Musikmesse 2012: New Restart tutor book series launched for adults looking to return to playing an instrument

Wise Publications have launched a new series of instrument tutors aimed at people returning to play musical instruments as an adult: Restart.

Comprising of four titles covering cello, clarinet, flute and piano, the Restart series offers engaging and flexible tutor books written by specialist practicing teachers. Each book is designed to bring lapsed players successfully back up to speed at their own, enjoyable pace.

Each Restart title comes complete with an accompanying CD of popular and classical backing tracks, with additional exercises, hints, tips and theory reminders present throughout the book.

The musicroom blog spoke to the two of the series authors, Karen Marshall (piano) and Deryn Cullen (cello), about what motivated them to write their respective titles, their thoughts on the series and their experiences of teaching people rediscovering their love of playing music in adult life.

Deryn Cullen

“When I was approached to write the cello installment of the Restart series I didn’t hesitate in taking the project on.

I have taught a number of adults returning to the cello after a period of anything from three years to three decades. These students are always faced with the additional challenge of remembering what they were previously capable of and feeling frustrated with no longer being able to play to the same standard.

The Restart method takes into account that those using it are not complete beginners, will almost certainly progress more rapidly than most beginners, and need to feel that they are making music from as early on as possible. The chosen pieces are arranged and ordered to provide a steady increase in technical challenges and are preceded by notes and exercises that carefully take into account the aspects of technique that need to be revisited when returning to the cello after a long break.

My main objective with this method was to create something which offers a good balance between relearning technical skills and getting straight down to the business of making music!

The pieces have been chosen from a large array of genres and styles, which I hope will appeal to a broad audience and provide a varied musical experience. In addition, the recordings and backing tracks on the accompanying CD will provide players with an excellent rendition of each piece and help to revive listening and ensemble skills.”

Karen Marshall

“I wanted to write something that I could use myself for my students – a ‘one stop shop’ that would gently lead them back into playing the piano again.  There isn’t much music out there specifically for the adult returner wanting to refresh their skills.

I selected piano pieces based on what my own students have enjoyed over the years.  Often, the minuet in G (which many played for their Grade 1 or similar exams) and Fur Elise are the only pieces many returners can remember how to play. Restarting from somewhere familiar gives them the confidence that they can still play something. The other pieces are a mixture of the aspirational (I Dreamed a Dream), recognisable – (Greensleeves) and gentle challenges to improve technique, such as The Can Can.

I worked with Heather Hammond on the arrangements with the student in mind.  Heather is excellent at making music very attractive but also very playable.  If a student has spent the time learning a piece (which can take real effort) I wanted the music to sound as impressive and satisfying as possible.

Having witnessed first hand what a life enriching experience returning to the piano can be, I’ve found adults, after some encouragement, have been many of the most committed students I have ever taught. I recently had a pupil who passed her Grade 8 just before her 70th birthday after taking Grade 5 in the 1950’s.  It was an ambition fulfilled and a joy to be part of!

I really hope the book brings pleasure to many and makes their return to the piano just that little bit easier.  As I always say, the piano really is a friend worth having.”

Check out the Restart series at musicroom.com for more information!

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