Today I wanted to share five collections of piano classics that I return to over and over again with my students who are studying classical music.
As I cycle through my lessons each week, I noticed that there are a handful of books that reappear many times throughout the week. I wanted to share these go-to resources with you since they have become such staples in my studio.
Faber Literature Collections, Books 3 and 4
The Piano Literature series by the Fabers has 5 volumes, but I find that I often jump straight to Book 3 with many of my middle schoolers or high schoolers who are newer to piano. Book 3 is just the right level for students who have already worked their way through several method books, or for students who got a later start and blasted through easier material pretty quickly.
Here are some of my favorites to teach from Book 3:
- Arabesque by Burgmuller
- Ballade by Burgmuller
- Musette in D by Bach
- Sonatina in C by Clementi
- Sonatina in G my Diabelli
I only discovered book 4 more recently, but it’s an excellent collection of classics for later intermediate students.
Quiet Classics, selected and edited by Keith Snell is collection of classics that caught my eye in my local music store one day it has been one of my go-to books for years. It is organized into four sets of pieces that go well together so that you can easily prepare for a gig such as prelude music to a wedding or church service, background music at a party or another occasion.
The pieces in this book are best suited for later intermediate or advancing pianists, however, there are a handful of more accessible pieces, such as Bach’s Prelude in C, Gymnopedie No. 1 by Satie. Other more challenging songs include several pieces by Chopin, movements from Beethoven Sonata’s and pieces by Grieg, Schumann and Mendelssohn.
The Applause Series, selected and edited by Lynn Freeman Olson has 2 volumes. Book 1 is one of those books that I played from in high school and it has stuck with me all of these years. It’s a wonderful collection of classics that are less mainstream, but really engaging for intermediate piano students.
Some of my students’ favorite pieces to learn from this collection are:
- Solfeggietto by C.P.E. Bach
- Cakewalk by Debussy
- Sonatina in A minor by Benda
- Puck by Grieg
Keith Snell Piano Repertoire
The Keith Snell Piano Repertoire series of classics is especially useful for how it is graded by level. There is a preparatory level, in addition to levels 1-10. Each level is split into 2 books: Baroque and Classical pieces are together and Romantic and 20th Century are in a separate book. It can be hard to find classics at fairly specific levels, so it’s nice that that work is already done for you in this series.
When I have brand new students who want to begin with classics as a opposed to a method book, I often use the Preparatory book right away and work through the levels. Although, there are still some preliminary note-reading skills that is necessary in the Preparatory book.
Encore, Stardard Literature That Motivates, selected by Jane Magrath is a series of 3 books and they’re definitely for advancing, late intermediate pianists. I played from Book 2 in high school and these books were my introduction to Chopin – the a minor Mazurka and the c-sharp minor Nocturne.
There are a lot of other great pieces in all 3 books. They include a mix of all 4 classical eras, but there’s a heavy focus on romantic pieces.
What are your go-to classical music collections? I love finding books where students will learn many different pieces from the same book, rather than buying a whole book just to learn 1 piece.
Leave a comment and tell me about your staple classical music books.