For young kids, I generally use the Faber Piano Adventures Series. These are well designed, progressive and highly visual in a way that kids respond to.

For Young Beginners

This is the perfect starter for kids 4 and up. It’s highly visual and progresses logically according to both musical and the physical aspect of playing the keyboard for young children.

Some kids also enjoy the companion writing book, though it’s not needed for most.

For Young Intermediate Beginners

The first 25 or so pages of this book are a review of concepts covered the book above. So it can be used as both the next step for very young kids and the first step for kids around 6 or older. 

The 2nd part of the book introduces note reading, and it does it very well, adding notes in both hands (treble and bass clef) one at a time. As with the previous book, it offers a nice mix of traditional and original songs.

For the most part, the Primer Level stays in five-finger C position, making it easy for kids to progress through the pieces.

Other Books

For older, more advanced kids and young adults, I like the Bastien series.

For Young Intermediate

The Level 1 Lesson Book introduces all the notes of the grand staff, elementary chord playing, and the concept of tonic and dominant notes. Students play in varied positions, reinforcing reading skills and recognizing intervals through the 5th. Musicianship is built with the introduction of legato and staccato touches. This level continues the interval orientation to reading across the full range of the Grand Staff. The 5-finger approach is presented here in a fresh, musically appealing way.

For Early Intermediate

The Level 2A Lesson Book follows Piano Adventures Level 1. The book opens with a Note Reading Guide and an introduction to eighth note rhythm patterns. Students work with 5-finger transposition, functional harmony, and musical phrases. Exploration of C, G, D and A major and minor 5-finger positions builds on intervallic reading skills that were introduced in the earlier level. Appealing repertoire reinforces key concepts and encourages students to explore musical expression through varied dynamics and tempos. Selections include well-known classics from the great composers and original compositions.

For Older Beginners who Read

The Bastien series definitely lacks the colorful visual elements that appeal to younger kids. They are geared toward kids 7 and up who already have some music reading skills. They do a nice job of incorporating theory, chord progressions, and jazz element