Gonzales has released a book of etudes specifically geared towards a very large target audience; lapsed piano students. Remember way back, when your parents forced you to sit down in front of the piano and practice while all the other kids were outside riding their bikes? The piano seemed torturous, and you caused your parents so much grief that they eventually let you quit piano. Now you have regrets and wish there was some way to re-introduce yourself to the piano so you can finally feel that sense of musical accomplishment (and possibly inspire your own family).
Gonzales heard your regrets over countless concerts, and decided to do actually do something about it – develop and produce a wonderful book and CD combination that gently re-introduces the piano – called Re-Introduction Etudes. From his web store:
Chilly Gonzales brings some of the joy back to the lapsed amateur pianist with his Re-Introduction Etudes: a book of 24 easy-to-master, fun-to-play piano pieces specifically designed to unlock musical mysteries for those who gave it up. Just a beginner’s music reading ability is recommended to get the most from these 24 etudes. Gonzo shares his point of view on scales, he explains how melodies are designed, how modern pop harmony works … Each etude is introduced by a short text, in which Gonzo divulges his own personal « shortcuts » and the companion CD of his recordings of the 24 pieces goes a long way to getting the music into the piano student’s head, so it can then spill out onto the keys.
The music lessons are simple, but decidedly touching and catchy. Family and friends will tell you how beautiful your playing is, which will motivate you to continue to learn and pick up other Gonzales notebooks. Gonzales himself has recorded an informative introduction to his book:
Hello, this is Chilly Gonzales and I’m proud to announce « Re-Introduction Etudes » – my forthcoming book of 24 easy-to-play piano pieces. Now this book is for the lapsed pianists out there, I’ve met lots of you over the years. Maybe only 1 or 2 years of piano training as a teenager, then you dropped it and now you want to pick it back up. Because the piano is wonderful; it’s the instrument that some people have called “the acoustic synthesizer”. Now this book is also a kind of a music theory primer. Each piece is accompanied by an explanation of a specifical musical device, and often one of my secret musical shortcuts. I will explore subjects such as: thirds, fifths, semitones, major 7th chords (you’ve heard of those, right?). What to do with your left hand, or what to do with your left hand in the 80s. Now as you can hear, there’s also a CD of my performance of each piece – in case you prefer to play by ear. I will also possibly come to your city and perform a live masterclass. Check chillygonzales.com for updates. So this summer meet music – reintroduce yourself. And yes, I did use the word « specifical ».
The acoustic synthesizer – yes, Gonzales is even reaching out to beatmasters who eschewed the piano long ago for LFO. There’s no sound fresher in music than one that is technically 305 years old. A DJ could incorporate their very own piano playing into their productions, then apologize to their parents for giving up the piano in the first place.
While we don’t have a complete list of lessons, we do know that you will certainly recognize musical devices within the 24 lessons from his songs:
Climbing and Falling
Chaconne and On
What about non-English speakers? Gonzales has you covered. The English-speaking world may dominate pop, but they didn’t invent music (they just « hit it with a big hammer » as Gonzales tends to say). To address this, Gonzales includes French and German translations. Sorry Italians – you may have invented the piano, but you’ve been slacking off over the past 100 years or so.
Within the book and musical selections, Gonzales is leveraging his innate sense of teaching, plus his years of experience with knowing what it takes to capture an audience’s attention. Everything from the title font (« Quaint Gothic », if you are interested), to the illustrations and graphic design (c/o Nina Rhode, Julia Rahne & François Petit), to the recording (Howie Beck) and text editing (Adam Sternbergh) is top-notch. The songs are geared to have maximum impact with minimal prior experience – he’s literally sharing the invaluable tricks he’s picked up over the years with his audience. Gonzales even has a series of YouTube videos forthcoming that will promote the book, not to mention the lovely CD that you receive with the book – with Gonzales himself playing the lessons. There’s no doubt that Gonzales would be overjoyed to see YouTube videos of you and your family playing and mastering (and even extending or remixing) pieces from the book, or to read stories of how playing the pieces somehow inspired you in other aspects of life.
We weren’t joking about a sense of musical accomplishment either. We’re constantly connected in so many ways today that it seems impossible to shut out the world and concentrate on the very same keys that tempted piano greats such as Liszt, Chopin, Ravel, Shostakovich, and our current teacher – Gonzales. There’s an infinite number of songs hiding just beneath the ivories – Gonzales is bridging the gap between yourself and the piano so you can re-experience the joy and ancient pleasure of being an active participant in creating music that says more than words can express (« meet music », as Gonzales says). Gonzales doesn’t promise that you will be a great pianist, but you will certainly discover something within you, and that’s what teaching is about.
« Re-Introduction Etudes » – the book, CD, and poster are available for pre-order now, and will ship on May 14. When you pre-order, you will receive a bonus gift to start you on your way – 5 audio tracks from the CD and a PDF of selected lessons from the book. With book in-hand, you’ll be ready to re-introduce yourself to the piano and meet music.