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Home Piano for 6 yo - help on how to get started

(23 Posts)
Ruggles Thu 04-Dec-14 21:51:34

Just that really. DS loves signing and music at school and we thought it would be good to start doing some piano at home. Was thinking of buying an electric piano as part of Christmas. Would really appreciate some advice on what to buy / where to find one. Don't want to spend too much - as they may not be keen! Also, does anyone have any experience of Dogs and Birds lessons? I'd like something we can follow.

Westendgal Thu 04-Dec-14 22:01:02

Just a thought, we rented a piano until we were sure DS was serious and had a real interest. Worth asking some music shops if they offer that service.

TeenAndTween Thu 04-Dec-14 22:08:56

We have a touch sensitive keyboard. This was sufficient for DD1 to do grade 1 on (she then gave up). I think the teacher said it would be OK for grade 2 too.

ebay?

Gxmummy Fri 05-Dec-14 09:43:40

Either rent a piano or get an electric piano. My husband is a pianist and says that this is much better than a keyboard (or a bad upright) as the weighting of the keys is important

TheFirstOfHerName Fri 05-Dec-14 14:58:34

I taught DS1 at home for nearly a year using a Casio PX700 and the Tunes for Ten Fingers books until he reached the top of the piano teacher's waiting list. He went on to do reasonably well, got merit in G3 before he had to give up for complicated reasons. We have kept the keyboard as I use it for learning new songs.

TheFirstOfHerName Fri 05-Dec-14 15:04:42

I reckon he probably could have kept going on the PX700 for G4, but beyond that we would have had to buy a piano. The hammer action and weighted keys give it a piano-like feel, but it doesn't need tuning and they can wear headphones.

Ferguson Fri 05-Dec-14 20:34:42

People often are confused by the difference between a KEYBOARD and a DIGITAL PIANO. Although the keys look exactly the same on both, the methods of PLAYING and LEARNING are TOTALLY DIFFERENT.

To play an accompaniment on a Piano, the student has to WORK, and make full use of the left hand. On a keyboard, the accompaniment can be achieved automatically by ONE FINGER of the left hand (though other ways to playing chords and backings can be developed as the student progresses.)

So, for a 6 yr a Keyboard is definitely going to lead to more enjoyment, satisfaction and progress.

[I have replied to this topic many times, so if you search my name plus the relevant music keywords you should find plenty of advice.]

I had never heard of 'Dogs and Birds' but have had a just had a look at it. I am sorry to have to tell you I consider it totally expensive RUBBISH.

I was involved in music for over forty years, and taught children on a various instruments for twenty years.

I assume he is learning to READ and WRITE at school, and is using Phonics. If he (and you) can master that there is no reason why normal, conventional printed music cannot be learned, without recourse to flashing lights and unnecessary gimmicks.

(I will give more advice at another time.)

Ruggles Sat 06-Dec-14 20:30:13

Thanks, lots of things to look up here. Still googling piano teachers, so hadn't really considered waiting lists... it sounds just like the swimming teacher lists! Have found some lovely general music courses for next summer! Will email now to avoid another waiting list grin Also googling electric piano, casios and tunes for 10 fingers. Thank you smile

3bunnies Sat 06-Dec-14 20:47:04

We got a second hand clavinova. It is c 20yrs. It has been great for them learning to play, doesn't need tuning and you can put headphones on/ turn volume down. It plays like a piano though. Their teacher says that they need a piano to practice on rather than keyboard for her lessons, but clavinova is fine.

I guess it depends why you want him to learn. Do you want him to end up playing keyboard or piano and how much space do you have in your house?

Do you or any one else in the house play? Dh plays a little although not his main instrument and it does help having him around when they practice.

MissyMew123 Sun 07-Dec-14 08:58:54

We have just bought our DD a Yamaha ydp-162 digital piano. Did look at the Clavinovas but thought we would wait and see if she will stick with it for a few grades first.
Have a look for second hand digital pianos or you can rent. We are new to the piano, but there is a lot of good information online.

skylark2 Sun 07-Dec-14 19:15:55

We have a Clavinova and it's one of the best things I've ever bought.

That said, I wouldn't have bought one for a six year old who hasn't even started playing. I would get a very basic keyboard (with full size keys if he is going to have lessons) and see if he has any interest.

3bunnies Sun 07-Dec-14 20:00:49

Our teacher would only take them on if they had a full size piano or equivalent, not a keyboard. The dc started lessons at 7, but ds is only just 5 and enjoys 'playing'. Dh also plays ours though so we were happy that it would be used. It depends too whether you want to buy a keyboard now and then a piano in a couple of years if you want them to learn to play the piano. Of course he might prefer to learn to play keyboard instead of piano.

Our clavinova was £150 secondhand (it is old but still plays well, had it professionally checked and cleaned and he said could go on for years) so not too much relatively.

Ferguson Wed 10-Dec-14 20:33:48

As he is still very young, and probably has plenty of 'work' at school, formal piano lessons could be a bit heavy for him.

There are plenty of easy to use books that you could help him learn from. The John Thompson series of books are inexpensive, and very easy to use.

What sort of music does DS like? And what sort would you envision him learning to play eventually?

I could send links to things he could 'sing along' to, and/or dance to if you tell me a bit more about his 'likes'.

eatyourveg Wed 10-Dec-14 22:12:03

Have you looked in the local paper? Around here pianos come up quite regularly in the classifieds and are often free (except for transport) as people move house and can't always take them with them.

Greengrow Fri 12-Dec-14 12:19:51

Gone seem to be the days when no middle class household was complete without a piano - we have always had one as do my siblings, as did our parents etc. Better a real piano than an ipad etc surely?

skylark2 Fri 12-Dec-14 18:03:35

I'm not sure, Greengrow - a cheap and nasty, or very old, piano just isn't fun to play. And a lot of households had them as a status symbol gathering dust. I can't see why a household from any "class" would have a piano if nobody plays it.

Getting the Clavinova was a new lease of life for my kids' playing - we replaced my inherited 1896 model with sticking keys and massively worn hammers with it, and suddenly they would play for fun again. If I could afford a full size Steinway grand (and the extension to put it in) I'd have a real piano, but apart from that I won't own one again.

victorianhomedreamer Fri 12-Dec-14 18:15:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Ferguson Tue 16-Dec-14 19:57:30

Sorry to disagree with * victorianhomedreamer* but I think your nickname might reveal your attitude to some things.

At six years old, not many children will be " musically passionate" ! I stand by saying, that to get him started a Keyboard (full size) with lots of sounds, accompaniments etc, will give him much more FUN than a piano. And music should be fun.

There are only so many potential Nicola Benedettis in this world!

Jingleybells Tue 16-Dec-14 22:42:53

I disagree Ferguson. My DS is 6 and loves playing the piano. A keyboard is totally different

Ferguson Tue 16-Dec-14 23:11:34

Yes - I did start off saying a Keyboard is totally different.

Is your DS having lessons, and taken any Grades yet? And perhaps you play yourself, so he has been brought up with people performing on different instruments in the home.

But I think, for many youngsters, who don't want the effort of serious practice, a Keyboard produces almost instant results; 'cheating', perhaps, but still good fun! And of course, they can be connected to computers. And with suitable (expensive) software, can simulate 'classic' pianos one couldn't hope to own:

www.synthogy.com/index.html

MLP Thu 18-Dec-14 14:27:50

Our 6yo has been doing lessons for six months. We bought a Yamaha electric piano and she loves it. I think is better doing that than just a keyboard.

We rented one for a few months just to make sure she would stuck at it. Many music shops give that option.

PiqueABoo Fri 19-Dec-14 19:54:09

DD learnt on a very old digital piano which was touch sensitive and enough up to G2, but not that fabulous. We already had that, but a keyboard would have done just as well.

We then got one of the more expensive Yamaha digitals with the wooden graded weight keyboard, after touch etc. I love playing it, so does DD and it's a lot better than the matching pair of newish and very fine looking, but otherwise relatively nasty mid-range grands where she did her last grade.

nlondondad Sun 21-Dec-14 17:44:23

I would strongly recommend a digital piano such as a Roland, or of course more upmarket a Yamaha.

Do NOT assume that a "real" piano as such is better.

In particular real pianos have to be tuned, and an old one starts not to be able to hold its tune, as well as keys sticking and so forth. If a child is learning, and has any musical aboity it is essential that they play on an instrument with a good key action which is in tune.

So if you cannot afford the thousands of pounds that a new Yamaha upright costs, go for a digital for a few hundred.....

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