Buying a Piano For a Beginning Piano Student

Welcome to Creative Harmonies Music Studio! Each month we’re going to be providing you with information to help you or your child enjoy learning to play the piano!

Today we’re going to talk about – pianos! When I was a kid, you basically had one choice, an acoustic piano. That’s what everyone used because there were no other choices. Today we have lots of choices and parents are often confused as to how to even start looking.

Upright acoustic piano. Photo by Bailey Alexander on Unsplash.

Most teachers want students to learn on an acoustic piano. But here at Creative Harmonies, we know that everyone is different and since we have choices, it’s best to take a little time to see what best suits each student’s needs.

Obviously, space is an important factor in choosing an instrument. Pianos can often take up more space than is available. Another factor is sound. Pianos are, for the most part, loud.

If you live in an apartment, and the sound leaks, you might have unhappy neighbors (of course, you might have neighbors that love hearing you play as well!).

Putting size and sound aside for the moment, what other factors are important in choosing your instrument? First, let’s quickly review the difference
between an acoustic piano, a digital piano and a keyboard.
An acoustic piano produces sound with felt-covered hammers hitting steel-wire strings. A digital piano doesn’t use hammers; instead it features electronic speakers to play back high quality recordings taken from the very best acoustic pianos. An electronic tone generator produces the sounds, which are amplified using a speaker. Keyboards are usually lighter than digital pianos, and often don’t have weighted keys. This means that their keys don’t move or react like piano keys. Some keyboards have less than the usual 88 keys you’d find on a piano. Keyboards also often have many different voices, tones, rhythms, and sound effects.

Digital keyboard with lots of buttons for different options.

So, what does all this mean to you when trying to decide what’s best for you or your child? It means you have to consider what the needs will be for
your child while playing the instrument.

Many children are easily distracted by the sounds, bells and whistles of a keyboard. That means that even though this might be the less expensive route,
if your child is easily distracted, they will have difficulty focusing when practicing.

Digital keyboard with simplified options. Photo of Kawai digital keyboard sold by Artist Studios, a piano store, which is linked.

Other students have weak muscle tone. That makes it difficult for them to press the keys on an acoustic piano. But a keyboard often doesn’t provide them with any resistance at all, so it doesn’t really help with muscle tone. For a student with weak muscle tone, there are digital pianos that allow you to adjust touch sensitivity (make the keyboard more, or less, sensitive to the force of your keystrokes). As the student’s fingers become stronger the touch of the keyboard can become firmer.

Another factor to consider is sound. Some people are hypersensitive to sound. It doesn’t mean they can’t play the piano, it just means that an acoustic
piano may not work for them. Being able to adjust the volume on a digital piano to something more comfortable for them makes practicing a pleasure!

These are a few of the things to consider when thinking about an instrument for yourself or your child. At Creative Harmonies Music Studio, we have
two digital keyboards that we chose specifically for the needs of our students and an acoustic piano as well. We are always happy to answer questions
about your student’s specific piano needs in order to help you make an informed decision.

To assist you in making an informed decision, we highly recommend our favorite local piano store, Artist Pianos!

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