Which Piano

SHOULD I buy?

Did you ever take piano lessons as a child? If not, then being a piano parent can be a bit overwhelming at first, especially when it comes to buying a piano. There are so many choices out there – where should you begin? In this guide to purchasing a piano, I’ll answer your questions about why your child needs a piano at home, what the different types of pianos are, and what to look for when purchasing one.

Do i REALLY NEED TO BUY A PIANO?

It’s exciting starting something new like piano lessons! But for you as the parent, there are also mounting costs – particularly the need for a piano. ‘Since my child learns piano in their lessons, is an at-home instrument actually necessary?’ you might ask.

The answer is yes! Having a piano at home for your child to practise on is key to their progress. Let’s take a look at the big picture in the illustration below.

How many adults look back on their younger years and wish that they hadn’t given up on their music lessons? Lots! Why did they quit? Maybe they didn’t have a good instrument to practice on at home.

Will Any Piano Do?

But notice I said good instrument to practice on. While it may be tempting to grab the next freebie piano you find on Gumtree, pause and consider the big picture again. Is your goal for your child to have a year of lessons and then quit with a feeling of frustration and lack of achievement? I don’t think so!

So how can we keep this from happening? The first step is having a piano at home that sounds and feels good. One that they will really enjoy playing!

The kind of piano you buy at the beginning of this music journey is crucial to your child’s future success in music. It won’t work like magic – the student will still have to have to put in the effort of practising. But it will help to motivate them to practice. Let’s look at the big picture again.

It is that sense of progress and achievement that keeps many students from giving up on learning piano even when it’s hard. And having a great practice instrument at home can go a long way towards helping your child feel the motivation to practice.

So you can see that just having a piano isn’t enough if your goal is long-term. You need a good instrument. Yes, that will mean more investment up-front. However, if your child sticks with piano longer because they have a beautiful instrument to play on, it will be well worth it.

What are My Options?

The kind of piano that you buy will depend largely on how much you’re willing to invest, but in order to make the best decision for your family, you need to have a basic understanding of the types of pianos available. Let’s start with the top range and move down.

Grand Piano

First, there’s the original acoustic piano – the grand piano. This is the kind of piano we use in the studio for lessons. While playing on a grand piano is certainly a treat, the size of the instrument and its high cost makes it inaccessible to most families.

Upright Piano

Then, there is the upright acoustic piano. You can think of this piano as a smaller and more compact version of the grand piano. It certainly fits in smaller homes better than a grand piano! While a quality upright piano easily costs several thousand dollars, it’s an excellent investment in your child’s future.

If you’re looking into getting an upright piano, it would be a good idea to look for a second-hand one. But be careful! If it’s listed on Gumtree for $50 and is 20 years old, it’s probably not worth buying. When shopping for second-hand pianos, look for well-known, high-quality brands such as Kawaii and Yamaha.

Also, if you decide to buy an acoustic piano, make sure you take into account the cost of it’s upkeep. Ideally, acoustic pianos should be tuned by a professional every year – so be sure to factor that into your budget!

Digital Piano

The digital piano seems to be one of the most popular options for first pianos these days since its advanced technology makes it feel almost like a real piano. Digital pianos have weighted keys that feel somewhat similar to acoustic pianos, but the more compact size of the digital piano makes it easier to fit into smaller homes.

Parents considering this option would be well-advised to ensure that they buy a furniture stand (rather than an x stand) to go with such a piano. While the furniture stand with the pedals in-built is a lot more expensive than the x stand, it makes a big difference. Especially because pianos perched on x stands tend to wobble when played!

Any digital piano from the Yamaha P series would make an excellent start-up piano. Other options to consider are the Kawai ES110 or the Roland FP30. Look around at your local music store or online for these brands and models.

Keyboard

This last option – the keyboard – while very popular due to portability and low price tag is not something that I would recommend. Because its keys are not weighted like a regular acoustic piano, it can hinder the development of student’s technique. Also, keyboards are often shorter than 88 keys.

While playing on a keyboard occasionally isn’t a big deal, a beginning pianist needs a better instrument to practice on at home each day. Sure, it costs less initially, but down the road, you’ll run into some potentially big problems.

Quick Tips for Buying a piano

  • As a general rule, don’t go for anything below $500. It’s certainly a bit of an investment up-front, but having a quality instrument can make all the difference between enjoying piano and quitting before you’ve really got into it!
  • Make sure there are 88 keys on your piano. It should be full length.
  • Purchase a proper furniture stand with in-built pedals rather than an x stand for your digital piano.
  • Kawaii and Yamaha are excellent brands for any piano – acoustic or digital.
  • Don’t buy a keyboard with unweighted keys.

While having a great piano for your child to practice on at home is not the only key to success, it’s the best starting point! Not every type of piano will fit your situation and budget, but I hope you’re now equipped with the knowledge to choose the perfect piano for your family.

Need any extra help in picking out your new piano? Feel free to email me at creativeclassicalpiano@gmail.com.