Many families take the opportunity of the holiday season’s great pricing on keyboards to prepare their child for piano lessons. The path to the best option can be confusing. We have listed important factors to consider when choosing a keyboard for your family:
Acoustic Piano vs. Digital Options:
Acoustic pianos, upright or grand (concert style) are most notably a furniture piece that needs accommodation in your home’s decor. If price and space allows, it can be a lovely addition. The greatest drawback of acoustic pianos is the need for regular tuning which can be two to four times a year depending on age of the piano and climate conditions – regardless of whether it is played. If you move, or want to give up the piano, removal can be costly. It is often difficult to sell or even give away an acoustic piano.
Digital pianos – with digitally sampled piano sounds – became popular in the 1980’s being more portable, easy to maintain instruments with more sound options. Since their introduction, pioneer companies such as Yamaha and Casio have developed digital sound quality and functionality to amazing levels. There are now clear distinctions between the digital ‘piano’ and the digital ‘keyboard’ but regardless of their differences their compactness and affordability have made either a sensible choice for many families.
Digital Piano vs. Digital Keyboard:
Digital pianos are most like the acoustic piano they are modeled after: they have 88 full-size, weighted (the feeling of heaviness when you tap the key) touch sensitive keys and ideally are mounted on a stationary stand with a pedal board. Unlike their acoustic predecessor they are compact and lighter to move (as little as 26 pounds) making them a practical choice for smaller spaces. They have head phone input jacks, which can be useful for situations where noise is a concern. Many have alternative sound and rhythm options that broaden their interest. Digital pianos are the preferred choice of many piano teachers.
Digital keyboards are popular among creative musicians and ‘techies’ for their variety of options and affordability. They come in many configurations, with tons of recording, rhythm and sound variety. They are available with 61, 76 or 88 keys. Keys may or may not be weighted or dynamic (i.e. “touch sensitive” by responding louder as you tap harder on the key). Some offer USB computer connections for even greater composing possibilities. Keyboards are extremely portable as they are not attached to a stand, so they can be placed on any sturdy surface. Simple portable stands can be purchased in single or heavy duty double ‘X’ options depending on your needs.
What to Buy for Your Student:
If you are considering a digital keyboard for your beginning piano student, you will want one with the minimum of the following options: at least 76 full size, touch sensitive keys, and a sustain pedal. Intermediate and advanced students will benefit from the digital piano’s weighted keys and pedal board, as advanced music calls for the greater dynamics provided by these features.
The staff at City Music in Leominster, and in Gardner, can assist you in choosing a suitable digital keyboard for your needs. Our keyboard department offers teacher approved digital pianos and keyboards at a range of affordable prices. Not sure how to get your digital piano or keyboard purchase home? Ask about our FREE local delivery.
Music lessons can make your purchase get life-long results with instruction and coaching by a professional. Be sure to ask about City Music’s Lesson Studios.