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  • Writer's pictureHinton Magazine

Tickling the Ivories – Pianist’s passion shines through in absorbing biography/practical guide combo

Keith Jacobsen’s Tickling the Ivories tells the story of his lifelong love for the piano and shares his memoir from early childhood (and his often turbulent family life in post-war Liverpool) to the present day, whilst beautifully illustrating how life and music are indelibly intertwined.

Published on 26th July 2022, this work of nonfiction brings together practical advice about all things piano, (whilst not being a ‘how to’ manual) with telling the life story of pianist, ex civil servant and author, Keith Jacobsen.

Not aiming to be technical, the author shares his musical expertise in a manner that is accessible for all, and his narrative attests to the fact you’re never too old to pursue your dreams. Having achieved his performance and teaching accreditations in his late fifties after a twenty-seven year career in the Civil Service, this book is ultimately about embracing all that makes your heart sing.


Pianist and author Keith Jacobsen tells the story of his lifelong passion for the piano as performer and teacher from early childhood in post-war Liverpool to the present day.

By interweaving practical examples of how the piano works and how to play a simple tune, he hopes to inspire readers wishing to start their own piano journey. But above all this is a compelling human story, rich in vividly recalled moments and memorable characters.

David Crystal, Honorary Professor of Linguistics, University of Bangor, says:

“A delight to read, a very natural style. Jacobsen succeeds in achieving a balance between the home and piano worlds, and the bridge between the two comes across very clearly. He tells the family story very movingly and fairly. The descriptions of the various piano pieces are really interesting and evocative, and will surely appeal to any piano learner.”

The author says:

“Tickling the Ivories tells of my lifelong involvement as piano performer and teacher from early childhood to the present day, intertwined with an account of my often turbulent family life in post-war Liverpool.

“It shows how life and music are inseparably intertwined, and interludes indicate with practical examples how the piano works and how sound is produced and controlled. The book’s originality is to be found in its combination of musical and personal autobiography with information and advice. It is not another ‘how to’ manual nor a ‘celebrity’ autobiography. ‘Ordinary’ readers should be able to identify with my life story, rooted as it is in recognisably human experiences in the post-war social history of a major British city. It may also inspire readers who wish to make music a fuller part of their own lives, especially if they are late starters or want to rediscover a musical spark that has been allowed to fade or expire.”

Published by Cranthorpe Millner Publishers, Tickling the Ivories (ISBN: 978-1-80378-047-4) is published on 26th July 2022 and is available in paperback (£8.99) and Kindle format. Waterstones | Foyles | Amazon | Cranthorpe Millner


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