Is your child about to have their first-ever piano lesson?

There are two important things that need to be in place in order to ensure successful learning:

  1. A great piano teacher
  2. A great piano book

If you’ve got the correct book and the correct teacher, there is not much else stopping your child from quickly making huge leaps of progress on the piano.

In order to make it easier for you to decide what book to get, I have made a list of what is in my opinion the best piano books for young beginners.

I wouldn’t have recommended these books if I didn’t have any solid experience with them myself. These are all books I have personally used for my own students for several years. They are engaging and provides a reliable progression through the material required to become a good pianist and musician. These books also stand out as favourites by many other piano teachers, and they are all highly recommended.

The student ages I have suggested are just approximates. Every child is different, and if you are uncertain about which piano book would be best for your own child, consider consulting with your teacher before buying any of them.

1. Tunes for Ten Fingers

Author: Pauline Hall

Student age: 5 – 9 years old

In my opinion, this is one of the best piano books for young beginners who are just starting out.

This book makes it easy for children to understand the basics, and it progresses slowly so that they have time to digest the material. If the student is a quick learner, they might work through this book quite quickly. A good second book to move on to from this one is either More Tunes for Ten Fingers, or Piano Time 1.

Tunes for Ten Fingers has nice illustrations, and most of the songs are really fun to play. The best thing about this book is that it provides absolute beginners with the necessary foundations before moving on. A perfect start for very young children.

If the student is 7 years or older, you can consider starting with Piano Time 1 which progresses a lot quicker. Your teacher will be able to help you judge whether this is the best decision or not. A good teacher will in most cases be able to judge the situation after the first trial lesson.

2. More Tunes for Ten Fingers

Author: Pauline Hall

Student age: 6 – 9 years old

If the student has already been through Tunes for Ten Fingers, this is a great second book to move on to. It carries on from where the first book left off.

If the student has already finished Tunes for Ten Fingers and is not quite ready for Piano Time 1 yet, this is the perfect book to use as a stepping stone in between, giving them more fun pieces to keep them motivated.

The songs are nice, and like the previous book, it offers lots of opportunities for the teacher to play along with the student.

3. Piano Time 1

Author: Pauline Hall

Student age: 6 – 12 years old

This is my absolute favourite piano book for young beginners. It contains a lot of fun tunes, it has nice illustrations and gives the student a good understanding of basic music theory.

It starts at the very basics and progresses through several stages, giving the student material for several months. For some children, it progresses a little bit too fast towards the middle of the book, and they might need something else in between. More Tunes for Ten Fingers is a great book that fills that gap and gives them the right skills to embark on the second half of Piano Time 1.

Piano Time 1 is a great book to move on to after having been through Tunes for Ten Fingers.

If the child is 7 years or older, you may in some cases be able to use this as their first ever piano book. Since the student is a bit older, they will most likely progress quicker and won’t need the slow progression that Tunes For Ten Fingers offers.

After finishing Piano Time 1, a good book to move on to is Piano Time 2. A good alternative is to start using Up-Grade!.

4. Alfred’s Basic Adult Piano Course series

Author: Willard A. Palmer

Student age: Adults or children 7+

Although this is primarily meant for adults, it is also one of the better piano books for young beginners. Some of the songs in this book require slightly bigger hands, which is why some young children might find them a bit difficult to play. Because of the stretches the hand has to make, it is clear that the author made this with adults in mind. 

The good thing about this book is that it is based on chords and chord theory which is a very important concept in music. 

Children who use this book will get the benefit of understanding chord theory on a deeper level than children who have been using books that take a more classical approach. 

However, this book isn’t the only option to learn about chords. You can also use the ChordTime series alongside your main book as a way of learning about chords.

5. John Thompson’s Easiest Piano course

Author: John Thompson

Student age: 5 – 6 years old

One of the better piano books for young beginners. It’s not my personal favourite, but a lot of children find the illustrations and tunes really exciting. It contains some nice tunes like Old Mac Donald Had a Farm, Mary Had a Little Lamb and Yankee Doodle.

The font and music staves are quite large, making it easy for children to read the notes.

6. UpGrade! (Grade 0-1)

Author: Pamela Wedgwood

Student age: 7 – 12

Unlike most other books suggested in this article, this is not an educational book that teaches music theory as well as providing short pieces to play. Instead, it’s purely a book that contains nice pieces.

I had to include this book in this article because unlike many other books, all the pieces in it are really fun to play and they sound great.

This works as a great accompanying book once the student is halfway through Piano Time 1, or as a second piano book.

7. The ChordTime Piano series

Author: Nancy Faber and Randall Faber

Student age: 7 – 12

This is another series of books that only contain pieces.

The books from this series are great as accompanying books to your main educational book. There is enough variety of styles and genre to choose from so that the student can pick something they like. Like Alfred’s Basic Adult Piano Course series, these books are based on chords which are essential to have an understanding of for any musician.

Sindre Kaupang

Do you know anyone who needs to see this? Please share!