Top Piano Methods

There are so many different piano methods that as a new student or piano teacher starting out, it can be hard to know which to choose.  We shed some light by providing a summary of each of our top ten selling piano method series.

1. Basic Piano Adventures


Husband and wife team Randall and Nancy Faber have combined forces to develop piano methods and supplemental materials popular for all ages. Basic Piano Adventures progresses gradually and logically through middle C and multi-key approaches. One of the hallmarks of Piano Adventures is that students begin learning a limited set of notes in the middle C position, but play these notes with varied fingerings. This prevents students from associating a particular note with a particular finger. In addition to the Lesson book, each level includes Theory, Performance, Technique & Artistry, Popular Repertoire and Christmas books. The Piano Adventures series also includes My First Piano Adventures, Accelerated Piano Adventures and Adult Piano Adventures. To learn more, watch our interview with Randall Faber.

2. Alfred’s Basic Piano Library


This popular step-by-step piano method develops note reading through interval recognition and emphasizes correct playing habits. Each level of Alfred’s Basic Piano Library includes a Theory and Recital book, which directly correspond to the exercises in the Lesson book. The Recital book is a treat for students. Because they have already mastered the concepts from the Lesson books, the pieces in the Recital books are easily mastered. Each book includes recognizable tunes as well as original compositions.

3. Bastien Piano Basics


This method series consists of a Piano, Theory, Performance, Technic, and A Line a Day Sight Reading books, all of which use a multi-key approach. Reading begins in the C five-finger position. As the levels progress, basic concepts are continually reinforced.

4. Alfred’s Premier Piano Course


At its core, the Premier Piano Course features Lesson, Theory, and Performance books at several levels. The Lesson books feature note reading, rhythm exercises and sight-reading. The Theory and Performance books reinforce the concepts learned in the Lesson books. The books come with CDs, recorded at both a slower, practice tempo and the suggested performance tempo.   The Premier Piano Course also features several correlated materials, including books of different genres such as Pop and Movie Hits, Christmas and Jazz, and Rags and Blues.

5. Hal Leonard Student Piano Library


The Hal Leonard Student Piano Library series motivates students and teachers through its use of singable melodies and lyrics, variety of styles, teacher accompaniments, improvisations and supportive supplementary materials, including seasonal music and solo and ensemble books. Each level introduces concepts and terms related to range, intervals, rhythms and symbols, improvisations and musical terms.

6. Alfred’s Basic Adult Piano Course


Alfred’s Basic Adult Piano Course is a beginning piano method geared towards adults. It uses the chord approach and teaches chords for both hands so players can master more than single note melodies. The music in the book includes traditional songs, arrangements of classical masterpieces, showtunes, movie themes, spirituals and many more!

7. Neil A. Kjos Piano Library


This series encompasses a great variety of piano lessons and music, from theory and scales to classical and jazz repertoire. Its Fundamental of Piano Theory, Scale Skills, Piano Etudes, Piano Repertoire: Baroque & Classical and Piano Repertoire: Romantic & 20th Century books encompass eleven graduated levels, beginning with the preparatory level. The etudes and piano repertoire books have companion recordings for each level. In the series, there are also books for Christmas and jazz tunes and duets for one piano/four hands.

8. Music for Little Mozarts


Music for Little Mozarts was designed to teach children ages four to six years old musicianship and beginning piano technique. Plush toys like Mozart Mouse and Beethoven Bear engage the students in activities which aim at developing listening, pitch matching, singing, rhythm, movement, keyboard technique and music appreciation. The Music for Little Mozarts Classroom Course was designed to provide classroom music instruction for children in the same age group.

9. A Dozen a Day


Each book in this series contains warm-up exercises, which focus on developing technique. They are meant to be played at the beginning of each practice session   Students of any age will benefit from A Dozen a Day.

10. Suzuki Piano School


Although Suzuki was a violinist, his technical concepts can be transferred to all instruments in the method. Each book in the Suzuki Piano Library has a companion CD so students can learn phrasing, dynamics, rhythm and tone quality first by ear and then transfer those concepts to the instrument.

Piano teachers, if you have a preferred method we would love to know what it is and why!



4 Responses to “Top Piano Methods”

  1. 1 Eliza August 17, 2014 at 7:17 am

    I particularly like the Alfred’s Premier Piano course theory and lesson book, and next the Faber – my students just seems to find the Alfred’s smoother going – from one concept to the other. I use the John Thompson – Teaching Little Fingers to play for adults, as I do not like the chord approach in most adult books, mainly because a lot of adults have very tight hands and arms, and chord playing makes this worse. I supplement all teaching with theory, chord and scale playing, which I teach, at a different pace depending on the students ability and age. I have no idea about the Suzuki method and how it works.

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