Reviewed and written by Michael Leppert
“Kathi Kerr, owner of Melody Music Studios and author of a complete line of instruction books, brings her wealth of knowledge to anyone interested in learning and developing keyboard skills in a fun and relaxed way. These books are excellent resources for developing any desired level of competence from a living room Lizt to a full-fledged professional.”
“The first volume, “Color It, Say It, Play It, and Create It”, is the launching pad for little students ages 4-8 to become acclimated to the world of the piano and experience the pleasure of accomplishing skill development. As the title states, Kathi incorporates coloring the keys of drawings of white piano keyboards in the book, into the process of becoming familiar with the keyboard. Part of the coloring process is learning the names of the keys being colored. (This is a brilliant application of the scientific fact that information taught through play only requires 10-12 repetitions to imprint the brain vs. 400 repetitions by rote.) Ms. Kerr continues to present more musical information such as rhythm, note and rest values, pitch values and applying these values to playing familiar simple songs.”
“The second volume, “Drill It and Kill It-Read Music Like a Pro!”, addresses in great detail, development of the all-important skill called sight-reading. This is the ability to sit down to a never-before-seen piece of music and within 5-8 minutes of preparation, being able to play it virtually correctly. Professional recording musicians and orchestral players have to possess as strong a sight-reading ability as text reading to an editor or writer. In my opinion, these two volumes should follow sequentially.”
“Third, in Ms. Kerr’s line of excellent instruction books, addresses playing chords and improvising on the piano in her book “Play Chords & Improvisation on the Piano”. These two skills follow those developed in the above two books. Chords are like the scaffolding that melodies are hung upon and learning to play them is built upon the initial note-reading skills and expands one’s sight-reading ability. Songwriters and composers know that our Western ears hear chords progress in a certain pleasing or (intentionally) displeasing manner, called “chord progressions”. After some initial discussions of music theory (the facts of music), Kathi teaches the concept of progressions and provides actual examples that are immediately familiar from hearing decades of popular songs use them. Finally, she teaches chord inversions. Space does not allow for a discussion of this part of theory, but a deep knowledge of using inversions is absolutely necessary for the professional or semi-pro musician and to a purely amateur player who wishes to enjoy playing comfortably without anxiety.”
“The last volume in Melody Music’s line, “Fake It Til You Make It”, teaches the ability to use Fake Books, which are typically, very large volumes of just the melodies of popular songs and a chord shorthand allowing pro musicians, such as piano bar pianists, to take requests at large. This edition is invaluable for an aspiring performer who envisions playing weddings, bar mitzvahs and other events that require a fluid knowledge of hundreds of songs, appealing to multiple generations of listeners and dancers.”
“If your child – or yourself – desires to develop keyboard confidence enough to play for others with joy and ease, possibly even to make a living, please visit Melody Music Studios website and see Kathi Kerr’s excellent line of instruction books.”
*Michael and Mary Leppert are homeschooling parents and co-publishers of The Homeschool Magazine, the largest homeschooling publication in the U.S.