Music Books Page

This page contains more information about music books by Karen Berger and her partner, David Hodge, who writes and teaches guitar (along with bass, mandolin, banjo, ukelele, and song-writing.

Karen Berger’s Music Books

The Pocket Idiots Guide to Piano Chords

Starting from the very beginning basics of reading music and building a major chord, this book unlocks the secret formulas to creating chords so you can play music from lead sheet and fake books. Best for players with a little bit of basic music background, or those who feel comfortable trying to pick out tunes and “just make stuff up.”  If you’re a classical player who’s always been jealous of the way pop musicians can seemingly find a way to play anything, this book is for you!  Covers majors, minors, sixths and sevenths, extensions and alterations, blues, and more.

The Complete Idiots Guide to Teaching Music on Your Own

Do you have what it takes to teach? Do you know what it takes to teach? This book has the answers, from studio set-up basics to legal and business issues to teaching strategies, student (and parent) management skills, studio policies, billing, recitals, practice issues, new technology, and more. Best for new teachers who are interested in establishing a professional, profitable, and personally rewarding private teaching business.

The Complete Idiots Guide to Piano Exercises

I’ve always had a thing against piano exercises that were hard to learn. Seems to me that if you’re going to spend a long time learning a piece of music, it should be a piece of MUSIC that you love, or a masterwork. To me, the point of a piano exercises is to focus on a particular skill. So that’s what the exercises in this book do. There’s also quite a bit of discussion abut technique and fingering, along with lots of scales, arpeggios and other essential basic. I tried to make the pieces musically appealing so they’d be fun to play, and my students seem pretty happy. (The most popular one is a little I- vi – IV – V piece that teaches three-against-two rhythm.)  I also include a lot of suggestions for creative technique practice. Best for students with a little background in piano, or for teachers looking to supplement their technique programs. CD included.

Music Books by David Hodge

For this book, David collaborated with songwriter Casey Kelly, a Nashville-based Grammy-nominated songwriter who has written chart-topping hits performed by Tanya Tucker, Kenny Rogers, and George Strait, among others. The book covers music and lyrics, collaborating, business aspects of selling your songs, and gives plenty ideas on how to get going. The book benefits from the combination of David’s long experience teaching and writing about songwriting and music theory and Casey’s top-tier music industry and working-songwriter chops.

Covers getting started, technique, choosing an instrument, playing with others, plus lots of the music theory bass players need to know to compose interesting and exciting bass lines. All written in a down-to-earth easy-to-understand style that takes the terror out of the subject. CD included.

This is the starter book for rock guitar. Covers the scales and modes used in leads, improvisation technique, rhythm, and playing in a band. Sneaks theory so smoothly and easily you’ll barely realize you’re getting a college-level intro to the subject. Plus (of course) amps and gadgets to make your sound rock. CD included.

The Complete Idiots Guide to Guitar

This is the “big book on guitar”: Everything you need to know to get started, no matter which direction — classical, folk, electric, punk, pop, or jazz — your musical interests may wander. reading music, reading tab, barre chords, strumming, picking, finger-picking, practice songs, and more. CD included.

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