Catapulting into Classical

A headlong leap into music, history, and composing

A Resource for Piano Students: University of Iowa’s Piano Pedagogy Project


piano keys

I started out looking for a Schubert waltz for you today.

In the process, I found the University of Iowa’s Piano Pedagogy Project on YouTube (note: there is a spoken-word video that plays automatically on this page).

Their goal is to provide videos of pretty much the entire beginning and intermediate piano teaching repertoire, eventually reaching around 9,000 videos.  That’s right, 9,000.

What will you see?  Each piece performed neatly and accurately, perhaps a little slower than what you’d see in a performance, with pedaling clearly visible.   Perfect for learning the pieces.

What won’t you see? Overly dramatic renditions of the pieces, played exceedingly fast.  There are no overhead or close-up views of the hands (so you can see the pedaling).  No histrionics, just straight-up piano playing.  Perfect for learning the pieces.

What can you hear?  You can hear Bach preludes and inventions (no fugues—they’re not exactly beginner material), Beethoven dances and sonatinas, some easy Chopin, a host of works by Clementi and Diabelli, Albums for the Young (Schumann and Tchaikovsky), Kabalevsky’s 24 Pieces for Children, Bartok’s Mikrokosmos…you get the idea.  If you’re a piano student (or teacher) you’ll find some familiar contemporary names too, folks who write music for learners, including Vandall, Mier, Alexander, and more.

Why is this resource so cool?  Because when you’re figuring out a new piece of music, you want to hear what it sounds like.  And while you might hear your teacher play it in a lesson, you might not have a recording at home.  Or you might not have access to a teacher at all.

There are plenty of videos and recordings of the complicated stuff.  But for beginning and intermediate level works, they can be harder to find.  And sometimes, amateur recordings by amateur players are…less than optimal.  The performers’ mistakes may become yours.  Bad idea.  That’s why this particular project is a very good idea.

There are playlists on the YouTube page for multi-piece works and some repertoire books, and you can always use the page’s search function to find what’s available.

So if you’re a piano student or teacher, or if there’s a piano student in your family, check it out!

Oh, and here’s that Schubert waltz I promised you, from Sentimental Waltzes, Op. 50, No. 13.


Image attribution:  Piano keys by Truls (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC BY 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons,

2 thoughts on “A Resource for Piano Students: University of Iowa’s Piano Pedagogy Project

  1. Wonderful idea- though with a little cavil. Some very nice, unaffected, under-“interpreted” performances (IMO, “interpretation” can too often mean distortion)- clean and musical. Very nice as models of a whole bunch of traditional “teaching pieces” and other modest works that rarely get the level of musical understanding and respect they deserve. Takes a delicate musical sensibility to play this sort of music as musically and cleanly as I believe one ought. The obvious danger is that some students who are talented in musical mimicry might well go too early in the learning process to these recordings, and simply reproduce them without understanding why they work as they do, nor be able to apply these insights to other works.



  2. This is fantastic! What a great project, and service to piano teachers.


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