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Best Piano Books For Beginners: Adults and Children alike

Updated on June 19, 2013

Piano for beginners

Some years ago I was supplementing my income by teaching piano lessons. I had around 4-5 pupils per week, all at various stages of learning.

I am going to share with you the best books to use when first starting out with the piano.

Please remember though, whether you're intending on teaching the piano, learning the piano, helping somebody learn the piano... the most important thing to do is pick a course and stick to it. If you choose one set of piano books for beginners and switch to another part way through, depending on how each is structured the person learning the piano may end up missing out on some vital information.

Learn The Piano: Which Piano Books Are Best For Beginners?

The Core Course

What I mean when I say the core course, is quite simply the main piano course you're going to be using and sticking to when developing your piano skills. As I mentioned before, it is very important you choose a set of piano books for beginners and stick to the same. If you switch part way through you may end up missing out on vital information. Don't Worry: You can supplement the core books with extra books for variety, but for the pure purposes of actually learning to play the piano, stick to the same set of piano books.

In my opinion as a grade 7 pianist (UK associated board), the best piano books for beginners to use are the John Thompson books. John Thompson published a set of piano books for beginners which he called the "Thompson's easiest piano course" (You can buy the full course here), and it is the set of piano books for beginners which I was taught from, my family was taught from, and all of mine and my various family member's piano pupils learned from - to great success. Despite being a very old publication which has been around for years, the valuable information it contains inside is more than enough to teach even the freshest of the fresh everything needed to get started with the piano.

The John Thompson's Easiest Piano Course consists of 4 books, at the end of which a beginner is usually ready to start studying more advanced material such as criteria for the elusive first exam. At this point, sticking to a course becomes less important as the basic bones of piano playing have already been firmly established - however, John Thompson does have a lot more books for more advanced players if you prefer to continue in the same style.

It recently received a makeover and was re-published with a flashy new design, but it still contains the same information inside - and is still illustrated throughout with silly gnomes which make it a lot more interesting for children. There are other courses available, but in my opinion none of them quite match the John Thompson's Easiest Piano Course.

(Having said that, one of the best piano teachers I ever had when I became a little more advanced suggested never using these books. I asked her why and she replied "Well, the content is good... but gnomes frustrate me!")

Supplementary Material

Of course, learning or teaching the piano isn't about simply selecting the best core course. It is equally as important to find piano books for beginners which offer additional information, exercises and variety. The reasons it is important to use supplementary material alongside the core course are as follows:

  • It provides the budding pianist with variety and helps break up the learning a little
  • It gives the learner the chance to practice the skills they have learned in another context
  • It provides useful exercises to add value to the skills already being learned

Supplementary material can be anything - the most important thing is selecting a book which provides material which is at the same skill level as the current core books you are using. Want some ideas? Try piano time for beginners (books 1-3)

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    • profile image

      Joy Karina 

      4 years ago

      I just found this hub at the appropriate time. I bought a piano at and now its time to look for tutorials and helpful article like this one.


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