Back to School Instrument Tutors


Here are a list of our favourite ones, please click within the text to view the product.

Tutors like A New Tune A Day run across many instruments (violin, clarinet, saxophone, flute, classical guitar, viola, trombone, oboe and bassoon) and they continue the consistent, gentle pace of Tune a Day with its meticulousness but with many improvements: the books come now with an audio CD with performances and backing tracks to help performance. There are also illustrations, photos and a pull-out fingering chart, to help improve technique when practising.

Learn As You Play by Peter Wastall is a high-quality series of tutor books for woodwind and brass instruments with everything you need to develop a solid foundation in technique and musicianship. Each book takes the student from the start, right through to the standard required for Grade 3 examinations. The Learn As You Play method is easy to understand and use, and each book is divided into units that provide clear explanations of each new stage of learning. Plenty of exercises are included along with concert pieces, many of which have been set for examinations.

For beginners on the recorder, The Really Easy Recorder Book by Brian Bonsor has 12 imaginative pieces for the absolute beginner. It includes a range of classics and composed melodies, all with attractive piano accompaniments. The pieces are arranged gradually, so you can hear the steady improvement in your playing.

The Abracadabra tutor books are available for most instruments, with or without a CD. They are intended as a beginner’s tutor and very easy to use, using well-known tunes. They offer instructions, balanced progression and scope for individual teaching approaches. The Abracadabra range is an established and popular course offering a thorough grounding in basic technique for flute, oboe, clarinet, saxophone, bassoon, trumpet, cello, French horn, recorder, violin and viola. There is thorough progression and lively music for inspiration to beginner musicians.

There is also another mini-series for strings connected to this series, Abracadabra Beginner, which is suitable for younger children.

Vamoosh by Gregory Thomas, is a very popular series that currently is available for string instruments, recorder and flute. Players will improve as they enjoy playing through the books from start to finish. They come with a free backing CD and all books are ideal for individual or group learning. The emphasis is on starting very simply for young children.

The Fiddle Time series by Kathy and David Blackwell, is available as Fiddle Time (for violin), Viola Time and Cello Time. Fiddle Time takes the violinist from the very first lessons to Grade 3 in a series of books. Fiddle Time, Viola Time and Cello Time all include original tunes, well-known pieces, and come with a CD. Duet books and piano accompaniments are available separately, for all three in the series.


String Time Starters by Kathy Blackwell is an exciting ensemble collection for beginner strings from the authors of the Fiddle Time series. The String Time series contains flexible string ensemble pieces, including a part for Double Bass.

The Guitarist Way Books 1-4 by Peter Nutall are a very popular beginners guitar tutor, for those learning either in small groups or as individuals. Book one teaches playing simple melodies on the top three strings, whilst developing a secure technique in both hands. Book two goes into new areas of technique and musicianship while reinforcing the skills learned in book one. You will learn about quavers, dotted rhythms and two-note chords as well as sharps, flats and naturals. A significant feature of book three is the development of a secure free stroke technique through the playing of arpeggios and chords. Second and seventh positions, important in both solo and ensemble work, are also explored. Left hand technique is developed by the introduction of slurs, and there is a page of common chords at the end of the book. Book four introduce some new rhythms, continue to develop left and right hand techniques, and explore a wider range of keys and musical styles with an opportunity for more expressive playing in some of the higher positions.

Enjoy Playing Guitar by Debbie Cracknell is a great resource for all guitarists. With over 70 pieces in a range of styles, including originals plus arrangements of well-known tunes, this series supports creative activities covering improvisation, playing by ear, and accompanying using basic chords and ostinatos. There are detailed illustrations showing best posture and hand/finger positions and books 1 and 2 are new revised editions, which come with a CD for practising at home. Time for Two is a duet collection, which is great for classical guitarists at Grades 1-3.

Piano Adventures by Nancy Faber, is a very popular piano tutor. This piano method combines creative theory with an exceptional technical approach to promote practice and progress. It also has a series for older beginners, which accelerates learning.

Developed from the Piano Adventures series, My First Piano Adventure is useful for children who are at the ‘pre-reading’ music phase. It is also very colourful and interactive, to capture the imagination of pupils. There are fun-filled songs, rhythm games and technique activities to start developing beginning keyboard skills. Lesson books A and B also come with a CD.

A new tutor, Piano Junior, by Hans-Guenter-Heumann is a new course for beginners, which is creative, attractive, methodical and very interactive. It has its own website with additional online material to support your child’s learning. There are two characters, PJ the friendly robot and Mozart the dog, who motivate and inspire children throughout each level. The course is available as core lesson books, along with supplementary theory, duet and performance books at each stage. Suitable for children approximately six years and above.

Piano Time by Pauline Hall is a very popular series for all young beginners, from the very first lesson up to around grade 3. There are a range of carefully paced and attractive books (tutors, books of pieces of all kinds, duets, and technique books) which make learning the piano enjoyable. Piano Time Classics, is for pianists to enjoy playing the pieces they recognise, appealing both to adults and children, who are looking to build up their repertoire. Browse the complete range here:

Tunes for 10 Fingers by Pauline Hall, is ideal for very young children, which is attractively presented and makes learning fun. More Tunes for 10 Fingers is the second book in this series for beginners. It has a great choice of songs, duets, puzzles and games, this book will encourage children to learn at a steady pace.

Easiest Piano Course by John Thompson suits children who are beginning the piano. The series includes books from 1-5, which have been revised to make it an even more enjoyable and comprehensive step-by-step series. It is designed to present the easiest possible approach to piano playing, with an amusing family of characters and illustrations. Part 1 is about developing fluency in reading by note. Only five notes up and five notes down from middle C are presented and time values do not go beyond crotchets. Part 2 is attractively presented with a clear layout and some new characters who help communicate the information being taught. Part 3 teaches the importance of playing and listening to music phrase by phrase rather than note by note. Parts 4 and 5 allow the pupil to develop efficiency and fluency in the application of knowledge gained in the earlier books. Each book of the course has its own writing exercises, sight-reading drills, review work and later, technical studies. Accompaniments for teacher or parent are supplied with most of the examples.

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