Favorite Supplemental Piano Teaching Repertoire

Large pile of piano repertoire

My name is Christina and I harbor an obsession with supplemental piano teaching repertoire. 🙃 

Note: For me, the term “supplemental” simply refers to music that is not part of a method series.

Knowing my way around the repertoire gives me freedom to approach my lessons with music that is individually catered to the student in front of me.  In fact, the bulk of my teaching is through this “supplemental” repertoire.

Many of my elementary students *do* use a method book, but at a level that is nearly-sightreadable; allowing me to assign method pieces as independent studies so we can focus on the richness of the rep outside those sequences.

The following list does not include historical literature.   Perhaps someday I’ll make my own list, but for now I refer those requests to my expert friend, Janna Williamson.

While it feels nearly impossible to narrow this list down to a consumable number of selections, I’ve done my best to include my absolute must-haves.  These are the collections I come back to time and time again. 

Before sharing my list, I must say this:

We are blessed with abundance in the piano repertoire. 

Teachers have a wealth of engaging pieces – dating back multiple centuries – and growing every day. 

Harnessing the variety   available to us is an essential component in helping our students find a lifelong love of music.

Please note: this page contains affiliate links.

That’s just smart business, but the recommendations are fully my own and given without icky sales motives.

Pre-Reading Repertoire

Pre-Reading Selections

Pre-Reading Made Fun

Pre-Reading Made Fun: Kevin and Julia Olson

This is, hands-down, my favorite book for the under-seven(ish) crowd. The unique presentation of pre-reading used here is a hit with both neuro-diverse and neuro-typical children.

It also carries bonus sentimenal value: My own children used to sit and play along with the recordings from start to finish. Cute, engaging, accessible.

Black Key Blast

Black Key Blast! Wendy Stevens

I'm a HUGE fan of everything Wendy Stevens. I most appreciate her pieces for their variety of rhythmic interest, which is often lacking in early repertoire.

Piano Recital Showcase

Piano Recital Showcase

This is a Pre-Reading collection from a collective of all-star pedagogical composers. Keeping bonus pre-reading on your shelf can be a lifesaver for teachers who find themselves in need of a backup plan.

A Day in the Country

A Day in the Country: Mary Leaf

Mary Leaf is another go-to composer for me. Her accompaniments are evocative and rich, helping students feel even more proud of the music they are making with their teacher.

Repertoire By Rote

Repertoire by Rote: Dennis Alexander

I am so happy to see the piano teaching world embracing teaching by rote. These pieces do not LOOK like pre-reading pieces, but are designed to be taught away from the score. Students (and parents!) love their mature sounds.

Elementary Repertoire

Elementary Selections

The Best of Martha Mier, Book 1

The Best of Martha Mier

Two words: Gold Doubloons. This piece is an absolute favorite of my students and makes everything else in the book feel like a bonus. Pieces in this collection begin simple and end with some chord playing and substantial accidentals, making it a book that will grow with your students.

Gillock, Complete Collection

Accent on Gillock, Complete

Here's ANOTHER book that will grow with your students. I consider it a "legacy collection'. William Gillock was a revolutionary composer of pedagogical repertoire and this book is a wise investment in repertoire that will keep on giving.

Simply Silly Duets

Simply Silly Duets: Kevin and Julia Olson

You'll find Kevin Olson's name all over this list because I'm SUCH a fan. This is another favorite early elementary collection, including a very clever take on Beethoven titled, "Ode to Snoring".

Jon George Festival of Favorites

Jon George's Festival of Favorites

Jon George had a knack for composing charming, pedagogically-sound pieces for children. This collection highlights some of my favorites.

FJH Federation Favorites

FJH Federation Favorites

I often refer teachers to the NFMC Festival Lists when they are seeking new supplemental literature. I love every book in this series (there are four!) because they highlight some of the FJH catalogue's Federation selections. They are consistently engaging across the board.

Weightless by Jason Sifford

Weightless: Jason Sifford

Jason Sifford is a living gem of a composer. His writing never fails to stimulate the imagination. This collection is a studio favorite, full of pedagogical opportunities.

Attention Grabbers, by Diane Hidy

Attention Grabbers: Diane Hidy

Diane Hidy is a true champion for piano teachers. She writes with acute attention to function over tradition; composing for students of today. I always appreciate the way she considers the student reading experience in her publications.

Composer's Choice: Carolyn Miller

Composers Choice: Carolyn Miller

Carolyn Miller writes beautifully for students of every level. This is a terrific compilation of pieces for later elementary students.

Intermediate Repertoire

Intermediate Selections

Bob Vandall

Preludes: Robert Vandall

Robert Vandall was a masterful composer for Intermediate students. His pieces are emotive, educational, and simply FUN to play.

Catherine Rollin Preludes

Preludes: Catherine Rollin

The perfect precursor to Chopin, these three books of Preludes span the gamut of lyricism and virtuosity. They also introduce students to a variety of key signatures. I always recommend buying the complete collection, rather than three separate books.

Grand Solos for Piano, Melody Bober

Grand Solos for Piano: Melody Bober

No one writes romantic stylings quite like Melody Bober! I love all six books in this series (as well as her many companion series) but I chose to highlight this one for the forever-crowd-pleasing "Dragonfly".

Festival Gems

Piano Recital Showcase: Festival Gems

This series features compositions by some of the most respected names in pedagogical publishing. It's an excellent "sampler" to learn composer styles and strengths.

Musical Scenes, Joyce Grill

Musical Scenes: Joyce Grill

I love Joyce Grill as a composer (and a human!). Her writing is relatable to students and lends itself well to writing accompanying lyrics, which is something we do OFTEN in my studio. I particularly love "Scary Movie Night" in this collection.

Impressions on Color, Kevin Olson

Impressions on Color: Kevin Olson

I love exploring these rhythmically-diverse pieces with my students who have some facility to show off! This collection gives a wide range of style and emotive opportunities.

Sketches in Color

Sketches in Color: Robert Starer

I'm wrapping this list up with a heavy-hitter. These pieces are a treasure of the Intermediate repertoire and I teach them ALL THE TIME. If you're not familiar with this visionary set, give these your attention pronto.