Milton Keynes Piano Teacher Lessons

Elementary • Initial to Grade 2

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.

Studio Choice

STUDIO CHOICE showcases the publications which my regular students have enjoyed and which I most frequently recommend. This includes:
First Repertoire suggestions for pre-Grade 1 players,
Elementary Essentials which deliver a core programme of music, and
Current Favourites, a regularly updated list of fresh alternatives.

First Repertoire

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…

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!

Ben Crosland’s Magic Beans

Ben Crosland’s ‘Beans’ series is outstanding, and ‘Magic Beans’ easily lives up to the very high standards set by its predecessors…

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…

June Armstrong: Safari

Aimed at “beginner to pre-grade 1 standard”, the most striking aspect of this collection is the brilliant and vivid portrayal of the subject matter…

Elementary Essentials

Graded Gillock • Three Essential Collections

William Gillock’ music continues to inspire piano students around the world with its catchy tunes and imaginative content. These three collections deliver 41 of his very best pieces, sorted by level.

Journey Through the Classics

My Journey Through the Classics in the company of this series proved to be a joyful one, accompanied by enjoyable scenery, familiar friends and occasional new discoveries…

ABRSM’s Encore Series

The “Encore” publications are a brilliant addition to any piano student’s music collection, and can only help raise the quality and level of music making wherever they are used.

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?

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:

Current Favourites

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…

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 lavishly illustrated new collection of 16 imaginative elementary pieces by Polish composer Agnieszka Lasko…

Piano Tales for Alice

Here’s my original review of “Piano Tales for Alice” by Nikki Iles, which as I rightly anticipated has gone on to become a hugely popular best-seller….

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. This first collection is suitable at Initial to Grade 1 level…

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…

Explore the Library

I have reviewed an abundance of wonderful music suitable for this level, crossing styles, genres, and the history of the keyboard. There’s truly something here for every player, so dig deep and enjoy exploring the full archive, which is presented here with the most recent additions first…

The Pam Wedgwood Christmas Collection

Pam Wedgwood has created some excellent Christmas music over the years, and this well-priced anthology offers a progressively arranged and nicely balanced selection of some of her very best seasonal music for elementary and intermediate players.

Piano Music of Black Composers

New from Hal Leonard, Leah Claiborne’s two collections ‘Expanding the Repertoire: Piano Music of Black Composers’ offer an indispensable addition to the piano pedagogic literature.

Find out more here…

Paul Harris’s Purple Piano House

Paul Harris’s PURPLE PIANO HOUSE, subtitled “A Musical Adventure for Pianists”, is a delightful story-with-music book which is sure to charm younger players, and offers several intriguing pedagogic possibilities…

Krystyna Gowik: Fives for Piano

Krystyna Gowik has a deft ability to spot a gap in the piano literature for young players and fill it with appealing and educationally rich music. “Fives for piano” is perhaps her most pedagogically unique and valuable yet…

Naoko Ikeda Graded Collection

For this publication I have selected and edited 24 of Naoko Ikeda’s best solo works, presenting her pieces in approximate order of difficulty, grouped from Grade 2 to Grade 5 level.

The Jazzin’ About Anthology

‘The Jazzin’ About Piano Anthology’ brings together 41 of Pam Wedgwood’s favourite pieces from across the series, presented progressively in one volume from early elementary to intermediate level (UK Initial to Grade 5)…

Petits Morceaux pour piano

For those looking to expand their knowledge of piano repertoire, and indeed of didactic traditions, these collections from Durand Edition offer a feast of genuinely rewarding material…

Easy Christmas Piano Books

Here is my BUMPER SELECTION of favourite collections for beginners, elementary and early intermediate players…

June Armstrong: Music Box

With this new publication, Armstrong brings us 27 compositions for elementary players (around UK Grades 1-3), with each piece celebrating a different musical instrument from around the world.

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!

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…

South African Folk Songs

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 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.

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

This recent publication offers a range of songs that have appeared in favourite Christmas films from Home Alone to White Christmas, TV shows (perennial favourite A Charlie Brown Christmas) and classic hits from Bing Crosby, The Jackson 5, Andy Williams, Michael Bublé and more….

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:

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

Top composer June Armstrong’s “Take Ten” delivers 14 brand new ‘Jazz Miniatures’ for piano solo, suitable for elementary players.

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.

Feliks Rybicki: I Begin to Play

Melodically and imaginatively, the educational piano works of Feliks Rybicki 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.

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!

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

ABRSM’s “Core Classics” series offers a useful and often attractive mix of music that is well-suited to the board’s exam requirements, and can equally be dipped into by other players for its varied selection of benchmarked repertoire, much of it not easily accessible elsewhere.

Easy Piano Series: Christmas

What I especially like here is the quality of the arrangements, so sympathetic to the originals while also being accessible to less advanced players. That others can join in, singing and strumming along, is the icing on an already delicious stollen!

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… Schott Student Edition Introducing this new Series, Schott Music say, “The student edition series is designed for…

Easy Piano Series: Classical

This is an easy book to review, because it does exactly what it claims, and the results are excellent. The attraction here is that the concise selection really hits the nail on the head, is beautifully presented, and the arrangements are great.

Get Set! Piano Christmas Crackers

There are many good Christmas collections for beginners 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

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.

June Armstrong: Sea World

Sea World contains 17 new “Impressions for Piano”, aimed at players between UK Grades 1 to 3 (Elementary to Early Intermediate standard).

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!

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.

Bartók • Definitive Collections?

I can’t help feeling that the ongoing preservation of our culture (both folk and art) rests at least in part on the success of publications such as these in inspiring a new generation of musicians to carry the flame onward.

Barbara Snow: Animal Jazz

I can highly recommend ‘Animal Jazz’ as a thoroughly charming collection of jazzy pieces, and suspect my own younger students are going to love it!

21 Amazingly Easy Pieces

The ’21 Amazingly Easy Pieces’ in my view fulfil their aim brilliantly, and are a great addition to the beginner-to-elementary repertoire.

ABRSM’s ‘Piano Mix’

ABRSM’s Piano Mix series brings together fresh piano solo arrangements of popular classical and other pieces, in three graded books…

Grade by Grade Piano

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? Here’s the Pianodao review… What is the series all about? The last year has seen an influx of book series written to help pianists expand their musical learning between taking grade examinations. These range from the didactic (such as Lang Lang’s “Mastering the Piano” series) to those which simply offer supplementary graded repertoire (such as ABRSM’s recent Encore Series). Boosey & Hawkes have pitched their latest offering, Grade…

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