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Piano lessons: what keyboard for dd aged 6?

(17 Posts)
janji Sat 08-Sep-12 23:25:00

My dd has just begun piano lessons as part of her schools private tuition programme (independent school so do lots of extras). Her tutor who is a very well respected musician has said she shows a natural aptitude for the piano (def not from dhs family or mine). I would like to buy a keyboard piano but have no clue what to look for / where to begin. Is there a difference between keyboards / piano keyboards?
Her tutor would be more than happy to help I'm sure but I would like to investigate prices etc prior to speaking to him.

Musomathsci Sat 08-Sep-12 23:34:00

If she is learning the piano, is there a reason why you aren't buying her a piano?
A basic decent quality acoustic piano will set you back around £2000.

If you insist on buying an electronic version, look at getting one with a weighted action, 88 keys and a sustain pedal as an absolute minimum. Yamaha do a range of good digital pianos.

Electronic "keyboards" won't help your DD learn to play the piano as they have a completely different 'feel' (keys are much lighter to touch). In fact learning to play a keyboard properly is a whole different ballgame - the technique and style of playing is entirely different. Please don't confuse the two!!

janji Sat 08-Sep-12 23:48:16

Thank you for that advice it's really useful for a non player like myself! I didn't want to rush into buying a piano just yet as she has only started her lessons relatively recently but her tutor was amazed at how quickly she has taken to it during her first assessments and lessons. He also works at dds school and the two get on really well and have a good rapport do I trust his judgement that she will do well with this instrument.

Katisha Sat 08-Sep-12 23:54:06

You need an actual piano. Doesn't have to be new. Check ads in paper etc.

bowerbird Sun 09-Sep-12 18:18:10

Janji, yes actually you do need an actual piano. Electronic keyboards which are properly weighted are very much second best, and expensive, and they have little resale value.

I would suggest renting a piano to start. Many reputable piano stores offer this from about £25/month and up. Sometimes they throw in the moving costs and you have the option to buy the piano after a year or so.

Forget about ebay or local paper ads UNLESS you really know what you're doing and what to look for in a used piano. Or you know someone who does. Piano teachers are a good source of information on this. I'm a trained musician, and I would never have bought a used piano without someone I trusted (like an excellent tuner) to look it over.

However, a quality used piano is probably what you are looking for in the long term. Ask piano professionals for advice and be frank about your budget and also space constraints of your home. I know it seems daunting, and it may take a while to find, but you only need one piano (at a time) and you will find THE ONE eventually.

fossil97 Tue 11-Sep-12 13:29:53

I'm no expert but DS (8) has just started piano. We already had a secondhand upright piano that cost about £1000. (Piano teacher recommended the local decent restorer/dealer). It is brilliant for his playing. Whenever he walks past it he just has to have a quick go, it's always there for him. When he's cross he goes and rumbles it IYKWIM!

When he goes to GP's who have an expensive Yamaha digital piano, he just messes about with the buttons and skoobly-do effects rather than actually playing.

I don't play any instrument myself, my parents couldn't afford lessons, but I'm pleasantly surprised that one of my children might be able to.

MrsMellowDrummer Tue 11-Sep-12 20:22:19

We have a good quality digital piano. We used to have a very old upright that was in fairly poor condition, and the digital is far far more lovely, I have to say. Also, the major benefit for our family is that it can be played late at night without disturbing the neighbours, either by using headphones, or turning down the volume. We live in a small 3 bed semi, and the reality is that we were really limited with the upright. Now we can tinker away all night to our hearts content.

I know there are loads do reasons why a good quality upright is better... But if your dd is just a beginner a digital piano (a good one) isn't necessarily such a daft idea. My son plays several other instruments to a high level, and is happy tinkering on the digital.

Just wanted to present a different view. Are you going to chat with your dd's teacher? I would think that's the best thing to do...

EldonAve Tue 11-Sep-12 20:30:59

We bought a Yamaha NP11
It doesn't do loads of sound effects etc so they are less inclined to mess about
Getting a piano is the best plan but we just don't have the space

ZZZenAgain Wed 12-Sep-12 11:04:07

I wouldn't have had a clue how to go about getting a piano personally. Luckily dd's piano teacher found one for us via a restorer she has known for 30 years who is so good apparently he need not advertise. If it had been left to me, I don't think I would have bought an old one, I wouldn't have known what to look for and I would never have found this restorer either for that matter. When we went to look at it, the teacher played the same piece on the piano we ended up buying as well on various other ones there and the difference in sound between all the pianos was amazing. The older ones had a warmer more mellow sound and the newer ones are a bit sharper to my ear. Very happy with the one we got but if it had been left to me, I wouldn't have found it.

Can your piano teacher view an instrument with you if you find one you like or recommend a keyboard / digital piano if that is what you plan to get? S/he might recommend a shop or a keyboard from experience, that might help you get started.

ZZZenAgain Wed 12-Sep-12 11:33:27

..actually this reminds me that I really must get her a thank you gift!

OP, from what I hear, a lot of dc learn with digital pianos or weighted keyboards.

pianomama Wed 12-Sep-12 16:17:11

Another voice against digital pianos.They will do from very beginning (providing they have weighted keys etc ) but I think you would be better off renting a proper secondhand piano from a piano shop. I speak from experience as my DS started on top of the range Clavinova which we already had and very soon we hav to get a proper piano as well.

ByTheWay1 Sun 16-Sep-12 16:18:18

We have a digital piano - piano teacher says it will be just fine up to grade 5. DD1 has grade 2 so far (with distinction) with ABRSM, so don't think it is a problem to start out with.

If you are not in a detached house your neighbours will not thank you for having a real piano -you cannot "turn it down" and they really are bloomin loud!

We do not have to limit practise time as it can be turned down and headphones used, we can also record what is being played easily, which is nice. It can also easily be moved around - ours is upstairs where there is room for it - much harder job with a real piano.

pianomama Mon 17-Sep-12 08:44:53

Modern pianos have practice pedal (muted). I find it a bit alarming if a teacher suggests that a keyboard/electric piano is "just fine up to grade 5". It isn't. Ask your teacher if they acually teach beyong Grade 5 themselves? If you play violin, you need an actual violin, the same with piano.

Emandlu Mon 17-Sep-12 08:51:03

We have an electric piano due to space constraints. My dd is about to take grade 5. We are trying to move house at the moment and then will look at buying a real piano.

Tbh, though it is second best, it is perfectly adequate for a beginner and has the advantage being able to turn it down and use headphones.

People get really snobby about electric pianos but I really don't understand the snobbery.

If you look at electric pianos make sure they have weighted keys.

ByTheWay1 Mon 17-Sep-12 10:01:11

Emandlu - I find the "you have to have a real piano" thing odd too

(proud mum alert) My eldest DD gained 143 out of 150 for her ABRSM grade 2- which was taken on a full grand piano - so I don't see how she is disadvantaged by using a Yamaha Arius to learn on. I guess she may have gained a couple of extra marks for shades of dynamics, but hey-ho.

Their piano teacher teaches all grades, and is quite happy for her to continue to grade 5 on the Yamaha. We do not have the room downstairs for a full piano - but have a box room upstairs - our only option is a digital piano, so we can either continue with the digital option, move house or stop learning.

pianomama Thu 20-Sep-12 22:27:47

Well done little ByTheWay - that is an outstanding score!

I agree that sometimes you dont have a choice, but if you do I would start with real piano.

I think teachers telling parents that digital pianos are OK until certain grade do not expect their pupils to get much further . DS as I mentioned before started on Clavinova and passed G3 with distinction after a year.However we had to change the teacher at that point who banned digital piano and took him right back to basics. I guess we would need a real pianist to explain the difference.

Artsacademy Thu 27-Feb-14 15:18:34

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

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