It’s never a bad time to pick up a new skill. Learning an instrument isn’t just something that’s for kids, and if you’re considering taking your first foray into playing music in your adult years, piano is an excellent choice. There’s just less going on – fewer overwhelming variables to worry about – than playing, say, a trombone or drumset. For someone testing out their musical skills for the very first time, it’s nice to be able to simply push down some keys to make sound happen.
And nowadays, you don’t have to own a real piano – an instrument that costs a fortune and dominates whatever room you put it in, both physically and sonically. It’s easy to find an inexpensive keyboard that sounds great, including MIDI keyboards and controllers that you can hook up to your computer and use software to get an even wider variety of sounds.
Things to Consider
You might want to start thinking about which genre you want to play in, but this likely won’t come into play until you’ve progressed to at least the intermediate levels. Most beginner books have a wide variety of genres, ensuring that everyone gets to play songs that they love. Still, the direction of your future piano career is something you’ll want to keep in mind so that you can discover the songs and genres that truly get you inspired.
You’ll also want to consider your price range. Most beginner book options are less than $30, and you can also find plenty of quality budget books closer to $10. You can sometimes save some money by buying a used book – as long as you verify that it’s in good enough condition for it to be an effective learning tool.
Book quality is also a key factor. Page size has a huge bearing on how readable the lessons and sheet music are to a beginner. In general, the bigger the sheet music, the better. Also, pay attention to whether or not the book is spiral bound. This helps the pages stay open so you don’t lose your place – something that’s never fun when you’ve already got note names and key signatures to worry about.
Some musicians prefer reading music from a physical copy, and that might be your preference as well. Using a book gets you conditioned to using it for performing, anticipating the page turns and familiarizing yourself with the layout of the staves.
Having a physical book also gives you something to return to whenever you practice, accompanying you through your musical journey. However, if using an e-book on your tablet works just as well for you, by all means, go for the medium that suits you best.
Starting at the Right Level
With music, as with any other skill in life, it’s important to start easy and work your way harder. Although it may be tempting, you don’t want to try starting with something too difficult. You’ll only frustrate yourself and gain absolutely no piano skills.
The key to picking up any instrument is building up your skills gradually – something these adult beginner books are specifically crafted for. These lesson guides start you off with the basics, transitioning from concept to concept, using them as building blocks to lead into more complex topics.
Reading sheet music is hard and intimidating at first. You’re trying to look at both staves at the same time, and there are all those tiny details: from the cryptic articulations, dynamics markings, and musical terminology that’s often written in Italian – and then there’s the notes themselves. A good piano book will break down the sight-reading process, allowing you to build up the different working pieces of the skill gradually.
Many piano books now come with additional media, whether it’s in disc form or available online. This gives you something to play along with that’s interactive and often fun. The engaging nature of the multimedia helps to provide a valuable boost in your practice routine.
It’s nice to practice on songs that are actually fun to play – and not just “Bah Bah Blacksheep.” You’ll learn better when you’re playing something that you enjoy.
These are some piano books that adult beginners will love.
This is a book by Nancy and Randall Faber. It’s another Faber Piano Adventure – part of the Faber pianic universe – and a Hal Leonard book, which is an assurance of high quality.
This book includes online media, is spiral-bound or paperback, and is also available for Kindle. It’s a totally comprehensive guide, providing everything you need to know to get started, turning your musical journey into a piano adventure. You’ll learn how to solo, play chords, and much more through guided lessons, which are broken down by subject to allow you to digest the information one piece at a time.
This book is great for learning proper technique, preventing you from doing damage to your body over time, and significantly enhancing your playing ability. It also covers musical form, which helps you understand what makes a song a song.
In this book, you’ll learn how music is notated, and you’ll be able to read sheet music by the end of it. It has received great user reviews by plenty of happy new adult pianists. It’s the first in a series, so you’ll be able to continue once you’ve worked your way through this first entry.
You get a range of songs in this book, including the classics: recognizable tunes that make it easier to get through the first days of sight-reading. From simple yet catchy songs from childhood like “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” and “Yankee Doodle,” some of the greats from classical music such as “Ode to Joy” and “Russian Sailor Dance,” and more modern hits like “Lean on Me.” There’s something for everyone to play
Piano Book for Adult Beginners: Teach Yourself How to Play Famous Piano Songs, Read Music, Theory & Technique
Here’s a book that includes streaming video lessons, giving you something visual to work with You can get it for free on the Kindle with Kindle Unlimited, and it’s also available in paperback.
This is the book that received the official recommendation from Rolling Stone Magazine, which hailed it as the best beginner piano book currently out there. It’s all that you need in one book and video course
The book was written by Damon Ferrante, a piano professor, providing his expert guidance every step of the way. This makes it easy to follow and a whole lot of fun to play along with. There are 20 videos total, designed with interactivity in mind. It’s a lesson book that has been tried and tested by thousands of teachers and students alike already
A big advantage to this book is the fact that you don’t have to go into it with the ability to read sheet music.
It’s new, it’s easy, and it’s fun – that’s what the description says anyway. And according to the users, it speaks the truth.
This lesson guide also comes with online audio to practice along with. It was written by Willard A. Palmer and Morton Manus, being another installment in “Alfred’s” series of piano books for adults. This one is a continuation of Alfred’s Basic Adult Piano Course. While retaining the same style and lessons, the information in this book is adapted to make it as easy as possible for adult learners to teach themselves.
Every music page is accompanied by a study guide, so you get a true deep dive into every lesson, ensuring that every student is following and absorbing every new concept.
For one more basic course that adults can easily get into, here’s another one by Alfred. It’s designed for a piano instructor to use, but just about anyone could learn how to play using this guide. It’s quite expanded from its original version, so you get to dive even deeper into the world of piano.