Piano Lessons: Music, Love & True Adventures
Piano Lessons is Noah Adams's delightful and moving chronicle of his fifty-second year--a year already filled with long, fast workdays and too little spare time--as he answers at last a lifelong call: to learn to play the piano. The twelve monthly chapters span from January--when after decades of growing affection for keyboard artists and artisans he finally plunges in and buys a piano--through December, when as a surprise Christmas present for his wife he dresses in a tuxedo and, in flickering candlelight, snow falling outside the windows, he attempts their favorite piece of music, a difficult third-year composition he's been struggling with in secret to get to this very moment.
Among the up-tempo triumphs and unexpected setbacks, Noah Adams interweaves the rich history and folklore that surround the piano. And along the way, set between the ragtime rhythms and boogie-woogie beats, there are encounters with--and insights from--masters of the keyboard, from Glenn Gould and Leon Fleisher ("I was a bit embarrassed," he writes; "telling Leon Fleisher about my ambitions for piano lessons is like telling Julia Child about plans to make toast in the morning") to Dr. John and Tori Amos.
As a storyteller, Noah Adams has perfect pitch. In the foreground here, like a familiar melody, are the challenges of learning a complex new skill as an adult, when enthusiasm meets the necessary repetition of tedious scales at the end of a twelve-hour workday. Lingering in the background, like a subtle bass line, are the quiet concerns of how we spend our time and how our priorities shift as we proceed through life. For Piano Lessons is really an adventure story filled with obstacles to overcome and grand leaps forward, eccentric geniuses and quiet moments of pre-dawn practice, as Noah Adams travels across country and keyboard, pursuing his dream and keeping the rhythm.
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"Joel White's Shellback," she says. I'm wide-awake now but pretend not to be.
This was her first time in a Shellback, and if she didn't like it, what would I do
about the one Eric Dow's boatshop is building as a surprise? (I had phoned
earlier in the summer, asking if a Shellback could be ready. A small sailboat; I've
been thinking of it as Neenah's piano. This boat has a direct connection to E. B.
White — the writer's home was here in Brooklin, Maine, and his son, Joel White,
designed the ...
The boat is gleaming white with dark green trim, about eleven feet long. There's a
man in work clothes standing beside it, smiling as we say hello. Neenah asks,
recognizing the design, "Is this a Shellback? It's beautiful." "Sure is," the man says
. "Are you building it for someone?" He looks quickly at me. "It's for a customer,"
he says, with caution. "How much" — Neenah is moving fast here — "would it
cost to build one for us?" "Don't answer that." I jump in. And the builder — Joe —
I've talked through this with a friend who once did turn over in a boat much like
the Shellback. "Get a big Clorox bottle and cut out the end of it and tie it in tight;
you'll need a good bailer," he said, running down the checklist. "She won't sink,
but you have to get a lot of water out of the boat fast, and then you can go in over
the back, over the transom." It probably would make sense for us to take this
Shellback over to a pond nearby — where there's not much wind and the water's
What people are saying - Write a review
LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - TimBazzett - LibraryThing
I LOVED this book. How come, I wonder? Lemme see, maybe it was an early reference to the resonant bass chords from Jerry Lee Lewis' fifties recording of "Whole Lot of Shakin' Goin' On" which really ... Read full review
PIANO LESSONS: Music, Love and True AdventuresUser Review - Jane Doe - Kirkus
A report on surviving the midlife crisis while tickling the ivories. The stereotypical yuppie drives a Volvo, vacations in New England, has a really fulfilling job, and listens religiously to ``All ... Read full review
FEBRUARY Here comes the truck What
APRIL The oldest piano in
MAY John Grisham? Ive met
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