Best Piano Books to Challenge & Motivate Your Students

Reading Time: 2 minutes

A handy list to cover the essentials, narrow the options

white piano w book

by Lara Levitan

The breadth of piano books to use with your students can be overwhelming, especially if you’re a new teacher.

To help narrow the big world of options out there, check out this list of books recommended by our teachers, with notes included. If you have more to recommend we’d love to hear from you!

  • The Music Tree — the activities book is a great intervallic approach to note-reading, rather than teaching by rote; the repertoire book, not so much.
  • Dozen a Day or Fingerpower — excellent warm-up books for beginners.
  • Hanon and Czerny etudes — warm-ups for more intermediate students, great for finger technique.
  • FJH First Scale Book or FJH Classic Scale Book
  • Alfred’s Notespeller and Alfred’s Basic Piano Prep Course: Lesson Book A — good for students age 5-7.
  • Faber Piano Adventures, and the PreTime/PlayTime/ShowTime — popular series gives piano students a great mix of good technique and fun repertoire.
  • Music for Millions series — good introduction to classical repertoire. Volume 17 is recommended for students ready for more challenging repertoire.
  • Bastien Piano Literature is another great series to introduce classical.
  • Basics of Keyboard Theory series by Julie McIntosh Johnson — recommended for students starting around age 8 since there is more reading than visual examples. Great books to ensure student has a firm and well-rounded grasp on music principles.
  • Schirmer’s Library of Musical Classics — this series of repertoire books are available for early intermediate to advanced students and are available for different instruments. A more graded repertoire approach.
  • Neil A. Kjos Piano Library/ piano repertoire books by Keith Snell — several variations go from primer level- level 10. A good alternative to cheesy method books that help students advance their skills rapidly. A more graded repertoire approach.
  • Celebration Series (from The Royal Conservatory) — features piano etude and classical repertoire books that challenge and interest the student. Usually features online audio or CD options so the student can listen to the song they are learning.
  • Are you a beginning piano teacher? Check out Teaching the First Piano Lesson for great lesson plan ideas.