Why do we need a piano and what type should we get? Students need a piano because they need to be able to practice at home. Learning to play any musical instrument is a big undertaking that depends upon regular lessons and daily practice. It takes practice to understand musical concepts and to acquire the coordination and motor skills it takes to become a pianist.
What Should We Get?
There are basically two types of pianos, Acoustic and Digital. First, let’s look at Acoustic Pianos.
Acoustic Pianos are made of wood and have steel strings. An acoustic piano is a great choice if you have space in your home to accommodate one and if you can afford it. Concert artists always play on fine acoustic pianos and almost all pianists prefer them. Acoustic pianos need periodic tuning, however, this is a minimal expense. If carefully chosen and properly cared for, an acoustic piano is an investment that will last a lifetime.
It is important to know that acoustic pianos vary wildly in price, quality, and condition. In order to be useful for piano practice, an acoustic piano must be a new or well-maintained pre-owned piano. You must also look for a reputable brand of instrument. Acoustic pianos have over 10,000 moving parts, these parts wear out if not properly maintained. I always recommend that families get help when selecting an acoustic piano. Consult your teacher. He/she can certainly point you in the right direction and help with your piano selection.
Digital Pianos are electronic instruments. Digital pianos have a full set of 88 weighted keys. The weights inside the keys make these instruments feel more like acoustic pianos when played. They also have an assortment of different sounds and computer interface capabilities.
Digital Pianos have improved greatly in price and quality over the past 20 years. In my opinion, a good quality digital piano with its own case and bench for proper seating is a good option for families that do not have space and budget for an acoustic piano. Digital pianos also vary in price and quality, so please consult your teacher before purchasing a digital piano.
Keyboards are not pianos and are not acceptable for piano practice. They do not sound or feel like a piano and practicing on a keyboard will be discouraging and will foster bad habits. I would also prefer that my students forgo practice on a keyboard and concentrate on the lessons in “First Four Weeks Before a Piano” rather than practice on a keyboard. In my 30-plus years of teaching, I have seen that keyboards just don’t work. Piano students need pianos.
There are many many affordable options when it comes to getting a piano. You can rent or buy. Some of my students have even received nice pianos from friends or relatives. The bottom line is that the sooner you get a good-quality piano the better.
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