Best Piano Books For Intermediate Players: Top 5 (And Bonus!) | Dynamic Music Room (2023)

Are you an intermediate level piano player wondering what to push onto next?

The intermediate stage of piano playing is one of the most important levels of piano playing in my experience as a musician and private lesson teacher.

Intermediate level is the point just before you press on to being able to play most piano music. For you, it’s all about finishing the fundamental techniques for piano playing. To this end, a good curriculum is essential.

This is why I’ve gone through many books over the years to make this list of the best piano books for intermediate players.

The best piano books for intermediate players need to be engaging and filled with authentic songs while reinforcing and pressing on with fundamentals and techniques. Our picks include:

Look ahead for specific reviews and more information.

Table of Contents

This section digs into each of these books in a little more detail. Use this information to help you decide which one you want to get.

Note: Prices change all the time, so I’ll mention general price ranges for each product. You’ll have to click the button to check most current pricing.

John Thompson’s Adult Piano Course – Book 2: Later Elementary to Early Intermediate Level

I’ll put this one out here because I’m willing to bet many of you reading this post are adults. Johnson’s book series is geared towards the adult learner, and this second book in his series is made for the intermediate player.

At an affordable price, this book will cover the fundamentals and technical aspects of piano playing you need to get comfortable with in order to move in your abilities.

There are real songs embedded throughout, so it’s pretty easy to stay motivated.

The audio which goes along with this is also artistic and pleasant to listen to. This provides a good model as to what you want your own playing to sound like.

As an adult-focused book, the teaching style of the book provides more details and allows the adult to be more self-directed in their learning.

(Video) Review of Amazon Best Selling Repertoire Books for Beginners - Classical Style (Listen to Samples!)

Pros For This Book:

  • Affordable
  • Geared towards adults
  • Good mix of technique and song

Cons For This Book:

  • Not as useful for younger learners

Classics to Moderns in the Intermediate Grade

This book is one I love to pull out and play from personally.

It’s a medium-priced collection of songs at the intermediate level. This book will need to be combined with either a teacher or learning program to help move along your skills and develop your technique.

However, the songs cover a wide range of tunes from the traditional classical to more modern selections.

I like this book because it doesn’t just rehash all the same Classical tunes you hear over and over on piano.

It’s got some unique ones too.

All songs are achievable at an intermediate level (though some will require more practice than others).

Working your way through this book is a great way to get yourself ready for advanced work while still learning songs to actually play for people.

Pros For This Book:

  • Wide variety of songs to learn
  • Covers classical and modern
  • All songs at intermediate level

Cons For This Book:

  • No specific or sequenced instruction or exercises

The Giant Book of Intermediate Classical Piano Music

Along the same lines as above, this Giant Book of Classical Piano Music is at a higher price but contains a massive amount of songs.

These songs are all in the classical genre (though not just the classical period of music).

(Video) Piano Teacher Book Review: The Easy Fake Book

These songs are all achievable for intermediate level players, but there are a few which are quite simple or quite hard for this level.

The songbook is extensive and would take a while to play all the way through, but the variety of songs at this level actually has a technical benefit as well.

Many composers during the time, especially in the Baroque period, wrote songs specifically to be used as technical exercises while still sounding good. Bach in particular was well-known for this.

Many of these songs will work as fundamentals.

However, there isn’t specific instruction included.

Pros For This Book:

  • Massive song list
  • Good for pushing intermediate players to the next level
  • Many of the songs contain technique building skills

Cons For This Book:

  • Higher price
  • No specific instruction

Check out where to donate a piano if you’re getting a new one.

Best Piano Books For Intermediate Players: Top 5 (And Bonus!) | Dynamic Music Room (1)

Piano Masterworks: Intermediate Level

This book is essentially a lighter (and more affordable) version of the book above.

This collection of classical tunes are ones almost everyone knows, even those with limited classical music knowledge.

These songs are all perfect for intermediate players, and they don’t cross the line into too difficult for the most part.

As with songs of this era, many of them are great exercises in developing technical skills. But as a bonus, these “exercises” are actual songs to play.

The book doesn’t contain any specific sequential instruction, but when combined with an instructional book or online program, it’s a masterful combination.

The lower price may help you with getting both this book and the instruction method of your choice.

Pros For This Book:

  • Engaging classical songs
  • Right at the intermediate level
  • Affordable price for the number of songs you receive

Cons For This Book:

(Video) 3 Solo Piano Steps Everyone Needs To Learn - Ep. 260

  • No specific instruction
  • No modern songs

100 Left Hand Patterns Every Piano Player Should Know

This book may seem an odd choice as it isn’t specifically made for intermediate players, but this medium-priced book is one I recommend to all piano students regardless of their level.

However, I consider this book a must for intermediate pianists.

The biggest struggle for 99% of piano learners is left-hand coordination.

This book knows this and takes aim square at this problem.

It’s divided into two sections.

The first is a practical and thorough explanation of several important ways to use your left hand to “fill out” a song.

This contains practical exercises and examples to work on the most difficult aspects of piano playing-the left hand.

These exercises and techniques are useful for any piano player at any level.

The second half of the book is a Fake Book. A Fake Book contains the melody of a song and chords.

The chords aren’t spelled out to allow you the freedom to play them how you wish using the techniques learned in the first half of the book.

Basically, you gain a vastly useful skill and are offered a practical application of it all in one place.

The songs used are also largely popular songs you’ve heard before. These are all at different levels, but intermediate players should be able to pick most of these up with a little practice.

Pros For This Book:

  • Isolates the left-hand skills
  • Fun and engaging songs
  • Direct instruction and exercises on important intermediate level skills

Cons For This Book:

  • Doesn’t focus on all piano techniques

BONUS: Flowkey

Check Out Piano Learning Free!

(Video) PIANO CHORDS for Beginners PLUS 3 SONGS!! (Tutorial)

Flowkey is an online piano learning program and app developed by Yamaha.

This program is a perfect tool for intermediate players (and any players really).

Essentially, the program serves two main purposes:

  • Video and interactive courses and lessons for each and every level
  • A massive 1,500+ song list all with learning tools and videos

Use this alone or in conjunction with any of the books above, and you’ll advance quickly.

Check out the 7 reasons you’ll love the Flowkey piano learning for more details.

Commonly Asked Questions

Can I learn piano without a piano? – Yes! It’s tough, but possible.

Get a keyboard if at all possible. But there are mats and other practice options out there to check out.

Learn about the 5 ways to play without a piano.

How many hours per day should I practice piano? – Well, it depends on how quickly you want to improve.

In general, I tell my students to practice at least 15 minutes per day every day. Going up to an hour should be enough for most people.

More is fine, as long as you don’t get frustrated or bored.

Practice should be done with focus and excitement, not resignation.

Why do pianists lift their hands? – You’ll see this a lot with professional piano players, especially classical ones.

While some consider the lifting to be largely for show, it actually helps the musician connect the feeling of the phrase in their mind and heart.

This impacts how the musician plays the music.

Final Thoughts

I hope you find my list of the best piano books for intermediate players helpful.

If sticking with books only, I recommend John Thompson’s book. It’s quite affordable and has a good mix of instruction with real songs.

You’ll still want more songs to play too, so it would make sense to supplement with one of others. But the Left-hand Pattern book has instruction and songs to learn.


Of course, getting Flowkey (check it out for free) would only help you learn faster and stay motivated.

Pick one and play! Keep on practicing, and you’ll get better and have fun!


What piano books should I buy? ›

The 6 Best Piano Books for Beginners
  • Alfred's Basic Adult Piano Course.
  • Alfred's Basic Piano Library.
  • Primer Level – Lesson Book: Piano Adventures.
  • Piano Scales, Chords & Arpeggios Lessons with Elements of Basic Music Theory.
  • Easy Piano Sheet Music for Kids.
  • Piano for the Young Beginner.
  • FAQs.
11 Mar 2022

What is the best piano curriculum? ›

These are the Best Piano Books For Adults
  • Alfred's Basic Adult Piano Course All-in-One. ...
  • Hal Leonard Student Piano Library Book 1. ...
  • John Thompson's Easiest Piano Course. ...
  • Ultimate Beginner's Series. ...
  • Bastien Piano for Adults. ...
  • Faber Music Piano Aventures. ...
  • The Complete Idiot's Guide To Musical Theory.
4 Jun 2020

What is the Alfred piano method? ›

Alfred's Basic Piano Library uses an interval-based reading approach that promotes freedom of movement around the keyboard and offers enjoyable piano instruction for students of all ages. This easy step-by-step method emphasizes correct playing habits and note reading through interval recognition.

What is the best piano method for adults? ›

Below is a complete list of the best piano teaching books for adults.
  • Piano Jumpstart by Joshua Ross.
  • Alfred's All In One Course Level 1.
  • Bastien Piano For Adults – Book 1.
  • John Thompson's Adult Piano Course.
  • Hal Leonard Jazz Piano Method.
  • Frances Clark Musical Fingers Books 1 – 4.

Is it possible to learn piano from a book? ›

However, if you're an adult pianist, learning the piano on your own without a teacher is definitely doable. There are piano method books that are specifically designed for self-teaching. This allows you to learn at your own pace and also to save a few bucks on hiring a teacher.

How do I choose a piano book? ›

The type of piano book you choose to buy will depend on what type of learner you are. If you're a visual learner, find a book with plenty of pictures and diagrams. If you learn best by doing, you'll want a book that has exercises and practice pieces.

What should I learn first on piano? ›

The Musical Alphabet

Each of the white notes has a letter name. These letter names make up the musical alphabet, which is one of the first things a piano player should learn. The letter names of these notes link the piano to all other instruments and also to written music.

HOw many hours a day should I practice piano? ›

Pianists should practice between 30 minutes to 4 hours per day. Beginners will benefit most from shorter practice sessions while advanced pianists will be more accustomed to longer days. Each practice session can be split into segments to help avoid physical and mental fatigue.

How long does it take to get good at the piano? ›

If you want to be a professional classical performer, you're looking at a minimum of 10 to 15 years of concentrated study with a master teacher, and hours of practice every day. Most people who want to learn piano to play for their own enjoyment can get great results within three to five years of study and practice.

Can a 60 year old learn to play the piano? ›

People can start piano at 60, at 70, at 80, even later. Your brain can still form new connections at any age. You can always learn new skills. For those who begin piano later in life, learning the piano may take a little more patience.

Is it hard to learn piano at an older age? ›

Learning piano has no age limit. In fact, activities like learning piano can stimulate the brain, increasing the ability to recall information. There are physical benefits to learning piano as well. By practicing fine motor skills in your fingers, piano students are keeping the muscles in their hands flexible.

How good can you get at piano in a year? ›

One year. You can expect to reach beginner level after around a year. This would correlate roughly to Grade 1 or 2 level (ABRSM.) Expect to play very basic pieces and have a reasonable grasp of learning from sheet music, playing basic one-octave scales, etc.

What is the quickest way to learn piano? ›

So as contradictory as it sounds, the fastest way to learn piano, and arguably the best way, is to practice slowly. Remember the mantra “slow is the way to go” for better practice and ultimately, faster learning.

Why is learning piano so hard? ›

Hand coordination/independence

One of the most challenging aspects of playing the piano is developing hand independence. In the beginning, much of what you'll play will be in unison. That means if you play scales, the right and left hands play the same notes at the same time.

Is it easy to learn piano by yourself? ›

Is it hard to learn piano? Certainly, but how hard it is depends on how willing you are to practice! The bulk of advancement in playing is done away from your teacher during regular practice. If you only practice once or twice between your weekly lessons, you probably won't progress at the pace you wish.

How do you read music easy? ›


How do you read piano sheet music? ›

The lines and spaces of the staves are home to various musical symbols, including notes. Notes can sit on a line or in a space. The height of the note determines the pitch. A higher line means a higher pitch, so moving up the stave represents moving right along the keyboard.

How do you teach someone to play the piano? ›

  1. How To Teach Piano Lessons.
  2. Step 1: Set Goals.
  3. Step 2: Keep Your Piano Lessons Small.
  4. Step 3: Be Understanding.
  5. Step 4: Keep Your Piano Lessons Simple.
  6. Step 5: Keep the Motivation Alive.
  7. Step 6: Establish Expectations, Especially for Practicing.
  8. Step 7: Be Flexible.

What is the first song most people learn on piano? ›

When you're starting out on the piano, the easy piano songs are going to be the ones that don't move around on the notes too much, and have a fairly simple rhythm.
Seven Easy Piano Songs for Beginners
  • Twinkle Twinkle. ...
  • Happy Birthday. ...
  • Jingle Bells. ...
  • Hallelujah. ...
  • Havana. ...
  • Prelude in C Major by Bach. ...
  • Fur Elise.
17 May 2020

How do you remember the keys on a piano? ›

Memorize the Piano Notes in Under 2 Minutes (Easy!) - YouTube

Which piano chords should I learn first? ›

The most important chords to learn in every major key are the I, IV, V, and VI, or the first, fourth, fifth, and sixth chords. That is because these chords are most commonly used in chord progressions. In C major's case, those chords are C major, F major, G major, and A minor.

Who is the No 1 pianist in the world? ›

Top 10 Best Piano Players in the World
RankPiano PlayerAssociations
1Murray PerahiaRoyal Concertgebouw Orchestra
2Dame Myra HessNBC Symphony Orchestra
3Alfred BrendelAcademy Of St Martin In The Fields
4Sviatoslav RichterChicago Symphony Orchestra
6 more rows
26 Aug 2022

What is the most efficient way to practice piano? ›

  1. 7 Tips for Efficient Piano Practice. Learning the piano is a complex, time-consuming undertaking, but with immense reward. ...
  2. Stay Organised. ...
  3. Only Practice Piano with 100% Concentration. ...
  4. Stick with One Task at a Time. ...
  5. Don't Skip the Warm-Up. ...
  6. Don't Ignore Mistakes. ...
  7. Practice Short Passages. ...
  8. Practice Piano Slowly.

Can you practice piano too much? ›

However, doing so can have some serious consequences. Results of too much practice can manifest in depression, burn out, and physical injury. In fact, overuse injuries are not only prevalent among professional musicians, they can occur from too much practice.

How many hours a day did Beethoven practice? ›

That number is in fact correct, since the age of seven Beethoven had been practicing for at least eight hours a day vigorously on different instruments throughout his life. This is how he has also managed to develop a musical ear.

How long do professional pianists practice? ›

On average, a concert pianist practices at the piano about 3 to 4 hours a day. Before concert pianists get to the level and skill they are currently at, they can put in 8 hours or more of practice per day. The life of a concert pianist is filled with much more than just practicing at the piano.

What is intermediate piano level? ›

The intermediate pianist is someone who has been playing piano for 6-18 months. They can read treble and bass clef comfortably, and they understand how to count rhythms. The intermediate is someone familiar with musical notation and can read more complicated parts with both hands.

How long does it take to become an intermediate piano player? ›

Play basic piano: 1 – 3 years. Play intermediate piano: 5 – 10 years. Play advanced piano: 10-15 years.

How can an adult learn piano for beginners? ›

How to teach the first lesson to an adult piano student - YouTube

How many keys are on a piano? ›

As piano music developed and evolved, the keyboard compass was gradually expanded in response to requests from composers who sought a broader potential for expression. By the 1890s, today's modern keyboard had become established with 88 keys spanning 7¼ octaves (from 2A to C5; 27.5 Hz to 4,186 Hz*).

What is the best piano lesson book for beginners? ›

10 Best Piano Lesson Books For Beginners
  • Faber Piano Adventures.
  • Lang Lang Method.
  • Music Tree.
  • John Thompson's Modern Piano Course.
  • Hal Leonard Piano Library.
  • A Dozen A Day.
  • Bastien Piano Basics.
  • Hanon Virtuoso Pianist.

How do you teach someone to play the piano? ›

  1. How To Teach Piano Lessons.
  2. Step 1: Set Goals.
  3. Step 2: Keep Your Piano Lessons Small.
  4. Step 3: Be Understanding.
  5. Step 4: Keep Your Piano Lessons Simple.
  6. Step 5: Keep the Motivation Alive.
  7. Step 6: Establish Expectations, Especially for Practicing.
  8. Step 7: Be Flexible.

How do you read music for piano? ›

How To Read Notes (Beginner Piano Lesson) - YouTube

What age is best to start piano lessons? ›

The best age to start piano lessons is typically between the ages of 6 and 9-years-old. While older students may have an easier time learning to play, students as young as 6-years-old can also learn since the keys of the piano are easy to operate.

How can an adult learn piano for beginners? ›

How to teach the first lesson to an adult piano student - YouTube

What are the finger numbers for piano? ›

Just like the hands are mirror images of one another, so are the numbers used to name them. The thumbs are given the number 1; the index fingers given 2; the middle fingers given 3; the ring fingers given 4; and the pinky fingers given 5.

What should I teach in the first few piano lessons? ›

Scales. Piano students of all ages and backgrounds should be introduced to scales within the first few lessons. Scales are an introduction into the idea that the piano is most easily and efficiently played with the correct fingers, posture, and hand position.

What are the 7 musical notes? ›

In the chromatic scale there are 7 main musical notes called A, B, C, D, E, F, and G. They each represent a different frequency or pitch. For example, the "middle" A note has a frequency of 440 Hz and the "middle" B note has a frequency of 494 Hz.

How do I memorize music notes? ›

This one you may remember from grammar school. The acronym many students use for the lines of the treble clef is EGBDF- Every Good Boy Does Fine. The bottom line is E, then G, B, D, & F. This acronym, along with FACE gives you all the names of every note on each line and space note.

How do you remember piano notes? ›

Memorize the Piano Notes in Under 2 Minutes (Easy!) - YouTube

What's the fastest way to learn piano? ›

So as contradictory as it sounds, the fastest way to learn piano, and arguably the best way, is to practice slowly. Remember the mantra “slow is the way to go” for better practice and ultimately, faster learning.

Can a 60 year old learn to play the piano? ›

People can start piano at 60, at 70, at 80, even later. Your brain can still form new connections at any age. You can always learn new skills. For those who begin piano later in life, learning the piano may take a little more patience.

Is piano harder than guitar? ›

Overall, the guitar is easier to learn than the piano. If you consider the layout, learning songs, the ability to self-teach and a few other things, it is an easier instrument. However, it's the easiest on average for everyone.


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