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Piano lessons or keyboard lessons?

(8 Posts)
ConvertedTry Sun 24-Jan-16 18:43:14

DS (9) asked for a keyboard for Christmas as he had enjoyed playing during school music sessions and whilst I doubt that he'll ever be particularly musical I do think it's a great thing to encourage and he wants to play it for fun.

School offer piano lessons (and say it would be fine for him to start off with a keyboard at home rather than a piano) but are known for being pretty pushy when it comes to music and like to get the children through the grades.

I wondered whether it might be better for him to have a local keyboard teacher who can help him with the 'keyboard technology' and enjoying making music rather than just traditional piano lessons. DS is quite 'techy' and I think would appeal.

Having said that I don't think I'm really clear myself what the difference is between piano or keyboard lessons (if any).

Neither DH nor myself are musical so we're completely clueless as to what to do next. Any help/advice would be appreciated.

bluefootedpenguin Sun 24-Jan-16 19:21:25

As school said, piano lessons are fine with a keyboard to begin with but long term you would look to upgrade to at least a weighted keyboard with foot pedals, if not a digital piano/piano.

Style wise, piano has a moving left hand and requires you to learn bass and treble clef notation, notes are in a different position on the stave in bass clef.

Keyboard is based around chords in the left hand. Modern keyboards are great for single fingered chords , you play a single c and the keyboard plays the full chord. It means you can quickly fill out tunes with accompaniments using the intro button and various backing styles. You can also use these with fully fingered chords.

While piano books are getting better and are becoming more appealing, the keyboard series provide a huge repertoire of easy to play to, show, pop themes that sound pretty good using keyboard tech.

IMO keyboard will give you quicker results and your son will be able to use all the features and have a bit of fun. Traditional piano lessons will focus lots on technique and progress will be slower unless he is really dedicated, but the repertoire is not as engaging, at least for a while.

Don't forget that he could always switch at a later date with many transferable skills. HTH. I am a secondary music teacher and pianist.

Ferguson Sun 24-Jan-16 19:34:48

Oh Dear! It quite sad how many parents THINK they are musically 'clueless'!

Yes - there is a big difference between learning Piano and learning Keyboard, though of course the keys themselves look (and are) identical in some respects. There can be a certain amount of 'overlap' but it's best at first, to decide on one or the other.

So - did he get an instrument for Christmas? And if so, do you know what make and model?

If you do an MN Search on my name and 'piano' 'keyboard' 'music' etc you should find I have replied several times of this topic. I'll come back in a few days, if you need more clarification/

ConvertedTry Sun 24-Jan-16 21:20:14

Thank you for the replies, I thought there was a difference, I just couldn't articulate what it was!

I think I am going to look for a keyboard teacher rather than go through school. Knowing DS, being able to play a recognisable piece relatively quickly is more likely to keep him interested.

Ferguson - he has a Yamaha PSR - E343. We took some advice not to get a very basic model and this is similar to what they use at school. Apologies for the 'clueless' comment - I only played an instrument to Grade 2 but firmly believe that it is good to do. I just want to make it enjoyable for DS and not seem like another chore (which is was for me and consequently why I gave up).

Ferguson Mon 25-Jan-16 19:38:35

Yes - the E343 is a good place to start. Does it come with a printed instruction manual, or do you have to download the PDFs? I've just had a look at some of those, and there is plenty of information there.

The Keyboard does have it's own built-in 'teaching system' but I'm not keen on those, and think using a tutor book is much to be preferred. And the 'names of notes' are not so important - the main thing is for the fingers to to learn where they should go.

The Kenneth Baker books are very good, and most music shops and some bookshops stock them. Also many on-line shops have them, but you need to factor in postage costs:

www.themusicpeople.co.uk/acatalog/The_Music_People_The_Complete_Keyboard_Player_7.html

What sort of music does he like? Whatever he likes, I'm sure the keyboard can meet his tastes!

The Keyboard can 'record' up to five tunes, or you can record to computer via MIDI and a USB cable. The instructions for that are quite complicated, and as with any computer based product, the instructions have to be 100% accurate, or things don't work properly!

If you have queries, send me a PM if you wish.

user1468238424 Mon 11-Jul-16 13:05:07

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

dodobookends Tue 12-Jul-16 18:02:36

they look exactly the same, right? Wrong. A piano and a keyboard look nothing like one another. One is a large wooden acoustic instrument that weighs a ton, the other is electronic, portable, and needs to be plugged in.

What do you think of this idea? Not great tbh.

dodobookends Thu 14-Jul-16 19:08:23

My post above is replying to one which has now gone!

As you were smile

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