Just a Little From the Top

(6 customer reviews)


SPECIAL PRICE ON THIS SITE £13.95 on this site (rrp £19.99). Carriage will be added at checkout (total £16.95 for the UK). “A truly enjoyable account of Roderick Elms’ life in music, peppered with stories, from the hilarious to the educational! This lively account of the life and times of a valued friend includes plenty of entertaining anecdotes, plus details of musical mishaps and triumphs along the way. A great read for anyone interested in the workings of today’s classical music world.” Aled Jones

11 in stock (can be backordered)



Just a Little From the Top‘ chronicles Roderick Elms’ love of music from childhood, through school and college, ultimately leading to a career spanning more than forty years, in which he has worked at the highest levels of music-making in London.

It gives a unique insight into many aspects of the workings of the profession and contains a multitude of anecdotes, many humorous, about his fascinating life journey. These include occasions when things have gone wrong, sometimes as a result of practical or mechanical failures, others due to poor leadership.

A little early biographical information takes the reader through wonderful experiences, gained by many young people, from the musical opportunities bestowed by the Redbridge Music Service and its music advisor, Malcolm Bidgood OBE. It also takes a trip through some of the Redbridge-based musical groups, which played such a big part in the lives of young musicians living in that area in the late-sixties, seventies and eighties. Not least, the internationally unknown Gnaff Ensemble!

6 reviews for Just a Little From the Top

  1. Mauro Sheehan

    I’ve known Roderick Elms for over forty years; first as teacher at school and on the organ, and now as a good friend, along with his wife and family. He played at our wedding (which he graciously mentions here), my father’s funeral and at the christening service for our two little boys. This book is everything Aled Jones (in his review on the back page) says it is and more; a passionate, intensely personal and highly entertaining account of over forty years of professional music making. Peppered with anecdotes and references to some of the big “stars” of the classical music world, it takes the reader through from early beginnings in Redbridge through to life now as one of the country’s most sought after keyboard players. Highly recommended. I read it twice in the first week.

  2. Simon Kenyon-Smith

    The result is a very entertaining and lighthearted read. Just what people need in this current climate. I would just like to point out Roderick Elms’ description of the celeste.. ‘a piano-like keyboard instrument that, when moved, makes a sound somewhat reminiscent of an aircraft drinks trolley, though sadly without the same benefits’ … wonderful!

  3. Brian Kay

    If you want an intimate glimpse behind the scenes of the fascinating world of orchestral musicians then look no further than Roderick Elms’ hugely entertaining book. Even if you’ve never met him, you’ll get to know him very well and if you have (and worked with him, as I’ve been lucky enough to do on many occasions) then it will remind you – with enormous pleasure – of good times past. It’ll soon be Christmas: look no further for the ideal stocking-filler!

  4. Debbie Wiseman OBE

    Roderick Elms’ book is a real delight for musicians and non-musicians alike – packed full of wonderful memories and anecdotes from a much-admired musician and composer.

  5. Paul Bateman

    I was so disappointed when I finished reading it as I had been enjoying it so much! Roderick Elms’ journey though his upbringing, education, personal life and entire career (so far) will not only be a joy to read for his family, friends and colleagues but also for anyone with an interest in what goes on in the orchestra, behind the scenes and on the stage. He writes easily and fluently and is constantly engaging. A good read. Highly recommended!

  6. Peter Bassano

    A personal account of a journey through London’s professional music world – Roderick Elms retells an entertaining account of the life of a professional musician in London from the vantage points of the organ console and the piano keyboard. The narrative spans some fifty years from humble beginnings in the borough of Redbridge, to accompanying the great Russian ‘cellist Mstislav Rostropovich. His experience of touring and recording with all of the capital’s orchestras provides amusing and serious anecdotes, and his encounters with many famous conductors are generally benign but occasionally heated. Never a dull moment.

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