Good piano books can be hard to find. It’s important that they strike a balance between being entertaining and fun and providing enough education that the student feels like they’re really getting somewhere.
From the familiar to the challenging, the following piano books always seem to hit the right note. Use one of more of them for your students, and you’re certain to see the early signs of success.
1. Piano Adventures Lesson Book – Primer Level by Nancy Faber and Randall Faber
Many people who don’t play the piano aren’t aware that this instrument requires the engagement of the musician’s whole body. In a fun contrast to many other piano lesson books, Piano Adventures introduces this concept right from the beginning. Accordingly, even young students learn how playing the piano is a full-body expression.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that the basics aren’t covered as well. Correlating notes to fingering is covered as is use of the pedal. By the end of the book, your student will be able to read basic sheet music and understand proper piano posture. The reviews at the end of the sections are especially helpful for cementing new information.
2. The Perfect Start for Note Reading Book One by Kevin and Julia Olson
This book provides an excellent introduction to note reading and playing the piano. It takes things slow and builds progressively until the student is able to play a tune that tells a fun and interesting story or captures a fascinating feeling or idea.
This is accomplished via a strict focus on just two notes for a few pages. Then, a third note is introduced. Eventually, a fourth note enters the picture. A short tune is ultimately played, with each of the notes being firmly implanted in the student’s mind.
Full of fun illustrations and great ideas, this book is a wonderful place for new piano students to start. For improving sight-reading skills, reinforcing the introduction of new notes and supplementing any teaching method, this book is a wonderful resource.
3. Get Set! Piano Pieces Book 1 by Karen Marshall and Heather Hammond
Written by two extremely experienced music teachers, this book can be recommended for any student, regardless of their learning style. That’s because one of the authors specializes in multi-sensory teaching, a discipline that appeals to all kids.
This book is filled with fun tunes that will be recognized by parents and kids in addition to numerous original pieces that feature entertaining stories about everything from caterpillars to pirates.
With teacher duet parts included in many of the songs, this is the ideal instruction or practice guide. Adorable illustrations along with crosswords and quizzes keep the fun going for hours.
4. Alfred’s Basic Piano Course Lesson Series
Popular with students of all ages, the entries in the Alfred’s Series provide an easy-to-follow step-by-step method of learning that places a special focus on proper playing habits and techniques.
Lesson Book Level 1A is a fantastic place to start because it concentrates on the topography of the white keys in relation to the black. By the end of the book, the student is able to easily name all of the keys.
Packed with entertaining songs that let students concentrate on concepts like “stepping up,” “stepping down” or “same,” readers also will get acquainted with the space notes and lines in the bass and treble clefs in addition to melodic and harmonic intervals.
Also, despite this book being economically priced, it’s packed with good information. Any beginning piano student will benefit from working through it.
5. Piano Time Classics by Pauline Hall
This volume comes from a series of books that is wildly popular with piano students in the U.K. and deserves to be better known in America. In fact, there are numerous books in this series, and any of them are worth checking out.
The bright, colorful presentation of this book makes it especially effective and interesting for children. Of particular note in this volume are the quizzes relating to music theory, which really help kids to understand and gauge their learning.
With its non-patronizing tone, this series even works well for older students. Also of note is the fact that this book isn’t overly long. This means that a determined student can work through it relatively quickly, leading to a nice sense of accomplishment.
6. Bastien Piano Basics – Primer Level by James Bastien
Featuring a logical sequence of lessons, this book is built around numerous original compositions by the author. This makes it a fun exploration for new piano students.
Within the pages, students will explore styles such as:
Full-color illustrations and stimulating content keep students progressing from one lesson to the next. Gradually, students are introduced to the multi-key approach until they have covered all 12 keys.
With each page carefully designed to incorporate subject matter that covers theory, technique and performance, this is a dynamic work that many students find engaging.
7. My First Piano Adventure by Nancy Faber
This one is for the parent or instructor who is introducing a very young child to the world of piano. It’s specifically written for musicians who are ages five and six, so it’s filled with plenty of playful exercises and basic information.
Rhythm games, technique activities and entertaining songs are just the beginning of the attractions for little ones. Thanks to features like chants and games, kids are introduced to proper techniques in a fun manner.
This book even comes with a CD that contains audio tracks so that kids can tap, clap, sing and even play along. Many of the songs that include vocals are sung by children, which is especially appealing to little students.
With elementary music theory and technique as well as the beginnings of reading music, this is a fantastic introduction for the littlest students.
8. John Thompson’s Easiest Piano Course: Easiest Pop Songs
Do you have a tween or a teen who is just starting with the piano? If so, then they may not be delighted by playing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star or Row, Row, Row Your Boat.
They are precisely the piano students toward whom this book is geared. Maybe they don’t want to play the songs they used to sing in kindergarten, but a few familiar pop tunes won’t go wrong.
The simplified, shortened songs are great for the student who has progressed beyond the absolute basics. They still present a nice challenge, and many teens just prefer to play pop songs. It’s just one more way to keep their interest piqued.
9. Ultimate Beginner Series by Debbie Cavalier and Larry Steelman
This selection is for the beginning piano student who thinks that everything is moving too slowly. It combines written text with a DVD to introduce important concepts at much greater speed than most courses do.
Included in the information are:
- Proper body positioning
- Basic chords
- Finding notes on the keyboard
- Blues progressions
- How to play with both hands
In fact, this text and DVD combo covers so much ground, that your impatient student will probably be satisfied for quite some time.
Ask Prodigies Music for Help
With a full line of video lessons, written lessons and music scores, Prodigies Music helps kids learn how to read and play music in the most fun way imaginable. Colorful, bright and imaginative, each lesson appeals to even the youngest child yet is challenging enough to keep older kids engaged.
Whether you are teaching your children at home or are a professional piano teacher, the programs from Prodigies Music are designed to form the basis of a music education or as a supplement to additional music or instrument instruction.