About the Level

1. Why is this level called BigTime Piano?

The name “BigTime” represents three musical outcomes:

  • a “big” sound at the keyboard, bigger pieces, and faster tempi.
  • a bigger harmonic palette, with chord symbols shown for some of the styles.
  • a big arrival point after 5 earlier levels: PreTime, PlayTime, ShowTime, ChordTime, and FunTime.

Now it’s BigTime!

BigTime Piano correlates with Basic Piano Adventures Level 4, Level 5, and beyond.

2. When could a Level 4 student start a BigTime Book?

Many students could start a BigTime Book as early as UNIT 2 in the Level 4 Lesson Book.

  • The following keys have been covered: C major and A minor, G major and E minor, F major and D minor, and D major.
  • The dotted-eighth to sixteenth rhythm (insert. ) has been presented.
  • Importantly, the V7 chord in root position has been introduced.

These (and many more) selections work well after UNIT 2:

BigTime Disney Book

Dig a Little Deeper (p. 14)

BigTime Rock ‘n Roll Book

Rock Around the Clock (p. 4)

BigTime Christmas Book

The First Noel (p. 4)

BigTime Classics Book

Canon in D (p. 18)

BigTime Kid’s Songs Book

The Pink Panther (p. 18)

3. Which is the easiest BigTime Book to teach first?

The best BigTime Book to start with is the one that appeals most to the student.

The student’s motivation will spark practice. Choices for starter BigTime Books could be Popular, Christmas, and Classics.

BigTime Popular Book

The Medallion Calls (p. 34)

BigTime Christmas Book

A Holly Jolly Christmas (p. 8)

Silent Night (p. 14)

BigTime Classics Book

Song of India (p. 4)

The Great Gate of Kiev (p. 24)

4. Which concepts are included in BigTime Books?

  • Major keys of C, G, D, A, E, F, and a few pieces in B and E.
  • Minor keys of Am, Em, Dm, Gm, and Cm.
  • Root position V7 chords.
  • 16th-note rhythm patterns.
  • Octave playing.
  • Chord inversions: root position, 1st and 2nd inversions.

5. Could I use a BigTime Book instead of the method?

BigTime Books are designed as supplementary repertoire to use with Level 4 and Level 5 books. They offer a variety of pieces that appeal to intermediate students while enhancing musicianship skills.

  • BigTime Books may be used during Level 4. Or one or more BigTime Books might be given at the end of Level 4 to consolidate skills before moving up to Level 5.
  • BigTime Books may also be used at the end of Level 5 as motivational material while students study harder literature pieces.
  • A teacher could assign a BigTime piece independently to check how students apply what they know.

6. What styles of accompaniments could I expect at BigTime?

There is a wealth of accompaniment styles for students to explore at BigTime: blocked chords, LH octaves, waltz chord pattern, boogie bass pattern, Alberti bass, chords in four-part hymn style, arpeggiated LH patterns, and more.


BigTime Popular Book

Star Wars (Main Theme) (p. 12)

BigTime Classics Book

Great Gate of Kiev (p. 24)


BigTime Disney Book

Can You Feel the Love Tonight? (p. 8)

BigTime Classics Book

Habanera (p. 9)


BigTime Rock ‘n Roll Book

Piano Man (p. 8)

BigTime Classics Book

Tales from the Vienna Woods (p. 6)


BigTime Christmas Book

What Child Is This? (p. 6)

BigTime Classics Book

Theme from Symphony No. 40 (p. 29)


BigTime Christmas Book

O Holy Night (p. 38)

BigTime Hymns Book

It Is Well with My Soul (p. 4)


BigTime Hymns Book

A Mighty Fortress Is Our God (p. 34)

Praise God, From Whom All Blessings Flow (p. 40)


BigTime Favorites Book

Good Morning Blues (p. 14)

BigTime Popular Book

I Saw Her Standing There (p. 27)

7. How can a BigTime book help students play more artistically?

Many of the pieces could contribute to artistic playing for the intermediate student.

Voicing a lyrical melody over a softer accompaniment.

BigTime Disney Book

Beauty and the Beast (p. 40)

BigTime Classics Book

Arioso (p. 14)

Executing a precise rhythmic beat for fast-moving notes.

BigTime Disney Book

We Know the Way (p. 4)

BigTime Studio Collection

Gangnam Style (p. 36)

Creating moments of heightened musical expressiveness.

Using ritardando, accelerando, crescendo and diminuendo, etc.

BigTime Studio Collection

Deep River (p. 29)

BigTime Kids’ Songs Book

In Dreams (p. 22)

8. Could students transpose pieces from BigTime?

Transposition demands new skill as the student begins transposing using the full major/minor scale, complete with hand shifts. Using the “ear,” thinking intervals, and relating tonic, dominant, and leading tone to transposing all build theory understanding.

BigTime pieces are more difficult to transpose than pieces at previous levels. Rather than an entire song, consider assigning 4-8 measures of a piece.

BigTime Christmas Book

The First Noel (p. 4)

Transpose mm. 1-8 to G major.

BigTime Disney Book

We Know the Way (p. 4)

Transpose mm. 1-8 to D major.

BigTime Studio Collection

Rock Around the Clock (p. 18)

Transpose mm. 1-8 to D, G, or F.

BigTime Classics Book

Rondeau (p. 22)

Transpose mm. 1-8 to D or G.

Students become “keyboard smart” with short transposition workouts!

9. Should students do harmonic analysis of the pieces?

Harmonic analysis is always a profitable activity. The following BigTime Books have chord symbols included in the music: Faber Studio Collection, Hits, Jazz & Blues, Kids’ Songs. Popular, and Rock ’n Roll.

Seeing chord symbols in the music trains students to observe “chords in action” and “chord patterns.”

Students may take a section of the piece, name the chord symbols shown above the staff, and play them as blocked chords. Applied theory! No strict rhythm need be expected. Just a free, exploratory journey thinking “chords.”

These BigTime Books do not have chord symbols included: Christmas, Disney, Favorites, Hymns, and Ragtime & Marches. Choose an accessible section and let the student independently write chord symbols in the music. Coach as needed.

BigTime Disney Book

Be Prepared (p. 11)

BigTime Christmas Book

The First Noel (p. 4)

BigTime Favorites Book

Morning Has Broken (p. 4)

BigTime Hymns Book

Come, Ye Thankful People, Come (p. 6)

BigTime Ragtime & Marches Book

Dill Pickles Rag (p. 4)

10. How many BigTime Books should a student do before moving to “serious” piano literature?

This is entirely up to the teacher. The BigTime Piano Books span Level 4, Level 5, and beyond. The teacher and student can enjoy as many books as they like at this late intermediate level.

After completing Piano Adventures Level 4 and Level 5, most students progress to increasingly challenging piano literature. A student could spend many weeks studying a single standard piano literature piece. There is benefit in playing BigTime Books to keep student skills high in “tearing through the notes” quickly. Students will also be growing in understanding of various styles.

BigTime Books may also be sightreading material for more advanced students (Level 5 and beyond). This can be done during a lesson with access to the Teacher Atlas. To do this you’ll need a subscription to the Teacher Atlas and an iPad to place on the piano.

About the Styles

11. Why are there so many styles in BigTime Piano?

The budding pianist must “get good at crunching notes”— hundreds, if not thousands! The flute or clarinet, for instance, is a single-line instrument. One note at a time. Not so the piano!

The pianist must read not only horizontally but vertically—notes stacking upon one another that change at a fast pace. It is the nature of the instrument!

Playing many pieces at a well-graded level continues to build facile reading skills. This is imperative for moving into harder piano literature.

There are 13 Bigtime styles from which to choose!

Christmas, Classics, Disney, Favorites, Hits, Hymns, Jazz & Blues, Kids’ Songs, Music from China, Popular,Ragtime & Marches, Rock ’n Roll, and the Faber Studio Collection.

Having lots of songs to choose from is part of the “bigtime fun” at the piano. Choosing the book most appealing to the student reinforces independent learning and musicianship!

12. Do BigTime Books have audio orchestration? Do they promote the style being studied?

Play-along backing tracks for select BigTime publications are available inside the Piano Adventures Player app.

Enjoy interactive accompaniments for Popular, Classics, Christmas, and Hits. These accompaniments give students a feel for stylistic sounds: classical orchestral sound, rhythmically-driven pop sounds, and beautiful Christmas orchestrations.

Keep watching for more support in this growing collection!

13. Is it okay to add extra notes or chords to an arrangement if the student is able to do this?

Yes, feel free to do so!

  • Add a LH 5th, triad, or 7th chord.
  • “Jazz up” any rhythm you like!
  • Make your own Intro and Ending using beginning and last measures as the creative material.

Explore playing LH bass notes in octaves as a final low note or anywhere in the piece.

14. Could a BigTime piece be used for a recital?

BigTime pieces can be great choices for recitals! They often find a place on “themed” recitals with the variety of repertoire.

A student might play a piece from the method book or a Developing Artist Piano Literature piece (Book 2 or Book 3). Then pull out a BigTime selection of the student’s choice to close with a “big” finale!

About the Rhythm

15. Are 16th notes used in the BigTime Books?

Yes, 16th notes are used abundantly in BigTime Books–as part of the big sound!

BigTime Disney Book

Just Around the Riverbend (p. 24)

BigTime Popular Book

On Broadway (p. 30)

BigTime Christmas Book

Hallelujah (p. 12)

BigTime Classics Book

Hungarian Dance No. 5 (p. 16)

BigTime Kids’ Songs Book

Flight of the Bumblebee (p. 34)