• About Farm School

    "There are obviously two educations. One should teach us how to make a living and the other how to live."
    James Adams, from his essay "To 'Be' or to 'Do': A Note on American Education", 1929

    We're a Canadian family of five, farming, home schooling, and building our own house. I'm nowhere near as regular a blogger as I used to be.

    The kids are 18/Grade 12, 16/Grade 11, and 14/Grade 10.

    Contact me at becky(dot)farmschool(at)gmail(dot)com

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Just home, very, very early this morning from the provincial music festival, I was relaxing with some online blog reading and at Read Roger read that Roger Sutton of The Horn Book is “immensely enjoying Tricia Tunstall’s Note by Note: A Celebration of the Piano Lesson published last month by Simon & Schuster. Roger writes further,

Noting that “there are very few occasions when a child spends an extended period alone with an unrelated adult,” Tunstall’s observations flicker between her own childhood piano lessons and those she now gives as an adult. There are plenty of parallels for those of us who go mano a mano with child readers, so check it out.

Roger’s thumbs-up is good enough for me, so I headed over to the online library database to place an interlibrary loan request. Note by Note (listed online as Note by Not, hmmm…) is shown as “on order” and I’m first in line. Hurray. Very timely for me, what with Laura’s participation in the festival the other day (more on that in the next day or so), the voice recital tomorrow, and the kids’ formal music lessons for piano, guitar, and voice — though not daily practices — coming to the season’s end. I keep thinking, as the kids get older, that one of these years I’ll start the piano (and art) lessons I never had at their age, and this book just might convince me to consider this seriously.

Looking for more on the book, I found the following:

Author interview at Newsday

Boston Globe review

Publishers Weekly starred review, from which: “For readers who possess the mildest interest in reading about music or how the mysterious process of learning to play a musical instrument is transferred from teacher to student, this well-composed narrative will be a joy to read. . . . This is a gem that deserves a wide audience.”

Finally, if you’re going to be in Maplewood, New Jersey, next Sunday afternoon between 1-3 pm, you can meet Ms. Tunstall and have your copy of Note by Note autographed at her book signing party at Goldfinch Books at 97A Baker Street, which sounds delightful. The store is a self-described “friendly and interesting place to buy books”, and is “staffed by a diverse group of local citizens, most of whom are tremendously overqualified and underpaid”. Call Goldfinch at (973) 763-4225 for particulars.


8 Responses

  1. Sounds like a great book. But I want to hear how L. did at the music festival. (is there an emoticon for eager waiting face?)

  2. that sounds like a great book, thank you for the link. i found your blog through a link at derfwad manor, btw.

  3. I am certainly going to look for this book! I had piano and woodwind lessons as a child and loved high school band. My five year old is asking for guitar lessons and I am going to try to get that going this summer. This review is perfectly timely for me so thanks! What’s in your garden this week?

  4. Nine-year-old S’s piano teacher has been helping him master The Imperial March from Star Wars — the weekly lesson happens to be on a day when I typically work from home, and I love listening to them. Now I’m really looking forward to reading this book — thanks for spreading the word, Becky.

  5. Becky, I got Note by Note right away after reading about it at Read Roger. It was there on the library shelf in New Nonfiction. I loved that book. I’m even thinking of piano lessons again after many, many years.

  6. I have never taken music lessons, sadly, but this book looks like a wonderful gift. My godchidren family here are all musical and have along and loving relationship with a truly special teacher. I’ve even gotten to know her a little over the years, because of all the Suzuki book recitals I’ve attended. Thanks for another good tip.

  7. JoVE, we still don’t know the results but on the big day Laura did her usual good job. We now know, though, that musical theater needs to have as much theater as musical, so there’s that to work on for next year.

    meg, welcome and thanks for stopping by.

    Chris, turnaround is fair play — “I, Vivaldi” comes to mind! Isn’t it fun listening once they start playing well? It’s like a mini concert every day. And once again I’m grateful that Laura took up the piano rather than the violin. I’m not sure the results would have been so gratifying so early on!

    Susan, I saw your comment at Roger’s. I’m not surprised a library in the tri-state area would have it on the shelf already — good for them, and good for you for getting it so soon. I’ve been edging toward lessons for me (piano, art) for the past for years. One day!

    Mary Lou, I’m sure those talented knitty fingers could master piano keys! So wonderful to hear of your godchildren and their teacher.

  8. I just finished Note by Note. I loved it. Thanks again for the review!

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