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Edly Paints the Ivories Blue: Book 1

Edly Paints the Ivories Blue, now in its second edition, teaches piano technique, reading skills, improvisation, chords, and related theory. It’s intended for lovers of blues, jazz, rock, or any pop styles, as well as “recovering traditionally-trained players.”

Edly Paints the Ivories Blue is a bright blue alternative and supplement to traditional black & white major-scale-based piano instruction books. It’s as hip and fun as it is educational. Bypassing twinkling stars and little lambs, it teaches piano through blues songs written specifically for this book. 48 pages softcover, black & white, $12 (one dollar for every bar of a twelve-bar blues).

Why the blues?
So glad you asked. In addition to the blues’ own inherent rewards, it’s also a close relative of many types of jazz, rock, and pop, and its chord progressions are found in many types of music. Learning and playing the blues is a great introduction to many styles of music.*

Second, improvisation is an integral part of the blues. Any style that fosters improvisation gets my “good teaching material” vote. Young ‘uns naturally improvise in their musical play, but most traditional music instruction makes it easy for this instinct to die of attrition. This approach attempts instead to nurture it.

Third, repetition is an important part of practicing. Blues is especially full of repetition and patterns; melodic (the tune), harmonic (the chords), phrased-based, accompaniment, etc. Put ’em all together, and blues makes a great vehicle for learning piano.

Fourth, I’ve had students who knew they wanted to focus on blues, rock, or jazz right from the start. This book gives that focus a home.

Fifth and finally, most people practice more when they enjoy the music. Blues is fun and likable and therefore may get more playing time than traditional material covering the same techniques. The student progresses faster and is happy. The teacher’s happy. I’m happy. Everybody’s happy. Ahhh, the power of a blue note, a bit of swing, and the blues.


  • do-it-yourselfers
  • private students with teacher
  • teenage to adult beginners
  • traditionally trained players wanting to move towards pop styles or improvisation, or to reduce their dependence on the written note.


  • beginning piano instruction using the blues as the teaching material; keys of C, G, D, A, E, & F.
  • reading: notes, rhythms, symbols, etc.
  • improvisation
  • blues and blues scales, form, melody, and chords
  • comping

Orientation & Tone

  • alternative primary method, or supplement to a traditional method
  • unusually hip, fun, and engaging for an instruction book
  • user-friendly, humorous, heavily illustrated, attractively laid out
  • much more explanation than most piano method books
  • encourages experimentation, extrapolation, and improvisation