When you think of the piccolo, do you cringe? Think about the high screaming sounds? Well, maybe you just haven’t played the right piccolo music.
Some music can be too hard for piccolo newbies, and it may give you the wrong impression of the instrument. Fortunately, there are plenty of great books and pieces for piccolo players.
But before we get into that, this post contains affiliate links. Click here for my full disclosure policy.
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Why Play the Piccolo
When looking at piccolo music, consider why you want or need to play the piccolo. As a flute and piccolo specialist, I am biased toward the instrument. But I know that a lot of people aren’t as interested in it.
So, why should you play it?
- It can open up new opportunities
- You can diversify your flute practice sessions
- It’s fun to play
- You can learn new repertoire you wouldn’t have otherwise
Whether you want to pursue a career as a flute player or not, the piccolo is great. It’s small, so it’s easy enough to throw in your flute or music bag. But you do need the right piccolo music to start learning it.
The Best Piccolo Music for Beginners
Beginner piccolo music is similar to beginner flute music in that method books are a great place to start. Ideally, you would already be playing the flute and know how to read music.
But you can find piccolo books to learn from scratch. Then, if you haven’t played the flute or not in a while, you can learn how to play the piccolo.
Here’s some of my favorite piccolo music and books for beginners.
Rubank Elementary Method
The Rubank Elementary Method for flute is also for piccolo. It’s a great choice for anyone who needs to refresh their music theory or flute fundamentals. But you can also use it if you know how to play the flute.
This book takes you from the very beginning of your flute or piccolo journey, and it starts with the first few notes. Assuming you can play the flute, you can progress pretty quickly through the lessons on the piccolo.
Still, it provides a nice progression from beginner to early intermediate player. It’s also a relatively affordable book, and you may already have it from when you started learning the flute.
The Mazzanti Method
The Mazzanti Method is a piccolo-specific book by Nicola Mazzanti. He wrote the book to include some of his favorite exercises all in one place. It’s a great book for flute players looking to learn the piccolo.
You can find three main sections: tone, scales, and excerpts. Once you work on your tone and technique, you can play some piccolo music. Then, you can put your skills into practice.
Now, you do need to know how to read music. You should also know the flute/piccolo fingerings or have a chart on hand. That way, you can play through the exercises more easily.
Trevor Wye Practice Book for the Piccolo
Trevor Wye is well known for his Practice Books for the Flute and his beginner books. But he and fellow flutist Patricia Morris wrote the Practice Book for the Piccolo.
It’s similar to the flute books in terms of size, but there are a lot of differences. Instead of focusing on the fundamentals, there are a couple of exercises. Then, Wye and Morris jump right into some famous orchestral excerpts.
You can also read some of the informative content at the back of the book on piccolos and good piccolo music to learn. While the excerpt editions aren’t exactly what you’d find in an orchestra, they can be good for learning.
Patricia Morris The Piccolo Study Book
Patricia Morris also wrote a piccolo music book of her own called The Piccolo Study Book. The book starts with a couple of warmups that you won’t find in her book with Trevor Wye.
However, most of the book is etudes either written for or adapted for the piccolo. You can use the etudes to practice your tone, technique, and other flute (piccolo) fundamentals.
If you don’t want to focus on orchestral music, this is a great alternative. It’s also just a great option if you want to use etudes to help learn to play the piccolo. The etudes come from different composers, so there’s something for everyone.
If you want to play some piccolo music outside of a method or etude book, look at the various preludes by David Loeb. His Six Preludes Volume 1 is a great set of pieces to play.
Out of the six preludes, only one goes up to a high B. The rest only go up to the Bb or D above the staff, so it’s perfect for beginners and anyone who doesn’t like the super high notes.
I played these preludes on my first masters recital, and they were fun. And if you want to play more from David Loeb, he’s written a lot more piccolo music than just this set of preludes.
When I first was learning the piccolo, my flute professor suggested that I use the Telemann Fantasies as piccolo music. Since they’re from the Baroque era, they don’t go too high or too low for the piccolo.
Whether you’ve learned them on the flute or not, they can be a good transition to the piccolo for flute players. Just make sure you get a good edition that follows performance practice and doesn’t use a ton of modern markings.
I’d recommend the Henle or Barenreiter editions. That way, you can practice both the piccolo and historical performance. And you can always play the fantasias on your flute as well.
Your Flute Music
You can easily adapt a lot of flute music into piccolo music, and you don’t even need to officially arrange it. As long as there aren’t a ton of low Cs or C#s, you can make just about any piece work on the piccolo.
This can be a great way to transition when you’re already learning a piece. After you practice it on flute for a while, you can pick up your piccolo for a few minutes.
If you’re looking for some solos to play on flute and piccolo, check out my Selected Famous Solos. You’ll get some pieces that aren’t too fast and don’t have a ton of high notes, like Dona Nobis Pacem and Solveig’s Song.
What Piccolo Music Will You Play?
Playing the right piccolo music can make a difference in how you feel about the instrument. If you force yourself to play something to high or fast, you might not like the experience.
So take it slow, use a beginner method book or some etudes or solos that work well on the piccolo. Then, you can learn to play and love to play the piccolo.
Want to learn more about the piccolo and a possible upcoming piccolo course?