The right music at the right time is imperative for the success and longevity of student interest in music lessons. A Pop Recital doesn’t have to be limited to simply Pop 40, though it does make it pretty awesome! Start easy. That may be Disney, or Pop 40, or Classic Rock. What do you know, and what do your students like? Music with chord symbols is a goldmine for us piano teachers who like pop styles.

Here are some song and repertoire suggestions for an amazing Pop Recital from a first year student to the most advanced.

SONGS and REPERTOIRE: In this post, you’ll find suggested songs and pieces (some with video links) and some practical teaching tips for style.

  • Music – You MUST do this legally! No photocopied music, at all. or GuitarTabs is a great place to start. The resources are far richer now than when I started implementing this performance with the school almost ten years ago.
  • Short video on what you can do with 

Beginning students:

Intermediate students:

  • This is such a musically rich level! Some of the 2016-2017 favorites for the younger students in their third or fourth year of student include Eye of the Tiger, Say Something, Heathens, All of Me and anything for easy piano or that has chord symbols from
  • Eric Baumgartner’s Books 2 and 3 of Jazzy Solos
  • has some great World Music options with practice tracks
  • Mike Springer’s Jazz Standards
  • Bon Iver’s Skinny Love from
  • Billy Joel’s Piano Man from
  • Feelin’ Good (student arrangement by ear) from GuitarTabs:
  • (intermediate student, teacher/student piano arrangement)

Advanced students: 

  • So much to choose from here! Think popular arrangements of jazz standards.
  • Baumgartner’s Jazz Standards
  • Kevin Olsen’s Misty arrangement is a hit, as is the Misty in Faber 4
  • Gershwin tunes
  • Mark Hays arrangements of popular hymns/contemporary worship songs
  • Anything for the advanced pianist on
  • Bohemian Rhapsody from
  • Amazing Grace (student arranged by ear):

Billy Jole, New York State of Mind, Hal Leonard publication: