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Elementary Repertoire

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 music in the Elementary category is easy music suitable for players who have progressed beyond their first steps at the piano, and is equivalent to UK Initial to Grade 2 level.

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.

Explore the Full Library:

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:

Easy Christmas Piano Books

The Christmas season is accompanied by a uniquely popular and significant body of music spanning multiple genres, and it’s no wonder that there are so many varied piano collections to choose from, whatever your level. New Christmas music books are regularly reviewed on Pianodao, but here’s some of the more established favourites popular in my studio…

June Armstrong’s Music Box

Music Box is yet another triumph for Pianissimo Publishing, one of June Armstrong’s best collections yet, and deserves to be very widely enjoyed…

Donald Thomson’s Halloween Piano Tunes

From devilishly enjoyable tunes to hauntingly scary sounds, Donald Thomson’s Halloween Piano Tunes is a suitably chilling addition to the young player’s music library, and another of those collections to which players will want to return each year…

Willis Music’s ‘Strange Sounds’

This collection is a real find, including ten equally enchanting pieces that are bound to be popular with elementary players, while showcasing the creativity of some of the most characterful voices in the piano pedagogy repertoire. Terrific!

Rendezvous at the Zoo

Given Jennifer Linn’s popularity in the US this collection will surely be another best-seller there, while here in the UK, I would also certainly encourage teachers to take a look at “Rendezvous at the Zoo” for some fresh, imaginative and highly useful repertoire at this level…

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:

Nikki Iles & Friends: Easy to Intermediate

Somewhat sneaking under the radar, a third book has now been added to this popular ABRSM series: “Nikki Iles & Friends: Easy to Intermediate” will, I am certain, have huge appeal to players who are less advanced…

‘Graded Gillock’: Three New Collections

I have long been an admirer of the brilliant piano music of William Gillock (1917-1993), so it is with huge pleasure and a sense of pride that I can now announce that, in conjunction with the Willis Music Company, I have selected and edited a new series of ‘graded’ collections showcasing a varied range of his best pieces. Find out more about “Graded Gillock” series here:

South African Folk Songs Collection

Last October, I welcomed Artina McCain’s African American Folk Songs Collection, reviewed here, and took as sideways look at several other titles from Hal Leonard’s uniformly excellent series of intermediate piano solo arrangements of music from around the world. Now I am delighted to introduce the latest title to this superb series. The South African Folk Songs Collection contains 24 traditional folk songs arranged by James Wilding and Nkululeko Zungu…

Philip Godfrey’s ‘Hotchpotch’

“I really can’t stress enough how impressive it is to see so enjoyable an elementary collection that will appeal to adult learners every bit as much as to children… Hotchpotch is a genuine joy.”

Anna Robinson: Cats on the Keys

Cats on the Keys is a great (and unusual) example of how good educational music can be when the combination of imagery and musical character perfectly come together… don’t miss this one!

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…

ABRSM’s Piano Star

ABRSM Publishing’s colourful Piano Star series of books for elementary players has been one of their most brilliant and popular successes of recent years, and I was happy to be a contributor, my original compositions featuring in all of the four core music books. Here’s a retrospective look at the series, which is now part of the Pianodao Music Library…

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!

Stanisław Prószyński: Easy Pieces for Piano

While Stanisław Prószyński’s music is perhaps unlikely to finally achieve mass appeal, the more adventurous young explorer will lap up this delightful collection with enthusiasm, enjoying the composer’s zesty character, liberal doses of humour, and ingenious compositional skill.

Piano Grades Are Go!

Victoria Proudler’s brilliantly catchy pieces are going to be a real hit, motivating young players while also raising the quality of their musicianship. Come December, I will be looking back to my favourite publications of 2022; in the Elementary category, I very much doubt that anything will come close to this stunning publication…

Really Easy Chart Hits of 2021

With its combination of the latest smash hits, excellent arrangements, useful background and performance notes, lyrics and chord notation, here is a collection which is genuinely a cut above similar publications I’ve seen in the past. And with top-drawer quality but an asking price under a tenner, it is quite the bargain.

The New, Improved Microjazz

As we congratulate Christopher Norton on his 40-year achievement with the Microjazz series, he shows no sign of slowing down, even though he has surely already given us several lifetimes of music to enjoy, an absolute treasure trove! Here’s the latest:

Christmas Songs for Kids

Too late for inclusion in this year’s Christmas Shortlist: Elementary round up, but as delightful as it is fresh, Hal Leonard’s Christmas Songs for Kids delivers “25 Holiday Favourites arranged for Easy Piano, with practice tips for learning each song.”

Jason Sifford’s KEYBOP

Not another set of jazzy books for young pianists, I hear you say. But stay with me, because these ones are really worth a look…

Folk Songs of the Far East

Flushed with enthusiasm for Hal Leonard’s just-published ‘African American Folk Songs Collection’, I wanted to waste no time looking back at previous publications in this growing series. In this review I will focus on four collections of intermediate piano arrangements of traditional songs from the Far East:

African American Folk Songs

Here in the UK we celebrate Black History Month each October, and with perfect timing Hal Leonard have recently launched a wonderful new music collection. The African American Folk Songs Collection contains intermediate piano arrangements by Artina McCain of 24 traditional songs. Here’s the PIanodao review…

Gradebusters 2

The Gradebusters series looks set to grow from strength to strength, and I have every expectation that this book will be as popular with students as the first…

Accent on William Gillock

There’s little doubt in my mind that William Gillock was one of the most significant educational piano composers of the twentieth century, and it’s a delight to be reviewing The Willis Music Company’s new complete edition of the Accent on Gillock series. I’ve recommended some great publications of late, but this one is quite simply a studio essential, destined to become a favourite if it hasn’t already!

Sound Stories, Riddles, Puzzles and Plays

Borislava Taneva’s music is strikingly creative, and the seam of pedagogy running though it is not simply good: it’s truly inspiring. Here’s the Pianodao review of her recent publications…

The “Really Easy Piano” Beatles Collection

Keen to learn your favourite Beatles song on the piano, but sense it’s going to be a long and winding road? It has surely never been easier to play these songs: all you need is love for the Beatles, a little help from your friends, and this excellent collection.

Rediscovering Anna Magdalena Bach’s Notebooks

Rediscovering Anna Magdalena Bach’s Notebooks: a new critical edition by leading Bach-scholar Christopher Wolff sets a whole new standard and elevates our appreciation of this treasured music. Don’t miss the Pianodao Review here:

June Armstrong: Take Ten

June Armstrong is not only one of the UK’s most creative composers, but one of the most prolific. Having only reviewed her Dreams and Dragons last December, she’s already now back with her next publication, Take Ten. Capitalising on the immense popularity of her piece Dusty Blue, recently a Grade 2 favourite here, Armstrong’s new book delivers 14 brand new ‘Jazz Miniatures’ for piano solo, suitable for elementary players. Here’s the Pianodao review….

Exploring Janina Garścia’s Educational Music

Janina Garścia left the world enriched with an extraordinary range of pedagogic music which deserves “classic” status, but which beyond the interests of the connoisseurs remains one of Poland’s best-kept secrets. It’s surely time for that to change! Here’s an exploration (with recordings and video tutorials) of three of her best collections:

Sonny Chua’s ‘Cool Keys’

These two books from Faber Music, suitable for elementary and intermediate players, offer a superb testament to the talent and imagination of Sonny Chua, who died earlier this year: one which will undoubtedly be welcomed warmly by all who knew him, while introducing his brilliant educational music to a far wider global audience. Packed with personality, consistently engaging from cover to cover, and bringing a real sense of fun to the piano curriculum, here are 22 pieces which live up to the epithet “irresistible”, and will surely delight younger learners in particular.

Krystyna Gowik: My Little World

Krystyna Gowic is a well-known composer and educator in Poland, and it’s clear from her music that she has a deep understanding and commitment to education, alongside a real artistic flair. In this article I will be considering her two collections published by PWM Edition: My Little World and My Favourites, as well as sharing the tutorial videos that I and my Japanese colleague Marie Kiyone have made to support teachers using this music…

Feliks Rybicki: I Begin to Play

The educational composers of the early to mid twentieth century bequeathed a veritable treasure trove of seminal pedagogic repertoire, and these collections of music by Feliks Rybicki are surely among the finest gems of all. Melodically and imaginatively, they are easily the equal of Kabalevsky’s best, while they equally offer the same focus on sound production, articulation and musical detail as that other great contemporary, Bartók. And I can see a case for suggesting that Rybicki surpasses both these masters… Find out more, and watch my video tutorials filmed in post, here’s the Pianodao article:

Gradebusters: 15 Awesome Solos

Playing an instrument can be fun, engaging and immensely rewarding without the need for an examiner’s approval; who knew? It’s time to investigate GRADEBUSTERS!

Agnieszka Lasko’s ‘Little Stories’

Once in a while a music book comes my way which quite simply “blows me away”, and such a book is Little Stories, a new collection of 16 late elementary pieces by Polish composer Agnieszka Lasko, published by Euterpe and distributed by Universal Edition. With it’s truly lush illustrations and presentation of Lasko’s highly original and attractive compositions, the book is a natural winner. The inclusion in several pieces of opportunities for children to improvise and compose takes the book to another level again, making it a truly essential addition to the childrens’ pedagogic literature. Let’s take a closer look…

Schott Music’s Mini Maestros

Those looking for good anthologies of easy piano music are fairly spoilt for choice these days. Latest to arrive (on the same day as ABRSM’s rather disappointing Core Classics series), a set of three new books from Schott Music, compiled by the ever-prolific Hans-Günter Heumann, and collectively titled: Mini Maestro. With each of the three books containing 50 solo pieces and 3 bonus duets, Mini Maestro certainly offers great value and plenty to dig into, so let’s take a look…

ABRSM’s Core Classics

Once in a while, a publication arrives for review which is based on a great concept and is itself essentially a very good product, but where the mismatch between the original concept and its delivery is a glaring one, as though at some point in the developmental process there was a communication breakdown. Core Classics: Essential Repertoire for Piano, a set of seven progressively “graded” solo repertoire books published worldwide today by ABRSM, is a striking example of this phenomenon. So let’s see what went awry, and more positively, what this beautifully presented new series actually has to offer… here’s…

Easy Piano Series: Christmas

Faber Music’s ‘Easy Piano Series’ has steadily been establishing itself as one of the brightest jewels in the publisher’s sparkling catalogue of educational piano music. New for 2019, this collection of seasonal favourites sets out to maintain the high standards of the series. Let’s take a quick peek inside…

Türk: Pieces for Beginners

Schott Music have recently been developing a new series of publications called the Schott Student Edition, presenting core pedagogic repertoire in an attractive, affordable and contemporary format for today’s learners. With several editions already in the pipeline for string and wind players, pianists can now also start their collection, thanks to the arrival of an excellent new edition of favourite pieces by Daniel Gottlob Türk, edited by Erich Doflein and with new Teaching Notes written by Samantha Ward. Let’s take a closer look…

Easy Piano Series: Classical

Last year, I praised the first two books in Faber Music’s glossy Easy Piano Series, covering Shows and Film music. Now the series has grown to include Classical. In my previous review I noted: “There is always room on the music shelf for easy piano arrangements of well-known and popular songs – players of all ages naturally find it encouraging and enjoyable to tackle tunes that are familiar to them, their family and friends.” The Classical book in the series follows a similar philosophy, offering 16 pieces with an emphasis on simplified arrangements of some of the best-loved melodies of all time, and…

Get Set! Piano Christmas Crackers

There are many good Christmas collections in the shops now, and to say that this is “the best” would be a moot point; closer to the truth, I believe that in offering a genuinely unique and brilliantly educational approach, this book is special…

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…

June Armstrong’s Sea World

Sea World easily stands among the best of June Armstrong’s publications to date, and could well prove among the most popular.

Piano Playground

“The best pieces here are genuinely great, and will surely enliven the musical development of young players everywhere!”…

Solo Xtreme Books 1-3

“Solo Xtreme” will undoubtedly appeal to slightly older beginners and pre-to-early teenage children … let’s take a look!

The Graded Piano Player

Two pieces from The Graded Piano Player have been selected as ABRSM 2019/20 alternatives – but what are the collections like as a whole?

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.

Bartók: For Children

Two new versions of this milestone have appeared in recent months: a single-volume complete edition from Boosey & Hawkes, and a brand new urtext edition from Henle Verlag in partnership with Editio Musica Budapest …

Fantasy Piano: 20 Enchanting Easy Pieces

With the new term getting underway at Hogwart’s School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, now is surely a good time to mention Hand-Günter Heumann’s magical collection ‘Fantasy Piano’, which was published by Schott Music last year.

Jazzin’ About the Year

It might just be the perfect book of pieces for children learning the piano who are around UK Grade 1-2 level… Let’s take a look!

The Definitive Bartók Edition?

It is 1975. In the living room of a Victorian house in the middle of Bedford sits a nine-year-old boy at the piano. Fired by a life-changing encounter with the music of Mozart he recently started lessons, and dreams of one day “going in for” music. For now though, he stares quizzically at the somewhat forbidding book on the music stand – 32 Klavierstücke by somebody called Béla Bartók. His piano teacher has set the first two pieces this week – The Little Lane and Game. But what kind of music is this?? Very odd… but enchanting! Four decades later, and one of the greatest joys and privileges…

Barbara Snow: Animal Jazz

Edition HH is a publishing house founded by Norwegian musician Per Hartmann, and based in Oxfordshire, UK. Their eclectic and ever-expanding catalogue embraces contemporary scores and scholarly performing editions of rarer items in the musical repertoire, from the Renaissance to the Romantic periods. ‘Animal Jazz’ is a recent addition, a selection of 15 brand new original short pieces for piano solo composed by London-based musician Barbara Snow.

Ben Crosland’s Magic Beans

‘Magic Beans’ is the latest collection of easy piano pieces by Ben Crosland, and will be published on Saturday 5th March 2016. Having received an advance copy from publisher Editions Musica Ferrum, I am delighted to offer this first in-depth review of the book…

Barbara Arens: Piano Misterioso

In my review of Barbara Arens’ ’21 Amazingly Easy Pieces’ last month I concluded: “The partnership between composer and publisher has clearly worked brilliantly here, and the resulting book is quite simply a delight. Let’s hope for more to come!” I’m therefore particularly happy to be reviewing the follow up ‘Piano Misterioso’, especially as all the praise offered in my previous review equally applies here. It is clear that publishers Breitkopf & Härtel have again given their full professional attention to editorial detail, beautifully presenting Barbara’s latest pieces with class and distinction.

21 Amazingly Easy Pieces

21 Amazingly Easy Pieces is an original collection of new pieces by Barbara Arens, published by Breitkopf & Härtel in 2014, which has recently come to my attention, and I am seriously impressed with it. Composer Barbara Arens is a passionately dedicated piano teacher. She began her studies at the Mozarteum in Salzburg at the age of 13. After a concert career performing primarily as harpsichordist and organist, she now puts her diverse abilities and experiences into composing for her pianopupils. She presently lives near Würzburg, Germany, after living in Beirut, Dallas, San Francisco, Singapore, Salzburg, London and Munich. Knowing that…

“Grade by Grade”

This innovative new series of books from Boosey & Hawkes makes the bold claim to be “the complete resource for the grade ‘x’ pianist”. But does it live up to its aims?

ABRSM’s Encore Series

Over the years ABRSM have produced a steady flow of graded piano repertoire books to supplement their exam resources, with series such as A Keyboard Anthology and Short Romantic Pieces becoming standard items in the teacher’s library. However, one could have been forgiven for wondering whether some of these selections were made up of the most obscure pieces set in previous syllabi rather than the most widely enjoyed. So when Faber Music brought out their “Best of Grade…” books a few years ago, those looking for a one-stop collection of consistently appealing and varied pieces breathed a collective sigh of…

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