Jonathan Yasuda

Pianist, Lecturer


Ground Level

Let's get you pointed in the right direction.

Click on some of the instruction books and music resources.

You'll be able to tie your shoes in no time.

Jonathan's Online Intro Course for College Students

Jonathan's online course Intro to Piano for the Liberal Arts Student is a breath of fresh air in the world of introductory piano lessons. If you are a Holy Cross music major, non-major, or prospective major , this beginner online course material accompanies my individual instruction coursework (MUSC 105, 106, & 107).  It is required course material for Worcester State students enrolled in Class Piano (MU-104).   

Intro to Piano  is recommended for multi-disciplined liberal arts students who wish to learn beginner classical piano skills and bring the joy of piano into their lives.  Print the material or read on your mobile device.  It's all about the journey, the joy of self-discovery, and taking the first steps towards an incredibly fulfilling, lifetime artistic pursuit.  This online resource provides not only a basic lesson plan, but the versatility to practice at a piano / keyboard with a tablet, smartphone, or laptop. YouTube and lesson videos help keep the material engaging. Each lesson is a guidepost. Take everything at your own pace. Tray tables up, and enjoy the flight :)

Faber & Faber for the Adult Beginner

Faber & Faber's Adult Piano Adventures® (Volumes 1 & 2) are the meat and potatoes, or textbooks, with a bunch of little pieces to practice within each respective lesson.  Purchase Volume 1 (blue book) and see how things go.  Some students finish Volume 1 and would rather just skip Volume 2, focusing more on supplemental material.  That's a personal choice with pros and cons on each side depending on the student's ambitions.  Most of the songs are a combination of classical music and folk songs.  The term "classical" is used loosely to represent works of composers from the early Baroque to the Contemporary.  Unlike the children's books where there are three separate books for each level, each adult volume is inclusive of lesson, technique, and theory materials.
Faber & Faber's Developing Artist® is a supplementary library with a comprehensive set of literature books for the "serious-minded student" sayeth the Faber's. The music in this library is all authentic keyboard repertoire.  Books are divided into Early and Late Elementary; Early Intermediate, Intermediate, Late Intermediate; and Early Advanced.  Again the works span the Baroque to the Contemporary.  These books are worth going through if you really want to hone your skills.  There's something to say that many accomplished classically trained pianists eventually shift their artistic energies to other genres, i.e., jazz, pop, rock, etc., and say they owe their commensurate musicianship to their classical piano upbringing.

Faber & Faber for Children (Ages 5 - 18)

Faber & Faber's Piano Adventures® books are a good start as they cover Lesson, Technique, and Theory materials in an engaging, fun way.  The material is presented as one would expect with big, bold, and colorful illustrations. Some parents even admit to borrowing these books from their children for their own self-instruction.  Everything is very well spelled out.  There's a lot of books in this series, but I rarely teach above Level 2B due to the fact that there are other supplementary "non-textbook" sources to draw upon, preventing instruction series book burnout.  My First Piano books are for less than 6 years of age.  Most elementary school students start with the Primer, then move upwards.  Students starting around age 10 might benefit more from beginning with the Accelerated Adventures Books.  It's worth visiting the Faber & Faber website just to get a broad overview of the whole series.  Look into Faber & Faber's The Developing Artist® Library to supplement  the series.

Michael Aaron Piano Course Series for All Ages

Michael Aaron's Course Books are old school, but good for any age.  For the adults, use Piano Course Books 1 & 2.  Children use their own multi-level series, sort of similar to Faber & Faber's style, and start with the Primer, proceeding through Grade Five.  Each children's level has four books: Lessons, Performance, Technic, and Theory.  What's nice about these books is they aren't overly didactic and floridly illustrated.  The material is presented very gently to the reader, and each song has a playful, sketched black and white illustration.  These books can stand alone or act as a refreshing repertoire supplement to any Faber & Faber curriculum.  It's a throwback to the 80s with some real musical depth.  

Check out A Dozen A Day to improve technical skills.  There's a whole series dedicated to improving technique, and it's fun for all ages.  Do a few of these every day and you'll be amazed at the progress you and/or your children make!

General Resources has nearly 300,000 sheet music arrangements for you to purchase and download.  Since classically based instruction books lack many popular or "fun songs," visiting is a necessity for all ages.  An overwhelming majority of students wish to play the latest R&B or pop hits, for example, saturating the airwaves. would be where to find particular piano arrangements. As stated on my homepage, I'm not here to judge musical preferences.  I find value in all types of music, and all types of composers, both living and deceased.  So search the database for some of your favorite songs and artists.  Any piece that has a decent, easy piano transcription is fair game.  If you're beginning, lots of songs can be transposed to "easier key signatures" like C Major.  Also, take note that just because may label a transcription as "Easy Piano," it could be quite difficult for some Beginners.  

Music Espresso, located across from the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, supplies a plethora of music books, literature, and anything a music student would need to succeed (including sweet NEC swag).  Everything can be purchased on their website and shipped to you as well.  If you happen to be in Boston, check their hours and visit the shop.  It's very chill and the staff is very helpful.  I've been going there for 20 years.  Definitely worth stopping by if you're around town.  Their vast collection of classical repertoire, with a diverse range of publishers, dwarfs their popular music collection, but that's why is useful, and the Berklee College of Music Bookstore is just around the corner, literally.  

The International Music Score Library Project (IMSLP / "Petrucci Music Library" has thousands upon thousands of public domain scores and recordings.  This free library is geared for the classical musician as copyright issues are less of an issue with old scores published beyond the reach of today's copyright law.  Just be on the lookout for some inaccuracies.  For the most part, it's a tremendous resource.  

Amazon has it all.  Browse around for the best deals on scores and more.  It's a great place to find repertoire or literature from obscure or obsolete publishers.  So get searching!

Paper or PDF?

Athough technology seems to be marching over paper these days, it's worth building a real library of books.  I store PDFs on hard drives like most musicians, but we've all heard horror stories or experienced technology failing at the last minute.  Print and / or invest in some hard copies.  

Particularly for classical pianists, choose a publisher that fits you.  Dover, International Music Company, Alfred, and Henle (depicted to the left), are just some of the good publishers out there.  Some people like plenty of annotations to guide them along the way with respect to baroque ornamentation, for example, while some are purists.  For example, it may be nice to see Mozart's turns and trills spelled out in light grey above the printed score, especially for newbies, but that might be bothersome to the Intermediate or Advanced pianist.