Top 5 Piano Books for Adult Beginners

Here are my reviews and recommendations of piano books for adult beginners, focusing on some of the best piano methods for adult learners.

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The Best Piano Books for Adult Beginners

Returning to the Piano?

If you are returning to the piano after years of not playing, this is another, newer gem of a book: Returning to the Piano: A Refresher Book for Adults

It has lovely arrangements of great pieces, and is great to "smooth" your way into playing again. I really recommend it!

Top 5 Adult Piano Methods

Whether you're teaching yourself, or working with a piano teacher, the first choice of piano books for adult beginners should be your piano method book.

A piano method book teaches you the 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 of a method is mainly to teach you skills, step by step. This means you should follow the book page by page, and not skip ahead too often.

Here is a selection of piano books for adult beginners I find very successful with my older beginner piano students.

Piano Books for Adult Beginners

1. Alfred's Adult All-In-One Course

Alfred's All-In-One course for adult beginners  has become one of the most popular piano methods for adult beginners, and It's easy to understand why; great pieces in lovely arrangements, in depth explanations about music theory, technique and pieces learned.

The method is meant to be used with a piano teacher, and that would be my recommendation as well, but is so well written that some adult students work on their own with it.

2. Alfred's Self-Teaching Adult Piano Course

Alfred's Self-Teaching Adult Piano Course: The new, easy and fun way to teach yourself to play, Book & CD 

Compared to the method above, this is a piano method meant for teaching yourself piano.

Though I still recommend you take at least a few lessons with a qualified teacher, and every once in a while to check in with your teacher to avoid learning (especially technique) the wrong way.

But, with this popular method you can actually start learning the piano and to read notes by yourself.

3. Hal Leonard: Adult Piano Lessons

Hal Leonard Student Piano Library Adult Piano Method 

This book has clear, simple instructions with accompaniments available online (included) for streaming or downloading.

It is a method that is meant to use with the guidance of a teacher, but it is also easy to follow on your own.

It covers the material in a logical progress. You will learn to read notes quite easy and fast.

The music works for for teenagers as well, since it's not “childish”. The downloadable music 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 accompaniment music a lot when practicing, it gives you a real "feel good" way of learning (and is more fun than a metronome to learn to keep the beat)!

4. Nancy and Randall Faber: Adult Piano Adventures

Adult Piano Adventures All-in-One Lesson 

This method, probably the most popular, is best to use with the guidance of a teacher, but has clear and simple instructions also for self study.

You will 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.)

Update 2018: It now comes with online support of instructional videos and audio accompaniment tracks.

I find some of the pieces a bit too childish, but other than that you get to play a lot of different styles. Book 2, however, contains a lot of great “adult” pieces that you can keep on your repertoire.

After completing book 1 from either of these piano books for adult beginners, you can continue with the second method book, or switch to:

5. Alfred’s: I Used to Play the Piano

I Used to Play Piano (Book & CD) 

Apart from being an excellent method if -as the name implies-you used to play the piano, and now want to start again without having to start from scratch; this book is also great to continue with after learning to read notes in one of the above mentioned methods.

Why switch?

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 with orchestral accompaniment is also great to play along with, as well as to keep you inspired!

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