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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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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…

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…

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…

Studio Choice:

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…

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.

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:

A Dozen A Day • All Year Round

As useful and truly indispensable a resource today as it was when Edna-Mae Burnam first developed the books back in the 1950’s, “A Dozen A Day: All Year Round” is a truly essential classic…

Penelope Roskell • Essential Piano Technique

I cannot state urgently enough how highly I rate and strongly recommend these three volumes. Beautifully presented, but modestly priced, they indisputably establish a new benchmark for teaching children a healthy piano technique. Ignoring them is not an option!

The First 50 Chords

Wouldn’t it be good if there was a simple primer introducing all the basic chords and chord symbols in a logical sequence, linked to their use in well-known songs? Well now there is…

Recommended Resources:

Paul Harris’s Musical Doodles

Musical Doodles is a wonderful little book, and I can see it being helpful not only to younger learners, but to anyone who wants a fresh perspective on making music, and is ready to have fun in the process…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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.

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…

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

This is a series founded on a commitment to not only cherishing that transformative power of great music that drew many of us to become players and teachers in the first place, but to integrating all aspects of learning into a logical, intelligent, elegant and holistic programme.

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.

Improve your Music Theory!

Harris has done us all a huge service with this innovative series, demonstrating that we can properly realise the true purpose of teaching music theory by making it interesting, useful and above all genuinely relevant to a player’s musical learning.

“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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