Which Piano Books Should I Buy My Kids?

Although finding a suitable lesson book for your child to use as they learn the piano is usually the teacher’s responsibility, I’m often approached by parents about about this topic. And it’s understandable. There are a lot of options to sort through and you don’t want to spend a lot of money on books your child won’t use. To save you time and trouble, I’ve identified a few books that have worked well for my students.  I’ve broken them down by age group, to make it easier to asses which books would be of most value to your child.

Ages 3-6
I recommend Faber’s First Piano Adventure: for the Young Beginner, Book A. The book contains cartoon characters that the kids LOVE and helps make learning fun. For mature 6 year olds with an advanced reading level, you can occasionally start them in Faber’s My First Piano Adventure: for the Young Beginning, Book B , although there will likely be a few learning gaps the teacher will need to fill in.  If that is not challenging enough for your child, I’d recommend starting them one age group higher with Faber’s Piano Adventures Primer Level.

(Ages 3-6: Supplemental Books)
I highly recommend getting the accompanying My First Piano Adventure: Writing Book A or the Piano Adventures Theory Primer Level, corresponding to their lesson book. Though most series have about 4 related books, I find most beginning students can only handle about 2 books at a time. As they grow into the routine of piano, after 6 months for instance, then I will add in other performance-style books.

Ages 7-12
For beginning students, I like to start them in the Alfred’s Complete Level 1 Book. I also occasionally use Faber’s Piano Adventures Primer Level  for the younger kids in this age group.

However, I find the book moves too slowly for this age group. But the next level up can move too quickly for them. To remedy this problem, I usually move them to that next level up, Faber’s Piano Adventures Series Level 1 after they complete their first set of books (roughly 9 months).

(Ages 7-12: Supplemental Books)
There are SO many options. In this age group, it is important that your child is introduced to music theory, scales, and additional performance repertoire.

For music theory, I incorporate Alfred’s Theory Book Level 1 Book within the first month of lessons, and then include Alfred’s Complete Notespeller after 2-3 months.

For Scales, I integrate the book Know Your Scales and Arpeggios as soon as possible. There are a multitude of scale books on the market, but I find this one has the best combination of drills for students to grow into (they’ll need a teacher to help them with it).

For performance, be patient or your child will get overwhelmed.  I usually allow another 4-5 months before adding in the performance books,for a few reasons:

  1. If you want them to play songs they like, it takes time to discover what they gravitate towards.
  2. They do their best when they’ve gotten into the flow of their regular lessons and mastered the basics.

Faber makes a series called PlayTime Books that I like for kids this age: Jazz/Blues Starter , A Pop Music Starter, A Classical Starter, and the accompanying Recital or Performance Books (by the same publisher who make your child’s lesson book).

Ages 13-18
Kids ages 13-18 need the same tenderness given to the young kids, but with gradually increasing responsibilities. To be honest, it is hard to get them excited about lesson books because they often just want to play the songs by their favorite artists. I generally teach their lessons using mixed methods for this reason. However, I still think a lesson book is a necessity (I prefer Alfred’s Adult All in One Course along with  Know Your Scales and Arpeggios)