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Educational Resources

The Pianodao Music Library brings together all of the piano repertoire which has been reviewed, shared or otherwise featured on Pianodao. As such it is a varied, extensive, inclusive, and ever expanding body of carefully curated music.

The Educational Resources section features reviews of method publications, learning and practice support, and exam materials.

In most cases, the sheet music can be purchased online from Musicroom, who deliver to customers worldwide. For your convenience links are provided, and Pianodao Tea Room community members are entitled to a 20% discount on all their sheet music purchases.

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Edition Peters’ Graded Anthologies 2023-24

Edition Peters new Graded Piano Anthologies for ABRSM Grades 5-8 will be seen by some as alternatives to the official syllabus publications, while others will welcome them as hugely useful supplements that present a wider range of alternative piece selections…

The Christmas Shortlist

Keeping track of all the seasonal music reviewed on Pianodao is becoming more challenging with each passing year. The Christmas Shortlist brings all this music together in one easy-to-use portal, making it easier than ever to find what you are looking for:

ABRSM: Pop Performer!

The inclusion of excellent pop song arrangements within the traditional graded piano syllabus has arrived in style! Find out all about ABSRSM’s Pop Performer books in the full Pianodao review here:

Essential Piano Teaching Resources 2022-23

It can be overwhelming keeping track of all the latest and best resources for piano teaching. As we enter another academic year, I have therefore collated this list of some of the most essential educational resources and piano music publications of the last couple of years or so…

Paul Harris Webinar: A Piece a Week

In this special webinar for Pianodao Tea Room members, Paul Harris explains the ethos behind his acclaimed ‘Piece a Week’ series, and introduces the final volume. Pianodao also has an exclusive free piece for you to download…

ABRSM Piano Syllabus 2023-24

The arrival of a new piano syllabus from ABRSM has become etched in the calendar as a big, biennial moment of significant importance for piano teacher. Sorting through the many changes, here as always is the in-depth Pianodao review of the new syllabus.

Andrew Eales: Fresh Air

I am delighted to announce that my composition Fresh Air has been selected and licensed by ABRSM for inclusion in their 2023-24 Grade 1 Piano Exam Pieces book. Here is my recording of the piece, and some free practise tips for those learning to play it…

The Mosaic Series

Mosaic is a superb series, and I am incredibly proud to be associated with it. This is not just educational music at its most creative, but creative composing at its most educational!

A Common Approach 2022

Fully updated and now available as a free online resource, A Common Approach 2022 is perhaps the ultimate instrumental music teaching manual, offering a complete curriculum and extensive lesson activities for most instruments, including piano and keyboard…

Decoding Music Theory

The Melodic Decoder books, covering ABRSM Music Theory grades 1-4 (2020 syllabus) seem to me a brilliant antidote to the dry-as-dust workbooks sometimes inflicted on children…

Which Adult Piano Method?

In my recent article Teaching Adults to Play the Piano I explained how adults learn differently to children. It follows that we need a range of resources more suited to adult needs. Now, I am pleased to present my updated feature on adult method books, giving reviews of Ten Top Choices for 2022 and beyond…

David Hall: ‘There’s More to Playing the Piano’

to the vexed question of how best to fit sufficient music theory content into students’ learning when lessons time is rather short. through these topics, with minimal practical input from me in lessons. There’s More to Playing the Piano is a great achievement, and I am grateful to Hall for writing and publishing it.

LCM Piano Syllabus 2021-24

LCME have done a fine job with this new piano syllabus, and I suspect it will see their popularity and influence further increase. Here’s the in-depth Pianodao review…

Get Set for Christmas!

October is typically the month when musicians and teachers turn their attention to the imminent arrival of the festive Christmas season. It’s that time where we line up our resources, stock up on seasonal sheet music, and begin practising and teaching music with a holiday flair! To kick things off, here’s some brilliant downloads courtesy of Karen Marshall, David Blackwell and Collins Music…

Tim Richards: Beginning Jazz Piano

Tim Richards has yet again outdone himself with these two amazing books. Anyone who is ready to commit themselves to this level of proper jazz instruction will undoubtedly find that his is absolutely the course to use.

Improve Your Scales!

“Scales, arpeggios and broken chords are important. And if taught and learned imaginatively, they can be fun!” So says Paul Harris, whose completely rewritten “Improve Your Scales” books are the subject of this review…

Piano Sight Reading: A Progressive Method

Having looked at more than a few sight reading resources over recent years, I find this series especially appealing. Put simply, as a teacher I feel that these are no-fuss publications which can be used as straight-forward course materials with pretty much any student. Here’s the Pianodao review:

Jazz Piano for Kids

Richard Michael has delivered the beginner jazz book that as a teacher I’ve been waiting for, seemingly, for decades… Here’s the in-depth Pianodao review.

The Piano Trainer Scales Workbook

A couple of years ago I suggested to author Karen Marshall and publishers Faber Music that it would be really useful to have an all-in-one scales manual within the popular Piano Trainer series. And here it is! Here, too, is the Pianodao review…

RSL Classical Piano

RSL’s first attempt at a classical syllabus is a genuine masterstroke, delivering the modern approach to traditional piano assessment that many teachers have been asking for, while offering a realistic two-way bridge with their contemporary music assessments. Check out the full Pianodao review!

Piano Scale Mnemonics

So Can Anyone Learn Every Scale? Catherine McMillan’s answer is clearly a resounding YES! And with her Piano Scales Mnemonics she has concocted a resource which will serve young learners especially well, not only delivering a comprehensive all-in-one publication of all the scales, arpeggios and broken chords needed by the intermediate student, but doing so in the most colourful and “moreish” way possible. Here’s the Pianodao review:

A Piece a Week: “Initial Grade”

Regular readers will know that I am quite a fan of Paul Harris’s Piece a Week series from Faber Music, having found that using these books within my own teaching practice has helped many of my students significantly improve in their music literacy and ability to learn independently using notation. Harris has just added a new book to the series, A Piece A Week: Initial Grade, which merits a separate review to the rest of the series for a variety of reasons…

Trinity Piano Syllabus 2021-23

Sometimes, like busses, exam syllabi arrive more than one at a time. If it seems as if it were just last month that I wrote my bumper review of the 2021-2 ABRSM piano syllabus, well… that’s because it was. And now here is the new syllabus from Trinity College London (TCL) … TCL tell us that this is their biggest ever piano syllabus, so there will be a lot of ground to cover in this bumper review…

ABRSM: ‘Piano Star’ Duets

ABRSM’s popular Piano Star series, which originally aimed at bridging the gap between the pupil’s first tutor book and ABRSM Grade 1 piano, continues to grow. The seventh and latest book in the series, Piano Star Duets offers 26 newly composed or arranged piano duets for ‘early beginners to Grade 2 level’, compiled and edited by David Blackwell and Karen Marshall. Let’s jump in…

ABRSM Piano Scales 2021

With the publication of their 2021-22 Piano Syllabus (reviewed in full here), ABRSM have given their scales requirements a significant overhaul, also publishing new scales books and resources.

ABRSM Piano Syllabus 2021-22

The launch of ABRSM’s biennial piano syllabus is always a significant event in the piano education world: particularly in the UK and Far East, where the exam board’s offerings remain hugely popular and influence much of what is taught. For their 2021-2 syllabus ABRSM are heralding several major structural changes. The unparalleled Pianodao review will take you through all these changes, provide expert in-depth analysis of the syllabus content, and offer a golden list of personal favourites to whet your appetite…

Paul Harris: A Piece A Week

Paul Harris’s series of A Piece a Week books have been appearing at regular intervals over the last three years. As Faber Music now bring us the Grade 6 book, it seems appropriate to consolidate my thoughts into a single review.

The Advanced Pianist

Taken as a whole, the Piano Trainer series surely ranks as one of the most useful, worthwhile and brilliantly executed contributions to the piano pedagogy library in recent years.

How to Blitz ABRSM Theory

Samantha Coates dishes up a satisfying and enjoyable feast of activities which I believe will ensure effective learning and exam success.

Rockschool Piano 2019

For pianists interested in an exclusively commercial popular syllabus, this one clearly deserves a look and sets the bar high. Meanwhile those who fancy a detour or diversion will likely find much here to educate, inspire and enthuse them.

Piano Star Theory

I can certainly imagine children aged about seven and upwards becoming truly absorbed in Piano Star Theory…

LCM: In Concert 2

London College of Music’s suite of LCM Diplomas have just been revised for 2019, with certification beginning this Spring, and with a crossover during which candidates can continue to use the 2011 syllabus until the end of 2019. Alongside the Diploma syllabus revision, a new anthology of solo piano repertoire has been published, called In Concert 2. This book is the sequel to last year’s In Concert, which I enthusiastically reviewed here. In this review I will first consider the syllabus changes, link to the full syllabus for those interested, and then offer a more detailed review of In Concert 2.

How to Play Jazz Piano

In succeeding to make jazz playing accessible to that far wider audience of broadly literate musicians, How to Play Jazz Piano is a game-changer and a genuine triumph.

The Foundation Pianist

Around this time last year, Faber Music unleashed The Intermediate Pianist series, co-authored by Karen Marshall and Heather Hammond. It was a solid success, warmly received by teachers and students alike, and in the Pianodao review I wrote: “The Intermediate Pianist books get right to the heart of what learning music is really all about. This truly could prove a milestone publication – don’t miss it!” As many readers will know, The Intermediate Pianist deservedly went on to win Best Print Resource at the Music Teacher Awards for Excellence 2018. This Autumn, it’s a joy to welcome the arrival of The Foundation Pianist, two companion books in…

Which Mikrokosmos?

In this review I will be looking at classic edition from Boosey & Hawkes, and comparing the more recent Urtext editions from Henle Verlag and Wiener Urtext Edition.

Alison Mathews: Doodles

Doodles is perhaps not simply a hugely enjoyable collection of mini reading pieces – the book could for many teachers prove to be a landmark revelation…

LCM ‘In Concert’ anthology

London College of Music Exams may be less well known to readers than the ABRSM and Trinity College London boards which I have written about previously, but that may be about to change Certainly LCM offer a very wide range of different assessments for piano players. According to my colleague David Barton: “I estimate that LCM offer nearly 20 different options for pianists at 15 different levels, right from the earliest stages of learning, through to the Fellowship of the London College of Music (FLCM). The range of options now available is fantastic; I feel enormously lucky to be teaching…

The New ABRSM Prep Test

Alongside their 2017-18 Piano Syllabus, ABRSM simultaneously brought out a brand new “Prep Test” for piano assessments from January 2017. This is actually the first time that the exam board have updated the syllabus and pieces for their piano Prep Test since January 1999, so it’s great to see that it has finally been refreshed and given a revamp.

Burgmüller: 25 Easy & Progressive Studies Op.100

J.F.F.Burgmüller (1806-1875) was a popular pianist based in Paris who improvised hundreds of Salon Pieces as well as composing a wide range of instrumental music. He is best known today for his Piano Exercises, notable the 25 Easy and Progressive Studies Op.100. Although called “studies”, and very beneficial for piano playing technique, these are actually very attractive pieces which remain favourites with students of all ages. I have recorded all 25 of these popular pieces as a resource to help students, and am making the recordings publicly available here so that other players and teachers can have a listen and freely download.…

Improve your Music Theory!

ABRSM’s CEO Michael Elliott has reportedly said: “Separating theory from practice can’t be a good thing.” While this is a great soundbite for those promoting theory courses, the obvious irony here is that ABRSM have themselves, for generations, separated music theory from practice in their own examination syllabus and published materials. Paul Harris’s new series ‘Improve your Theory!’, written for students preparing for ABRSM Theory Grades 1-5, aims to change this situation for the better. Introducing the series, publishers Faber Music explain that: “Firmly rooted in Paul Harris’s Simultaneous Learning approach, it will transform how music theory is taught and learnt, improving every aspect of…

“Practice Starters” – Pick a Card!

New from Paul Harris and Faber Music, and launched at Music Education Expo in London today, “Practice Starters” is a pack of cards which aims to kick start and refresh your practice sessions. And it’s a lot of fun!..

Lucinda Mackworth-Young: “Piano by Ear”

Perhaps one of the most genuinely useful and important piano education resource published in a while, Piano by Ear is an essential purchase. Be sure to get yourself a copy and dig in – you won’t regret it!

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