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Event at Undercover Books Will Show How to Play the Piano in Ten Minutes

Philippa Smith-Tyler will present her book at Undercover Books in Gallows Bay. (Photo from Smith-Tyler's Facebook page)
Philippa Smith-Tyler will present her book at Undercover Books in Gallows Bay. (Photo from Smith-Tyler’s Facebook page)

Philippa Smith-Tyler, classical pianist, piano teacher and author of “One Hundred Popular Piano Songs for the White Keys,” will sign and discuss her book from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 7, at Undercover Books and Gifts in Gallows Bay.

Smith-Tyler said her book could teach the very young to the very young at heart – ages 3 to 99 – to play piano in 10 minutes.

Patrons will have the opportunity to play the keyboard while using Smith-Tyler’s innovative book. She promises the demonstration and the participation will be fun and educational for everyone.

As a bonus to customers who purchase the book, Smith-Tyler will give a free two-minute “one-on-one” lesson on how to play the melodies in the book, as she signs their copy.

WSTX radio host Doug Canton will interview Smith-Tyler at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 5, in the Gallows Bay studio. Canton invites the listening audience to tune in and follow the author’s musical journey that led her to pen this fascinating book.

Smith-Tyler’s book was showcased at the Frankfurt, Germany book fair in 2017. She did a book signing in 2018 at the New York Book Expo.

“My ‘how-to’ book was very effective as I demonstrated to audiences how to use it to become successful at playing the simple melodies in the book. It is a ‘starter’ book designed to give beginning students a positive outlook on playing the piano,” Smith-Tyler said.

Philippa Smith-Tyler's book will be available Thursday at Undercover Books.
Philippa Smith-Tyler’s book will be available Thursday at Undercover Books.

The mission of Smith-Tyler’s book is to inspire children and adults to enjoy playing the piano immediately. After playing the songs in the book, piano players who aspire to becoming more skilled are encouraged to get formal instruction from a professional piano teacher.

Smith-Tyler is the organist for St. Paul’s Anglican Episcopal Church in Frederiksted. She taught music in the Harriet Williams’ after-school studies in Estate Grove and at the West End Music and Art Institute at the Caribbean Museum for the Arts in Frederiksted. Her St. Croix resume also includes playing cocktail music for private parties, sitting in on piano with local jazz groups and teaching private lessons in piano and voice at her home studio.

“One Hundred Popular Piano Songs for the White Keys” was published in January 2015 and has received positive reviews:

“Highly touted as a book that interests adults desirous of learning to play the piano, it has been showcased in a number of media – radio, magazines and newspapers.”

“This book is highly recommended for beginner piano players. It is an enjoyable and educational book and can be used as practice exercises to enhance one’s skills in playing the piano.”

Smith-Tyler is a Washington D.C. native who studied classical piano at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. After graduating college, she taught in the Washington, D.C. public school system and also taught musicology and piano at local colleges.

Otis “Sule” Alexander was Smith-Tyler’s undergraduate student who migrated from Washington D.C. to St. Croix. Alexander thrived for 24 years as a highly respected music practitioner, an African dance instructor and a librarian at St. Croix Central High School. It was Alexander who suggested Smith-Tyler move to the island when she was looking for a tropical semi-retirement home. She made the move to St. Croix in October 2018.

“I am honored that I am among those who helped him to become such a wonderfully accomplished professional,” Smith-Tyler said of Alexander.

Smith-Tyler’s graduate work in music includes studies at American University, Westminster Choir College and the University of Maryland. She has been a professional musician for more than 40 years; she has played for churches all over the east coast and has performed with jazz bands across the mainland U.S.

“One Hundred Popular Piano Songs for the White Keys” is the product of Smith-Tyler’s decades-long experience and observation in teaching piano to beginner students.

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