on October 23, 2001
Kern presents a fairly challenging course with but few limitations. On the plus side, he provides readers with a multi-faceted approach to learning. In each chapter, there are a few drills to help you play the select pieces, some of which seem a little overdone. (I don't need to tap notes for the entire seven chapters--two would have sufficed. I also felt that other drills were superfluous and didn't really improve my abilities.)
The "facts" part of the lessons include teachings on music in general, and some tips on how to use the sheet music to your advantage--such as using intervals to help guide your hand across the keyboard. So, you do these taps, read the info, play the select two or three pieces, and then you're ready for the next chapter.
All in all, I found myself getting bored by the tapping drills, but being helped quite a bit by the focus on intervals Kern emphasizes strongly. This focus, which some books underemphasize in favor of strict finger positioning, boosted my piano playing by a few notches in just one evening.
He also took away my fear of playing in different keys. He doesn't explain how to do it--he just seems to tell you to do it. Oh well, I did it, but seemingly because that focus on intervalic playing just gave me so much confidence. He also teaches one how to "comp," that is, accompany a melody. Now that's easy, but again, not because he teaches you how, but because he tells you to do it, and because interval playing does seem to boost one's confidence to go much more beyond.
Would I recommend this? You bet. However, selections are limited, and a lot of folks may play the selections very well, but not have enough skill to play music of an equivalent level after the course is finished. I highly recommend that you supplement this course with another which contains a greater emphasis on pure practice with lots of music.