I do not know how to play an instrument. That doesn’t mean I never tried. In school, I tried to play instruments, but that went nowhere. When I went to the mall as a kid, I inevitably gravitated to the instrument store at some point. Usually I would play around with the organs. If those were off-limits I played with electronic keyboards like the Casio Tonebank keyboard.
They would have these starter books near the keyboards. Slowly I work my way trough “Mary had a Little Lamb” or “Hot Cross Buns”. But my brain would never make the right connections. Inevitably what I would learn would drain out of my head. So each week it was like starting over. Even when my friend got a small keyboard and tried to teach me, I went nowhere. It is a mystery to me, but I could just never seem to master the skills needed to become a skilled keyboardist.
It was probably because I lacked the right tutor. Now I am not talking about a human tutor. No, I am talking about the type of tutor you pop into you VCR. Video lessons from the eighties were like magic. For the first time you could take a teacher home with you and have them repeat the lesson again and again. I learned how to do basic magic from a video tape and I am sure if I had found this Casio Tonebank keyboard tape as a kid, I would be jamming in some music club right now.
Filled with the basics, this keyboard tutorial is just 30 minutes long. In it you learn the basics of keyboarding. So that by the end of the tape you have what it takes to makes sounds that won’t have your parents regretting buying you the keyboard.
The instructions on the tape are very straightforward. So why is this video so great now? Well, even if you don’t pick up a keyboard, it is very much of its time. The crosscutting between scenes with its medium budget animation screens are things you just don’t see nowadays outside of poor parodies. But the real magic is the host. This guy is a workhorse. Not only does he know his keyboarding, but his soothing and sometimes mechanical sounding instruction is just amazing. Combine that with some wardrobe changes and you have eighties’ instructional video gold.