Dd desperately wants a piano!(24 Posts)
We have a digital piano. Dh is more than happy with it-he's grade 8 level.
When dd1 was starting we had a basic keyboard for the first year. Just make sure the keys are full sized. The piano teacher was happy for them to start with that.
They reckon the life of a bog standard cheap upright piano is around 70 years before a massive overhaul is needed. The heyday of piano music was 1920s to 50s - hence a lot of "free to collector" pianos available on freecycle/gumtree - these will need £500-£1500 of work on them to make them suitable for beyond beginner. (and even for a beginner they may sound crappy).
If you can't afford a decent piano I would go down the route of electric piano until you KNOW your child is going to stick with it - 90% don't go beyond grade 1.... or rent - renting a piano is quite cheap for the quality £20-£40 a month round here - less than the cost of the actual piano lessons... and you can send it back if the child is no longer interested.
I have a friend who is a musician and who has a korg (actually he has more than one but that's by the by) digital piano. He paid about £600 for them.
He has a real piano too which needs a serious overhall. The problem with buying an old piano is that it would probably cost you £££ to get it back into mint working condition. friend reckons it would cost upwards of £1000 to overhall his piano. He will pay it one day but not atm...
And you can plug headphones into a digital piano...
I'm a piano teacher and I agree with Natasha.
Yes, it's true that "there's no replacement for a real piano", IF and only if you have the budget from a properly decent real piano, and that means a minimum of 2-3K new, or having the knowledge, luck or contacts to be able to tell what is good second hand (and probably still spend about a grand).
The thing that is often overlooked by people pushing the real piano route is tuning. If you buy an old banger for next to nothing, it may not only be out of tune (which doesn't matter), but be incapable of getting into tune or of holding its tuning (which does!). This is terrible for the ears and enjoyment of those learning on it. OTOH, an electronic piano around the £500 mark wil be perfectly in tune and stay that way with no trouble whatsoever, while also having an action close enough to a real piano that it will make no appreciable difference to someone in the early years of learning. You could even get one cheaper than that second hand, and whatever problems it may have (probably just cosmetic), tuning won't be one of them. It'll either switch on and play, or it won't.
Learning to play music is about training the ear as much as training the fingers. The first is at least as important as the second in the early years, and can't be done properly with a piano that sounds like a metalworking factory.
Just get something with a proper weighted action. Yamaha P series (not sure what number they're up to now) or similar are good. Korg SP250 - slightly less natural sound than the Yamahas but decent action. Avoid being taken in by loads of bells and whistles - lots of different sounds, auto-accompaniment features etc. These will only be distracting, and mean that the investment into the instrument for its price point has been into those rather than the important things: piano sound and action.
Electronic piano keyboards also have the virtue of being able to be used with headphones for silent practice and never need tuning.
If you hunt round and make it known you are on the look out, you should be able to get a piano very cheap, if not for free. It will be on old banger, but perfectly adequate until your DC decides whether to take it seriously.
Check your local music shop, and ask them if you can put a note up on their board.
We have an electronic Roland piano. Piano teacher told us full keyboard sized and properly weighted is very important when learning.
A music shop I went in told me that after Xmas a lot of serious musicians in bands sell electronic keyboards because they run out of cash so definitely worth waiting until after Xmas for that and also for sales.
We have a Yamaha digital piano - with weighted keys - cost about £600 - but have seen the same model since on Gumtree for £150. Our piano teacher teaches the girls on it at our house and says it will be fine to grade 5.
It is fab and has seen my 2 DDs to ABRSM Grade 3 so far .. It is not the same as a real piano - but has one BIG advantage - you can plug headphones in and practise whenever you like without disturbing anyone. (also you can put it in the car to transport it, not pay £50+ for delivery!) The extra practise time - because it doesn't get on anyone's nerves .. really helps
I have a piano for free. It is an upright Franz Liehr piano and plays well but needs tuning. The problem is that it has an iron frame and is very heavy to move. If you are in the Linolnshire Area or are interested anyway let me know.
My children started on a piano from a charity shop, at that time, we had a brand new yamaha keyboard with weighted keys as well(cost a lot more than the old piano), BUT it was the old wooden piano inspired them that much.The keyboard was soon left usused.
We worked on the old piano up to pass grade 5.
I would say a piano is a piano, keyboard is a keyboard.
You can buy a digital yamaha for about £400 but they're not weighted, to get one that's weighted would probably cost the same as an old piano. Of course delivery will be very expensive and getting it tune will cost another £30 to £40 and you do need to have it tune at least once a year. I think Yokouhoh suggestion is a good one, can you ask the school to let your DD practice on the piano after school ? twice a week, 30 to 45 mins a time would be more than enough for a 6 yr old.
However we bought it because of space issues. Proper pianos would actually have been cheaper.
Dh is a music teacher (not piano though) and we have a digital piano, it's Yamaha. Both he & dd & dds teachet are perfectly happy with it and it is infinitely better than having nothing to practise on.
We managed to get a decent (about 20 years old) digital piano on gumtree a few months ago for £150. Great condition, well looked after and even came with the stool. Had to pick it up ourselves though.
I bought a piano at auction for £20. It cost £30 to get it home and in situ and I haven't had it tuned yet, but I've been quoted about £50 for that.
Even if you buy a nice 2nd hand piano, the process of moving it would probably knock it out of tune, so I think you need to budget for tuning whatever you do. There's no reason to assume that just because somebody is free cycling something it will be awful.
Natasha - is there a particular digital one you'd recommend? I'm hoping to get one as living in a terraced house a real piano might be too noisy, plus I could only afford an out of tune acoustic! Thanks
Try http://www.marksonpianos.com/hire/ - they say from £25 a month..You will still need to pay both way delivery in advance though..
Also, you could ask school if she could practise using a school piano during the odd breaktime; I'm sure this wouldn't be a problem.
You can hire a secon-hand piano for about £35 - £40 a month from a piano shop.You would still have to pay for delivery. If this is still too much, keep trying local adds, ebay, ask piano teacher to ask around. So many people have unwanted pianos..Good luck. Your teacher is right - no real replacement for a piano.
The British Heart foundation furniture charity shops in our area regularly have pianos for sale. Last one I saw was £100 and they deliver for a reasonable charge. Maybe piano teacher could advise re quality or come with you to shop?
I would say a keyboard with weighted keys would be better than an out of tune piano - less likely to find a decent keyboard on freecycle than a piano though. You would need some way of transporting a piano home, a van with a lift on the back, and then get it tuned - so not that cheap.
I thought that but when I asked on another thread a piano teacher said that these were no real replacement for a piano. I'm about as musical as a chocolate teapot so no real insight into what's best to be honest.
Even if you manage to find one on freecycle you would have to get it to your house and most freecycle pianos are out of tune and horrible. What about a keyboard with proper weighted keys so it feels like a piano?
Dd aged6 desperately wants a piano having begun lessons and doing really well with them. Income is reduced at the moment due to my own ill health and despite trying freecycle etc I just don't seem able to get anywhere near to buying one. Any ideas I lovely mumsnetters?
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