New Technologies New Ways
At eight years old in the 90s, I wanted to learn piano. My mother searched for teachers in the Yellow Pages and asked for recommendations from friends.
Once we chose a teacher, we scheduled 30-minute lessons and drove to her private studio weekly. We also bought an old spinet piano with quite a few quirks.
Three decades later, you no longer use the Yellow Pages and your options for learning have multiplied.
Thanks to the internet, you can avoid the time, expense and hassle of traveling to a studio.
Online courses, interactive apps, and live lessons through web chat and video tools bring lessons to your home, making learning the piano more accessible and convenient than ever before.
These developments carry terrific advantages, providing you with interactive, graphical interfaces that can accelerate your understanding and may be especially captivating for children.
Play the keys as they light up on the screen!
If you struggle to understand a lesson, you dont have to wait an entire week for your next lesson, because you can replay the lesson on your computer or phone whenever you like, putting you in control of your learning experience.
Despite these advantages, technological innovations carry potential disadvantages as well.
Video courses and phone apps cannot critique your posture, and they are unable to offer you personalized feedback as a traditional, in-person teacher may do. Youre sitting too close to the keyboard, Thomas, and your shoulders are too tense!
Engaging Books For Teenagers And Young Adults
When it comes to learning, those who have outgrown the childishness of the younger book series, but still need a little encouragement than those that titles aimed at adults receive are often left out in the cold. However, thankfully, especially as the piano continues to grow in popularity across the worlds of social media and in schools, more and more of these titles are coming to fruition. The following titles are ideally aimed at keeping teenagers and young adults intrigued in learning the piano by providing supportive, relevant and modern engaging titles that mean something to the student.
Following on from her book for young learners mentioned above, Jennifer Linn is back and this time has applied the same model to a teenage audience. The main change here is not in the layout, still utilising slick and clean layouts that make learning easy, but instead by adapting the song list to include modern chart popular songs that teenagers and young adults engage with: All of Me, Hallelujah, Hello, Roar, Shake It Off, We Will Rock You and classical favourites like Beethoven’s Für Elise all include clear instruction allowing students to progress and play each new song with confidence.
Ideal Books For Young Learners
Kicking things off, were going to begin with a few titles that are ideally suited for children, using either bright colours, characters, games and tunes that are best suited to keep the learning experience fun, rewarding and engaging from start to finish.
Lang Lang has single handedly inspired countless children to take up the piano or be keen to develop their skills, despite being a classically trained pianist, this book offers and incredibly accessible and fun way to learn that depicts the musician as a superhero on a piano adventure with The Lang Lang Piano Method Level 1. Level 1 introduces complete beginners to: different five-finger positions, note reading, moving around the keyboard, developing both hands equally right from the start.
Part of a 5 book series, The Lang Lang Piano Method provides a unique and imaginative way for complete beginners to learn the piano whilst introducing musicianship and theory through fun engaging characters and pieces ideally suited for children.
Bringing forth popular pieces that kids love such as Let It Go, Beauty and the Beast, Over the Rainbow, Heart and Soul, We Will Rock You and more famous tunes to keep young learners motivated, Piano for Kids is a fun, easy course that teaches children to play piano or keyboard faster than ever before.
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Things To Consider When Buying A Beginner Piano Book For Adults
Clarity: Youre not going to get anywhere if you cant understand the instructions. A good lesson book includes step-by-step instructions using language you can actually understand, with precise diagrams that demonstrate exactly what goes where. Many books come with an accompanying CD or videos that you can follow along. Aside from being enormously constructive to watch an expert when youre learning a new skill, videos lend the practice a pseudo in-person lesson atmosphere.
Songs: The point of learning to play the piano is to play songs you actually like, right? So we look into the variety of songs the books teach. You will probably still have to start small, however, so dont be too annoyed if you learn A Tisket A Tasket before Beethoven.
Method: How effective a given teaching method is will depend at least in some part on your individual learning style, so think about what would work best for you. Do you respond well to repetition and practice drills? Do you like to have things spelled out or are you a more visual learner? How much music theory and music reading are you trying to learn?
Piano vs. Keyboard: While a piano and keyboard feature similar keys and sounds, books written specifically for electric keyboards will often include lessons on specific keyboard equipment that you would miss with a book for piano. Consider the type of instrument you are using and shop for instructional books accordingly.
The Older Beginner Piano Course
The Bastiens Older Beginner Piano Course is written as a true self-instruction book, rather than many of the other options where its more like a teacher writing down their knowledge. This book is clearly written for students with absolutely zero knowledge of playing the piano and progresses as if the only learned knowledge is that of the previous pages.
These books are no nonsense, and unlike their primer counterparts do not have engaging pictures or filler songs or coloring activities. However, the limited additions create more space for students to learn everything they need to know in a timely manner. It does include a slightly interactive portion however these are not needed to be completed in order to learn the information provided.
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Piano For The Young Beginner
A best of list for books on learning piano is incomplete without the famous name Bastien. This piano primer helps children five years or older learn to play. It takes them through the basics, including pre-staff notation. Eventually, theyll be comfortable reading music on the grand staff.
The songs are popular, and their stunning illustrations keep little ones engaged.
If your child enjoys the book, the brand has many more on playing piano for beginners. Add them to your collection, so your little Mozart can keep learning.
Have you tried one of our top piano books for beginners? Or maybe you could help us add to our book suggestions. Our community would love to hear your feedback!
Bastien Piano Basics Primer
Bastien has its own method of teaching kids to play the piano. While it might not be the exact method book you would use, theyve had more than enough success to justify their approach.
If your kids are aging out of the previously mentioned books, its time to roll these out. Original piano music is studied under Bastian, with pop and classical getting the most attention.
All the books in this series fall in line with their lessons in music theory and playing technique. Performance is placed on an equal footing with technique and its all meant to come together in a logical sequence. With fully illustrated pages and colorful charts, theres a lot to be attracted to one every page.
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John Thompsons Piano Course For Intermediate Players
The book complies with maturity and peace of mind so that you get a clear picture to learn that had the most reasonable book for every player to learn to play the Piano.
The best part about the book is that it is re-engraved and updated which makes this the right study material for intermediate students with a wonderful mix of classical arrangements.
Faber Music Piano Aventures
This book takes a different approach to learn that you might find interesting. This Faber music book encourages you to experiment with the piano peddles in order to understand how they really function.
Its fueled by lessons that focus on the middle C position. You will become more aware of the notes behind the keys thanks to skill exercises and information on musical theory.
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Emily Howell: Vivace Piano Course
Of the four series of books mentioned here, this series is certainly the most vibrant and joyful to learn from! Very imaginative with beautiful illustrations, Emily Howell takes you on a creative journey around the world, gradually introducing new elements and the fundamentals in a fresh, yet also methodical way.
Encompassing two course books with accompanying exercise books, the Vivace course really allows the student to explore the piano innovatively. There are well-written accompaniments throughout that really bring the imaginatively titled pieces to life right from the start. The duet parts can be played by a teacher, or are available as backing tracks on YouTube.
I would definitely recommend using these books alongside a teacher, or as a supplement to another method book. My students have really enjoyed playing the pieces and Emilys explanations of concepts have occasionally been lightbulb moments.
Piano For The Young Beginner: Primer A
We would also like to include Piano for the Young Beginner: Primer A on this list, since it provides very detailed methods and exercises for the youngest students, somewhere around the age of 5 and 6. Written by experienced tutors James Bastien and Jane Smisor Bastien, it combines some popular, traditional, and seasonal songs, all of which are adapted for beginners of young ages. Its also filled with many colorful visual aids that make it easier for the student to memorize things. Its just what the 5 or 6-year-old students and their teachers need in order to have successful lessons.
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The Complete Idiots Guide To Music Theory
Dont let the title embarrass you! Buy a book cover if you have to because this one is definitely worth the read.
This book by Michael Miller takes convoluted musical theories and breaks them down into easily digestible chunks for beginners.
It can be a great complimentary guide to put your piano lessons to good use.
It has key ingredients for success. Its engaging, simple to follow, and full of content that can help any level of pianist improve their skill.
Its an excellent choice for the beginner. Miller takes thorny concepts and breaks them down with amazing clarity.
The book is a good read for any musician. Which makes it a solid foundational read for the beginner pianist.
The Complete Idiots Guide to Music Theory isnt for everyone starting to play the piano. If youre looking to get your hands on the keyboard right away, this isnt for you.
Pick this book up if you want to go in-depth with musical theory. You will have a deep understanding by the end of the pages.
The Joy Of First Year Piano
This is one book in a constantly expanding series of Joy Of books. In this particular one, Denes Agay guides musicians through a series of piano work sure to increase skill.
The book also comes with audio. Each piece is accompanied by a track boasting a skilled pianist playing the piece.
This series has been chosen by musicians all over the world. They love it for their imaginative choice of material.
Its also thought of as having consistent settings, a diverse range of music, and a large-format style.
All of these things make it accessible to beginners and advanced players alike.
And this series is constantly growingmaking it sure to be a favorite that keeps on giving!
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Hal Leonard Piano For Teens Method
The Hal Leonard Piano for Teens Method is an easy to follow course specifically designed for young adults who are looking to learn how to play the piano or keyboard fast. Its clear instructions allow students to play each new song with confidence and progress at their own pace with strength. Each new concept is clearly laid out with the clean and simple page layouts so it is easy to understand and engage with the new concepts while learning the songs.
The best part of the Hal Leonard Piano for Teens Method is its use of popular songs to teach the new skills and keep the teens attention. The book includes songs such as Hallelujah, Shake It Off by Taylor Swift, and We Will Rock You by Queen. In addition there are the classical piano songs that every students wants to learn such as Beethovens Fur Elise to keep the students interested.
However, through its use of only popular songs, students may find it hard to transfer to other courses or external sheet music. Popular songs can teach some skills, but they are not too complicated to play making this book perfect for beginners trying to engage in piano, but difficult for those looking to develop the foundation needed to advance their skills afterward.
The Best Piano Books For Adults
Around half my students are adults, either complete beginners or those returning to the piano after learning as children. I regularly get asked what the best piano books for adults are as a lot of piano methods are geared primarily towards children.
There are books out there for adults, its just that there are less of them and its harder to find information on them. There is no one book I would recommend above others as it depends on your learning style. However, there are four that I use regularly that are detailed below.
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Best Piano Books For Self Teaching
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When you want to learn the piano, the first thing you might be thinking is I need a piano teacher. However, if youre an adult pianist, learning the piano on your own without a teacher is definitely doable. There are piano method books that are specifically designed for self-teaching. This allows you to learn at your own pace and also to save a few bucks on hiring a teacher.
Below is a list of the best piano books for self-teaching:
- Alfred All In One Adult Piano Course
- Piano Jumpstart
- Faber Adult Piano Adventures Book 1
- How To Play Keyboard: A Complete Guide For Absolute Beginners
- Alfreds Teach Yourself To Play Piano
- Bastien Piano Basics Level 1
While I still recommend hiring a piano teacher to look over your playing, its not a bad idea to get started with a self-teaching book. Self-teaching books are a great way to get familiar with the piano before committing to intensive study with an instructor. Next, Ill break down each of the books on this list and explain why they are great options for beginner pianists.
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Bastien Piano For Adults
This book was made for your special needs in mind. It includes song samples from all different kinds of genres like jazz, blues, ragtime, and classical.
The lessons are more progressive than childrens books as far as music theory goes. In addition to the easy to read text, it also comes with a CD to help you follow along.
This book will also help you with your understanding of tempo and timing. Its a great book for music theory and practical learning.
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What Is The Benefit Of This Method
Piano students can progress faster and learn songs much quicker than if they had to learn how to read notes. This helps to experience the joy of playing the piano, which helps to increase motivation. Reading music can come later!
*The philosophy behind this approach is that it makes more sense to first learn by ear than to read music. After-all, learning a language is done mostly by ear. Learning piano should be no different!
Ultimate Beginner Series: Keyboard Basics
The Ultimate Beginner Series for Keyboard Basics uses text and DVD in conjunction to be able to teach students all of the foundational skills they need to be able to grow into great musicians. Beginning with the basic hand positions and finger shaping, this book enables students to independently learn how to play the piano.
The curriculum within this book and DVD covers any skill a piano player can think of. They have exercises to teach proper body positioning, how to find notes on the keyboard, basic chords, arpeggios, scales, chords and even beginning improvisation.
This book, and the series as a whole, is solely based on building up the foundation skills meaning there are very few songs. While that may make it a bit harder to keep the younger students attention, the DVD is meant to function as a teacher who can help with both the teaching and attention keeper.
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