Books For Piano Teachers


The Well-Tempered Keyboard Teacher” contributors include: Marienne Uszler, Stewart Gordon, Scott McBride Smith

This is certainly one of the benchmarks of the piano pedagogy literature. Now in its 2nd edition, this text should be an indispensable part of any piano teacher’s library. The text is carefully researched, thorough, engaging, and all the ideas are articulately explained. The topics covered are diverse. Included is everything a piano teacher needs to know: concepts that need to be taught at every level, reviews of resources in the forms of music and books, discussions concerning business aspects of teaching, and an historical overview of piano teaching. This text is readily available from Schirmer Books. There are two editions: 1991, 2000.


How to Teach Piano Successfully” by James W. Bastien (contributions by many others)

Another common staple of the piano teacher’s library. This book also covers many different and practical topics for piano teachers including a list of goals that should be achieved within the first few years of study, business aspects of teaching, and insightful interviews from some of the leaders in the field. Published by Kjos, the 3rd edition has been out since 1988.


"Pianist's Guide to Standard Teaching and Performance Literature" by Jane Magrath

This resource organizes the teaching literature into style period then by composer. Comments are made on most of the composers and their works. Here one can find standards and rarely-heard gems in the teaching literature. All music mentioned in this collection is also given a level (1-10) of difficulty. Every teaching studio should have this book available. Published by Alfred in 1995.


With Your Own Two Hands: Self-Discovery Through Music” by Seymour Bernstein

The material in the book is extremely insightful, articulate, and useful for performers and teachers. Bernstein is able to assimilate complex issues into accessible concepts. Best of all, he does this in a very engaging way. This book should be more widely known than it already is. Published by Schirmer in 1981. Bernstein also wrote the “Musi-Physi-Cality” and “20 Lessons in Keyboard Choreography”. These are both very practical and detailed approaches to basic gestures at the piano. “Musi-Physi-Cality” is geared towards the young student.


The Pianist's Bookshelf: A Practical Guide to Books, Videos, and Other Resources” by Maurice Hinson

Another necessity of any piano teacher’s library, this book contains lists and reviews of countless resources covering many different topics. Published in 1998 by Indiana University Press.


Teaching Piano: Synthesis of Mind, Ear and Body” by Max W. Camp

Camp has provided a very systematic description of the learning process of beginning students. The second part of the book offers Camp’s ideas on “Six Stages of Complexity”. This is a thought-provoking text with many insights into the learning process and how to address difficulties encountered at each stage in the process. Published by Alfred, 1992.


Kindling the Spark: Recognizing and Developing Musical Talent” by Joanne Haroutounian

What a fascinating study! The author has done an outstanding job of assimilating the most up-to-date research dealing with a broad range of educational issues including defining and evaluating musical ability and the means of developing that musical ability. This text can be helpful to private teachers and general music teachers. The approach of this book is certainly one that steers more towards general music education although there are many valuable insights into private and group teaching. Published in 2002 by Oxford University Press.


The Inner Game of Music” by Barry Green

This is the most widely known book that is a part of the recent trend dealing with performance anxiety issues and mental preparation. Based upon the principles found in the book “The Inner Game of Tennis” by Timothy Gallwey, this book has many valuable tips for aspiring musicians. Published by Doubleday, 1986.


Developing Talent in Young People” edited by Benjamin S. Bloom

The team of researchers in this study set out to examine what elements in a child’s rearing contribute to allowing him/her to reach amazing heights in different careers. The researchers interviewed individuals and their families that had reached the highest levels of achievement in their perspective fields in order to find similarities and differences that these individuals had in their upbringing. Individuals that were studied included concert pianists, sculptors, research mathematicians, research neurologists, Olympic swimmers, and tennis champions. A very interesting and insightful read for any music teacher. Published by Ballantine Books in 1985.


Great Pianists Speak” with Adele Marcus

Marcus presents some of her major tenets of playing in the first chapter then shares the ideas of many great artists in subsequent chapters in an interview format. Pianists interviewed include Gina Bachauer, Karl Ulrich Schnabel, Claude Frank, Jorge Bolet, Rudolf Firkusny, Alicia de Larrocha, Garrick Ohlsson, and John Browning. Many insights can be gained from this book. One that reads this will certainly gain a great respect for the art of these masters and a greater appreciation of music itself. Published in 1979 by Paganiniana Publications, Inc. It could be hard to find! Online used book dealers may be your best bet.


Audition Success (A Theatre Arts Book)” by Don Greene.

Dr. Greene is now quite well-known as the Sports Psychologist that turned to helping musicians with performance anxiety issues. I heard him present at the Aspen Music School while studying there in the summer of 1999. Don Greene is an expert at finding ways to prepare anyone for anything. He is currently teaching at the Juilliard School and the New World Symphony. Published by Routledge, 2001.


Etudes for Piano Teachers: Reflections on the Teacher's Art” by Steward Gordon

Just as musical etudes focus on the development of skills and address the technical problems encountered in keyboard literature, the "etudes" in this volume also focus on ideas which prepare piano teachers for meeting the problems encountered in piano performing and teaching. This collection of essays on the piano teacher's art opens with an assessment of the role of the piano teacher, and goes on to explore various types of students and the challenge each presents: the moderately talented, but ambitious, student; the late beginner; the unusually gifted.


Creative Piano Teaching” by James Lyke, Yvonne Enoch, Geoffrey Haydon

The third edition of this book continues in the tradition of its prior editions. Piano pedagogy students as well as independent piano teachers have relied on this book for two decades as they prepare to teach, continue to teach, as well as improve their methods and advance their knowledge. The book covers aspects of elementary and intermediate piano instruction for children and adults. The recurring theme unifies repertoire and technical training with musicianship skills and musical understanding. Published by Stipes Publishing, LLC; 3rd edition (February 1996).


"Practical Piano Pedogy" by Martha Baker-Jordan

Comprehensive 468 page pedagogy text for ALL piano teachers, as well as those future teachers who are currently performance majors in college. This definitive pedagogy text will teach readers how to use any teaching materials in a better, more organized, and pedagogically sound way.


How to Make Money Teaching Music: The Music Teacher's Manual” by Steve Stockmal

Students are everywhere and The Music Teacher's Manual will show you how to find them, keep them, and develop them into fine musicians...and you will make money doing it!!! The Music Teacher's Manual will help you understand the entire process of teaching…from how to get your first student, to writing and even publishing your own method book. We will cover several ideas and approaches on specific teaching techniques, as well as lesson procedures, personal programs, advertising, dealing with the psychology of each individual student, and much much more!


Making Money Teaching Music” by David R. Newsam, Barbara Sprague Newsam

Readers will discover how rewarding teaching music can be. Whether they teach full time or want to supplement their performance income by giving private lessons, they need this book to learn how to run a profitable business. The Newsams show them how to find lucrative teaching opportunities, market themselves, design a home studio, manage their time and work schedule, and more.


"Experiencing Music Technology (with DVD-ROM)" by David Brian Williams, Peter Richard Webster

Complete, practical, and up-to-date, this market-leading book illustrates concepts using real-world software examples (including CD-ROM activities). The authors anticipate the constant changes in this technological field by focusing less on the specifics of a software program and more on what to expect in a good program. Thus, students gain a broader, practical understanding of the technology without being intimidated by the ever-changing details. The modular design allows the instructor to easily use any or all components to fit any curriculum of study. Students are exposed to a vast array of software examples in the text including hundreds of screenshots of current educational and music software via the CD-ROM activities.