Problems with Musicnotes.com

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Musicnotes.com Problems

While being the leading website with sheet music, musicnotes.com does not actually have the best editions to the music on their website.

Musicnotes.com is good that is provides a free sample of each piece, and allows the performer to get a gist of the piece they want to purchase. It also allows a customer the comfort of printing sheet music from their own homes. However, if you are going to spend money on buying sheet music, you deserve to have the most superior and authentic version/arrangement of your piece.

When reading this page, you will learn that the music you receive is actually inferior, and that there are better versions located either on this website, bestsheetmusiceditions.com, or elsewhere on the internet.

Beethoven Appassionata

Let’s take a look at a classical piece for an example. For the classical piece, we will use Beethoven’s 23rd piano sonata in F minor, Op. 57, The Appassionata. Let’s first look an example from Musicnotes.com:

best sheet music editions

And let’s look at the Dover Edition for the Appassionata:

best sheet music editions

Some major advantages we can see with using the Dover Edition are the larger print, details, and fingering suggestions. For a difficult piece such as the Appassionata, having such markings is necessary.

The fingering suggestions for the first movement are of great importance. With the diminished arpeggio of death on measures 13-14, having a good fingering that optimizes movement is crucial.

Heinrich Schenker, the editor for the Dover edition of Beethoven Sonatas, provides good fingering suggestions for this arduous passage. Reading this fingering suggestion will provide a higher chance of success when executing this passage, as it offers insights on what fingering will be able to comfortably play this. Heinrich Schenker was known for having small hands (I cannot find a source for this, but this was told to me by one of my piano teachers), so it is possible that this will not be the best fingering for every pianist. Even if you choose to not use the exact fingering, having at least a suggestion for fingering will aid you in finding a fingering that is ideal for own your hands.

Click here to read what Murray Perahia, a world class concert pianist, says about using Schenker’s fingering suggestions. He admits that while they are uncomfortable for his hands, the suggestions are very musical.

To read more about Schenker’s decision of musical fingering, you can read this article.

When performing this piece, whether for a school audition or performance, any knowledgeable person in the audience will listen carefully to this passage. Successfully playing it will give a great impression to the audience.

For a musician studying this piece using the musicnotes.com edition, they will struggle tremendously! They may invent fingering that makes playing the piece more difficult than it already is, and not pay attention to details in the piece as they are not covered.

There are many spots throughout this sonata that can be covered to show the problems of using musicnotes.com, but this should suffice.

If you are going to spend music on sheet music, you should buy a score that will facilitate learning, not hinder it.

You can purchase the Dover Edition for Beethoven Piano Sonatas Here:

Or you can purchase what is currently considered the best edition for the Appassionata here:

For more information on Beethoven piano sonatas, and the best editions for any of Beethoven’s piano music, please click on this link:

Beethoven Piano Sheet Music

Brian McKnight – Never Felt This Way

In this video, some problems with the sheet music that one can purchase on Musicnotes.com can be seen.

Using Brian McKnights’ Never Felt This Way, we can see how issues with arrangements can apply even to popular songs.

My story for using this piece begins with being asked to play this song at a wedding. Being a good sight-reader with piano music, I wanted to learn a version of this song that was written, as I would be able to learn it faster in comparison to learning the song by ear. I went to Musicnotes.com to buy the music, and was very disappointed with the arrangement I received.

This arrangement has missing chords, strange notes, and does not contain the second verse. For a musician that is dependent on sheet music and cannot read chords or use their ears well, this would be extremely problematic.

To learn Brian McKnight Never Felt This Way most accurately, I recommend watching these YouTube Tutorial Videos:

And of course, listening to the real recording and figuring things out on your own is recommended as well.

As of now, I have failed to find a website that provides quality sheet music arrangements for popular sheet music. Please comment below and share if you know of a good website for popular sheet music!

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Best Piano Apps

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6 Best Piano Games

With the advent of gamification, or educational gaming, there are many more methods of learning the piano other than the traditional method of standard piano lessons.

Playing games makes learning fun and enjoyable! For both young and older students, learning the piano through games helps to retain focus while learning, provides a different medium for learning, and provides a stimulating way to actively learn for long periods of time.

With guitar hero, a video game that emulated actual guitar playing, an article was written showing how this game can actually help with learning the real guitar. Here is an article showing this:

http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/guitar-hero-guitar-player1.htm

Similarly, these piano games will surely help those who want to learn the actual piano. Concepts from these games can be transferred to actual piano playing.

This page will offer insights on the leading piano games, and show how these games are helpful in learning the piano.

Synthesia

best piano apps

Synthesia is like Guitar Hero, but for the Piano. (It was originally going to be called Piano Hero, but Activision didn’t like this and threatened to sue them.)

Using a keyboard with MIDI capabilities, you can learn your favorite songs in a unique way. Colored dots that represent different keys fall down from the screen, and you attempt to play the notes accurately once they reach the keyboard. Many users enjoy this game and say that it greatly helped them with learning piano.

Here is a video of Synthesia in action:

Synthesia also has a learning pack that has many features such as reading music with notation and other practice features. These features are very suitable for those that which to improve their sight reading and have different ways of practicing.

You can see the best sight reading app here with this video:

Piano Maestro by JoyTunes

best sheet music editions
Click on image for reviews

This amazing app by JoyTunes allows you to use an actual piano to play the songs on the app! No cables or bluetooth connection is required! You can also use the built in keyboard as well.

Because you can play this on any piano, this app can become a regular part of practicing the piano.

This best piano teacher app contains over one thousand songs, and you can choose from the most popular songs and classical pieces as well.

This best piano learning app helps with sight-reading, playing at a consistent tempo, rhythm, and visualizing the keyboard.

You can also play games where you have to play the note names.

This app is the most recommended app for piano games. This will motivate any student of any age to practice the piano diligently.

This best piano app iphone and best piano app ipad can be easily played on the go with these mobile devices.

Piano Tiles 2 by Cheetah Mobile

Click on the image for reviews!

Piano Tiles 2 is one of the most popular apps that you can get! With over 4 million downloads, high ratings, and good reviews, you can be assured that you will have a great user experience!

In this mobile app that can be used for Iphone, Samsung, IPad, and other mobile and tablet devices, you will possess an interactive piano learning device in the palm of your hand.

With this app, you play with four tiles that simulate piano keys that are being played. Choosing a song of your choice, you can use the four tiles to imitate playing the actual song.

While there are 88 keys on the piano, and this app only has four, there are still many things that can be applied to actual piano playing. Concepts that can be taught include rhythm, sight-reading, playing multiple notes, and sustaining notes.

An advantage that this app has over other piano apps is that you have to hold down the notes that are being sustained. This actually teaches you to hold down the notes that you want to have sustained, instead of simply letting go of the notes as soon as you play them.

It is important to note that this game cannot substitute actual piano lessons. However, if you wish to create an interest in the piano for a young child, starting them off with this game will definitely help!

Magic Piano by Smule

best sheet music editions

This creative app by Smule allows you to use up to four fingers to play popular and classical songs.

This size of this game is less than 50mb, so you can easily store it on your mobile device or electronic tablet.

The notes are positioned in a way that emulates actual piano playing. For example, as the pitch rises, you will play notes that go towards the right side of the screen, which is similar to playing the high notes on a piano.

You are challenged with this game to play notes accurately, in time, and together with the chords. With these challenges, you will actually develop your rhythmic ability, ability to play notes simultaneously, and association of notes and pitch.

This game is known for developing a desire to play the actual piano. If you have a young student or child that is struggling to practice the piano, playing this game will motivate them to continue practicing.

Piano App by Yokee

Click on the image to read reviews!

This piano app, which can be used on mobile devices, is a fun and exciting way to play and learn the piano! While it does not feature an actual keyboard while playing, it can teach you about relative distance and spacing between intervals, playing multiple notes simultaneously, and rhythm.

Listen carefully to the contour, or the shape, of the melody while watching the notes being presented in the video. As the melody rises, the notes go farther right, emulating the rise of pitch as if you were playing on a real piano. As the melody falls, the notes go towards the left end of the mobile device, simulating playing low notes on the piano.

While this may not seem like much, for a student of the piano, they will learn how to associate the rising and falling of pitch. As the pitch rises, you will play more towards the right end of the piano. And as the pitch lowers, you will play more towards the left end of the piano.

In addition, playing with proper rhythm is important, as playing a note with the incorrect rhythm will cause you to lose points. Teaching rhythm is extremely difficult and is not something that can be learned easily even in traditional lessons. The best way to learn rhythm is to experience it! Rhythm can be experienced through dancing, bobbing your head to music as you are listening to it, or playing a fun game such as this.

Playing games like this will also encourage the gamer to actually learn the song on a real piano. Being familiar with the contour of the melody will actually give you a head start with learning the actual song.

Similarly to Piano Tiles 2, this game cannot teach the piano like an actual piano teacher can. It can, however, create an incentive or a desire to want to learn how to play piano, and provides a head start for learning the piano as well.

Ozaki TAPiano

Click on image for more reviews!

This game is like Guitar Hero, but for the piano. You play the game using a mini keyboard with four white keys, which connects to your mobile or tablet device.

The game features 40 pieces by famous classical composers such as Beethoven, Bach, and Chopin. You will have to install “TinyBand” and buy AAA batteries for the keyboard device.

You are tested on your ability to play the notes on the screen accurately and with good timing. The more precise you are with playing the notes, the higher your score will be.

Some complaints with this game include the price and the size of the app on your device. The app takes up more than 800 mb.


While the notes on the keyboard are smaller than an actual piano, and you will not be playing the actual notes on the simulated keyboard (F,G,A,and B), this game does provide a fun platform for playing piano classics.

Click here for reviews and pricing on Amazon.com!

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Best Piano Technique Books

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11 Best Piano Technique Books

piano technique

What are the best books for building piano technique? This page will show the most recommended technical books for improving your piano technique.

Studying any of these best piano technique books seriously will definitely improve your technique on the piano. While most of these piano exercises are very repetitious and unmusical, it teaches your hands about proper placement of the hand positions, relaxing and rotation of the wrist, and developing flexibility with your fingers.

It is recommended to practice these exercises at least 10 minutes a day if you want to see improvement in your piano technique. Over-practicing these exercises could result in injury. Please read through each comment for the technical books carefully to see how injury can be prevented.

Hanon’s Virtuoso Pianist in 60 Exercises 

Since its publication in 1873, Hanon’s “The virtuoso Pianist in 60 exercises” or the Hanon’s finger exercises have been a staple part of developing a pianist’s technique. These exercises encourage movement of the wrist, and flexibility of the fingers while playing. These exercises work very well with developing independence of the fourth and fifth fingers. There are instructions located in the score that give tips and suggestions on how to practice these exercises.

Graham Fitch – English pianist, piano teacher, and author of the website Practising The Piano – mentions very interesting practice exercises using Hanon’s exercises in his article “Jail Breaking Hanon“. In Jail Breaking Hanon, Fitch shows exercises that encourage wrist flexibility and forearm rotation.

I also highly recommend looking at Graham Fitch’s Practising The Piano eBook series. I particularly enjoy part 2 of the series: “Mastering Piano Technique“. This goes over the history of piano technique, various components of piano technique, such as the importance of the forearm and wrist, and various technical exercises.

My Personal Piano Technique Tip with practicing Hanon: Try to practice these exercises in all the Major Keys, and even the minor keys as well. This will aid you in developing familiarity with all the keys of the piano. Practice slowly first, and then build speed once your fingers feel comfortable playing the exercises slow.

piano technique books

Hanon: The Virtuoso Pianist in Sixty Exercises, Complete (Schirmer’s Library of Musical Classics, Vol. 925)

Here is an example of Hanon Finger exercise one:

best piano technique books

Try to take note of the movement of the wrist, and well as the movement of the fingers. Do the hands look relaxed as they are playing? It is important to optimize the amount of movement while playing, so that minimum effort for playing the best sound can be achieved.

Here is link to view the Hanon Exercises for free:

http://imslp.org/wiki/The_Virtuoso_Pianist_(Hanon,_Charles-Louis)

Liszt Technical Exercises for the Piano

Franz Liszt, the genius pianist and composer, was said to practice these technical exercises every day, sometimes for four hours a day! Liszt’s Technical Exercises for the Piano, comprising of 86 exercises in 12 books, cover virtually every problem a pianist will face in terms of technique. The exercises also encourage the pianist to practice in all the major and minor keys. The pianist who works on these exercises will not only build incredible technique, but will gain a strong familiarity with the piano. Their sight reading will improve as well, as they gain more comfort with the keyboard and read each exercise in each major and minor key.

For any aspiring pianist who wishes to build virtuosic technique, they must practice the technical exercises by Liszt. You are guaranteed to improve your piano technique, even within the first couple minute of practicing these exercises.

Musicality and sensibility will be developed as well, as Franz Liszt ask for dynamic changes, crescendi, sforzandi, different articulations, and specific phrasing in his exercises.

Here is an example of Scales in Chords by the BachScholar on Liszt Technical Exercises:

Notice how the hand positions move quickly and effectively for each new chord. This is a key technique that will be learned from this particular exercise. In order to adjust your hand position in such a manner, one must be very familiar with the chords they are about to play.

You can purchase the score here:

best technique book for piano

Technical Exercises for the Piano (Alfred Masterwork Edition)

Click here to view the exercises for free.

Schmitt Finger Exercises Op. 16

Schmitt finger exercises places special emphasis on developing finger independence. With 213 exercises, this study has many different variations of finger development. Some argue that these exercises are superior to those of Hanon’s. Whatever the case, studying these exercises will increase flexibility of the tendons in your fingers.

Also, these exercises can be practiced away from the piano. Please look at the video to see how this can be done.

Warning: Over-practicing these exercises can lead to injury in your hand. Try to not practice these exercises for more than 10 minutes a day. It is important to try to keep your hands as relaxed as possibility. It may feel necessary to tighten the wrist or fingers in order to play the notes for these exercises, however, you must try to avoid this. Relaxation is key, and it is important to try to avoid the sensation of having tension. As soon as any tension or pain arises in your hands, it is best to stop practicing these exercises.

piano technique books

Schmitt Op. 16: Preparatory Exercises For the Piano, with Appendix (Schirmer’s Library of Musical Classics, Vol. 434)

Click on this video to see an example of the Schmitt Preparatory Exercise:

best piano technique books

Notice how the pinky and third finger in the left hand, and the thumb and third finger in the right hand remained sustained while the other fingers are moving. This is one of the key challenges of several Schmitt finger exercises. Being able to do this allows for your fingers to develop autonomy and independence from one another.

Towards the end of the clip, the exercise is done away from the keyboard. This exercise can be done while you are sitting in class, driving your car, or any other setting that is away from the piano. You can actually develop your piano technique without even being next to a piano with these exercises!

Click here to view the exercises for free.

Dohnanyi Essential Finger Exercises

These exercises are very similar to the Schmitt finger exercises. The only real stark difference is that the Dohnanyi exercises are longer.

Personally, it is a challenge to say which exercises are more effective, since they are both so similar. If questioning which finger exercise book to buy, it is recommended to either buy the Schmitt or both.

The same precautions and details of the Schmitt finger exercises apply here as well.

Purchase the score here:

best technique book for piano

Essential Finger Exercises – Piano

Here is a video by Paul Barton where he speaks about the Dohnanyi exercises and how they can aid with learning a difficult pieces such as Chopin Etude Op. 25 No. 6.

Click here to view the exercises for free.

Pischna Technical Studies

An advantage that Pischna exercises has over other best piano technique books is that it encourages you to practice each exercise in all twelve keys. This develops finger and hand positioning in all keys, and helps you to familiarize yourself with all the different keys of the piano.

These best piano technique exercises greatly help with the development of the fourth and fifth fingers. You will essentially do trills with the fourth and fifth fingers with these exercises, which requires great strength in both fingers.

In addition, these exercises will train your ear as well, as any subtle mistake, such as playing legato poorly or not playing a note fully, is very audible. This can be very frustrating, but with practice, your technique, ear, and musicality will greatly improve.

Here is an example of Pischna Exercise 1

best finger exercise books

You can purchase the score here:

best piano technique books

Pischna: Technical Studies – Sixty Progressive Exercises for the Piano (Schirmer’s Library Of Musical Classics, Vol. 792)

Click here to view the exercises for free.

Heller Etudes

Stephen Heller was a Hungarian Pianist of the romantic Era. He wrote a large number of etudes for the piano, which are aimed for early advanced piano students. What is great about these etudes is that they aren’t focused on pure technique, such as Hanon exercises. Instead, these pieces focus on building technique and musicality with well structured and composed works. These works are really great for students who want to build technique and are not quite at the level of playing Chopin Etudes.

His study pieces are Op. 16, Op 45, Op 46, Op. 47, Op. 90, Op. 125, Op. 139 and Op. 151.

The most popular Etudes are Op 45, Op. 46, and Op 47.

Here is a sample of one of his more well known studies:

You can view Heller’s Etudes for free here: https://pianoexercises.org/exercises/heller/

Click here to purchase on Amazon.com

Burgmuller 25 Progressive Pieces Op. 100

Like Heller, Friedrich Burgmuller was also a pianist of the Romantic Era and wrote technical studies that were very musical.

Personally, I find Burgmuller’s studies to be easier than Hellen’s, and is suitable for early intermediate students.

He also wrote two other sets of study pieces, 12 etudes of Op 105, and 18 etudes of Op 109.

You can hear his Op. 100 here:

In one of Burgmuller’s more performed studies, Op 100 No. 15, we can see just how effective his studies are.

This etude is in C minor and in ternary (ABA) form. The left hand takes the lead in the A section, and the young student is encouraged to build their technique in their left hand in order to play it well. The B section provides a nice melodic contrast in the relative major.

A section:

B section:

Click here to view the exercises for free: 

Click here to purchase from Amazon.com!

Bartok Mikrokosmos

The153 progressive pieces in six volumes by Bela Bartok promises to cover all technical and musical problems a pianist may face. Written over a span of thirteen years, these best piano finger exercises feature much variety. They are also much more musical in comparison to other piano technique books. The first two books of Mikrokosmos focus on problems a beginning student will encounter, books three and four are for intermediate to advance students, and books five and six are for professional musicians. These exercises also build fluency in music modes such as the dorian, lydian, mixolydian, and phrygian modes. Books five and six can be performed at a concert stage, similarly to Chopin Etudes.

Here is a link to observe how the beginning volumes sound:

Here is a link to observe how the more advance pieces sound:

Here is a link to purchase the score to Bartok’s Mikrokosmos:

Also, click on the images to see reviews!

finger exercise book

Mikrokosmos Volume 1 Pink: Piano Solo (English, French, German, & Hungarian)

best piano technique books

Mikrokosmos Volume 2 (Pink) English, French, German and Hungarian

finger piano

Mikrokosmos Piano Volume 3 English, French, German, Hungarian Pink

best sheet music editions

Mikrokosmos Volume 4 (Pink) English, French, German and Hungarian (Mikrokosmos (Boosey & Hawkes))

finger exercise book

Mikrokosmos: Vol. 5 153 Progressive Piano Pieces, Nos. 122-139:Pink (English, French, German and Hungarian)

best finger development book

Mikrokosmos Piano Vol. 6, English, French, German, Hungarian Pink (English, French and German Edition)

Click here to view the exercises for free

Czerny Practical Finger Exercises

Czerny is very well known for his pedagogical works. These 50 finger exercises will prepare any pianist for the difficult challenges that they will face in any piece of piano music. The beginning exercises are very simple and focus on wrist movement and relaxation. The later works focus on virtuosic and bravura technique, such as repeated chords, chromaticism, and jumps.

Concert Pianist Andre-Michel Schub said that he would use these exercises when he was young (Source).

Here is an example of one of the easier exercises:

best finger exercise books

And here is an example of one of the more difficult exercises:

best piano technique books

Here is a video of the easier studies:

Here is a video of one of the more difficult studies:

You can purchase the score here:

best finger exercise books

The Art of Finger Dexterity, Op. 740 (Complete) (Alfred Masterwork Edition)

Click here to view the exercises for free.

Click here to view more finger exercises by Czerny.

J.B. Cramer Fifty Selected Piano Studies

Best Piano Technique Cramer Studies

Johann Baptist Cramer (1771-1858), was considered to be one of the greatest pianists in his day. Contemporaries of his day, such as Beethoven, respected him for his flawless technical abilities.

J.B. Cramer studied with Muzio Clementi, a great pianist and pedagogue who wrote fantastic piano study books such as Gradus ad Parnassum. Studying with such a great pedagogue must have inspired Cramer to publish a great book for development of piano technique.

Hans von Bülow, a great German pianist, composer, and editor, edited the Cramer exercises in the Schirmer edition of these exercises. He was also known to use these exercises with his own piano students.

I personally view these piano studies to be similar to Chopin Etudes, as they are very musical and can be performed on the concert stage. Practicing these exercises requires very diligent and intelligent practice, and should be practiced differently in comparison to Hanon’s finger exercises.

Here is a great recording of the first Cramer Study by pianist Andrei Vetrov:

Here is a live performance of the first Cramer Study:

You can also buy the J.B. Cramer 50 Selected Piano Studies here.

The J.B. Cramer studies are also published by Kalmus edition and others.

You can view the Cramer Op. 50 Fifty Studies here for free!

A Dozen A Day

Best Piano Technique A Dozen A Day

Made by Edna Mae Burnam back in the 1950’s, and republished in 2005.

There is a preparatory book, four lesson books, and a mini book with A Dozen A Day.

It is recommended to do a few of these exercises before a piano lesson with a teacher. The teacher can view how the student approaches these exercises, and help them build technique by correcting them on these.

Personally, I find these exercises to be quite useful for beginning to intermediate students.  They help with scales, arpeggios, contrary motion, finger crossovers, and trills.

You can see an example of these exercises here:

You can see samples of A Dozen A Day exercises here on sheetmusicplus or here on scribd.

Click here to buy on Amazon.com

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Beginning Piano Books

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Teach Piano

beginning piano

Whether you are deciding to teach yourself the piano, or you want to teach beginning piano students, there are several considerations that need to be made. In this blog, you will see that choosing the best method book is key to successful teaching and learning.

The best method books present their information in a systemic and simple way. The use of visual aids, fun exercises, and activities will ensure that you will have fun as you are teaching or learning the piano.

Piano Stickers

These stickers are an excellent visual aid that helps young piano students with learning the piano. You can easily place the stickers on the keys of the piano, and remove them when the young piano student is ready to move on in their playing. Your student will surely remember the note names and notation of the notes on the piano by using these.

You can purchase these stickers by clicking on the image below:

best beginning piano books

Keyboard or Piano Stickers 61 key set For Kids learn to play THE FUN WAY PSMW61

5 Best Beginning Piano Books

Here is a list of the most recommended beginning piano method books. Books are arranged in order of most recommended on the top, and least recommended on the bottom.

Alfred’s Basic Piano Library

The Alfred’s Basic Piano Library books were last published in 2002. These books have been used by many piano teachers for years. It uses three different books, a recital book that includes performance pieces, a theory book that teaches theory concepts away from the piano, and a Technic book which contains reading and rhythm exercises.

It begins with introducing the student to the names of the white keys of the piano. It then moves on to black keys, simple rhythms, and simple intervals. The songs that are introduced in this book accompany the concepts that are being learned. This book series requires the use of an experienced piano teacher. There are six different levels in this series.

Level 1

Recital book

This book contains instructions on how to play the piano, and also contains songs that the student can learn and perform.

Click here to see a sample!

teach yourself piano
Click on image for reviews

Click here for reviews and pricing on Amazon.com!

Alfred’s Basic Piano Library: Recital Book, Level 1A

best beginning piano book
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Alfred’s Basic Piano Library Lesson Book, Bk 1B

Click here for reviews and pricing on Amazon.com!

Theory Book

The Theory Books can be used away from the piano. The piano student can learn keyboard topics such as note names and rhythms through the fun games and activities in the books.

best beginning piano books
click on image to buy

Alfred’s Basic Piano Library Theory, Bk 1A

best beginning piano books
click on image to buy

Alfred’s Basic Piano Library Theory, Bk 1B

Technic Book

This book contains fun reading and rhythm exercises that will enhance the student’s learning. This book should be used in conjunction with the other books.

 alf tech 1

Alfred’s Basic Piano Library Technic, Bk 1A

Level 2

This book introduces intervals of 6, 7, and 8. Students begin to learn scales, triads, and primary chords I, IV, and V. Dotted rhythms, such as dotted quarter notes and dotted half notes are brought up. Students beginning to move their hands away from the home position.

Click here to see a sample

best beginning piano books

Alfred’s Basic Piano Library Lesson Book, Bk 2

Theory Book Level 2 

beginning piano

Alfred’s Basic Piano Library Theory, Bk 2

Technic Book Level 2 

piano beginning

Alfred’s Basic Piano Library Technic, Bk 2

Level 3

Click here to see a sample

Recital Book

best beginning piano book

Alfred’s Basic Piano Library Recital Book, Bk 3

Theory Book

best piano beginning book

Alfred’s Basic Piano Library Theory, Bk 3

Lesson Book 

best piano

Alfred’s Basic Piano Course: Lesson Book – Level 3

Level 4

Recital Book

best beginning piano books

Alfred’s Basic Piano Library Recital Book, Bk 4

Theory Book

best beginning piano book

Alfred’s Basic Piano Library Theory, Bk 4

Lesson Book

best beginning piano books

Alfred’s Basic Piano Library Lesson Book, Bk 4

Level 5

Recital Book

best beginning piano books

Alfred’s Basic Piano Course Recital Book Level 5 (Alfred’s Basic Piano Library)

Theory Book

best beginning piano books

Alfred’s Basic Piano Library Theory, Bk 5

Lesson Book

best beginning piano book

Alfred’s Basic Piano Library: Piano Lesson Book, Level 5

Level 6

Recital Book

best beginning piano book

Alfred’s Basic Piano Library Recital Book, Bk 6

Theory book

best beginning piano book

Alfred’s Basic Piano Course: Piano Theory Book, Level 6

Lesson Book 6 

best beginning piano

Alfred’s Basic Piano Library Lesson Book, Bk 6

John Thompson’s Easiest Piano Course

This book series for beginning piano lessons is excellent for very young children, ages 4-7. Children who are as young as four years old will be able to effectively learn from this series with the guide of an experienced piano teacher. The John Thompson’s piano books introduce concepts at a rate which is very good for young piano students. The songs in the book also contain piano accompaniment parts, so that the teacher can play music along with the student.

This book series is meant to be a predecessor to the red book collection of John Thompson’s modern course for the piano. After finishing this series, it is recommended to purchases the red books of John Thompson.

Click here to see the Thompson’s Easiest Piano Course for free!

Book One

The first book teaches notes from F in the bass clef, to G in the right hand. It established the “home position” for piano playing.

best beginning piano books

John Thompson’s Easiest Piano Course Part 1

Book Two

This book encourages the young pianist to begin playing with both hands. The students will learn new notes, and will have to come out of the comfort zone of the “home position” of piano. They will learn new hand positions for playing the new notes.

As a teacher, it is important to be very patient when the young student is learning new notes and new finger positions, as this can be very frustrating for a new pianist. Give the student a lot of encouragement, and do not the rush the process of them learning new pianistic concepts.

best beginning piano books

John Thompson’s Easiest Piano Course – Part 2 – Book Only

Book Three

Terminology such as crescendo, decrescendo, repeat signs, and dynamic markings are taught. Students will learn notes from a low G (more than an octave below middle C) to a high G. Students will learn about phrasing, major scales, and articulations. Students will learn up to three flats and three sharps with the major keys (C, F, B flat, E flat, G, D, and A major)

best beginning piano books

John Thompson’s Easiest Piano Course – Part 3 – Book Only

Book Four

New key signatures of E major, B major, A flat, D flat, and G flat are introduced. Students begin reading ledger lines below the treble clef and about the bass clef. Syncopation and broken chords are taught as well.

beginning piano books

John Thompson’s Easiest Piano Course – Part 4 – Book Only

Book Five

beginning piano

John Thompson’s Easiest Piano Course – Part 5 – Book Only

Book Six

best beginning piano books

John Thompson’s Easiest Piano Course – Part 6 – Book Only

John Thompson’s Modern Course for the Piano

This book series is a best seller for beginning piano books. Before beginning this series, the John Thompson’s Easiest Piano Course series or a similar book series should be completed first. This book starts off quickly with piano, and students are expected to already be comfortable with playing with both hands. This book is recommended for students ages 8 and over.

Book One

This book has the students remain in the five-finger positions. Students will play with both hands, and will gradually build more confidence and comfort with playing with both hands on the piano.

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best beginning piano books

John Thompson’s Modern Course for the Piano: First Grade Book

Book Two

This book introduces the young piano student to great classical composers such as Mozart, Chopin, and Beethoven and to many famous excerpts from classical repertoire. Students will learn about contrary and parallel motion, Dominant Seventh chords, chord inversions, arpeggios, triplets, trills, and ledger lines. Students will learn pieces in multiple key signatures, such as A major and E flat major.

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Book 3

Students will learn about cross hand playing, interpretation, different styles and forms of music such as a March, sarabande, tarantella, prelude, sonatina, and ballad. Grace notes and accents are introduced as well.

For the young student, it is important to try and learn as many songs as they can from this book. This will aid the student in their ability to sight read, and they will become comfortable with the many forms of music a pianist is expected to perform.

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Book Four

Students will begin learning more advanced concepts on the piano. Students will play with the melody in the left hand, playing 5/4 rhythms, and playing polyphonic music. They will play arrangements of many famous classical pieces such as the second movement of Beethoven’s fifth symphony.

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Book Five

This book is for students that will enter the advanced stage of piano lessons. Many classical pieces, such as the second movement of the Pathetique Sonata of Beethoven and Rondo alla Turca by Mozart, are in this book. Students will begin building repertoire that can be performed. After this book, students will no longer need the aid of a “beginning” piano book.

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The Bastien Piano Library

This book series by James Bastien systematically teaching piano concepts to the beginning piano student. It features small pieces, pieces with accompaniment that the teacher can play, chord progression exercises, finger exercises, and performance pieces for the student to learn. This series was last published in 1997. James Bastien passed away in 2006 at the age of 71.

This series contain a Method, Theory, Technic, Solo, and supplementary books.

Primer Level

Students will learn piano basics such as note names, basic notation, rhythm, and how to play with both hands. Students will remain in the “home position” of piano playing for this level.

Note: It is recommended to buy all four books, as a young student needs to learn not only how to play the notes of the piano, but music theory and technique as well.

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Complete Set

Book 1

In this book, students will learn the notes from a low G (an octave below middle C) to a high F (an octave above middle C). The students five finger position, or home position, will be the left hand playing C,D,E,F,G and the right hand playing C,D,E,F, and G. Students will learn how to play in F and G major, and know the primary chord progression for these key signatures. Students will learn terminology such as time signatures, dynamic markings, staccato, tie, and slur.

There are two editions for this series. The well known 1976 edition and the new 1997 edition.

Important to note: While the favorite classic melodies can be used for any book series, the level of the favorite classic melodies books do not reflect the piano lessons book of the same level.

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Piano Lessons

best beginning piano books

WP2 – Piano Lessons – Level 1 – Bastien Piano Library

Favorite Classic Melodies

This book includes arrangements of favorite classic tunes such as Grieg’s Morning Mood and Bach’s Jesu Joy of Man’s Desire. Students will play pieces in the keys of C, G, and F major.

This book can be used as a supplement to any book series.

Bundle

Contains the 1997 edition with all four books.

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Book 2

Students learn how major scales are formed, intervals, dominant seventh chords, primary chords in in G, D, A, and E major, and 6/8 time signature.

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Piano Lessons

Favorite Classic Melodies 

Contains favorite classical pieces such as Strauss’ Blue Danube Waltz and Grieg’s In the Hall of the Mountain King. Focuses on using I, IV, and V chords in the keys of C, G, and F.

Bundle

Book 3

Piano Lessons

The new key signatures taught in this book focuses on major flat keys. Students will learn E flat, A flat, and D flat and their primary chord progressions (It leaves out B flat for some reason). Students will also learn the chromatic scale and learn how minor scales are formed. They will learn about the 3 different minor scales, natural, harmonic, and melodic.

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Favorite Classic Melodies

Contains favorites such as Franz Liszt’s Liebastraum and Tchaikowsky’s Pathetique Symphony simplified for pianists at this level. Students play pieces that focus on C, F, and G major.

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Book 4 

Piano Lessons

Students learn the circle of fifths, pedal technique, triad inversions, sevenths and octaves, parallel major and minors, augmented triads, diminished triads, syncopation, and whole tone scales.

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Favorite Classic Melodies 

Contains favorites such as Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto 1 and Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony arranged for pianists at this level. Focuses on the keys of C, G, D, and E flat major, and a minor.

Bundle 

Alfred’s Adult All-In-One Course

This series is great for older people (16 and older) who wish to begin learning the piano. This All in One Course features lessons, which teach you songs to play, theory, and technique.

In these three books, you will be able to pick up the essential basics of piano playing, which includes learning scales, chords, reading music, and playing intermediate level piano music.

This book chooses the most popular and well known piano tunes, so that you will not be bored with learning beginning music. The technical exercises are well thought out, and should be practice daily. The theory works hand in hand with the pieces that are being learned, which provides a relevancy for each theory assignment.

It is recommended to work on this book series with the aid of a teacher.

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Book 1

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Book 2

Book 3

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Which edition is right for me?

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Which Edition is Best for Me?

best sheet music editions

 

There are various good editions for the music you are working on. WIth so many options, you must ask yourself, which edition should I purchase?

While this website offers its opinions on what the best editions are, what this website recommends the most may not actually be the best edition that you are looking for.

For example, the Barenreiter Urtext, a leading edition for composers such as Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart, does not include fingering suggestions. This is very suitable for the polyphonic music of Bach, in which there are multiple ways to find a suitable fingering for yourself. However, with a work such as a Beethoven Concerto, it may be extremely helpful to have fingering suggestions.

With Chopin, the current leading edition is the Polish National Edition. However, you may find that the Durand Edition edited by Alfred Cortot to be a more suitable edition for Chopin. The reason being is that Cortot wrote many exercises and practices to go with the Chopin works. These exercises give certain insights on how to properly perform a difficult passage.

Here you can purchase the leading National Edition for Chopin Etudes:

best sheet music editions

Etudes: Chopin National Edition 2A, Vol. II (Works Published During Chopin’s Lifetime)

Durand Edition edited by Alfred Cortot:

best sheet music editions

12 Studies Op10 Piano Etudes (English Text)

best sheet music editions

12 Studies Op. 25 Piano Etudes (English Text) (Musical Expeditions)

Editions to Not Buy

If you purchase a score of classical music, and the publishing company for that edition is not listed anywhere on this website, chances are, you have spent your money buying a bad edition to your music.

This edition is an example of a score you do not want to buy:

 

IMG_0324

This edition of Beethoven’s Fifth Piano Concerto by Classical Music Collection is quite bad. There is no information inside of this book about the publishing date. Also, there is not an introductory note or comments mentioning about the sources for making this edition. While this edition was very inexpensive, it is better to use IMSLP than to spend money and use an edition such as this.

best sheet music editions piano

As seen from this picture, the print is this edition is extremely tiny! You will have to squint your eyes in order to see the notes on this page. You do not want to have to spend extra time learning a piece of music simply because you cannot see the notes that well. This will only cause frustration and anger.

Safe yourself from such an inconvenience and buy the best edition for your music. If you are going to spend money, then you should do it right!

Buy Best Edition Beethoven

The most recommended edition for Beethoven’s Fifth Piano Concerto on this website is the Barenreiter Urtext.

best sheet music editions

Concerto for Pianoforte and Orchestra No. 5 E-flat Major Op. 73. Full Score. Piano reduction, Part(s), Urtext edition. 1st Printing 2015.

Of course, if you find an edition for this score, such as the Henle Verlag Urtext, Wiener, Edition Peters, or even the Schirmer, you will still have a good edition for your music.

 

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