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Method Book Comparison for Adult Piano Learners

So you’ve decided to pick up the piano? With most book series being geared toward children, it can be tricky to find something that will teach you the basics without being geared towards young students. Fortunately, there are a number of series that are designed for adult learners which will have you playing the piano in no time.

Faber Adult Piano Adventures

This series progresses at a leisurely pace. It thoroughly discusses musical and technical concepts whilst incorporating relevant pieces. This book doesn’t just cover the basics. Techniques required for playing classical music, such as different articulations and finger independence, are explained and put into practice. The pieces featured the book are primarily classical and traditional, with a few popular songs from the 20thcentury. 

These books come in the all-in-one format, meaning that they include lesson, technique, and theory materials. This may be ideal for players who will be self-directed in their learning and are starting with minimal musical knowledge.

Best suited to: 

  • Players who want an in-depth understanding of a wide range of techniques. 
  • Players who want to play a variety of musical styles

Alfred's Basic Adult Piano Course

This series progresses at a relatively fast pace. It goes into less details with technical concepts, meaning that it may suit someone who already has some experience with reading music. There is a strong focus on playing pieces that have a melody line accompanied by chords. This allows players to learn nice, full-sounding pieces relatively quickly. This may particularly be useful to someone who aims to mostly play modern pop songs. The pieces in this series are a similar style to the Piano Adventures series, but it does contain more popular songs (e.g. Singing in the Rain, At Last).

This series comes with the option of purchasing the lesson book alone, or the all-in-one lesson, theory & technic book. A player who has some understanding of reading music may not need the theory materials. The technic sections provide exercises for developing finger strength and dexterity, which may be useful to all players. These books are available with and without audio materials. 

Best suited to: 

  • Players who want to learn simple pieces quickly.
  • Players who want to learn the basics required to play modern music and don’t mind not addressing more complex concepts.

Hal Leonard Adult Piano Method

This series is perhaps less well-known than the other two series, but it is definitely worth checking out. Online materials are incorporated throughout, which can be accessed via the Hal Leonard website. A wide variety of styles, such as classical, folk, pop, rock, and jazz, are addressed, and creativity is encouraged through basic improvisation. Many of the pieces in the book are original compositions by the authors, with technique tips scattered throughout when introducing new concepts and styles. Some students may be put off by not learning pieces they already know, but this allows the music to be appropriately incorporated into the book’s teachings. 

Best suited to:

  • Players who want to learn a wide range of styles.
  • Players who want less technical explanations and more pieces to play.

The bottom line

Although there are many adult piano methods out there, make sure to check out these three series when choosing a method book. To help with your decision, consider the type of music you would like to play and what your prior music experience is. 

Congratulations on deciding to learn the piano and we hope you enjoy your new musical journey!