Here are piano books for students that we recommend. They are intended for students who are working with a teacher. Remember, no single book can ever contain all you need! So no matter which book you use, it is wise to supplement content with other materials, regularly. We hope you will make good progress learning to play the piano and enjoy your journey as you become a musician!
Before we get to the good stuff, please browse these suggestions from Amazon:
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Here are links to some of the best piano books for beginners.
If you have suggestions for books that we have not included, please send us a note and let us know!
We often use this book with young beginners and think it is very suitable. It has a landscape layout and the many piano pieces are surrounded with illustrative full-colour art work which makes it attractive for young children.
The content is presented in three sections: right hand, left hand and two hands.
The authors are Dame Fanny Waterman and Marion Harewood who are well-known as co-founders of the Leeds International Piano Competition which helps launch the professional concert career of any entrant who is fortunate to win it!
Here is a link to the book, if you wish to know more about it: Me and My Piano Part 1
Book Two follows on with progressive pieces for two hands. The colourful illustrations keep the content child-friendly. Here is a link to the book: Me and My Piano Part 2
For older children and adults, we suggest Piano Lessons Book One by Fanny Waterman and Marion Harewood. The layout is presented in portrait orientation and the inner pages are monotone (black).
Most students will cope with the learning leaps in this book. For those who reach plateaus or blocks, some other well-chosen materials will augment the content and help support a smoother learning path. Here is a link to the book: Piano Lessons Book One
Students who complete Piano Lessons Book One may wish to continue with the next book in the series. Book Two is concerned with playing semiquavers and contains many lively pieces by well-known composers such as J S Bach, Gurlitt, Gounod, Tchaikovsky and a beautiful piece by Mozart which was composed when he was just eight years young!
Here is a link to the book: Piano Lessons Book Two
The third book of this piano method series is aimed at the intermediate student. Technical material is imaginatively presented. The piano student is guided towards the successful performance of a comprehensive selection of pieces and studies. Piano Lessons Book Three introduces more advanced pieces and a wider range of repertoire from CPE Bach and WF Bach, Farnaby and Couperin, to Kabelevsky and Britten. The student is made aware of a stream of music for keyboard from early composers to more recent, modern composers.
Here is a link to the book: Piano Lessons Book Three
If you need to purchase these books, here are some links to Amazon for your convenience.
These links may change from time to time.
If you are preparing for piano exams you should try to build up your sight reading skills. So that you may have the correct expectation of the standard required, consider one of these books for practice. However it would be wise to play some notes every day from a piece that you have not seen before. So try to gather as much material as you can for sight reading.
If you know you are really very weak at sight reading, then spend your first efforts calling the notes aloud, away from the piano. This way you build skill at reading, without the worry of having to play at the same time. After you build up your skill and you know you are better, then try reading and playing at the same time, more and more each day. Aim to keep a steady pulse and let the music flow without any hesitance or indecision. Portray an attitude full of confidence! Make the performance feel finished at the ending.
When you are finished with such music books, there are always other students around who would be delighted if you passed on the music to them. Never throw music books away, but always pass them around so others may use them. If you do not know someone, then your music teacher probably will know someone now or in the near future who would benefit from your unwanted music books.
Here are links to the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music Specimen Sight Reading Tests for Piano:
We asked our director and experienced piano teacher, Daniel Walsh, for a suggestion on how to make progress in sight reading skill. He said development of good sight reading skill has to do with a) engaging in a daily routine of reading new notes and b) having access to lots of notes that you have not seen before. He spoke further and suggested we pass on this valuable tip to help you improve your sight reading!
"If you wish to make serious improvement in your sight reading at the piano, then you may appreciate the value of having loads of notes to read each day! Get one big book with thousands of notes inside!
I recommend the Bach Chorales for this and I use it with many of my piano students. The Chorales are in four parts or voices. Beginners could attempt even four bars per day, perhaps playing only one voice at first and later with hands separately. Those with more experience might play all voices, perhaps at a slow speed. More advanced readers could play a whole chorale, or two, each day. After a few months of just 10 minutes per day you will notice a huge improvement. You will be able to recognise all the notes on the stave in treble and bass clefs very well. You will be able to anticipate hand positions and suitable fingerings. Once you can keep a chorale moving with a steady pulse, you will be better equipped to try other materials with more varied rhythms and textures.
Remember to start working from the level you are at and then make steady progress by doing a little each day, every day. This is how you will be a very accomplished sight reader and perhaps you will be a good accompanist in a few years!
A long journey consists of lots of little steps. Just keep going!"
Let us know if you try this tip. Here's where you may find the Bach Chorales:
371 Harmonized Chorales
If you would like a short term of intensive lessons to help you develop your sight reading skill specifically,
make contact with us and request a meeting to discuss this.
If you wish to organise piano lessons for your children, your teenagers or yourself...
Here are links to our pages about piano classes for children, private piano lessons and tuition in theory of music and musicianship.
All the music subjects we offer are listed here.
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If you are thinking of buying a piano, you may wonder if digital pianos are any good. Until recently we would have said they are not much more than toys. Digital instruments have improved enormously in the last few years. We have reconsidered our opinion and are prepared to say that a top of the range digital piano is perhaps a great deal better than a low- to mid-range acoustic piano. It is always important to make a distinction between cheap toys for amusement and real instruments that respond to the performer with wonderful technical feedback and quality of tone.
While not everyone can have the best of the best, the new range of digital grand pianos branded as "Minster" have impressed us. The Minster Grand1000 is the top of the range model and is priced at UK£1,639.99 and that translates as less than €2,105.00 inclusive of delivery. The second-from-the- top model is the Minster Grand500 priced at UK£1,229.99 and that translates as less than €1,600 inclusive of delivery. Sometimes when sterling is weak, you can make a substantial saving when importing it. The keys are fully weighted and feel much the same as keys on an acoustic piano. The keyboard on the top model is noticeably better allowing for greater tonal gradation and expressive control during performance. If you can afford the price difference, we think the better keyboard is the best option! The piano sound is each of these models is very decent and settings may be altered to adjust the tone as you prefer, more or less bright, with more or less reverb to create the feeling of large room or small room resonance.
There are many (559) different sounds available from the built-in synthesizer. There is a decent library of songs to play back and practice with. The volume is easily controlled and you can practice with headphones if you do not wish to annoy people nearby with your diligent and repetitive practice! It is delivered as a flat pack - the instrument arriving before the legs. The legs have to be attached after delivery. Most people will be able to fit these themselves.
Pros: Maintenance is minimal - you will avoid the need of regular tuning. Being able to use headphones means being able to practice without disturbing others too much. The speakers are built in and are powerful enough for most large-sized rooms so as not to require separate amplification. We had fun with this piano when one of our students bought it. It looks very well too!
Cons: You will not have the benefit of sympathetic vibrations - the harmonics that enrich sounds on an acoustic piano. Such harmonics add a great deal to the sound of an acoustic piano when the sustaining/damper pedal is used. However, while you will have three functioning pedals which are good enough for practicing, an advanced performer preparing for senior exams and public performances would do better with a good acoustic piano. Some slow pieces may not be as effective on a digital piano as on a good acoustic piano where real strings and a wooden soundboard help to prolong the duration of sustained sounds. A top of the range acoustic piano might appreciate in value and be considered an astute financial investment while a digital instrument will depreciate due to obsolescence.
Summary: A fine instrument for beginners, improvers and performers of any level. It is responsive to performing nuance and it is good fun to play. It is very possible to be expressive on this instrument. A beginner who starts on this instrument could advance well for perhaps up to five years. Advanced students who are serious about playing piano repertoire and working towards being a skilled performer would do better with a good acoustic piano. But even advanced performers would enjoy having this too! Playing it is fun! Appearance is pleasant with a glossy finish. Having it in your home will give the visitors something to talk about!
Tip: Buy before the Brexit referendum when the markets are uncertain and the UK£ is under a little stress!
Have a look at these yourself:
1. Minster Grand500 Digital Grand Piano with Deluxe Piano Stool
2. Minster Grand1000 Digital Grand Piano with Deluxe Piano Stool (top of the range model)
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