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Beginning Piano Books

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:

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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.

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

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Alfred’s Basic Piano Library Lesson Book, Bk 1B

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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.

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Alfred’s Basic Piano Library Theory, Bk 1A

best beginning piano books
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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.

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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 

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Alfred’s Basic Piano Library Technic, Bk 2

Level 3

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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 

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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 

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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.

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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

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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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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.

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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.

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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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