Tutor books are books, usually for young beginners. All instruments have tutors. The age group would be around 5+/6 years of age onwards.
As piano has the biggest student following, piano tutor books will be the scope of attention for this article.
Children younger than this age group, have numerous courses for them, e.g. Yamaha Junior Music Courses, Music Wonderland, Music Fantasy, Musikgarten, Kindermusik etc. Some of the music courses cater even for infants and toddlers.
Tutor books would be introduced when a child has basic control over hands, pulse/rhythm and pitch recognition. These elements would be done initially before the books are given to the student.
The books can only support what the teacher has taught.
There are many piano tutor books that deal with both the performance and theory aspect. The John Thompson’s Easiest Piano Course book was one of the few books available for young beginners in the early days (maybe be in the early 20th century) of piano teaching, still popular with some teachers till today.
The John Thompson’s series, of course now have books that would interest the current music market e.g. The Medieval World by John Thompson, The First Disney Songs: Elementary Level.
In the current music market there are so many tutor books that teachers are spoilt for choice. Both the local publishers such as Rhythm MP, Poco Studio Music Series etc., and the overseas publications such as the Alfred’s Basic Piano, Bastien Piano Basics, Piano Adventures, Oxford University Press etc.
Piano tutors such as Tune for Ten Fingers (and others Ten Fingers series) and Piano Times are from the Oxford University Press.
Not only selecting tutor books need to be carefully considered, but, sequencing the books is just as important.
Sequencing books, such that when the standard grade one level performance is reached, the student has good rhythm/pulse, reading, technical control and is acquiring interpretation skills.