ambulavi asked: I just started playing piano (I'm a clarinetist but I need to pass proficiency tests and such). It's a lovely instrument. Do you have any suggestions for real classical music for a beginner? I can obviously read music already, so this is mostly a matter of learning to fluently translate what's on the page into my fingers. I've got the Hanon exercise book from my mom, which is helpful, but all the normal 'beginner music' is awful.

That’s a great question. The piano students I take on normally have at least some experience reading music, even if they’ve never played piano before. I refuse to teach from method books, so I can give you some ideas about the kind of literature on which I start such students:

  • J. S. Bach - Minuets, BWV 841 & 842; Prelude in C major BWV 846; Preludes BWV 927-930
  • Bartók - 10 Easy Pieces, Sz. 39; Mikrokosmos Books I & II
  • Beethoven - Sonatas Op. 49 Nos. 1 & 2; Bagatelles Op. 119 Nos. 1, 8, 11
  • Clementi - Sonatinas Op. 36, Nos. 1, 4, 6
  • Debussy - Reverie, En bateau
  • Mozart - Sonata K. 545, Fantasia in D minor K. 397
  • Schumann - Album for the Young, Op. 68
  • Tchaikovsky - Album for the Young, Op. 39
  • Villa-Lobos - Guia prático, vol. 1

I also highly recommend daily practice of certain exercises from Clementi’s Gradus ad Parnassum - I think they’re much better than Hanon and more accessible than most Czerny regimens. 

I normally start with some of the very easy Bartók pieces, maybe a Bach minuet, and a slow movement of Clementi or something very simple from the Schumann or Tchaikovsky, and try to progress from there. 

6 August 2011 ·

27 notes

  1. runningmad said: Burgmuller’s Op. 100, 25 Progressive Etudes are generally pretty entertaining and feature some lovely melodies.
  2. doctom666 said: would add a SONATINA album and any # of anthologies…by year 3 my teacher graduated me from those awful teaching books!!
  3. ambulavi said: Thanks so much! I imagine most of that literature is on IMSLP. And I’ve already got a hold on Reverie, which is just lovely.
  4. eggiwegsandtoast said: thank you for asking this. I am in the same boat (and a clarinetist woo)
  5. leadingtone posted this

Curtis Lindsay
Pianist, composer,
expert in nonsense.



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