According to the encyclopedia, sheet music, or score is a handwritten or printed form of musical notation using modern musical symbols to indicate melodies, rhythms or chords of a song or instrumental piece of music. Musical notes are usually printed on paper (or, in earlier times, parchment), although in recent years the notes have been published in digital formats. Use of the term “sheet” is intended to separate music on paper from an audio presentation such as audio recording, broadcast, live performance or video.
What about piano sheet music for adult beginners? How to find a piano course that incorporates theory and technique into lessons in a way that makes it understandable and in a simple intuitive way how to learn how to play the piano?
I want to break the article into the following topics:
- Characteristics of musical notes written for piano
- Recommended difficulty levels
- Easy to play piano sheet music
- Alfred’s Basic Adult All-in-One Course
- Final assessment
Characteristics of Musical Notes Written For Piano
Piano music is written with G-clef or treble clef for the right hand, and bass clef or F-clef is used for the lower sounds, usually played with the left hand. When the two clefs assembled by a brace, they are called a grand staff. An example is shown below.
In the example, the right hand plays the melody while the left hand plays a very simple single note accompaniment. Most types of musical notes can be found in this famous children’s song; it’s got half notes (quarters), quarter notes (crotchets), eight notes (quavers) and sixteenth notes (semiquavers). Furthermore, there are dotted notes and sharp signs. The time signature is 4/4 time, the most common beat in modern western music. Can you hear which song is the example without playing it, and can you indicate which fingers should be used? If you answer this correctly, you are quite good at reading music notes and can very well consider whether the music arrangements are easy or complex.
To read more about learning music notes, visit one of my previous posts on the subject: https://keyboardplay.com/how-to-read-music-notes-improve-your-musical-skills
Recommended Difficulty Levels
The basics to look for in music arrangements are key, pitch and tempo. These three factors will usually tell you which skill levels a piece of music requires. Knowing the composer and playing his music earlier can also tell you a lot. Browsing the notes pages and making an overview can be smart to form an impression of the music. Usually, there are several arrangements and editions of sheet music of the same composition, some of which you may want to compare before you decide which one to play.
When looking for piano sheet music in collections or tutorials, usually skill levels such as beginner, intermediate, easy-medium or various difficulty grades are listed. Alfred’s and Bastien, both for children and adults, are excellent piano sheet music series where the difficulty level is suggested. The skill level marking will always give a good indication of how difficult or simple the music is. In a training phase, it is especially important to customize the sheet music by skill level, otherwise the motivation to play may decrease or disappear completely.
Easy To Play Piano Sheet Music
The range of piano sheet music is huge and impossible to embrace. In this section of “What About Piano Sheet Music” I will look into Alfred’s Basic Adult Piano Course, an easy to understand tutorial course for adults (or teens) wanting to learn how to play easy piano.
Alfred’s is a well-known series of tutorial books and additional books containing carefully selected songs and melodies. I’m going to concentrate on beginners level because I think that’s what most people are looking for.
Alfred’s Basic Adult Piano Course
is very popular and highly regarded by users. Alfred’s consists of multiple books both teaching you how to play the piano and offering you numerous well-known and beloved melodies to play.
Alfred’s consists of 3 series:
- Alfred’s Basic Adult Piano Course Lesson Book
- Alfred’s Basic Adult All-in-One Course
- Alfred’s Basic Adult Piano Course – Play Piano Now!
Furthermore, numerous additional books have been published in the series containing various selection of popular songs and melodies. The selection includes Christmas Hits, All Time Favorites, Greatest Hits, Pop Songs, Popular Hits, Sacred Book, Jazz / Rock, Duet Book and many more.
Alfred’s Basic Adult All-in-One Course
Price: $20.99 [£16.52]
Cheapest place to buy: sheetmusicplus.com
Format: Tutorial, piano course
The publisher description of the All-in-One series:
“Alfred’s Basic Adult All-in-One Course is a greatly expanded version of Alfred’s Basic Adult Piano Course that includes lesson, theory, and technique in a convenient, “all-in-one” format. This comprehensive course adds such features as isometric hand exercises, finger strengthening drills, and written assignments that reinforce each lesson’s concepts. The accompanying DVD includes introductions to the lesson material in the book and performances of most of the pieces by well-known teacher, Gayle Kowalchyk.”
The song titles in the book are well-known and beloved pieces from a variety of genres and musical styles. Most people will find many of their favorites and some will surely discover new songs as well.
Alouette * Alpine Melody * Amazing Grace * Au Claire de la Lune * Aunt Rhody * Auld Lang Syne * Aura Lee * The Bandleader * Beautiful Brown Eyes * Blow the Man Down! * Blues for Wynton Marsalis * Brother John * Cafe Vienna * The Can-Can * Chasing the Blues Away * Chiapanecas * Cockles and Mussels * The Cuckoo * Day is Done * Dueling Harmonics * The Entertainer * A Friend Like You * Go Down, Moses * Good King Wenceslas * Good Morning to You! * Good People * Got Those Blues * Greensleeves * Happy Birthday to You! * Harmonica Rock * Harp Song * Here’s a Happy Song! * He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands * I’m Gonna Lay My Burden Down * Jericho * Jingle Bells * Joy to the World! * Kum-ba-yah! * Largo (Dvorak) * Lavender’s Blue * Lightly Row * Little Brown Jug * Liza Jane * London Bridge * Lone Star Waltz * Love Somebody * Lullaby * The Marine’s Hymn * Mary Ann * Merrily We Roll Along * Mexican Hat Dance * Michael, Row the Boat Ashore * Money Can’t Buy Everything * My Fifth * Ode to Joy * On Top of Old Smoky * O Sole Mio * Raisins and Almonds * Rock Along * Rockets * Rockin’ Intervals * Rock It Away! * Scarborough Fair * Shoo, Fly, Shoo! * Skip to My Lou! * Standing in the Need of Prayer * The Stranger * Tisket, a Tasket * Waltzing Chords * Waltz Time * What Can I Share * When the Saints Go Marching In * Why Am I Blue?
- Well incorporated theory and technique
- Execellent arrangements
- DVD included
- Spiral-bound book
- Great value for money
My rating: 4,5 out of 5
As a longtime piano teacher, I have been through many piano books and this is certainly the best for adult and teen beginners. You also get a spiral-bound book that is easy to open and close without flipping back or falling apart after some time of use. Theory and technique are well incorporated into the lessons and the selection of music is great. This book is absolutely perfect for the adult beginner wanting to learn how to play the piano.
I would strongly recommend Alfred’s Basic Adult All-in-One Course, Book 1. The book also comes with a DVD containing music and lessons introductions which is great for self-study and fun to “play along with”.
Good luck playing the piano and exploring your musical abilities! Hope my considerations on what about piano sheet music have been some kind of help. If you have any questions about piano sheet music or similar issues, please post them below and I will be more than happy to answer.