Buying a Piano - Get the FAQs!

As a piano teacher I want to be a resource for parents when they have questions. The most frequently asked questions I get from parents are about buying a piano. Read this article to learn how to choose the piano that s right for your family.

I want to enroll my child in piano lessons. When should I buy a piano?

Think Susie can learn to play piano without one? Don t hold your breath. Taking piano lessons without a piano is like learning to swim without water. Don t wait to purchase a piano or keyboard if you have enrolled or are planning to enroll your child in piano lessons. There are many options for every budget. My advice is to get the best instrument you can afford because pianos hold their value. If your child later decides that piano is not their cup of tea, you can always sell it for about what you paid for it. Another reason to get the best piano or keyboard you can afford is that quality matters. You can safely compare this to your golf game. How much more fun is it to play with a good set up clubs over a bargain set that lacks power and precision.

What s the difference between a piano and a keyboard?

An acoustical piano is what your great grandmother and Beethoven learned to play on, only now they re built in a factory. A factory built acoustical piano is a great investment at a practical cost. There are many types new and used. From smallest to largest they are: spinet, console, upright, baby grand and grand. You can also rent a piano. Usually the rent is applied to the purchase price of the piano should you decide to buy it within six months.

A keyboard is an electronic instrument with many features such as recording and the ability to play with headphones. Again, get the best one you can afford. I recommend a minimum of 76 keys. A full keyboard is 88 keys. This is important because learning to play the piano involves geography. Reading piano music is comparable to reading a map of the piano keyboard. Other key features that affect playing quality and enjoyment are touch sensitivity, weighted keys, and hammered-action keys, which imitate the lever action of an acoustical piano. Touch sensitivity is a minimum requirement. If you are considering a used keyboard, check to see if it is still under warranty before you make your offer. Also, electronic keyboards do not need to be tuned.

How do I know which is better for my family?

If volume is a factor for you, get a keyboard with headphones. With this feature your piano student can still practice while his sister is doing her homework. If space is a factor, you should also consider a keyboard. Another advantage of a keyboard is that you can take it with you to grandma s house. She ll love it!

If, however, you are looking for a beautiful piano to fill your home with music, go for an acoustical piano. You can t beat this choice for playing quality, inspiration and enjoyment.

Why should I purchase a piano for my child?

The answer to this is simple. Students who go on to excel in piano have had a quality piano or keyboard to practice on at home. Does the purchase of a piano guarantee your child s piano success? No. But I can guarantee that without a quality instrument your child will not achieve their musical potential. So go ahead take the leap! Don t wait to give your child the gift of music.

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