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My Favorite Piano Books For Beginner Students
It has been 5 years this month that I have officially been giving private piano lessons. By now I seem to have a good routine going whenever I get brand new, beginner level students. I believe every student is different, and not all will catch on to the same line of method books. I really try to determine in the first few lessons what the student’s goals, learning style, and focus level are. These things are some of the most important in deciding which method or solo books might work best for them. I have had students who needed to be taught at a slower pace, some with a mental handicap, and some with functioning disorders such as ADHD. These kinds of challenges are considered as well when choosing what to use with each student.
Here are my top favorite piano books that have worked well with most of my students.
1. Alfred’s Basic Piano Library Lesson Books for Young Beginners
This was the most use piano method with me by piano teachers I had growing up. I took piano lessons since I was around 6 years old through my senior year of college (15 years!) I have now found that Alfred has all-in-one books for young students that are like their adult course below. Instead of having a separate lesson book, solo book, recital book, and theory book, etc, you can get them all in one book. I also like the combination books I have come across recently that combine two levels into one book. Saves money in the long run!
2. Alfred’s Basic Adult Piano Course
This all-in-one piano course book is geared towards adults, however, I have found it to work equally well with younger beginners. It contains everything, from writing exercises, technique tips, music history, an intro to Hanon exercises, solo pieces, and lessons pieces that cover many genres! There are no illustrations like the children’s books, but I think it gives it more room to have playing tips. It is faster-paced, but you can break it down and skip around a little depending what your student’s strengths and weaknesses are. The spiral binding is a plus! There are 3 levels available, and you can buy versions that include a CD. I have not used the CD with any of my students, but one adult students said she found videos on YouTube that helped her a ton.
3. Manuscript Paper or Construction Paper
I always keep this around, and in my piano lesson bag! My very young students get excited when they hear me say “go get some colored pencils or crayons, please” as I pull my construction paper pad out of my bag! Sometimes if I have extra time at the end of a lesson, I use this to practice drawing a staff, notes, or music symbols. Manuscript paper is handy to have for those who like to write-in their own endings or intros to songs, or write their own music.
4. My Scale Book by David Hirschberg
When choosing a scale book to use with younger beginners, I decided upon this book since the notes were bigger, all the the basic scales were there, and not a lot of distracting “fluff” around them. It was never used with me since I think it is a newer book, but the book below was. The book pictured below was used with me by several piano teachers. It contains helpful charts and tips besides all the major and minor scales. I would suggest this one for intermediate students, or perhaps adult beginners.
5. First Sonatinas by Jane Smisor Bastien
This book is a great stepping stone from the usual short lesson pieces to actual classical pieces. I find it helps students get used to moving their hands to different positions around the keyboard during a piece. All the Sonatinas have 3 parts to them as a Sonatina should. They make great recital pieces, and my students that have played them so far have enjoyed them. As you might have noticed in the photo above, this book has been well-used. The one pictured was actually mine from the mid 90s! You can still find new copies of it today though.
6. Hanon, The Virtuoso Pianist in Sixty Exercises
Hanon is well-known for it’s many technique exercises that help with finger strength and flexibility. I love the full, spiral bound version the best. I usually do not start students in this book until they have first mastered at least most of their scales. To this day I like to use these exercises as a warm-up for myself before I practice difficult pieces.
Most of these piano books can be purchased through Musicians Friend, or my favorite, Ebay. As for popular piano books such as movie soundtracks and pop song collections, I have found some great deals at Target! I just got this book on sale!
This was the last post for “music month.” Next week begins “Happy Homemaking,” a month that will include posts about favorite home decor items, a book review, and more!
Thanks for reading!
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