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Piano VS Keyboard -- which would be better...


my2boysteacher
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...for beginning students? I'm having a difficult time deciding which to buy.

We have a hand-me-down keyboard at the moment, but DS8 is starting piano lessons tonight so we will need to upgrade to a better electronic keyboard or a piano. DS9 is learning guitar and his teacher would like him to learn some piano as well to help him as he progresses with guitar.

I like the idea of a piano, but DH would like an electronic keyboard because of the extra features such as built in metronome and record and playback ability.

Anyone have any thoughts or experience that would help us in our decision? :)

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I would say go with the piano. There is a difference in feel and sound, and a beginning student would do better with the real thing.

 

There are keyboards that come close in feel and sound, but they cost a lot. You have to buy one with all of the keys, and make sure the keys are weighted. I think (I could be wrong), that even a "cheap" good one would be around $2500. And keyboards die. A real piano has a life of 50 yrs (on avg), but a keyboard is an electronic and can die, and they do, lasting (from what I've read, and from the 2 people I know who have used them) around 5 years. (of course, some may last much longer, some less. My BIL's made it 2 years). And you can sell a real piano. The electronic ones don't hold their value as well (pianos depreciate as well, but not as fast).

 

If money is a major issue, than you can do better with an electronic piano than with a cheap piano, since you are guaranteed to get good sound and action with the electric.

 

HTH

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I am an avid pianist, and my kids are taking piano also, however, we use our yamaha p140 full sized keyboard. I know their teacher prefers the piano for her students but I'm telling you..this keyboard has the most wonderful piano touch. I like it better than the baby grand at our church! I say, go with what you can do!

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Well, I'll cast my vote for a keyboard. I've had my Kawai electric piano for 15 years - it's never needed a tuning and I've easily transported it through at least a dozen different moves (including multiple times between California and Montana for college). It has weighted keys, includes a grand pedal, and I used it as a music major in college to practice for my piano performances.

 

Yes, it feels different than a real piano. If you expect your DS8 to go into piano performance, then get him a *real* piano by all means. If you just need to learn music and get finger strength, go for the electric. One day with the volume control will convince you it was the right idea. :D

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I would have to vote for the piano. We have a keyboard and my ds is taking piano lessons. He has a really hard time playing on the real piano because his fingers don't build up the muscles on a keyboard that they would a piano.

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When my girls started piano lessons at age 5, we bought a keyboard because we did not know for how long they would take lessons. After 2 years of progress, I upgraded to a digital piano because we needed something with a pedal, and they were playing more difficult pieces for their recitals. I wish I had the space for a real piano, but our digital piano is enough for us right now.

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This is the keyboard dd has. This is the only thing she has ever used to practice on at home. Her piano teacher of course has a regular piano. Dd has no problem going from the keyboard, to the teachers piano, and then to the baby grand they use for recitals. She LOVES her keyboard. She is now using it to teach her younger brother. We were very happy with the service and shipping from the company as well.

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I am an avid pianist, and my kids are taking piano also, however, we use our yamaha p140 full sized keyboard. I know their teacher prefers the piano for her students but I'm telling you..this keyboard has the most wonderful piano touch. I like it better than the baby grand at our church! I say, go with what you can do!

We had one for years. It recently died but since we're short on space here I will happily replace it.

It took a beating and made it through multiple moves. We had it almost 10 years.

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Gosh, I didn't even know they made keyboards with weighted keys - maybe *we* will look into that option!

 

Stage pianos rather than "furniture" models will give you more bang for the buck. I found the folks who frequent the Digital Piano forum at Piano World to be a great help when we purchased ours.

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I'd have to say my preference would always be for a piano, but if space is an issue a good quality, touch sensitive keyboard is an acceptable alternative IMO. And no, the keyboard won't need tuning... and can be transported a lot easier... but I'd still prefer a piano. :001_smile:

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We started with a full size Yamaha keyboard with weighted keys and used that for two years. It was fine while dd8 was learning but we eventually wanted something more. The weighted keys on the Yamaha still didn't feel like a piano.

 

We recently purchased a digital baby grand piano.. We compared it next to a true baby grand and you couldn't tell the difference in sound or key touch. It has real hammers (though the sound does not come from them) so it feels exactly like a piano. The benefits of the digital are that it looks just like a real piano, feels like a real piano, sounds like a real piano, never needs tuning (which can be expensive), has all the electronic fun stuff like different instruments, recording, built-in metronome and USB connection, and it was less than a 1/3 of the cost of a true baby grand. We have been very pleased with it.

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Neither! Digital piano. We have a Yamaha Clavinova and it's fantastic. The keys are weighted, so it feels like a real piano, but it has a metronome and that record/playback feature your husband wants. It also sounds like a real piano and has volume control, so you can turn it down. You can also attach headphones, so the kids can play with headphones on if you need it to be quiet. Plus, it was MUCH less expensive than a new piano would be (around $1900 before taxes, I think - it was on sale and I can't exactly remember right now). Additionally, it's very light and easy to move, which may not be important to you, but I thought I'd mention it in case it is. We're military, so that really matters to us. We love, love, love our digital piano. :D

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We have a Yamaha digital piano with weighted keys, so it feels similar to a real piano. I'm glad we went the digital route--I've got 4 in lessons now, and having the headphone-for-practice option is a sanity saver for me.

 

:iagree: with this and the other votes for a digital piano with weighted keys, damper pedal, etc. We had a Yamaha YDP model for 8 years when the keyboard wore out. Turns out it was a warranty issue and they fixed it for free. Now it's like new. At the time, we paid about the same price as we would have for a used piano, but we've moved 4 times since then and it sounds the same as the day we bought it.

 

Barb

Edited by Barb F. PA in AZ
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I'd go with a Yamaha Clavinova if I could afford it. It's what our piano teacher uses. They run around $3000 new. I found a good quality used piano for $400 off Craig's List, so that's what we got instead.

 

I'd love to have headphones and no tuning requirements...

 

But don't go with a keyboard without weighted keys. We had one of those when dd first started out, and it took several months to break the bad habits that she developed.

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We started with a Casio Privia with weighted keys. It was fine when my girls first started lessons, but, as my oldest progressed, she truly felt the need for a real piano. The Privia is a nice digital, but, even with the weighted keys, there was an audible plastic "clicking" sound that developed after awhile.

 

We ended up buying a piano this past April, and I'm so glad we did.

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I have a Roland digital piano (~$2500 purchased 10 yrs ago). It's not the same as a real piano but it's close enough for me. It's a good compromise for our family. I've been pretty happy with it. The fact that it only weighs 100 lbs is a life-saver when we move! Being able to use headphones was helpful when my babies were sleeping! I've just started teaching my oldest on it.

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i agree with all the pps that say if you go electronic go with weighted keys, and the yamaha or kawai are your best options. if you are not raising pianists who will be majoring in piano performance or composition later on, then a really good electronic will suffice--i have to say i'd rather play one of those than a lousy piano that has poor action, sticky keys, or is out of tune. nevertheless...i am a bit of a purist and there is nothing in the world like playing the real thing. we have a small kawai studio piano and it was affordable and plays nicely. i think it's a matter of what you can afford and what your goals are.

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I have a Roland digital piano (~$2500 purchased 10 yrs ago). It's not the same as a real piano but it's close enough for me. It's a good compromise for our family. I've been pretty happy with it. The fact that it only weighs 100 lbs is a life-saver when we move! Being able to use headphones was helpful when my babies were sleeping! I've just started teaching my oldest on it.
We got a good deal on a Roland FP-7 three years ago, picking up a package (bench, stand, headphones) for about $1600. I was set to order it online, but went to a local music store* with the ad on the off chance they'd match the price. They did. I love this piano, both the feel and the sound.

 

* Most manufacturers won't permit piano stores to display more than one or two of their digital models, and they try to set it up so the models carried aren't duplicated between stores in the local market. This makes comparison shopping difficult. The exception is music stores, but they usually only carry stage pianos.

Edited by nmoira
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I'm not a piano teacher but my mum'n'law is & she bought an electronic keyboard for my kids. It's full size and has all the features of a piano (including weighted keys) with additional features that are very much enjoyed by all, including headphones. It sounds beautiful piped through the stereo, is easily portable and consumes a fraction of the space. My husbands family includes several professional musicians and they all have electronic keyboards. My mum'n'law does have a grand, but she also has at least 2 electronics.

 

I'd pay double for an electronic version of a saxaphone! :lol:

Edited by SWinner
spelling
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I'm a piano teacher.

 

What's best is something that is IN TUNE where all of the keys work. Contrary to popular mythology, this is of tantamount importance right from the beginning.

 

The ideal situation is an acoustic piano, but the worst case is a beat up old piano thats in bad shape. If you're going to buy or get someone's old piano, take a good, reputable piano technician with you to be sure that a. the sound board isn't warped, and that b. the insides aren't shot. Pianos don't last forever, particularly if they've been negected or kept in a bad spot.

 

As for electronic, the first choice is a digital piano. You need 88 full sized, weighted, touch sensitive keys. These are of critical importance or your dc will never get strong fingers and won't be able to learn dynamics, wich come up early.

 

After that, there are a number of other important features, but that will depend on your budget. If you have more questions, feel free to PM me. I am currently teaching a dc with an atrocious piano and we can't do any ear training at all with it, but she's the friend of some of my other students and I couldn't bring myself to say no.

 

My dream Roland digital piano, since I can't afford an acoustic, is well over $3000, so it's still my dream piano. It imitates an acoustic piano the best, including in the harmonics. I cringe every time a salesman tells me that piano harmonics don't matter because most people can't tell (I can,) but they are not something you have to have to start off with.

Edited by Karin
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I would go with the real thing. I started out on a lousy upright that was a beast to tune, on to a high-end Roland keyboard with all the bells and whistles, but that still never felt like the real thing, on to a mediocre upright, on to a grand piano, moved abroad and on to a great upright. Never used the record feature on my keyboard and metronomes aren't all that expensive. If you go with the real deal, have a pianist play it, like you might have a mechanic check out a car you want to buy. There's a great book "How to buy a piano" tons of reviews, and lots of great explanation. Try to buy as tall an upright as possible. Taller cabinet = longer strings = better sound. Studio style uprights are tough and can take a beating, and usually come with a "practice pedal" - which mutes the strings with felt.

 

HTH,

Leah

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Keyboard, that is what we do for our DS 7

 

He takes piano lessons and of course takes them on the instructor's piano, at her house.

 

At home he practicies on the keyboard.

 

My husband wanted it this way and he is the musician in the family, not me.

 

He does great this way. His teacher thinks so, too.

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Try to buy as tall an upright as possible. Taller cabinet = longer strings = better sound. Studio style uprights are tough and can take a beating, and usually come with a "practice pedal" - which mutes the strings with felt.

 

HTH,

Leah

 

 

For the most part, but watch the make of a piano, too. Some are junk no matter what the size. I do want to say that we had a smaller Sauter upright that is still fabulous 40+ years later, but that is very rare. I don't even know if Sauter is still in business, but it is a German piano and my dad plays it again. One time when we moved the piano tuner cried because our piano had such a beautiful sound, etc.

 

Ultimately, of course, a good grand piano is the dream piano to play because of the action, large sound board (especially a concert grand), etc.

 

Neverthess, the Yamaha (I made a mistake) I found has keys that feel almost like the real thing and an amazing recording with all of the harmonics. It did NOT have all the bells and whistles, because those mean nothing. It can't beat a good upright or a grand piano, of course, but it beats a lot of studio pianos I've played on.

 

The last time I was looking at acoustic pianos, the Korean ones were all bad. I once rented a brand new Young Chang (I know I'm spelling that wrong) for two years and it was tuned every three months as part of the rental. It really needed to be tuned every single time, and that was a huge problem with all of them.

 

If you buy a new upright it HAS to be tuned at least 4 times the first year and at least twice a year after that. More often sometimes. It should never be put next to an outside wall, in the basement, in the attic, near the heat register or where the direct sun can hit it.

 

However, if you can't afford that acoustic piano, a good digital piano works. They're even used for practising in some very good music colleges, etc.

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