Piano books are an additional expense. We start with these two books by James Bastien. These may be purchased at a local music store or at many online retailers like Sheet Music Plus. I like Sheet Music Plus because its local in Berkeley Ca, and materials usually arrive within 4-5 days.

Older Beginner Piano Course, Level 1

Favorite Melodies the World Over

Piano vs. Keyboard

Every piano teacher would love for their students to begin on a real piano. There is a lot to be said about the touch that develops, or the quality of technique that they can hear and work towards. Not every family has the luxury of a piano to begin with so keyboards are a good option for the very early years of study. There are a few things to know before purchasing them.

There is a wide variety of keyboards. They can have many different features but here are the essential ones:

  • A minimum of 61 keys, (a full sized keyboard has 88 keys)
  • Touch sensitive keys, (keyboards with weighted keys are much better but cost much more)
  • You can get a 61 key keyboard for $100 - $125 at Walmart, Costco, Sam's, Target etc. Craigslist is a good way to find used but quality keyboards often for under $60.

Purchasing a Piano

I do not sell pianos, nor do I have friends in the business. Over the years, I have learned some valuable things about purchasing.

BEWARE of pianos built in China. Lovely pianos have been built there and the prices are very, very reasonable. They do not have the proper foundation in the sound boards though, so they are not "tunable" after a very short life span of 4-7 years. Do some research and learn about sound boards, one of the main factors in properly built pianos.

PRICES: Craigslist has a host of options for purchase. If you plan to save money on a purchase this way, invest in a piano technician ($75.00 or so) who will come to an appointment to see it with you once you've found something. They can tell if it's been maintained well and give you an idea of its value. You can purchase a quality instrument anywhere from $800.00-$5000.00. One student found a piano from a garage sale for $500.00 that later appraised for $2500.00.

WARNING Buying a used piano can be a lot like buying a used car. There are lemons out there and sometimes old pianos are just expensive firewood. Pianos need to be tuned frequently at the beginning of their lives, and yearly after that to establish fine tuning. Inside piano benches or the lid of the uprights, tuners will leave a record of the dates they tuned the piano. Looking good on the outside is not an indicator of what is inside. Again, invest in a tech to see the instrument and go into your purchase with confidence.

My husband and I are the parents of five daughters (ages 11-20), all of whom have taken piano lessons from Coralie Harless. I have to say that I was absolutely amazed to see and hear their progress after just a few piano lessons. I couldn't believe what they were capable of doing at the piano in such a short amount of time! Coralie is truly an amazing teacher and not only that, but an amazing person. She has incredible talent, not only for playing the piano herself, and for sharing her passion and love of piano through her teaching style. She has taught my daughters so much about piano theory, history, and just as important, about giving service through their talents at piano.

- Shelley Brown, Parent -