Skip to content

Graded Piano Course (8 years and up)

This is a course for students from 8 years old onwards where you learn to play the piano taught in the traditional way. The focus is on reading notes and learning material e.g. aural, sight-reading, pieces, scales and arpeggios from the syllabi of graded piano exams. The Music Teachers’ Board (“MTB”) piano syllabus is used. However, taking of exams is 100% optional.

There are 10 levels in this course: pre-grade introductory, pre-grade higher and grades 1 to 8. Each level typically take about one year to complete although motivated students can complete faster. There are usually two or three students (and their parents of younger children) for each lesson.

Note: it has been found from experience and anecdotally that most students stop playing the piano altogether despite passing grade 8, most students can’t play simple tunes e.g. Happy Birthday or a Christmas carol unless they have sheet music and time to practice and the attrition/dropout rate from learning piano the traditional way and/or going through the graded exam system is high. However, they do not not stop especially parents and adults returning to piano from requesting that their child/they be taught in the “traditional” way. An alternative to consider is the Piano Musicianship Course or the DIY Piano Course.

For this course, the student will need:

  • Access to a keyboard or piano. For keyboards or digital piano recommendations, go here.
  • Books to practise reading notes daily. You can use any piano/keyboard book to practise reading notes. You can borrow a book from Celbridge Piano’s library (please fill in the loan book). Joseph recommends:
  • The syllabus for the MTB Piano level you are working on
  • Youtube reminder videos of rote pieces (up to 12 years old)
  • The music sheets for the pieces you/your child has chosen for the level. Unless you have access to them, you are expected to purchase them
  • A notebook and pen/pencil for taking notes
  • A smart phone for taking videos
  • Plenty of patience and hope when your progress is not going the way you would like

What to practice / What if you missed a class:

See below for some ideas. Above all, have fun and enjoy practising effectively and efficiently on the piano/keyboard.

MTB material

  • Learn and memorise the pieces for the level you are working on
  • Learn and memorise the technical exercises for the level you are working on
  • Learn the duet piece for the level you are working on (grade 1 onwards)
  • Have fun with the Reading Skills for the level you are working on, along with the recordings (grade 1 onwards)
  • Have fun with the Listening Skills for the level you are working on, along with the recordings (grade 1 onwards)


  • Complete pages from your music theory workbook if you have one
  • Listen to / watch videos of music that you are learning
  • Analyse the music that you are learning
  • Record yourself (audio/video) and play it back. Assess yourself – what do you think and what would you like to do better?
  • If you are away and don’t have a piano, practise without a piano/keyboard. Imagine you are in front of a piano and just play away as normal. Hear the sounds and visualise the keys in your mind.


My child or I can’t remember what was learnt during the class.

For reminder videos of Piano Safari Pattern Pieces, refer here. For other music, you are welcome to search the internet. Refer to your notes taken during the class. You are welcome to take videos of what was learnt using your smart phone during lesson time.

What will I/my child be learning?

The curriculum is based on Piano Safari Pattern Pieces (for children below 13 years old only) and MTB Piano.

In MTB Piano, you/your child will learn:

  • At least three pieces of music of your/your child’s choice. The music ranges from western classical music to movie music e.g. Let It Go from Disney’s Frozen.
  • To play at least one piano duet
  • Technical exercises to strengthen your/your child’s fingers
  • To read rhythms and listen well as a musician

After you/your child has completed the Pattern Pieces (for children below 13 years old) and MTB Piano for the level that you/he/she is working on, depending on your/your child’s musical goals, you/your child is free to design what you/she/he would like to do during lesson time.

I/my child would like to enrol for an exam.

That’s great. Refer to Celbridge Piano’s thoughts on taking exams.