This post is all about the best advanced piano books.
The advanced level is probably the most fun stage of piano playing. This is the stage where you are not limited by your skills and proficiency, therefore you have access to a wide repertoire of music and technical studies.
And, when it comes to piano books, you have an almost infinite number of options, whether it’s songbooks or technique books.
Therefore, to help you avoid getting lost in the vast array of options, we have listed the 15 best advanced piano books that we believe every advanced pianist should have in their collection.
This list includes both staple method books such as Pischna and Phillip’s studies as well as advanced repertoire books from different musical eras. Some of the books are not super advanced and more in the level between the intermediate and advanced, so we also encourage intermediate players who are on their way to the advanced level to check them out as well.
Without further ado, let’s dive into the list and explore the best piano books for advanced players.
Advanced Piano Technique Books
Beringer’s Daily Technical Studies is one of the staple piano exercises and studies aimed at intermediate players and above. One thing about these studies is that rather than building a technique, they are more to maintain, strengthen, and extend it. Therefore, you should already have a solid technique to start with to get the most out of these exercises.
This book is filled with a ton of exercises that target the most important technical aspects of piano playing including finger independence, scales and arpeggios, extension, and wrist position. In fact, there are so many exercises in the book that you will never run out of practice material. Despite the vast number of exercises, the book is pretty well organized and follows a systematic approach to technical studies.
If you are an advanced player or have outgrown Hanon looking for a more advanced technical exercise book, Beringer’s Daily Technical Studies is a must-have.
Composed by a virtuoso for virtuosos, this one is one of the best advanced piano technique books you can get. It contains 86 technical exercises designed by Lizst that he composed between 1868 and 1880. These highly challenging exercises are aimed at building virtuosic performance skills for advanced pianists.
While the original series consists of twelve volumes, this edition is a slightly shorter version compiling the exercises from the original series in a more condensed form. However, it includes all the staple and essential exercises that helped Lizst himself develop and strengthen his own phenomenal technique.
Each exercise aims to target a different technical problem, and while some of the exercises may seem simple, their difficulty lies in playing them up to speed with the indicated dynamics.
Overall, these Lizst exercises are invaluable gems for advanced and virtuoso pianists looking to enhance their technique and performance skills even further.
For a dedicated exercise book targeting finger dexterity and independence, try Philipp’s iconic book Exercises for Independence of the Fingers. This advanced technique book is filled with a number of finger exercises that will have tremendous effects on your technique when studied correctly.
What sets these exercises apart is their focus on diminished seventh chords, designed to evenly distribute the weight, spacing, and stretching across each finger.
The best way to go over the exercises in this book is to start slowly, focusing on articulation, then slowly building up the tempo. With regular practice of these exercises, you will notice your fingers building strength and your playing becoming much smoother and effortless.
Pischna Technical Studies is a classic book when it comes to strengthening the technique. With 60 challenging exercises ordered in a progressive level of difficulty, the book helps advanced pianists overcome the most important technical difficulties.
Pischna exercises focus on weaker parts of the hands and build strength, with the goal of preparing advanced pianists to tackle the most technically demanding works by Liszt or Rachmaninoff. From dynamics to rhythm, the book covers a range of technical areas and includes special exercises to improve finger dexterity and flexibility of hands.
What I particularly appreciate about this book is that it requires the pianist to transpose most exercises into all 12 keys, offering a valuable exercise for practicing musical theory knowledge and ear training.
Related: 10 Best Ear Training Books
This advanced piano technique book is the first of “The Advanced Pianist” books for players who have moved past the intermediate stage. From exercises to various lessons to repertoire, the book covers a variety of sections, providing the essential skills and knowledge needed to become a well-rounded advanced pianist.
It features 5 chapters, and each one is dedicated to a different musical era. Each chapter explores the musical period in both its musical and historical context while providing exercises and repertoire to master the technique and musicality specific to each musical period.
In addition to the 5 chapters, the book also features a section called “Concert Pianist”, offering advanced performance tips aimed at guiding players toward achieving a concert pianist level of proficiency.
All in all, this book is an invaluable resource once you have reached the advanced level and want to make sure you are well-versed in the different eras of classical music both musically and historically.
Written by Alfred Cortot, Rational Principles of Piano Technique is another staple and renowned book for piano technique, featuring a unique approach to piano playing. It is most suitable for late-intermediate and advanced players who wish to perform the most challenging piano repertoire or explore a different piano method to refine their technique and musicality.
Cortot divides his method into five chapters, covering a range of significant concepts including evenness of the fingers, scales and arpeggios, the technique of double notes and polyphonic playing, the wrist technique, and chords. Cortot’s method requires an already-established technique, so it is best suited for late intermediate and advanced pianists.
With his focus on musicality, expression, and psychological aspects of piano playing, Cortot’s method will offer a fresh perspective to advanced pianists and provide them with a unique technical approach.
I believe advanced but even intermediate players can get immense value out of Cortot’s unique methodology and I highly encourage you to explore it.
Advanced Piano Sheet Music Books
I believe any advanced player should have this collection by Schirmer in their library. If you are in need of a comprehensive repertoire book at an advanced level, you should definitely check it out.
It is more at the early advanced level, so don’t anticipate exceptionally challenging pieces. Still, late-intermediate and early-advanced players will find enough challenging material to work on.
It contains 54 advanced pieces by 21 compers including Lizst, Schubert, Chopin, Bach, and Tchaikovsky. Overall, this beautiful collection provides a rich selection of some of the most famous classical pieces to explore and master.
As delightful as Chopin’s compositions can sound, they are equally demanding in terms of difficulty. Therefore, Schirmer’s collection which includes all of Chopin’s Preludes, Nocturnes, and Waltzes is the perfect repertoire book for advanced pianists.
The great thing about this book is that as expected from a Schirmer book, it is in exceptional print quality and the arrangements are written in a clear way that makes them easy to read. For more convenient practice, I would suggest getting the spiral-bound version as it will lay flat and provide a smoother practice experience.
While you don’t need to be super-advanced to play most of Beethoven’s works, many of his Piano Sonatas are incredibly challenging and should only be attempted by advanced players. Therefore, this Schirmer collection of Beethoven’s Complete Piano Sonatas is the perfect addition to any advanced pianist’s library.
This monumental book compiles all 32 of Beethoven’s sonatas into a single volume, offering the editor’s footnotes for each composition to guide and enhance interpretation. As with all Schirmer editions, the notes are easy to read and print is very clear.
This book features nine of some of the most advanced piano works in their original versions, including compositions by composers such as Chopin, Liszt, Debussy, Rachmaninoff, and Alkan. Some of the works included are Chopin’s Etudes and Liszt’s La Campanella, so it’s an incredible resource for pianists seeking challenging and iconic pieces.
Since there are only nine works, it can be finished fairly quickly depending on your proficiency level. Overall, it’s a great little repertoire book that you can quickly master without feeling overwhelmed and easily take wherever you go.
If you are a piano teacher looking for a repertoire book that you can use with your advanced students, this series by Bastien is ideal. This is the fifth book from her series intended for advanced students.
With a diverse selection of musical styles spanning from the Baroque era to contemporary times, this book exposes students to a variety of musical concepts and historical periods. These pieces represent Bastien’s personal favorites and have been used by her for years in her teaching.
This book will help intermediate and advanced students become well-rounded pianists and performers, making it a valuable addition to any pianist’s library.
I wish I were advanced enough to play a work by Lizst, but if you are, you shouldn’t miss this fantastic Schirmer collection of Lizst works which is sold at an incredible price. It features some of Liszt’s most iconic works, including all 3 of Libestraums and 6 Consolations, which I believe any advanced pianist should familiarize themselves with.
As with all Schirmer editions, the layout is clear, large, and well-formatted. The print is of excellent quality and the notes are very easy to follow.
Overall, this edition is an absolute essential for advanced players or anyone who wishes to explore some of the most beautiful and challenging works in the classical piano repertoire.
If you’re an advanced pianist looking for more challenging arrangements to play for Christmas, this collection might be what you’re after. It features advanced arrangements of 26 popular Christmas songs including classics such as Silent Night, Let It Snow!, O Holy Night, and Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.
What makes these arrangements so fun to play and listen to is that author Tom Roed also added a light jazzy touch to some of the songs with syncopated rhythms and jazz chords. Overall, the arrangements are really beautiful and all of them include the chords, which is a huge plus.
One thing to clarify about this book is that the arrangements inside are not virtuoso-level. While they can be considered advanced level when compared to most Christmas repertoire books, they are still reachable by intermediate players as well. They are also perfect to sight-read for advanced players.
Overall, I highly recommend this book if you’re looking for an advanced Christmas piano book.
If you are advanced enough to delve into some of the most extremely advanced piano repertoire, a.k.a Rahmaninoff’s Preludes, this collection is the way to go. This comprehensive collection features Rachmaninoff’s complete Preludes for Piano, Op.3, 23, and 32.
The book is again from Schirmer’s Library and therefore features excellent print quality. Despite the works being incredibly dense and complex, the clear and large format of the notes makes it easy to follow.
Overall, this Rachmaninoff collection is not only perfect for advanced pianists but any level of pianist who is up for a challenge with some of the most difficult yet beautiful piano repertoire ever written.
For advanced piano players who are into jazz music, I highly recommend checking out this book. It features 15 well-known jazz classics arranged for intermediate and advanced levels. Some of the titles included are Mood Indigo, Take Five, and Killing Me Softly with His Song.
Overall, the arrangements are really beautiful and each one features a unique touch that makes you revisit these well-known classics with a different approach. The arrangements are not off-the-charts difficult, so late-intermediate players can also enjoy the beautiful arrangements in the book.
I hope this post has made it easier for you to pick a piano book for you as an advanced pianist. And the good news is, even if you’re an intermediate or late intermediate pianist, many of these books can still work for you.
Do you have any experience with these books? If so, did they prove effective for you? Share your experiences in the comments below!