A World Where Everyone Plays by Bernadette E. Ashby – Book Review
A World Where Everyone Plays is a collection of stories of how Simply Music has impacted people’s lives. Each chapter is written by a student, teacher or loved one. The stories vary from a ten-year-old student, to a professional circus clown, to a retired teacher, to a psychiatrist – truly anyone and everyone can learn to play and teach piano. The Simply Music program helps to bring peace and ease to coping with the hardships in life: mental illness, unhealthy relationship dynamics, learning disabilities, physical disabilities, divorce and grief.
“I finally found an opportunity not only to be intellectually, emotionally, and creatively fulfilled, but also to live the kind of life I sought and dreamed about.”
– Jy Gronner, Simply Music Teacher
My experience in reading this book is that Simply Music is not only an enhanced method of teaching and learning; it’s a positive modifier on one’s way of living. Students and teachers share their experiences on how this has given them skills that transfer outside of their piano lessons. Elderly students write how they’ve become more organized and have higher cognitive abilities. Parents see improvements in their child’s self-esteem, behavior and schoolwork. It has helped adult students heal broken relationships with their partner. People are given a sense of community when they’ve felt alone. What I saw in reading this book is that students, parents and teachers felt that Simply Music gave them what they had been missing and what they had been searching for all their life.
It seems this program gives people the neurological nutrition needed to improve their creative capabilities giving them better problem-solving skills which impacts every facet of their lives. The founder of Simply Music, Neil Moore, describes life as a series of valleys, mountains and plateaus. This program seems to be a tool to navigate the times that are low, high or stagnant.
Bernadette Ashby in her home studio.
The final chapter is an interview between Master Simply Music teacher & author of the book, Bernadette Ashby and founder of Simply Music, Neil Moore. Ashby guides the conversation to show the reader how Moore carefully crafted the program. He chose to go at the student’s pace and make learning how to play the piano an exciting adventure unlike traditional methods of music education. This gives opportunity and breath to a more inclusive world of music education. Music is meant to be shared – something for everyone.
“I suggest that the absence of musical self-expression creates cultural conditions of very deep-seated, repressed frustration, which we have become so used to that it’s just like white noise in the background that we no longer pay attention to it. For the adult that comes to Simply Music, who then immediately starts playing great sounding pieces, they’re commonly moved to tears. Sometimes those tears are an expression of release and relief. Other times the tears are a function of upset – the realization that they went through years or decades of needless pain.”
– Neil Moore, Founder of Simply Music