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Five-Star Books

I’ve taught piano for over 10 years, and I’ve experimented with a lot of method books. Because I wish I could have found a good, solid list of books for various learners when I started teaching, here’s my time-tested recommendations for teachers currently searching.

Fingerpower Primer Level

(Primer – Level 6)

Schaum Piano Course: The Purple Book

Schaum Piano Course
(PreA – Level H)

Pre-Reading Made Fun

Piano Made Fun
(Younger Beginners)

67 Fun Songs

Jon Schmidt’s Sight-Reading Method

Note Reading Ideas

The best way to learn to read notes is just to read, all you can and as often as you can. Flashcards are also helpful. I do note flashcards almost every lesson with beginners, and it always pays off by helping them to able to find their own notes, see the relationships between notes, and have confidence in themselves rather than relying on fingering cues or on the teacher. That said, I’ve also accumulated some fun worksheets from around the internet here:

Rhythm Worksheets

Count but don’t count every time; you need to both hear and understand rhythm. I use rhythm clap cards and encourage the students to say the counts out loud. Making my own 8th-note clap cards has helped students overcome this rhythmic stumbling block as well. I assign occasional counting aloud on difficult songs, and I believe impeccable timing makes a versatile accompanist. Here are some rhythm worksheets:

Rhythm Worksheet 1

Chord Playing

1. Start with “ear songs,” or training your ears to find melodies on the piano that are very familiar to you.

2. Learn basic chords in root position so you can play along with a lead sheet or online chord sheets of your favorite songs.

3. Experiment with rhythmic variety in chording, and learn inversions to streamline your playing and make use of both hands.

4. Combine the melody with the chords to create your own cover of a song you love!

Basic Chords in C

Similar chord positions

Chord progressions