Play It Again by Alan Rusbridger (2011)
Reading this with a little bit of merriment and schadenfreude, when you have undoubtedly spent months to perhaps years of your life trying to read each difficult piece and train your brain, feet and hands to play accurately at a decent tempo, this makes familiar reading.
I must admit I have left the book unopened for a few years but in this lockdown it’s almost entertaining to read, were the struggle not so familiar, and there is a throwback to the headlines at the time WikiLeaks and phone hacking ! As it’s about a piano piece, a Chopin Ballade, it’s quite relevant to the difficulties of a two handed instruments. Perhaps it divides the professionals from the amateurs but that’s a gray area. As for Gray Matter, the explicit and procedural memory and the discreet areas within the brain for learning and laying down reliable memory are also explored. Interesting interviews with Condaleezza Rice and other professional pianists. Now I find myself wishing for a page by page log of someone else’s learning path on say, Impromptu caprice or Hindemiths Sonata.