Best Piano Books for Beginners Review – Top Rated Books in 2020 with Buying Guide
In this article, you’ll find out what the best piano books for beginners are. If you don’t have a lot of time on your hands to do the necessary research, then keep on reading. Our team has carefully examined some of the top-rated alternatives in this category and concluded that Alfred’s Basic Piano Library Theory is the book you should consider. With its enjoyable games and easy to follow lessons, you’ll quickly learn the basic concepts. Moreover, you can study anytime, as you don’t need to be in front of the keyboard for some of the basics covered in this book. In case Alfred’s Basic Piano Library Theory is unavailable, you should consider the Adult All-In-One Course, as it offers similar benefits.
Our Top Choice
If you need a piano lesson book that easily and effectively explains the basic concepts, then this is the choice for you. The pages are designed in such a way as to make everything clear and easy to follow, while the structure allows the students to learn while being away from the keyboard, as well. Plus, the high-quality materials make this a durable item.
Given that the book is conceived for beginners, some lessons can seem rather basic and repetitive. If you think you need a level that is a little bit more advanced, you might need to look at other books as well.
All in all, this alternative is excellent for kids and beginners who are just starting to grasp the basic concepts and need to do this in an easy and effective way.
The spiral bound construction makes this a book that can be easily placed on the piano music sheet. Besides the design though, the lessons include some musical theory as well, which means that the student gets an all-around understanding of this art in general. Moreover, the book teaches various musical styles.
Although it’s a book specially made for beginners, some of the lessons might be a little too advanced if the student is at the very beginning of his or her learning journey. In this case, a more basic book might be better.
Providing a thorough understanding of music and having well-structured lessons, this book is definitely one you should go on your list of purchases.
Designed for adults, what makes this book stand out is the fact that it teaches chords for both hands. What this means is that the student will be able to play a wider range of songs, rather than only single note melodies. The series teaches keys, sets of chords and techniques for a quick and smooth learning process.
In certain cases, students might also need the assistance of a teacher to be able to make the most out of using this book, so that’s an additional cost to consider if you want to learn as fast as possible.
Given the well-constructed lessons and the knowledge level it contains, this is one of those piano books that ensure an effective learning process.
9 Best Piano Books for Beginners (Reviews) in 2020
Finding the best beginners’ piano books is not always an easy task, as there are many options available on the market. In order to help you find the most suitable one, we selected the top-rated alternatives based on a large number of reviews.
- 1. Alfred’s Basic Piano Library Theory
- 2. Adult All-In-One Course: Lesson, Theory, Technique Level 1
- 3. Alfred’s Basic Adult Piano Course: Lesson Book Level 1
- 4. Piano Adventures: Lesson Book – Primer Level
- 5. Big Book Of Beginner’s Piano Classics
- 6. The Joy Of First Year Piano
- 7. John Thompson’s Easiest Piano Course Box Set
- 8. Bastien Piano for Adults Book 1
- 9. Absolute Beginners Piano
- Yearly Guide & Report
- Frequently Asked Questions
1. Alfred’s Basic Piano Library Theory
Alfred’s Basic Piano Library Theory is a great option if what you are looking for is a good piano book for beginners. Given that it contains enjoyable games and quizzes, the learning process is smooth and any beginner will quickly grasp the basic concepts while having fun.
This is an excellent addition to any new piano player, as the lessons are easy to follow, to read and to teach. The pages’ design is balanced, meaning that the space is well used in order to make everything easy to follow. Moreover, the book is well made and you will be able to use it for a longer period of time.
Given the clever way Alfred’s book is thought out, students are able to increase their musical understanding while being away from the keyboard, which means that any moment can be a good time to study some more about this fascinating field.
One of the main things beginners and children especially need when learning an instrument is to have fun while doing so, and because this book comes with games and quizzes, learning is a pleasant activity.
Furthermore, the lessons will always be easy to follow, and no matter your level of knowledge, you can read them without difficulties.
You won’t find the pages filled up with too much information, but rather well-used as to make the book easier to follow.
Thanks to the quality process the book goes through when made, it will last you longer and you can pass it on to future generations.
The book is a good mentor even if you don’t have a keyboard around, as you can still learn things from it without practicing on the instrument itself.
The Kindle edition has a font that is too small to read and, of course, you can’t fill in the quizzes on a Kindle.Buy from Amazon.com for ($6.99)
2. Adult All-In-One Course: Lesson, Theory, Technique Level 1
If you find yourself going through beginner piano books reviews without being sure which one is a better option, take a look at this All-In-One Course that has everything you need to get you started on this beautiful journey.
The spiral bound construction makes the book lay flat on the piano music sheet, which is very important in order to better follow the lines and have a productive learning experience, without wasting time to look for alternative solutions for a good positioning.
Moreover, the book also contains a bit of music theory and knowledge among its pages, which means you can understand more about music in general, besides learning the notes. This book includes a wide range of musical styles, from classic and popular, to blues and others.
All of these features create an engaging and enjoyable learning process for anyone who wants to know more about playing the piano.
This book has the advantage that it offers you a bit of everything a beginner needs to know to start playing the piano.
The construction of the book has been well-thought as to make it easier for you to place it on the music sheet space. As a result, you will be able to better follow the learning experience it offers.
The book doesn’t only come with instructions on how to play the piano, but it also has music theory lessons amongst its pages, which will help you understand music as a whole.
Some books are restricted to a certain style of music, but with this book, you will learn to play songs from a wide range of styles, from classical to blues.
If you’re looking to learn to play the piano in a classical style, there are other books out there that do a better job at that.Buy from Amazon.com for ($9.94)
3. Alfred’s Basic Adult Piano Course: Lesson Book Level 1
Finding an excellent alternative for a cheap beginners’ piano books that is also effective is not always an easy task. If that’s the case, then it’s a good thing you are reading this article, as Alfred’s Basic Adult Course might be exactly what you are looking for.
This is a beginners course for adults who prefer a different approach, as it teaches chords for both hands. This means you will be able to play more than single note melodies. Therefore, if you are just getting started but want to be able to cover a wide range of songs and styles, you can definitely give this book a try.
The series teaches you the keys, technique or sets of chords with a baby-steps approach. This way, you will easily grasp everything you need to know, without feeling overwhelmed by the information provided. If you also practice every day, you’ll be able to quickly make progress.
Most piano books are made without taking into account the needs of adults that maybe don’t have the time to learn piano as much as younger people do, but this book keeps care of that.
The book will teach you different approaches on how to play the piano, and you will be able to learn how to play chords on both hands.
You will benefit from this book if you want to cover a wide range of songs and styles, thanks to the different aspects it teaches you in a simple yet effective manner.
This is part of a series of books, so if you feel that you have learned anything you could from this book, you can always go on to the next one in the series.
The terms used in the book can be confusing for someone that has never used musical terminology before.Buy from Amazon.com for ($7.16)
4. Piano Adventures: Lesson Book – Primer Level
The Primer Level – Lesson Book definitely comes in handy if you want to go through a clear and smooth learning process, but you are just getting used to the piano. The introduction of notes on the staff is gradual, which gives the student a chance to absorb 1-3 notes at a time, before introducing new ones.
The learning process is well thought out and firstly covers the basics about the keyboard, note values, and the grand staff. Only afterwards it develops the concepts, and the students get to play in C 5-finger scale patterns. They also develop recognition of steps and skips, as well as learn letter names independent of finger number.
Moreover, the musicianship is built through the use of dynamics and coloristic experimentation. At the same time, the material is organized into units which present the major concepts and skills. As new ones are introduced, earlier concepts are also constantly reviewed.
Unlike other books that get you right in the thick of complex techniques, this one takes you gradually from learning the basics of music, learning the staff, and then going on to the next level.
You will be able to learn new things from this book every day, even if you have a busy schedule and you can only have a look at its pages half an hour a day.
After you learn the initial music notes, the book will teach you how to position your hands and how to form simple 5-finger scale patterns.
The book will teach you how to play the instrument with an open mind, without stressing you about the importance of the positioning of each finger.
Old information is constantly reviewed as you progress through the book.
When you first open the book you will be welcomed by large paragraphs of text that might seem too much.Buy from Amazon.com for ($7.85)
5. Big Book Of Beginner’s Piano Classics
The Big Book of Beginner’s Piano Classics is an excellent alternative if you are looking for a learning solution suitable for all ages. Any member of the family will surely cherish this great compilation of beloved piano classics, as they are easy to learn and allow you to practice the basic concepts.
Each piece was carefully selected and simplified in order to help any student develop his or her skills. Moreover, the special arrangements also offer satisfaction especially if you are a beginner, as you will be able to play music that would normally be beyond the initial skill level.
Each tune also comes with an MP3 download option, which renders the learning process even smoother. If you combine this with daily practice, you will quickly get results and be able to impress your family and friends with beautiful tunes.
Some of the master composers are featured here, including Bach, Mozart, Chopin, and Tchaikovsky.
There are piano books that are good for children, while others are suitable for adults. This one, however, is a great choice no matter the age you are at.
The book is easy to follow and teach, and the concepts it deals with are easy to understand, as they have been simplified.
The music pieces found in the book have been carefully selected to allow you to learn everything fast and develop your skill without struggling to understand the music.
Furthermore, the arrangements will be satisfying for the student to play, as they are known songs.
An interesting feature for a book is the fact that each of the tunes in the book comes with its MP3 variant that can be downloaded and listened to, so the student knows how it should sound.
There are some pieces of music that, because of simplification, have suffered from their initial form, and as a result, they sound worse.Buy from Amazon.com for ($11.56)
6. The Joy Of First Year Piano
If you’ve decided to purchase a great piano for kids and are looking for an excellent book to kick-start the learning process, then you’ve come to the right place. The Joy of First Year Piano was designed to be used as a method book, as it allows the teacher to vary the approach according to what the student needs.
If you want your kid to quickly grasp the basic concepts while enjoying the learning process, then you can definitely give this option a try. The featured pieces can also be used as a source of inspiration and practice, and they can be used with other first-year methods as well.
Although it’s a good idea to have a teacher assist your kid while studying, with this book he or she will be able to learn independently without too much trouble since it covers the basics in easy and clear lessons.
This book is not the regular one, as it doesn’t offer a standard approach to things that you need to learn, instead, it relies on the guidance of a teacher to help you learn.
Because it focuses on the method and not the actual technicalities of playing, the book allows you and your teacher to approach it depending on what you need.
Children will be able to quickly grasp the concept of music and piano, while still having fun.
There are a large number of pieces featured in the book and they can be used as they are to practice over them, but they can also be incorporated into different teaching methods.
Clear and easy lessons will allow your child to learn things fast, especially basic aspects.
Following this book on your own can be difficult, and as a result, if you don’t have a teacher that can guide you through it, it’s not recommended.Buy from Amazon.com for ($12.77)
7. John Thompson’s Easiest Piano Course Box Set
In case you already went through many alternatives for sale looking for a complete option that can cover the theory and also provide audio examples, then we might’ve found exactly what you need. John Thompson’s Easiest Piano Course has been preferred by over 12 million students since 1955.
Given its longevity, it’s safe to say that this course is effective and time-tested. The books feature colorful and funny characters and illustrations, while the online audio accompaniments make learning and practicing even more fun.
The audio pieces can be accessed by using the unique code provided with each book, and they can be either streamed or downloaded. The audio files also include PLAYBACK+, a multi-functional audio player that allows the user to slow the audio down without changing the pitch, set loop points, or change keys.
Combine this book with a great digital piano and you’ll surely get your kid passionate about this beautiful musical journey.
This book for piano enthusiasts doesn’t only cover the theory, but it also offers you audio examples, for a complete experience.
It is a book that has been used by numerous generations and it has been available in different formats since 1955, and as a result, it has stood the test of time.
It comes complete with funny illustrations and colorful pages, so the younger piano enthusiasts don’t get bored with it.
Alongside the main book, you get an online list of audio accompaniments that you can use to learn and to make practice easier.
On these audio tracks, you can use different functions including something called Playback+ which lets you slow the track down, change the key it is played in, or loop some parts of the music.
The CDs the book comes with aren’t labeled and following them is difficult.
Furthermore, the piano part on the CDs is hard to hear.Buy from Amazon.com for ($22.51)
8. Bastien Piano for Adults Book 1
The Bastiens have created a new and rich piano course that covers the basic concepts and that is specifically designed for adults who are just getting started on this musical journey. This compilation includes lessons, theory, technique, and sight-reading, all combined for the most effective learning process.
The series is gradually paced which means that you will be able to grasp every piece of information while feeling confident about your progress. This is very important for any student in order to keep his or her interest as well as continue to enjoy the learning process.
The course offers a wide variety of musical styles, custom selected for adults, that includes famous classic themes, folk songs, ragtime, blues, boogie, and jazz, as well as some Bastien originals that teach the basics in a clear and innovative manner.
If you’ve decided that you want to play the piano, you can give this course a try.
Covering the basic aspects of piano playing and explaining everything in an easy-to-follow way, this book is great for adults with little time on their hands.
You get to learn many different aspects of piano playing, from theory to the actual technique, sight-reading, and complete lessons.
The book doesn’t throw you in a mess of complicated information, but it takes you gradually from the simple information to the more complex aspects.
Custom-selected for adult players, there are many songs in the book, and they cover a wide range of styles, from classical music to folk, blues, or jazz and others.
The way of teaching in this book is an innovative one and the writers have put in the effort so that you don’t get bored when following it.
The book contains worksheet pages that test your knowledge. At first, they are interesting to do, but they become tiresome after a while.Buy from Amazon.com for ($15.15)
9. Absolute Beginners Piano
Founded in 1947, Hal Leonard LLC is one of the largest print music publishers, covering titles of interest for any musician or music lover. The company offers a wide range of publications, from songbooks and instructional titles to artist’s biographies and books about the music industry.
With this being said, the Absolute Beginners Piano course is a clear step-by-step guide. The pictures included explain the basic concepts, but they are also used to further develop your knowledge and skills.
In a short amount of time, you’ll be able to sense your progress from first-day exercises, tunings and setting up, to playing riffs, chords, and songs with a backing track.
Given that the book is fully illustrated with diagrams and photos, the learning process is simple, with easy to follow instructions and explanatory text. Moreover, each book comes with a CD that demonstrates scales and contains solo examples.
If you are a beginner and you are looking for an easy-to-understand piano book, this one offers you a step-by-step guide.
This book helps you to develop your skills and enrich your knowledge thanks to the pictures that explain basic concepts.
Using this book, you will be able to quickly learn the basic skills, feeling the progress from the first day of practice.
The learning process is very facile as the book contains plenty of photos and diagrams and the text contains a lot of instructions.
To make your learning experience more complete, the book comes with a CD that contains solo examples and scales demonstrations.
This book explains in detail the musical concepts and it may seem too basic for a student that has surpassed the initial phase of learning.
For intermediate or advanced players, it is recommended to check other books.Buy from Amazon.com for ($17.99)
Yearly Guide & Report
Once you’ve decided to pursue a passion such as learning to play the piano, it’s not always easy to find that one course that suits your every need. Of course, the same goes for any other musical instrument.
It doesn’t matter if you are looking into banjos for beginners, mandolins for beginners, or have recently formed a band and you want to find the most effective beginner bass guitar course. In any of these cases, there are some things you should keep in mind before choosing the right alternative.
Of course, this quest might not even be for yourself, but for a friend or for your kid. If that’s the case, then you should be aware of what motivates the person who will become the student. If you ask your son or daughter, you might find out that you also have to purchase a cool kids’ guitar to accompany the piano.
Who is the student?
There are many piano courses available on the market, each one specifically designed for a certain audience. For this reason, you should first think about the person that is going to use it, and go for an option that is tailored for that age group.
Children and adults alike might discover a new passion and wish to learn to play the piano. Moreover, you might even look for an option that can help a teacher as he or she guides the students through this beautiful journey.
Whichever the case, you should make sure that the book or course you choose is the right one in terms of age group and skill level, for the person who is going to use it. This way, they will get the best results in an effective way.
What motivates the student?
Many times, knowing why a person wants to learn to play the piano means you can make an easier decision when it comes to choosing a certain learning method. Maybe the student only wants to cover the basics and be able to entertain the family during holidays.
On the other hand, things look a bit different if the person who will study wants to take this passion further and make a career out of it, or at least play for wider audiences. Knowing this can help you determine what to focus on, how in-depth the study should go, and which book provides all the necessary information for personal study.
What to learn?
Once you’ve established all of the above, you should think about the skill level at this point and what the student should or would like to learn.
In case we are talking about an absolute beginner, then you should go for a course that covers all the basics in a clear and easy-to-understand manner. This way, you can make sure that the progress is the desired one, while the motivation remains there as the student doesn’t feel overwhelmed by the level of information.
This is important, as studying at the right pace helps keep a healthy balance and quickly make visible progress. If, however, the student already has some prior knowledge on playing the piano, then you should be aware of this and make sure you go for an alternative that covers the missing element of their study.
For example, maybe they already know a little bit about the technique, but they would like to learn more about music theory. Or maybe they need to learn how to sight read or how to play a specific song or genre. No matter what it is, you should try to figure out what their needs are (or yours if you’re the student).
Best way to learn
You might think that pictures and diagrams are just for kids, but that is not the case. If you are more of a visual learner, you might find that using a book that has visual representations of the concepts is much easier to go through and ensure a real and effective progress.
Finding a course that also includes audio materials such as CDs or files that are available online is also a good idea. You might also want to check out some useful monitor speakers that render a proper sound to help you get a clear perspective of where you want to get.
Browse more before you order
Since learning to play the piano or other musical instrument is a challenge at first, you’ll most probably want to keep things as simple as possible and not complicate the entire process even more. Still, before getting your hands on a book and then on a piano, you need to make sure that you get the best possible book for you.
This also means browsing the various options out there. In case you intend to buy one online, look for a book that lets you preview some of its content before purchasing it. You can thus see if it really matches your learning style.
Also, you can check out some reviews to see how a certain book helped other buyers. It’s true that there is no universal recipe when it comes to how to learn and learning styles differ from one student to another, it still might be of help to see if and how a book helped other piano students.
Online stores typically display such items based on skill levels and you can easily use the filters available to narrow down the extensive lists to beginner books. If you want to go to a local store, you will most probably be able to browse the book a bit before making your decision, which will likely increase your chances of not being disappointed with the one you decide on.
Budget and knowledge covered
Depending on how serious you are about learning the piano, you will have to further filter the beginner’s books available for sale. This category of products usually includes books that were written with kids or adult beginners in mind; therefore, their content will vary based on the student category they are addressed to.
You will see that the price of such a book also reflects the amount of information delivered. The market offers piano books for beginners that are quite comprehensive and are committed to covering many of a student’s needs.
If you want to approach and study this instrument seriously and not just as a spare-time fun, then you might want to keep an eye on books that offer detailed information regarding the instrument itself, how to read piano notes, learn various techniques, and so on.
Such a book might be more expensive, yet it is highly likely to be written by someone with rich experience in this field. If you’re committed to mastering the piano later, the first stages must be doable and nicely structured in order to keep you motivated and help you learn with greater ease.
Thus, what many musicians and players would call a comprehensive piano book for beginners should include information regarding piano fingering, piano scales, music theory, and learning exercises. This should cover all the major aspects of piano learning.
In case you’re looking for a book for your kid, checking the book with your little one before you purchase it is also recommended. You can thus see what excites your kid and makes the young piano player interested and engaged.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Is a book helpful when learning the piano?
The short answer would be: yes, it is. Think of any other musical instrument and the music theory you need to cover, the techniques required to learn how to play it properly, and other such aspects. The piano makes no exception.
A comprehensive and well-written and structured piano book will usually include information regarding the most important aspects and steps involved by this learning process. Moreover, such books often teach piano fingering and contain practice exercises that will complete the theoretical aspects covered.
A good piano book will take you through all the steps of this learning activity gradually. You might be watching tutorials online and find yourself not knowing what the online teacher is talking about in case you haven’t covered some of the piano learning basics. Here is where a book does a great job as it is structured to make sure you have little to no knowledge gaps.
Q: How difficult is it to learn the piano?
The answer to this question depends on various factors; therefore, it is not as straightforward as many of us would like. Learning to play the piano can be as hard as learning many other musical instruments. The way you approach it will make the learning process harder or easier, though.
One thing that is likely to turn this educational activity into a challenging one is learning or trying to learn this instrument without help from a teacher. There are indeed many things that you can learn by yourself at home, yet there are moments when the help of a teacher might prove to be crucial.
If you have no musical background, then learning music theory is what you need to start with and that will lengthen the entire process. Not practicing enough can make things harder as well. By practicing, you get to cement your knowledge and master various aspects, so you can then move on to the next step.
Q: What piano is suited for a beginner?
The piano you should get to start exploring the sonic capacities of this instrument depends on your goals. Acoustic pianos are often considered to be the best choice when it comes to developing your skills.
However, if you don’t have too much room or a generous budget at disposal and you want to learn to play the piano just as a spare-time activity, then you could also consider a digital piano. Such units are smaller and less expensive. You can also get an electronic keyboard if you don’t intend to have any stage performance anytime soon.
Such models might not feature enough keys to allow you to play a generous range of music, though. Not to mention that they don’t have the same touch to help you develop the hand strength needed for playing the piano. An acoustic upright or grand piano is the safest choice for students interested in approaching and studying this instrument professionally.
Q: Who is considered the best pianist in the world?
Since this instrument has been used in a variety of musical genres ranging from classical music to jazz, blues, pop, rock, and new age music, it is difficult to point only one pianist as the best in this field of music. Pianists could be divided according to the genres mentioned above, according to the era in which they lived, their technique, and so on.
When it comes to remarkable classical pianists, Mozart is regarded as the first “concert pianist” and one of the most important of all times. The list could go on with composers who did not reduce their activity only to creating new music but also focused on playing the piano such as Clementi and Beethoven.
The romantic era came with Chopin, Liszt, Brahms, and Rachmaninoff. The list of noteworthy and highly-appreciated pianists would go on with Arthur Rubenstein, Béla Bartók, Sergei Prokofiev, and George Gershwin, just to name a few.
Q: What piano pieces are considered the most difficult?
As a pianist, you will encounter lots of challenges and if you get to advance significantly and take your performance and playing to highly demanding stages, rest assured that there are a few piano pieces you can use to challenge yourself. One of them is “La Campanella” by Liszt, a piece that is often considered to be one of the most difficult ever written.
What makes it so challenging is its technical demands. The piece calls for incredible jumps for the right hand and an almost impossible speedy tempo. The list could go on with Chopin’s “Étude” (op. 10, no. 4), another piece that requires an uncomfortably fast pace as well as continuous fluidity in both hands.
Stravinsky’s “Three Movements from Petrushka”, the piano concerts of Prokofiev, Ludwig Van Beethoven’s “Hammerklavier”, and Sergei Vasilievich Rachmaninoff’s “Piano Concerto No. 3” are also worth mentioning, given the fact that they highly challenge both the mind and the hands.