Many beginner piano pieces sound a bit…well, beginner-y. No adult wants to sound like a little kid playing ‘Twinkle, Twinkle’. Adult piano students need repertoire which sounds sophisticated but is easy enough for them to play.
⬆️ Listen to the podcast above or keep on reading, whichever fits your style. ↙️
Amateur adult pianists present a unique challenge when it comes to repertoire selection. Their ears have been listening to music for their whole lives, but their fingers have only just started to learn to play.
This can make the experience of playing pieces at their level a pretty disappointing one. Everyone wants to play music they really love.
I hope these repertoire selections will inspire you to try some new options for your adult students.
Give Them the Choice
The most important part about music for older students is that they have choice.
Whether it’s one of the collections in this article or other inspiring repertoire for amatuer adult pianists, make sure to give your students the final say. It’s so easy to do this these days:
- Put together 3-5 options for books at their level in a variety of genres and styles.
- Send them links to the publisher’s websites or YouTube where they can listen.
- Ask them to get back to you with their selection(s) before the next lesson.
This is completely worth the extra few minutes to put together the links. Your adult piano students will be much more inspired to learn repertoire they’ve chosen for themselves.
Tried and Proven Collections
Let’s dive into some perennial favourites among adults in my studio.
Kaleidoscope by Rick Robertson
There are 3 volumes in the Kaleidoscope series, and they’re all wonderful. My favourite is volume 1 simply because it’s much harder to find this kind of rich music at such an accessible level.
These pieces are fantastically varied but all have a new age- or film music-feel which many amateur adult pianists will fall over themselves to play.
Rote Repertoire by Samantha Coates
Rote pieces are not just for kiddos!
I love these pieces by Samantha Coates because of the unique approach to rote teaching and reading music.
But they’re also just great tunes. Samantha has a knack for writing ear-worms you’ll find yourself tapping with pens later that day.
Here’s another slant on using Rote Repertoire, which would be great for adult students who need to improve their aural skills.
Phillip Keveren Series
Phillip Keveren arrangements always sound rich and full, and he has the magic touch when it comes to making them playable for beginners without losing this quality.
Repertoire from the “Easy Piano” Phillip Keveren Series is perfect for amateur adult pianists at the late beginner or grade 1 level. This collection of pop ballads is one of my faves.
FM Sheet Music
Many amateur adult pianists will want to play songs they know and love. Who wouldn’t want to play their favourite pop songs?
It can be hard to find truly great arrangements of even the most popular songs, but if you find it on FM Sheet Music it’s guaranteed to sound authentic and feel comfortable. That’s because this is the work of the wonderful Jennifer Eklund under a pen name. Her arrangements will not disappoint.
What are your favourite piano music books for Adults?
I’d love to hear what has worked well for your adult students. Let us know your go-to repertoire in the comments. And then, for more help planning lessons for your adult piano students, hop over to my page devoted entirely to planning lessons.
3 thoughts on “Refined Repertoire Adult Piano Students Adore”
Love these suggestions Nicola!
A couple other adult-beginner hits in my studio are June Armstrong’s Safari book and Juan Cabeza’s Piano Train Trips. The Safari contains amazingly gorgeous repertoire that even advanced students enjoy playing, although it’s graded between prep and grade 2. It is a great exploration of technique as well. The Piano Train Trips is more like a study collection, introducing chords and chromatic, major, minor, whole tone, and other scales.
I’m curious to hear from other commenters, what method books have you found the most successful with adult beginners? I personally use Piano Safari for Older Beginners for students who prefer to move slower and Alfred for Adults for students preferring a quicker pace.
Thanks Nicola! I love Samantha Coates’ music but wasn’t familiar with most of the others 🙂
I love Wendy Steven’s for adult and teenager repertoire! While she has wonderful children’s music as well, she’s brilliant with her titles and covers also being age-appropriate. Big, bold, beautiful pieces, that many of my students can begin working on during their first few lessons! http://www.composecreate.com