Grade 4 Piano:
Tutorials, Music Theory and Technique

This page is an ongoing collection of Grade 4 piano tutorials and theory concepts. When I refer to grades, I’m talking about the RCM (Royal Conservatory of Music), not the ABRSM (though there is some overlap).


Whether or not you follow a particular system or school, and whether or not you take exams, I find a Grade level approach to music is a good way to learn step-by-step, instead of randomly. This is how I teach in my studio, regardless of whether my students do exams or not.

Grade 4 Piano Information and Resources

All About Grade 4 Piano (RCM and ABRSM)

This video is a tour of what to expect at a grade 4 level, both through the RCM and the ABRSM (two major music schools). Whether or not you actually use these schools, this is helpful information for anyone self-studying piano, as it gives you an understanding of benchmarks for this level.


My Favorite Grade 4 Piano Books (RCM and ABRSM)

These are my favorite books for this level which I tend to recommend to my students. As with every level, it’s prudent to get 2-3 books that span a variety of genres – this is my minimum expectation. If you’re a music collector or just an enthusiastic learner, feel free to explore more books than these!


My Favorite Grade 4 Piano Pieces

In this wordless piano video, I play short clips of some of my favorite pieces at this level. The pieces I play in this video can be found in the books mentioned in the previous video (and all the information is detailed in this blog post).

Grade 4 Technique

RCM: Grade 4 Piano Technique

This video includes a play-through of all the technique required for this level, through the Royal Conservatory of Music. Even if you aren’t doing exams or taking formal lessons, it’s still a good idea to get a sense of the technical skills required for this level.


ABRSM: Grade 4 Piano Technique

An alternative to the video above if you have more of a working relationship with the ABRSM.


How to Play Arpeggios for Beginners

Grade 4 is the first year of the RCM where arpeggios are introduced. This video is a primer on how to play arpeggios, a common technical exercise (like scales).


Piano Q&A: Your Scales Questions, Answered

In this video, we explore all of the scales-related questions I'm asked on a regular basis. Questions like "what order should I learn scales in?" and "how much time should I spend practicing scales"?


5 Exercises for Finger Independence

This curated collection of 5 exercises will help your fingers move more independently of each other, instead of just mashing down all at the same time.

Other Playing and Practice Tips

Piano Q&A: All about tempo markings in music

If tempo markings (the note + number, or Italian terms) have you confused, definitely check out this short and simple video to set you straight.


Piano Q&A: I have no idea what pieces to learn!

Most of my adult students get stuck on what pieces to learn and what direction to go in - which is why I'm there to help. Though you're not my studio students, hopefully this video will give you some guidance!

Grade 4 Piano Tutorials

Grechaninov's "Returning Home", op. 119 no. 16

Grechaninov is a little-known composer who wrote some great early-intermediate level piano music. This is a lovely Romantic piece which is a good opportunity to practice long note stretches and patterns.


Rachmaninoff's Prelude op. 2 no. 3 (simplified)

This simplified version of a very difficult Rachmaninoff classic is around a grade 4 level. Though simplified, it's far from simple!