When learning to play piano you first of all need quality beginner piano sheet music. Here are reviews and recommendations of some of the best piano methods and repertoire for adult beginners.
What sheet music you need depend on several things; your age, what kind of music you prefer, your skill level and personal taste. Lucky for us pianists there are a lot of sheet music available! But what should you start with?
The sheet music I recommend below is for teenagers and adult beginner piano students. There is a huge market of beginner piano sheet music and to find the right for you can be a bit of trial and error.
If you work on your own entirely – you’ll definitely need a good beginner piano method, as well as various styles of sheet music for beginners that work well for learning on your own.
There are new method books and collections available all the time – so what do you choose?
Over the years I have taught hundreds of students, and tried and experimented with everything I thought to be a good selection of beginner piano sheet music.
I always try out as many new methods and anthologies as I can, mainly because I need to keep informed as a piano pedagogue; but I would get too bored otherwise as well ; )
These are my recommendations of newer sheet music that is well made and progressively organized, that I see good results with and also seem to be very liked by my students who used them.
The first choice of beginner piano sheet music should be your piano method book. A piano method book teaches you fundamentals of piano technique, note reading, music theory and has gradually advancing piano pieces to practice on.
The pieces can be great, or not, but the purpose is mainly to teach you skills, step by step, so you don’t want to skip ahead too often. Here is a selection of piano method books and beginner piano sheet music I find very successful with my older beginner piano students.
Clear simple instructions with accompaniment CD. It is a method that is easy to follow on your own, and covers the material in a logical progress. You will learn to read notes quite easy and fast.
The music is for older students as well, and not “childish”. The CD has, as all Hal Leonard Piano method books, great sounding accompaniment music- like a “real” orchestra- to play a long with.
Make sure to use the CD a lot when practicing, a real feel good way of learning (and more fun than a metronome to learn to keep the beat)!
This method also has clear and simple instructions for self study. You start by learning to read finger numbers and identifying note patterns. My edition doesn’t have a CD, but it is available as well. (I don’t know how the quality is.)
I find some of the pieces a bit too childish, but otherwise you get to play a lot of different styles. Book two, however contains a lot of great “adult” pieces that you can keep on your repertoire.
After book one from any of these books, you can either continue with the second book, or switch to:
This method book is perfect to continue with after learning to read notes in one of the above mentioned methods.
It is up to you, but the pieces in Alfred’s are so much fun to play! This well made piano course quickly teaches you a great variety of repertoire, pedaling techniques, how to play chords, finger exercises and more.
But basically we like it for the well arranged pieces – it simply sounds very good! The CD is also great to play along with, as well as to inspire you.
In addition to beginner piano sheet music methods, you need finger technique and exercises.
The piano method books might contain some “goodies” that you might want to keep on your repertoire, but the main purpose of the pieces are to teach you fundamental skills and technique for piano playing and how to read notes etc.
So, for more fun and more personalization; repertoire from collections or anthologies of beginner piano sheet music is needed:
My students, and I, love the In Recital series by the FJH Music Company.
For older students, especially the series In Recital with Popular Music has well known tunes that are a lot of fun to play. The books also come with a CD with piano accompaniment which will help your performance sound much better, especially in the beginning.
The regular In Recital series is great for older students starting from an early intermediate level about book three and up.
This series contains fantastic original and arranged beginner piano sheet music that is to be proudly performed! A lot of pieces that may look and sound hard, but are really easy to learn!
If you would like to learn classical pieces in a progressive order I also warmly recommend: Succeeding with the Masters, the Festival Collection by Helen Marlais.
All epoch's are represented on each level for a wide variety of “Classical” repertoire in their original form (no arrangements).
The pieces in this collection sounds great, are well edited and with a beautiful and clear layout. Each book represents the level you are on, starting with book 1, which should be accessible after about a year of piano playing (well, it depends on you…!) .
You can "jump around" in the book and pick whatever you like since the pieces are all more or less on the same level, but organized in epochs; Baroque, Classical, Romantic and 20th/21st Centuries.
Each epoch begins with easier pieces and ends with a bit harder. You can listen to the CD to get an idea of how to play the piece.
And last but not least I also recommend the Celebration series repertoire pieces. They are great and very well organized in level of difficulty.
As with the Festival Collection they are organized in epochs, and are the required repertoire for the Royal College of Music exams.
Even if you choose not to take the exams, this is a treasure of a piano repertoire collection. A bit pricey compared with many other anthologies, but well worth it.
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