By Hal Leonard Corp., Adam Perlmutter

If you’re not ready to hire a piano teacher, an excellent resource for the beginning musician is a good method book. A method book is an instructional book or series designed to teach you how to play a musical instrument in a strategic, proven, methodical manner. Countless volumes of these books exist, each featuring its own “method to the madness,” whether old-fashioned or new-and-improved.

Like any series of how-to books, piano methods come in all shapes, sizes, and skill levels — from beginner to advanced.

You can find rock methods, classical methods, jazz methods, country methods — the list is endless. Pick one that’s right for you and, most important, one that looks fun and interesting.

Although no book can replace a live, human teacher, method books offer an inexpensive, viable option for continuing to master the piano. To get you started, the following method and exercise books are worth checking out:

  • FastTrack Keyboard Songbook 1 and 2, by Blake Neely and Gary Meisner (Hal Leonard)

  • Francis Clark Library for Piano Students, by Francis Clark (Warner Bros.)

  • Hal Leonard Student Piano Library, by Barbara Kreader, Fred Kern, Phillip Keveren, and Mona Rejino (Hal Leonard)

  • The Jazz Piano Book, by Mark Levine (Sher Music Co.)

  • Piano Exercises For Dummies, by David Pearl (Wiley)

  • You Can Teach Yourself Piano, by Matt Dennis (Mel Bay)