Piano Lessons Books

Last Updated on 2024-02-20 | Originally Posted on 2017-10-01
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This warning is a bit tl;drtoo long; didn’t read; my apologies in advance! Please read the visible part, and click Read More to get the whole story.

All of the links below, unless otherwise marked, are to Amazon.com. When I post an Amazon link, it’s because I have verified that the book is Sold and Shipped by Amazon.com. That could change without my knowledge. Please pay attention that the book you are buying is Sold and Shipped by Amazon.com. That usually guarantees that you will be paying at most the publisher’s retail price, and sometimes a small discount.

If you suspect you’re seeing a price above retail – it’s rare, but I’ve seen it happen – you can always check the title at a full-priced site like Sheet Music Plus.

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Method Books

Piano Safari

For students who start lessons with me, or transfer into my studio at a beginner level, I typically recommend switching to Piano Safari. There are separate series for children and older learners. The older learner series is for anyone around 10 or older, though I choose this more for kids than for adults.

To learn more about my use of Piano Safari in lessons, please visit this link.

Faber Piano Adventures

I would encourage you to check out Volume 1 on the Faber Website. It’s a decent alternative to the Piano Safari Older Student series. I would suggest purchasing these, though, on Amazon.com. I list the cheaper spiral-bound version, but you can pick up the CD/DVD version for a few dollars more.

Although I like All-in-One approach, I do also like the Accelerated Piano Adventures as well. It is broken into component books, like the approach for children. However, when I teach Faber, I only use the Lesson and Performance books.

Faber All-In-One

Faber Piano Adventures All-in-One Course Book 1

Faber Piano Adventures All-in-One Course Book 2

Faber Accelerated

Faber Piano Adventures Accelerated Lesson Book 1

Faber Piano Adventures Accelerated Performance Book 1

Faber Piano Adventures Accelerated Lesson Book 2

Faber Piano Adventures Accelerated Performance Book 2

How to Look Inside Piano Books

If you’ve ever shopped paperback or hardcover books on Amazon.com, you’ve used their Look Inside technology to preview your selections. However, you may have noticed that you can rarely preview music books.

There are two levels of help. If you are just browsing books in general, without a particular publisher in mind, go first to Sheet Music Plus. They have many of the same previews you will see on music publishers’ Websites.

However, if you do know the publisher, go directly to their Website. Some publishers are more generous in samples than others. Sometimes the links are easy to find, and sometimes you really have to dig.

Repertoire Books

Standard Repertoire Collections

I use two sets of standard repertoire books: Alfred’s Masterworks Classics, edited by Jane Magrath, and the FJH Festival Collection, edited by Helen Marlais. When I took the project to find the best repertoire books for my studio, I found that I couldn’t decide between these two choices. Therefore, I use both!

The Magrath editions are lightly edited, a good thing, but the repertoire selection stops in the 20th Century (no living composers). Also, the included CD is only valuable to those students who have a CD or DVD player. The Marlais books are more heavily edited, which I don’t like. However, it includes living composers and the recordings are available via download code.

The Level numbers are only important within a particular series. If you complete Alfred Masterworks Level 2, go to Level 3 in the same series. However, the levels are not comparable between series. As an example, the Alfred Masterworks (Magrath) Level 3 is roughly equivalent to FJH Festival (Marlais) Level 2. Both of those books would have the most pieces available to prepare for Level 2 of the ASTMA Regional Festival.

Alfred’s Masterworks Classics (Magrath)

Masterworks Classics – Levels 1 & 2 (One Book)

Masterworks Classics – Level 3

Masterworks Classics – Level 4

Masterworks Classics – Level 5

Masterworks Classics – Level 6

Masterworks Classics – Level 7

Masterworks Classics – Level 8

Masterworks Classics – Level 9

Masterworks Classics – Level 10

FJH Festival Collection (Marlais)

All of these FJH books are now published and warehoused by Alfred. The transition has been extremely bumpy with many out-of-stocks; it’s probably why some of these volumes are not yet listed with Amazon.

Use these links, as available, to buy directly from Amazon. Be careful purchasing from third-party sellers, many of whom are selling older versions of these books at extreme markups.

Festival Collection – Preparatory (Not Available)

Festival Collection – Book 1

Festival Collection – Book 2 (Not Available)

Festival Collection – Book 3

Festival Collection – Book 4 (Not Available)

Festival Collection – Book 5

Festival Collection – Book 6 (Not Available)

Festival Collection – Book 7

Festival Collection – Book 8

RCM Piano Repertoire

I will soon be adding books for this series from Canada. It’s a bit more expensive than the other series, but the piece selections are quite broad and readily available.

Sonata/Sonatina Collections

These collections are listed in order of difficulty, covering the beginner and intermediate levels. I only include here easy-to-obtain collections since preparing for festivals often means getting music in a timely manner.

I also like some harder-to-obtain collections and single copies that need to be ordered in advance with a music store. They are not listed here.

Poe, John Robert

Silly Sonatinas: Four Non-Traditional Sonatinas in Traditional Form – Early to Mid Beginner

Olson, Lynn Freeman

Beginning Sonatinas: Five Original Works in Varying Styles for the Early Grades – Mid to Late Beginner

Bastien, Jane Smisor

Three Mini Sonatinas – Mid Beginner

First Sonatinas – Late Beginner

Piano Sonatinas, Book One (Faber)

Piano Sonatinas, Book One – Faber – Late Beginner – Early Intermediate

Sonatina Masterworks, Book 1

Sonatina Masterworks, Book 1 – Alfred/Magrath – Late Beginner – Early Intermediate

Sonatina Masterworks, Book 2

Sonatina Masterworks, Book 2 – Alfred/Magrath – Early to Mid Intermediate

Clementi Six Sonatinas and Much More

Sonatina Album: A Collection of Favorite Sonatinas, Rondos, and Other Pieces for the Piano – Early Intermediate to Early Advanced

Single Composer Collections

Bach, J.S.

Inventions and Sinfonias: Two- and Three-Part Inventions (Alfred Masterwork Edition) – Advanced

Bober, Melody

Solo Xtreme, Book 1 – Early Beginner

Solo Xtreme, Book 2 – Mid-Beginner

Burgmüller, Friedrich

Twenty-Five Easy and Progressive Studies, Op. 100 – Early Intermediate

Eklund, Jennifer (Piano Pronto)

The two sets of books are offered as the most popular choices among a very large selection offered by Piano Pronto. The Songs I Love to Play are tasteful arrangements of harder classical arrangements, whereas the Spotlight Solos are original compositions by Eklund. Supplemental books like these can help offer students the variety they need to stay motivated to practice.

Songs I Love to Play (Vol. 1) – Late Beginner (PianoPronto.com)

Songs I Love to Play (Vol. 2) – Early Intermediate (PianoPronto.com)

Spotlight Solos (Vol. 1) – Late Beginner (PianoPronto.com)

Spotlight Solos (Vol. 2) – Early Intermediate (PianoPronto.com)

Kabalevsky, Dmitri

24 Pieces for Children, Op. 39: Piano Solo (Schirmer’s Library of Musical Classics) – Mid to Late Beginner

Schumann, Robert

Schumann – Album for the Young, Op. 68 – With 2 CDs – Intermediate

Schumann – Album for the Young, Op. 68 – No CDs – Intermediate

Jazz Collections

I am currently only listing the resources by Christopher Norton, though there are other good choices offered by Forrest Kinney and Bradley Sowash that I will eventually add. The sequence numbers in this series are only meaningful. Microjazz 1 would be equivalent to Level 2 or Level 3 in other repertoire or exam series.

Christopher Norton’s Microjazz

Microjazz 1

Microjazz 2

Microjazz 3


Scales Book

The Complete Book of Scales, Chords, Arpeggios, etc – Late Beginner to Advanced

Czerny, Carl

Although these books can be purchased in bound form with the links below, I recommend you print these and put them in a 3-ring binder yourself. The download links are available through MyMusicStaff – Online Resources.