia L190 #7004
Casio PX 310
Yamaha NP 30

Top
#1022920 - 11/07/08 10:38 AM Re: Charles Cooke's Book
loveschopintoomuch Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/05/06
Posts: 4690
Loc: Illinois
Well for Pete's sake!! I have the book. :rolleyes:

When Cruiser mentioned fractures (Hi Mike, I know you're almost finished with the 48.1, but alas I am still on the first page), it sounded familiar. Sure enough, when I browsed my music shelf, there it was. I have so many "self-help" books that I can't keep track. Now if only I could absorb all the wonderful and useful ideas, I'd be a female Rubinstein (yeah, right).

Mike: I think of you often (don't tell your wife ;\) ). How is your new piano working out?

Steven, I read about half of With Your Own Two Hands. It's not quite as down-to-earth as Cooke's.

Donna: Thanks for your detailed post, and I so agree. The book does give many great tips. I just wish I could be one of persons who can start with the hard part. But, there is something in my nature that compels me to start at the beginning and work towards the end. I do pound the life out of the fractures, however. Then I find my fingers develop a mind of their own, and I have to force myself to slow down.

In the current issue of "The Pianist," there is an article on Hanon. The pros and cons, etc. Did you know that Rachmaninoff played Hanon every day?? The article mentions that one doesn't have to play all the exercises, just those from which you will benefit. (I had to shake my head when it mentioned that the goal is to make all fingers of equal strength. This is not what Chopin advised. In fact, he said that having some fingers weaker than others is what gave the music its beauty.)

I am having one heck of a time trilling with my left hand, so I guess I'll have to sweep the cobwebs from the book and get busy.

Oxford Gal: Your suggestion is great. But I have been playing some old standards lately. The arrangements by Preston Keys are in a great book called Simply Beautiful Piano. I'm playing "My Foolish Heart," "More Than You Know," etc. I know I needed a change.. But, strange as it may sound, I find these pieces more difficult than the Chopin I've learned. I guess it just proves that old adage about Chopin's music fitting under the fingers so well.

You are all so very kind to respond. YOU have provided the inspiration I need.


Kathleen
_________________________
After playing Chopin, I feel as if I had been weeping over sins that I had never committed, and mourning over tragedies that were not my own." Oscar Wilde, 1891

Top
#1022921 - 11/07/08 11:12 AM Re: Charles Cooke's Book
cruiser Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/19/07
Posts: 1172
Loc: Cornwall, England
 Quote:
Originally posted by loveschopintoomuch:
I have so many "self-help" books that I can't keep track. Now if only I could absorb all the wonderful and useful ideas, I'd be a female Rubinstein (yeah, right).
[/b]
..I know exactly what you mean, Kathleen. I've also got an ever-increasing collection of self-help books, in the hope that one day I'll find that 'special' book which will, somehow, help me to really take off with my piano playing. At the moment I feel as though I'm trundling down a very long runway!

Top
#1022922 - 11/07/08 01:45 PM Re: Charles Cooke's Book
loveschopintoomuch Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/05/06
Posts: 4690
Loc: Illinois
Yes, Mike, I'm also looking for that special book that will reveal the secret.[/b] That secret, of course, will make playing as simple as brushing one's teeth. I think I will be looking (and buying) for the rest of my life.

It really doesn't get any easier, does it?

Kathleen
_________________________
After playing Chopin, I feel as if I had been weeping over sins that I had never committed, and mourning over tragedies that were not my own." Oscar Wilde, 1891

Top
#1022923 - 11/08/08 12:41 AM Re: Charles Cooke's Book
gabytu Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/05
Posts: 1522
Loc: Portland, Or.
I love that book. It is because of it, that I resumed playing the piano after years of neglect.

While brousing at my favorite bookstore, several years ago, in the used books section, I found a paper back copy, and was so intrigued by it, that I purchased it.

Cook is Hilarious--yet at the same time has some excepionally good advice. Gaby tu

Top
#1022924 - 11/10/08 10:26 AM Re: Charles Cooke's Book
loveschopintoomuch Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/05/06
Posts: 4690
Loc: Illinois
Gabytu: It's too bad Mr. Cooke is no longer alive because I'm sure he would be so pleased to know that he was responsible for your returning to the piano. \:\)

Kathleen
_________________________
After playing Chopin, I feel as if I had been weeping over sins that I had never committed, and mourning over tragedies that were not my own." Oscar Wilde, 1891

Top
#1022925 - 11/10/08 11:42 AM Re: Charles Cooke's Book
sotto voce Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 6163
Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
I suspect he's responsible for a great many people returning to piano and approaching it with a renewed sense of empowerment and enthusiasm.

As highly regarded as that book is, I'm surprised that it's not even more popular. I cannot overstate how good I think it is.

Steven
_________________________

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
—Albert Schweitzer

Chopin: Allegro de Concert Op. 46
Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
Fauré: Ballade Op. 19

Top
#1022926 - 11/10/08 02:40 PM Re: Charles Cooke's Book
ProdigalPianist Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/08/07
Posts: 1049
Loc: Phoenix Metro, AZ
 Quote:
Originally posted by loveschopintoomuch:
I have been in a really huge dry spell lately---motivation-wise. \:\(

I could use some inspiration. Has anyone read Charles Cooke's book Playing for Pleasure?

Considering purchasing it but would love to hear any comments.

Many thanks,
Kathleen [/b]
Hey our library has this (I have had good luck finding older books like this in libraries). I am going to check it out today...

Thanks for the recommendations

Edited to add...gee, thanks, Kathleen...now I will want to read this instead of practicing!!! \:D
_________________________
Adult Amateur Pianist

My only domestic quality is that I live in a house.

Top
#1022927 - 11/10/08 03:21 PM Re: Charles Cooke's Book
NancyM333 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/06
Posts: 1547
Loc: Roswell, Georgia
Reading Mr. Cooke's book is how I found PianoWorld! I read the book and loved it, so I was searching the internet to find out if he ever wrote a sequel. Almost all the hits were from PW posters, which is how I found this place. Jazzyprof used to have a quote from Charles Cooke as his signature, so that was where many of the listings came from, if I recall.

I learned about Playing the Piano for Pleasure by reading Noah Adams' book, Piano Lessons. I know he sometimes seems like he's trying to take the easy route, but that book also provided inspiration.

Good luck, Kathleen. I'm needing a little inspiration myself these days. I think I just have put a lot of time into a piece that I'm not crazy about, always thinking it would come together. Maybe it's time to drop it and play some Christmas music!

Nancy
_________________________

Estonia 168, Yamaha UX3

Top
#1022928 - 11/11/08 08:16 AM Re: Charles Cooke's Book
loveschopintoomuch Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/05/06
Posts: 4690
Loc: Illinois
Nancy: I read Noah Adams's book also and thought it charming. To go through all that (not to mention [gosh, I guess I am] all that $$$) just to learn to play a song for his wife. And yes, thanks for reminding me about Christmas songs. I usually don't start until mid-December and then have nothing really ready to play well.

ProadigalPianist: I will have to read his whole book now, instead of skipping to chapters of interest.

Steven, you are so right. What a wonderful legacy Mr. Cooke has left us.

Kathleen
_________________________
After playing Chopin, I feel as if I had been weeping over sins that I had never committed, and mourning over tragedies that were not my own." Oscar Wilde, 1891

Top
#1022929 - 11/27/08 01:44 PM Re: Charles Cooke's Book
guest1013 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/13/07
Posts: 1239
Thanks for recommending this wonderful author and book. I picked it up at the library and am finding it very enjoyable. I must confess to skipping some of the repertoire chapter so far, some of the pieces are beyond me. He gives a wonderful framework for mastering and maintaining one's repertoire. I had never looked at one hour a day in such a way, and I find myself thinking about applying his methods to other activities. His style is friendly and encouraging, someone who understands the serious hobbyist.

Top
#1022930 - 11/28/08 07:46 PM Re: Charles Cooke's Book
Varcon Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/15/04
Posts: 1931
Loc: Mount Vernon, Georgia 30445
I bought a copy in a used book store in Chicago while a student (original hardback) and really appreciate the practical approach it reveals. I think almost anyone could benefit from reading and applying suggestions from Mr. Cooke's book.

Loveschopintoomuch: You might consider broadening your repertoire to include some Mendelssohn, Schumann, and even Weber! Chopin used Weber. And there are the less heard composers which might pique your interest. So delve into some of the more obscure and see if you can't find something that will rejuvenate your playing. Or--take a two week hiatus from playing at all--if you can--and see if you have a re-newed interest! \:\)

Top
#1022931 - 11/29/08 10:22 AM Re: Charles Cooke's Book
loveschopintoomuch Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/05/06
Posts: 4690
Loc: Illinois
Thank you, Varcon. I appreciate your suggestions. Yes, I do believe that I need to seek out other composers. While my repertoire isn't all Chopin (I have some Bach, Schubert, Beethoven and Schumann), I will take your advice and find some Weber.

Gratefully,
Kathleen
_________________________
After playing Chopin, I feel as if I had been weeping over sins that I had never committed, and mourning over tragedies that were not my own." Oscar Wilde, 1891

Top
#1022932 - 11/29/08 11:03 AM Re: Charles Cooke's Book
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
it's an excellent book. Everyone should try to acquire it (perusing the used market). It's very expensive currently.
_________________________
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

Top
#1022933 - 11/29/08 01:33 PM Re: Charles Cooke's Book
gabytu Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/05
Posts: 1522
Loc: Portland, Or.
I agree with Apple. Check out the used book sections. Also try Amazon. They have many out of print, and used sources. Gaby Tu

Top
#1022934 - 11/29/08 09:26 PM Re: Charles Cooke's Book
teachum Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/19/04
Posts: 2913
Loc: idaho
My sister gave me a copy several years ago. I absolutely love it. It is very pricey and I probably would not have bought it myself. I was shocked at the used prices! It is a truly inspirational book. I keep it by the bedside and I read it when I am feeling discouraged. It always makes me feel better. Another good one is With Your Own Two Hands by Seymour Bernstein.
_________________________
You will be 10 years older, ten years from now, no matter what you do - so go for it!

Estonia #6141 in Satin Mahogany

Top

Moderator:  BB Player, casinitaly 
What's Hot!!
Christmas Header
Christmas Decorations - Piano World 2014
-------------------
The December Free Piano Newsletter
-------------------
Forums Rules & Help
-------------------
ADVERTISE
on Piano World

The world's most popular piano web site.
-------------------
PIANO BOOKS
Interesting books about the piano, pianists, piano history, biographies, memoirs and more!
(ad) Yamaha CP Music Rest Promo
Yamaha CP Music Rest Promo
(ad) HAILUN Pianos
Hailun Pianos - Click for More
Ad (Seiler/Knabe)
Seiler Pianos
(125ad) Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
(ad) Lindeblad Piano
Lindeblad Piano Restoration
(ad) Piano Music Sale - Dover Publications
Piano Music Sale
Sheet Music Plus (125)
Sheet Music Plus Featured Sale
New Topics - Multiple Forums
mp11
by mike2014
12/20/14 11:42 AM
Merry Christmas from TromboneAl
by TromboneAl
12/20/14 10:26 AM
Odd sound effect on old upright
by 661-Pete
12/20/14 06:38 AM
Define "atmospheric" in piano music
by Pianolism
12/20/14 06:18 AM
1 Hour 2-5-1 Jazz Workout Backing Track - Slow to Fast Swing
by Nahum
12/20/14 05:36 AM
Forum Stats
77371 Members
42 Forums
160012 Topics
2349819 Posts

Max Online: 15252 @ 03/21/10 11:39 PM
Gift Ideas for Music Lovers!
Find the Perfect Gift for the Music Lovers on your List!
Visit our online store today.

Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers

 
Help keep the forums up and running with a donation, any amount is appreciated!
Or by becoming a Subscribing member! Thank-you.
Donate   Subscribe
 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
|
Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World | Donate | Link to Us | Classifieds |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter | Press Room |


copyright 1997 - 2014 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission