With the introduction of the electronic piano came two diversely opposed opinions: those who foretold that it would nurture a rebirth of interest in the instrument and the opposing camp who maintained that electronic was electronic, acoustic was acoustic and never the twain would meet. How wrong they were for, with clever research and development, it has proven to be a relatively easy task to woo organ and keyboard aficionados across to the piano.
The compact nature of the digital piano with its many extra features, the convenience of headphone sockets, and the fact that the services of the piano tuner are a thing of the past, have all contributed to its popularity. As a direct spin-off there is now a demand, as there has always been in the electronic keyboard market, for comprehensive and reliable tuition courses.
'Learn the Piano with Clifford Evans', comprising an excellent study book and two exceptionally well presented videos, is just such a course, coming as it does with an impeccable pedigree. Compiler Clifford Evans (ARAM, LRAM) studied music at the Royal Academy of Music, and the Birmingham and St. Petersburg Conservatoires. He has appeared on television and radio, performed numerous concert recitals in the UK and Europe, given a lecture recital at the renowned Snape Maltings, Aldeburgh and also attained many honours and prizes in the field of piano study.
Since 1987 Clifford Evans has concentrated mainly on teaching both adults and children; experience which eventually led to the creation of this extraordinarily thorough tuition package. Although a self-help course, this is not for the faint-hearted. No chord symbols here, no easy play tips or trite illustrations, but a clean-cut, well-presented, no-nonsense approach which begins by laying down some pretty solid building blocks musically speaking.
The videos which span nearly four hours of concentrated tuition, can be synchronised to the book and cover notation and rhythm, playbacks of tunes, with close-ups of hands to help you progress, and animated graphics to illustrate various points. The presentation of the videos is to be commended; truly the best I have seen.
The accompanying 55 page book supports both videos, and includes note reading exercises, rhythm charts, studies, scales and exercises, as well as original compositions and arrangements of familiar melodies.
Clifford Evans is not one for pulling punches. He makes it quite clear that to play well calls for dedication to the course. Also the commitment of a minimum 30 minutes per day of uninterrupted practice and, above all, an unwavering faith in the teacher.
If you do as instructed there is no doubt that you will play well. You won't be an overnight success for, followed diligently, this course is likely to keep you well occupied for between one and two years, but you will attain a thorough musical grounding and your repertoire will be quite listenable.
In a culture where so many traditional piano teachers still look askance at digital pianos, it is refreshing to find one who welcomes them with open arms; the only stipulation being, of course, that they should have weighted action. That accepted, Clifford Evans makes no further differentiation between the digital and acoustic instrument.
Two years tuition material of this standard does not come cheap. The package price is (price) However, there is a 30 day money back guarantee should you not be delighted.
(Marycliff comment - according to current European guidelines, the current returns policy is 7 days)
The official press release stresses that 'Learn the Piano with Clifford Evans' has been thoroughly test-bedded and is aimed primarily at the 13 year old to adult age range. However, this is a highly intensive study course, and I feel that the average child would, of necessity, need additional support and encouragement if he or she is not to fall by the wayside.
Clifford Evans is obviously aware of this too as he offers personal support via telephone help and e-mail, FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) will be posted on the Marycliff website and there are also plans for a weekly chat-room at some future date.