Recommended progressive piano studies for adult beginners. which are interesting but easy, eg Bartok’s Mikrokosmos.
July 8, 2012 4:20 PM   Subscribe

Recommended progressive piano studies for adult beginners. which are interesting but easy, eg Bartok’s Mikrokosmos. I have been learning how to play piano for a couple of months, practicing around an hour a day. Until recently I have been resigned to playing kids method books, grade 1 ABRSM pieces, scale books and adult all in one tuition books which are too heavy on folk tunes and blues for my liking. But then I stumbled upon Bartok’s Mikrokosmos, which is a set of progressive studies, from complete beginner up. The studies are interesting, melodic, discordant, emotional, jazzy. Perfect. I am hungry more just like it. Is there such a thing as a contemporary set of progressive of studies for complete beginners, which are melodically interesting. Or am I cutting corners?
posted by choppyes to Education (6 answers total) 70 users marked this as a favorite
Shostakovich; Also possibly playable maybe not are Shostakovich preludes and fugues; For Children, Sz.42, Bartók, Béla; Debussy, Children's Corner, Roger Sessions et al., and if you are interested in Romantic Music some of Schuman's Kinderszenen, or Waldszenen, may be playable.

None of these are really progressive studies like Mikrokosmos, but all are good music, and good for beginners.
posted by snaparapans at 5:19 PM on July 8, 2012 [3 favorites]

Also here is a adult beginners forum at Pianoworld. Someone asked about atonal beginner piano music and Webern's Kinderstuck, nice piece.. but again not a progressive method..

It does mention, Robert Starer's Sketches in Color, Set 1. which are pedagogical pieces..

it may be worthwhile digging around on the Pianoworld site and also PianoStreet this site lists a bunch of easy music, all interesting contemporary composers.

Oh and you are not cutting corners at all. Stay hungry and keep practicing an hour a day and in a year or two you will be amazed at your results. Regular practice is the key!
posted by snaparapans at 8:14 PM on July 8, 2012 [2 favorites]

Great suggestions already. I cannot say they are progressive, but I would also suggest looking into some lyric pieces by Grieg, and and Kabalesvky's pieces for children. They should be melodically fulfilling, and not too hard to play.

If you have another pianist who can play with you, I'd recommend 5 easy pieces by Stravinsky for piano duet, which is more progressive, and very easy. Ravel's ma mere l'oye is a great place to start as well.
posted by snufkin5 at 9:01 PM on July 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

Yeah, a lot of the 20th-century Russians are good for this. When I was a kid studying piano, I had a few books with beginner-level pieces by Shostakovich, Kabalevsky, Khatchaturian, guys of that ilk. They weren't all as adventurous as Bartok, but still, lots of nice tasty modernist beginner-level music came out of that corner of the world.

Also, J.S. Bach. A lot of his keyboard music was written explicitly for students. Start with the notebook for Anna Magdalena, move on to the two-part inventions when you feel ready, then the three-part inventions. It's all really great music, moving and thoughtful and well put together. There are other dudes in the Bach family who wrote some okay beginners' pieces, and I seem to remember Telemann having some good accessible stuff too if you find you like that Baroque idiom, but J.S. himself is really where it's at.

Satie's good too. Start with the gymnopedies, which are gorgeous (you already know the tune to the first one by heart, I guarantee it) and highly playable. He's got other nice simple piano music that isn't as well known but might be worth digging into if you like his style.
posted by nebulawindphone at 9:04 PM on July 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

I remember playing through a set of books called Classics to Moderns, which is a graded set of collections of pieces that include a lot of the eastern European stuff mentioned above. Also, at a slightly more advanced level, the Spectrum books are pieces commissioned in the last decade from contemporary composers - these aren't as structured in difficulty as some of the other things mentioned above, though.
posted by Jabberwocky at 2:51 AM on July 9, 2012

Oscar Peterson - Jazz Exercises, Minuets, Etudes & Pieces for Piano.
posted by yoHighness at 6:14 PM on July 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

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