There are dozens and dozens of books for beginner pianists. There are the well-known and recognized the great classics, and the hidden gems. Here we will discuss the best recommended piano-learning books to use on their own or as a supplement to your lessons, as well as how to use them.

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Where Can You Find the Best Books for Beginner Pianists?

An important note: In our situation, “book” is used interchangeably with “manual” or any other word that means “a publication which helps you learn about playing music.” This is important to note because, in addition to books filled with sheet music, there are also books that discuss history, theory, methods of learning, and more. We will touch on a variety of them in this list.

There are numerous places where you can purchase or borrow books to help you learn piano:

  • An e-retailer like Amazon, Flipkart!
  • An online bookstore like BetterWorldBooks.com
  • A bookstore local to you
  • A music store local to you
  • A local library
  • A fellow musician or piano student
  • Directly from independent musicians in-person or online

The last option is interesting because you might find great resources from your favorite musician that are unknown to the rest of the world! And, it’s always beneficial to support small, local people and businesses.

Building a network of fellow pianists can also be quite helpful for when it comes time to maintain your instrument.

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How to Properly Choose Your Piano Method Book

Choosing the material that will help you reliably progress in your training is the most important thing to consider.

To decide which book(s) are right for you, first, you need to know what you need to learn. Do you need more help with music theory? Or do you want to learn more pieces of music?

You can enlist the help of the internet. Ask forums, read reviews, and research the author of the book to see if it suits your particular needs. You can also ask any other musician friends, or even ask for recommendations and opinions from people at the book or music store.

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Why Should You Use Books in Your Piano Education?

Buying your first piano book is like a small rite of passage that welcomes the student into the immense and wonderful family of pianists.

But, more importantly, having a tangible item to hold can help build more motivation to keep practicing. It adds a new element to your piano-learning journey. Your own music tome!

Having a book also allows you to be able to learn about certain elements of piano-playing, even if you aren’t actually with a piano. And, since playing the piano is a hands-on activity, having a hands-on learning instrument can be helpful to help you learn more efficiently.

You can search for private piano classes here on Superprof, you can understand not just the art of music but also how to improve your basics of the piano.

Books can even be shared among several students. Educational manuals help you develop your memory, your cognitive processes, your vocabulary, and your oral communication.

For teachers at a music school or conservatory, books and manuals remain the best method for teaching students to continue their studies on their own!

Generally, a piano instruction manual contains many sections and even an educational CD to help you learn how to play the piano through a proven process.

The aspiring pianist should be able to learn songs such as these:

  • Symphony No. 5 — Ludwig Van Beethoven
  • Piano Sonata No. 14 (Moonlight) — Ludwig Van Beethoven
  • Bagatelle No. 25 (Für Elise) — Ludwig Van Beethoven
  • The Four Seasons — Antonio Vivaldi
  • The Funeral March — Frédéric Chopin
  • Air (On a G String) — Johann Sebastian Bach
  • The Enchanted Flute — Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
  • Boléro — Maurice Ravel
  • Swan Lake — Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
  • Flight of the Valkyries — Richard Wagner

What's more, educational manuals for the piano enable the transmission of this musical knowledge across multiple generations. Some pianists inherit music books from their predecessors and have their turn learning sonatas, improvisation, or music theory without a piano teacher.

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You can teach yourself a great deal about playing piano with the help of workbooks

Best Beginner Piano Workbooks

Can piano be self taught? Absolutely! Using workbooks to learn applied techniques can really help you progress quite far. These are the best books for beginners to learn general music theory, and techniques, and practice some skills.

With enough knowledge and practice of the various concepts in music, you may even be able to write or improvise your own piano music!

  • How to Play Piano: Everything You Need to Know to Play the Piano, by Roger Evans. This book, short and concise, focuses on technical details, which are explained very clearly. The language is simple, and the straightforward exercises are also very targeted. A very good manual for getting started on your own.
  • Piano Adventures Lesson Book, Primer Level, by Nancy and Randall Faber. This husband-and-wife team with their own piano institute has produced a four-level series (Primer, Technique, Lesson, Theory) that is laid out simply and incredibly logically. Each section builds on the last, so you really feel like you're progressing. There are little challenges and practice games, as well as songs to learn in which to incorporate what you've just learned.
  • Learn to Play Piano in Six Weeks or Less, by Dan Delaney. This book is recommended more for those with a basic understanding of music theory and how to read sheet music, because it definitely dives into the lessons without explaining those fundamentals in much detail. But those lessons are very good and very useful.
  • John Thompson's Modern Course for the Piano - First Grade, by John Thompson. This book is meant to teach young students. It explains a bit of music theory at the same time as laying out effective lessons in learning to play.
  • KP1B - Bastien Piano for Adults, 1 Book Only: A Beginning Course: Lessons, Theory, Technic, Sight Reading, by Jane Smisor Bastien, Lisa Bastien, and Lori Bastien. This book matches songs with lessons in music theory, so you can clearly see and play the theories in action.
  • Scales Bootcamp: The fastest, clearest way to get to know your scales, and then master them., by Philip A. Johnston. Although repetitive and not very exciting, scales are an essential skill to master. This book helps you become fluent in scales with playful rhythms and other more exciting exercises.
  • The Musician's Guide to Theory and Analysis, by Jane Piper Clendinning and Elizabeth West Marvin. This book delves into both the fundamentals and more advanced techniques.
  • How to Read Music in 30 Days: Music Theory for Beginners, by Matthew Ellul. This book breaks down the difficult concepts behind sightreading music into easy, digestible sections. It also has quizzes so you can test your knowledge.
  • Hal Leonard Pocket Music Theory: A Comprehensive and Convenient Source for All Musicians, by Carl Schroeder and Keith Wyatt. A pocket-sized guide to many technical aspects of music for ease of reference.
  • How to Read Music: Fundamentals of Music Notation Made Easy, by Roger Evans. Learn to read time signatures, keys, and more about musical notes.
  • Alfred's Essentials of Music Theory: A Complete Self-Study Course for All Musicians, By Andrew Surmani, Karen Farnum Surmani, and Morton Manus. A concise guide to a wide variety of topics suitable for any musician.
  • Adult Piano Adventures All-in-One Piano Course Book 1, by Nancy and Randall Faber
  • Harmony And Theory: A Comprehensive Source For All Musicians, by Carl Wyatt, Keith; Schroeder. This book helps beginners grasp the fundamentals with easy-to-understand content separated into sections.
  • Music Theory Remixed: A Blended Approach for the Practicing Musician, by Kevin Holm-Hudson. This book teaches analysis of genres like rock, pop, and jazz, rather than just classical.
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Music books are often used as a supplement when taking lessons with a tutor
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Beginner Manuals for Playing Classical Pieces

If you enjoy piano, there’s a good chance that you appreciate classical piano music. These books contain a lot of pieces of classical music that you can practice and learn.

  • 42 Famous Classics for Easy Piano, by Allan Small
  • A First Book of Classical Music: 29 Themes by Beethoven, Mozart, Chopin and Other Great Composers in Easy Piano Arrangements, by Bergerac
  • Big Book of Beginner's Piano Classics: 83 Favorite Pieces in Easy Piano Arrangements, by Bergerac and David Dutkanicz
  • The Library of Piano Classics
  • Piano Solos for All Occasions: The Complete Resource for Every Pianist!, by Hal Leonard Publishing
  • 10 for 10 Sheet Music Classical Piano Favorites: Piano Solos, by Alfred Music Publishing
  • Music by the Masters: Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Grieg, Handel, Haydn, Schubert, and More, by Russell E. Lanning

Along with these resources, you can pair your independent learning with lessons from instructors.

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Beginner Manuals for Playing Modern Pieces

Is classical music not your thing?

Why not try a new approach to the piano and start out with contemporary songs?

It's not necessary to stay fixed in one musical style: certain pop, rock, rap, or even metal songs adapt to the piano very well, giving you an opportunity to reinterpret a popular song your own way!

Here are some contemporary songs that are perfect for beginner pianists:

  • "Candle in the Wind," by Elton John
  • "Imagine," by John Lennon
  • "Make You Feel My Love," by Adele
  • "Sound of Silence," by Simon and Garfunkel
  • "Hallelujah," by Jeff Buckley
  • "Let It Be," by the Beatles
  • "Fallin'," by Alicia Keys

To get comfortable with their rhythm, it's recommended that you take singing lessons to understand how to play both instruments at the same time. By mastering piano and singing, students can aspire to musical careers, most notably by enrolling in a prestigious music school or by going to auditions.

Here are some manuals to help you learn how to play modern piano pieces:

  • The Giant Pop & Rock Piano Sheet Music Collection, by Alfred Music Publishing
  • Rolling Stone Easy Piano Sheet Music Classics, Vol. 1: 39 Selections from the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, by Dan Coates (Rolling Stone)
  • The Beatles Best: Easy Piano, by the Beatles and Dan Fox
  • The Big Book of Oldies: 73 Classic Hits from the '50s and '60s, by Hal Leonard Publishing
  • Today's Greatest Pop & Rock Hits: The Biggest Hits! The Greatest Artists!, by Dan Coates
  • Top 50 Classic Rock Hits: Easy Piano, by Dan Coates
  • Billboard Sheet Music Hits 2000-2010, by Alfred Music Publishing (Billboard)

For pop culture fanatics, there are also lots of training workbooks (like Complete Harry Potter, by John Williams, the Legend of Zelda Series for Piano by Koji Kondo, or Hamilton for Easy Piano by Lin-Manuel Miranda) to help you learn to play pieces from movies, musicals, or even video games!

More fun and popular, these classic pieces can easily be played among friends or even in public. Some musicians even make the decision to post their musical arrangements on Youtube in hopes of getting discovered by record companies.

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Without music to decorate it, time is just a bunch of boring production deadlines or dates by which bills must be paid.

– Frank Zappa (Source: Real Frank Zappa Book)

Learn Indian Music on Piano

Combining Indian music with piano is an interesting mix. Classical Indian music is not typically well-suited to piano, so it is difficult to transcribe such music to be played. Because of this, finding piano music that adequately conveys the musical spirit of traditional works is a relatively new phenomenon.

More modern Indian music can be easily found for the piano, of course.

Here are some resources to learn both!

  • How to Play Indian Sitar Raags on a Piano by John Pitts
  • Indian Rāgas for Piano Made Easy by John Pitts
  • Bollywood Melodies: Piano Sheet music for Bollywood by Rio Om Shandilya
  • Know Indian Songs by Dr. Suman Sharma
  • The many choices of music books by V.K. Krishna Prasad

Getting Started on the Piano with Educational Manuals for Children

It’s possible to learn to play piano at any age! The books higher on this list tend to be aimed at a slightly older audience, but there are also books aimed at younger children.

These books are written in a more age-appropriate way and may be meant as a tool for an adult teaching a child.

Our recommended piano workbooks for children:

  • Teaching Little Fingers to Play: A Book for the Earliest Beginner, John Thompson
  • John Thompson's Easiest Piano Course, Part 1, by John Thompson
  • My First Piano, Learn to Play, by Ben Parker
  • Alfred's Basic Piano Library Lesson Book, Willard Palmer, Morton Manus, and Vick Lethco
  • Piano for the Young Beginner, James Bastien and Jane Smisor Bastien
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Can You Learn to Play Piano with Books Alone?

Using books like the ones in this article are immensely valuable to your piano education. Practicing them consistently, truly absorbing the lessons, and applying the knowledge will surely allow you to become a well-skilled pianist.

For some, it may be possible to play completely self-taught with books alone. But for many, it can be more beneficial to use varying sources of education.

Perhaps you use video and audio mediums (in addition to the ones that come as part of some of these books).

The most surefire way to learn piano intensely is to take lessons from a teacher, and supplement those lessons with books. Of course, hiring a teacher is not always a viable option for everyone. This is why having these varieties of resources is so valuable! Between books and internet resources, you can teach yourself quite a lot.

You can choose to learn through online piano lessons, online lessons help in making you understand that instruments can learned through online sources at the comfort of your home.

No matter how you approach your piano-playing, have fun with it! The pleasure gained from playing and learning to play should always be the primary goal of your piano lessons.

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Bryanna

As a writer, I believe words can express emotions. When you write the right words, you can connect with people. My hobbies are yoga, writing and listening to music.