The Purchasing Dilemma: Acoustic Piano vs.
Digital Piano vs.
Electric Keyboard There is definitely a misguided notion out there that in order to learn to play the piano, you actually need to have an acoustic piano.
As a private music teacher for over 30 years, this topic comes up time and time again.
The following are the pros and cons of each of the types of instruments that one can choose from when beginning piano/keyboard lessons.
There are three main categories of instruments available for students wanting piano lessons.
Here are some points about each one to keep in mind when making your decision on which one to get.
Each student/family will have a different situation and hopefully the following guide will help you.
Acoustic Piano An acoustic piano is the traditional type of piano that has been around for decades.
Acoustic pianos, in simple terms, generate their own sound and do not need to be plugged in.
There are several different types and styles available, including upright and grand pianos.
An acoustic piano will need to be tuned regularly in order to sound good.
Humidity changes can cause pianos to go out of tune.
Quite possibly two or three piano tunings a year may be needed by a professional tuner who will need to come to your home which is an expense to consider.
A piano will take up a fair amount of space in your home, limiting you as to where you can place it.
You will need careful consideration as to where to put it in regards to temperature changes and humidity in your home.
Keep away from drafts and dampness, and basements.
Consider the needs of a person who will be taking the lessons.
They will need to be able to access the piano daily and preferably with minimal distractions.
Other family members will also need to be considered because a piano is a very loud instrument.
Consider how and where they will be when a person wishes to practice.
Consider also that a piano would be very loud in a condo or apartment situation.
Pianos are heavy and are difficult to move once in your home or if you move.
A professional piano mover will be required, another expense to keep in mind.
You cannot connect headphones to a piano.
You cannot connect a computer to a piano.
A piano can only make the sound of a piano.
You will not be able to learn to play along with rhythms and enjoy all the different sounds, beats, and features that a digital piano or keyboard can create.
Digital Piano Also referred to as an electric piano, digital pianos offer the student tremendous options, including several choices of sounds, rhythms, headphones, and computer connections.
Digital pianos are smaller than traditional pianos and therefore do not take up much room in your house.
They come in different sizes like 88 and 76 key models.
They are not very heavy and can easily be moved around your home.
They are not as sensitive to humidity and will not have to be tuned.
Different models are available in weighted (like a piano) or non-weighted (like a keyboard).
Different models can come with either two or three pedals (like a piano).
Electric Keyboard An electric keyboard, often referred to simply as a keyboard, is a great and inexpensive way to introduce beginner students to piano lessons.
A minimum of 61 full-size keys is recommended (simply count all the keys on the keyboard, including both white and black keys).
Keyboards have evolved tremendously over the last few years, the sounds and rhythms they make can make you sound like a whole band! No tuning needed.
Takes very little space in your home.
Can easily be carried around in your home or in a carrying case for travel.
Pedals are available to be plugged into a keyboard, such as sustain and damper pedals.
Headphone connections Computer connections (on some models).
Summary It would be discriminating to say that you have to have an acoustic piano to start your lessons, and to be refused to start classes because of that (as some music schools do).
As you can see by the above information, there are several options available to the beginner piano student.
Regardless of budget or space in your home, there is an option for you.
The only time an acoustic piano is necessary is when a student is going to carry on into higher levels of piano study, which usually would not occur until at least two or three years of music study have been completed.
As long as a student has a decent quality instrument, they will continue to enjoy their lessons.
Learning on an acoustic piano does not guarantee the student no more than learning on a keyboard.
What you learn will be exactly the same regardless of the type of piano or keyboard you choose, therefore pick the one that best fits your situation and desire.
It will be your dedication and commitment that will be your success in piano and other music lessons.
Having an instrument that you enjoy and can easily access on a daily basis, will be a huge factor in your music lessons success and happiness.