Best Piano Books

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by CJ McDaniel // August 6  

If you are new to the piano, you may be wondering where even to begin. Or maybe you have been playing the instrument for many years and want to take your playing to the next level. Whatever your experience level, learning is a never-ending part of being a pianist. What are the best piano books to help you improve your chops?

Although many great resources exist to help you learn the piano, many prefer to learn through books. There is certainly no shortage of great piano books, both old and new.

We cover some of the best books for learning the piano below. Whether you’re a complete beginner who doesn’t know how to use piano pedals yet, a master, or somewhere in between, this list of books has an option for everyone. Let’s dive in!

Alfred’s Basic Adult Piano Course

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A beginning course for adults who prefer a chord approach. It teaches chords for both hands so that the student can play more than single note melodies. This course is most effective when used under the direction of a piano teacher or experienced musician.

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Alfred’s Basic Piano Library: Level 1A Books Set

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This classic set includes the following 5 books: Lesson Book 1A, Theory Book 1A, Technic Book 1A, Recital Book 1A, and Notespeller Book 1A.

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Piano Adventures

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The 2nd Edition Primer Lesson Book introduces the keyboard, note values, and the grand staff. Students play in C 5-finger scale patterns, develop recognition of steps and skips, and learn letter names independent of finger number. Musicianship is built through the use of dynamics and coloristic experimentation with the pedal. The book is organized into units which represent the major concepts and skills. As new units are introduced, earlier concepts and skills are constantly reviewed.

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Piano Scales, Chords & Arpeggios Lessons

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Rolling Stone Magazine recommends Damon Ferrante’s piano and guitar books as the #1 Best Piano and Guitar Books for Beginners! This new edition book and streaming video course is all that you will ever need for learning piano chords, scales, arpeggios, how to read music, and basic music theory!

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Easy Piano Sheet Music for Kids

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Easy Piano Sheet Music for Kids is a great first songbook for beginners. Songs on every page page have letters above each note to help children who are yet to learn how to read sheet music. Inside you will find 40 familiar favorites that are some of the most popular tunes for those beginning on piano or keyboard and are new to lessons.

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Piano for the Young Beginner

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Never before, nor since, has there been a piano method as easy to follow, as pedagogically sound, as exciting to look at, as musical to play – and as well-designed for motivation, achievement, and success as Bastien piano basics.

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Accelerated Piano Adventures for the Older Beginner

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Book 1 covers fundamental rhythms, all the notes of the grand staff, C position, G position. Contents include: Aloha Oe * Amazing Grace * Bagpipes * Bus Stop Boogie * Camptown Races * Chant of the Monk * Chant of the Monks * Chinese Dragon * Chord Crossings * Dreamscape * Eine Kleine Nachtmusik * English Minuet * Fife and Drums * Forest Drums * French Minuet.

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Jazz, Rags & Blues Book 1

Jazz, Rags & Blues, Book 1 contains original solos for late elementary to early intermediate-level pianists that reflect the various styles of the jazz idiom. An excellent way to introduce your students to this distinctive American contribution to 20th century music. The online audio includes dynamic recordings of each song in the book.

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BigTime Piano Classics

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This book is a treasury of the most popular and most requested masterworks of Western music. The selections are taken from original non-keyboard sources and arranged to create a “big” sound while remaining within the intermediate level.

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FunTime Piano Jazz & Blues

FunTime Piano Jazz & Blues provides an entertaining collection of pieces from the jazz/blues idiom. The book is perfect for the Level 3 student interested in exploring this style. It consists of easy arrangements of jazz and blues standards as well as delightful original compositions that are sure to motivate and entertain any student.

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My Music Journal

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Includes a one-year practice planner with lesson assignment pages, a dictionary of music terms, a music history timeline, keyboard guide, and staff paper.

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100 Left Hand Patterns Every Piano Player Should Know

100 Left Hand Patterns Every Piano Player Should Know (Play the Same Song 100 Different Ways) by Music Mentor Jerald Simon, is one of the books from the Music Motivation® Series. This book was created to help piano students of all ages and skill levels learn how to improvise and arrange music of their own. The 100 left hand patterns introduced in this book can help piano students, piano teachers, and music professionals take their piano playing to the next level by learning how to play the same song 100 different ways. Use these 100 left hand patterns in this book to arrange the 100 songs from the FUN Fake Book or use the left hand patterns to arrange any music you’d like to play. You can even use the 100 left hand patterns introduced in this book to compose music of your own. It’s all about creating, arranging, improvising, and composing music you want to play.

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Hal Leonard Jazz Piano Method

The Hal Leonard Jazz Piano Method is a comprehensive and easy-to-use guide designed for anyone interested in playing jazz piano from the complete novice just learning the basics to the more advanced player who wishes to enhance their keyboard vocabulary. There are lots of fun progressions and licks for you to play and absorb. The accompanying audio includes demonstrations of all the examples in the book. Topics include essential theory, chords and voicings, improvisation ideas, structure and forms, scales and modes, rhythm basics, interpreting a lead sheet, playing solos, and much more!

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Symphony Themes, Opera Gems and Classical Favorites

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Adult Piano Adventures Classics Book 1 celebrates great masterworks of Western music, including symphony themes, opera gems, and classical favorites. The melodies of Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, and other master composers are arranged at just the right level for adult beginners and for those who are returning to the keyboard. Section 1 features piano arrangements with minimal hand position changes, and many selections include an optional duet part. Section 2 introduces the I, IV, and V7 chords in the key of C major, harmonizing themes such as Sibelius’s Finlandia, Schubert’s The Trout, and Mendelssohn’s Spring Song. Section 3 presents the primary chords in the key of G major, with arrangements of Vivaldi’s Autumn (from The Four Seasons), Mozart’s theme from The Magic Flute, Lizst’s Liebestraum, and more.

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Alfred’s Teach Yourself to Play Piano

Learn to play the piano and open up a brand new world of musical knowledge with this exciting method from Alfred. Beginners of all ages can start their journey to a lifetime of musical enjoyment. Beginning with the fundamentals, you will learn about how to sit at the piano, fingerings, the keyboard’s layout, and getting acquainted with standard musical notation. You will then move right along to playing different notes, scales, chords and songs, lesson by lesson, key by key, all while continuing to increase your ever-growing knowledge of reading and understanding standard musical notation. You will learn to play in an array of musical styles, including Pop, Blues, Classical, Folk, Hymns, Spirituals, and Ragtime.

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Which Piano Book is Best For You?

As you looked over the books on this list, maybe you noticed several options that were appealing to you. Maybe you felt overwhelmed by all the options and wonder which book you should choose first.

The most important thing when learning piano is to stay consistent. Don’t give up! You don’t need to worry about picking the perfect piano book. Just choose the one that seems the most interesting and relevant to you in the stage of learning you’re in now.

Is there a piano book that has made a big difference in your learning journey? Be sure to share it in the comments below!

About the Author

CJ grew up admiring books. His family owned a small bookstore throughout his early childhood, and he would spend weekends flipping through book after book, always sure to read the ones that looked the most interesting. Not much has changed since then, except now some of those interesting books he picks off the shelf were designed by his company!