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Books for beginners

Piano Staff Diagram Workbook - all ages!

KidsKids Piano Staff Diagram

This book is a simple blank workbook with staff and piano keyboard diagram. It is useful for beginners of any age (not only kids!), and I use it when we work on the songs of your choice to create a visual chart o a song. We just break down your songs into simple elements using these charts. It helps in learning chords, notation, and placement of notes on the keyboard.

Age 2-4

Ages 4-6

Ages 7-9

I will make a separate page on how to prepare young kids for music lessons (you will be surprised how much parents can do at home, even if they are not musicians, just by playing games, listening to youtubes and reading music bedtime stories!). Actually books (and especially writing) is the lest important part for this age, but here are some I like:

Staff Stories - Cecil & Gordon in: The Musical Meadow (ages 2-8)

Staff Stories - Cecil & Gordon in: The Friendship Triad (ages 2-8)

The paper version of these books is on Amazon as well.

Pre-reading students. At the age of 4 kids can start learning piano more systematically. Their hands are still very small, so they are going to play only with one finger for some time (but both hands at once!), and you will be surprised how many tunes you can play just with one finger and how many fun duets with the teacher they can do. Their attention span is short at this age, so we switch activities often. They also don't read music at this age, so we are playing by rote -- meaning they copy a teacher and memorize. Only books with rote pieces specifically designed for this age are used, and they are all pattern pieces, so it is easy to remember the pattern without knowing any notation.

My favorite method book that I use for this age group is

Piano Safari Friends  (also available on Amazon, but people complain it comes without sticker book on Amazon -- so I would order it on the publisher's website for now)

It is a newer method, first published in 2016 by a team of creative pianists and teachers who combined a famous Suzuki method (which is based on playing by rote and emphasizing technique and sound quality) with traditional piano methods based on sight reading. "Sound before sight" - so young children develop musicianship before they even learn sight reading. These books also include wider variety of music compared to other method books, such as jazzy and bluesy songs.

This books comes with piano decorating kit that helps little kids to navigate piano keyboard.

After starting playing by rote, I gradually introduce kids to notation using a story-based method:

Wilbeck Easy Notes (ages 4-9)

This method is a tale with characters to memorize each note in 4 octaves (both treble and bass cleft). It is amazing how fun and creative it is done. I also have their magnetic board with magnets for each character, so little kids are learning through stories and games.

You will need Easy Notes Theory Book Level 1 and later Easy Notes Theory Book Level 2


If you have extra budget, you can get a kit that includes magnetic board and magnet characters from the story. Here is a page with all their products. There are two teacher kits here: with large magnetic board and medium magnetic board. The staff is the same size in both, but large one has bigger margins and is more spacious in between staff, so it looks more spacious and less cluttered visually, but you can get any of them.

On the next step, we start to combine playing skills obtained through rote learning with notation reading skills learned from Wilbeck Easy Notes.

So Piano Safari Friends and Wilbeck Easy Notes are my main books for this age group.

Some supplemental books:

Supersonics Piano Primer - this one is different from any other methods, since it uses pentatonic solfege (do re mi so la) with many rhythmic and singing exercises.

These are some colorful books that you can use at home for extra activities (if you feel like you need extra after everything above he-he-he):

Explore Music: A Beginning Fun Activity Book for Kids (age 4-7, huge font!)

Meridee Winters Super Start! My First Piano Game Book

For this age group I am using

Piano Safari Level 1 (see my thought on this method in previous section above)

At this age students may have their own requests about their repertoire and I am always happy to give them songs of their choice to play.

Depending on student's progress and goals, we can also start working more on technique using

Penelope Roskell Essential Piano Technique Primer A

Penelope Roskell Essential Piano Technique Primer B

Penelope Roskell Essential Piano Technique Level 1

These books are new, published in May 2023. The author of these books is a London based world-class piano technique guru, pianist and teacher of students of all ages. I first saw her in Tonebase Piano video lessons and liked how she breaks down complex techniques into simple elements. She is an author of an award-winning  Complete Pianist book, and she created Essential Piano Techniques specifically for kids. It also includes QR codes to the videos showing each technique, so students can review at home.

Ages 10+ teens

I use various book for this age group, depending on their goals.

Often beginners 10+ want to play their favorite pop/rock songs, or any other genres. Then I am using books focused more on reading chord progressions:

WunderKeys Pop Staff Piano Library For Older Beginners, Book One - this is the most easy and straightforward pop method + music sheets of songs of student's choice

Meridee Winters Chord Crash Course: A Teach Yourself Piano Book for Older Beginners and Adults - this one is a little bit more comprehensive, because it shows more various patterns you can use with chord approach, and it also involves some more sight reading in a bass clef (but not hard, because it is all pattern based)

For those who prefers book with more "classical" approach (but it still teaches chords too!):

Piano Safari for Older Beginner

Mix of classical and pop, but still brief and easy:

Hal Leonard Piano for Teens Method



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