Having looked in some details at my four top choices, here’s some alternatives which may suit some adult beginners…
Here is a great choice for those looking for a simple, no-nonsense method built around contemporary-sounding music. The unique selling-point is that the sustain pedal is introduced almost from the start, enabling the beginner pianist to create a “professional sound” very quickly.
The book comes as a handsomely produced 50-page volume in landscape format, and includes sufficient explanations of technique and notation along the way to provide for an older beginner’s basic needs; however, I would recommend supplementing the material, and the method would work best in the hands of an experienced teacher.
As I mentioned when I interview Hey Presto! author Marcel Zidani, I really do think he has created something very special and unique with this resource.
Marcel has also provided YouTube videos to support those using the book. The books themselves can be purchased from his website here.
Play the Piano
Mike Cornick is best-known as the writer of dozens of books of excellent jazzy pieces, duet and ensemble music for older players; as such he seems an ideal author for an adult method. Surprisingly, however, his approach here is a rather conventional one, with a predominantly traditional classical emphasis.
Explanations are clear, there is excellent supporting text and background info, and some very good music throughout. There are two Levels, each comprising both the Method Book (with CD recording featuring demo performances, duet playalong tracks and some aural training) and supplementary repertoire book. There’s also a Christmas book.
All are brilliantly presented by publishers Universal Edition, although I can’t help feeling that the look and feel here is rather too serious.
As a method it would best suit the beginner with an academic background, or those returning to the piano after a break. But certainly well worth a look…
Adult Piano Adventures
Popular American method Piano Adventures has grown into its own huge industry of method books and spin-offs, some of which have now been adapted for the UK market where they are gaining popularity. Adult Piano Adventures is sadly not one of these (yet, at least); it remains firmly US-centric, but will certainly appeal to Piano Adventures fans.
The course comes in a hefty “All-in-one” volume (there’s also a second book, although this wasn’t submitted for review) which covers all you need, although additional repertoire books are also available. The first method book includes both a CD of audio recordings and a DVD of instructional videos. The latter didn’t work for me (perhaps the wrong Region?) but happily the videos are available on the Piano Adventures website here.
It’s clear that a vast amount of work has gone into this method, and I can see why it is popular. For me, however, the overall approach is perhaps a little too prescriptive.
We’ve now seen a range of method books aimed at adult beginners … so what’s the conclusion?