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First keyboard for non-music reading 10 year old

13 replies

FleurNancy · 27/04/2019 19:14

My DS has been singing with a few local choirs (school, village and county) for a while now and is progressing really well. However, he is a bit disadvantaged by the fact that he can't read music as he doesn't play any instruments. Neither DH or I play any instrument or read music either so we are useless. We wondered about getting him started with a basic instrument and he has said he would like to try a keyboard. Can anyone recommend a suitable beginner's keyboard and book for his age range? There's lots out there but I simply don't have the knowledge to know which is most appropriate.

OP posts:
BreakfastAtLitanies · 27/04/2019 20:53

I'd recommend, if your budget can stretch to it, an electric piano. Keyboards are good but it's like driving an automatic car - you'd then struggle on a manual (piano). This is because of the pedals and each key is weighted and it's a little more involved to play piano.

But either way, the first book I'd always recommend is Piano Time 1. It's absolutely excellent. Smile

JurassicGirl · 27/04/2019 21:04

My dd10 has piano lessons, her first book was the green book before the red book but in the same series (1st photo)

On the back the books are listed in order (2nd photo)

First keyboard for non-music reading 10 year old
First keyboard for non-music reading 10 year old
FleurNancy · 27/04/2019 22:34

Thank you both. Properly stupid question but will those books teach him how to read music?! I vaguely remember learning at secondary school but I am an absolute musical philistine!!

OP posts:
FleurNancy · 27/04/2019 22:35

Sorry, I've just googled Piano Time 1, looks perfect!!

OP posts:
Beachbodynowayready · 27/04/2019 22:52

Unless you have a detached home ask your ndn which one!

FleurNancy · 28/04/2019 15:26

We do have a detached home, thank you. Also a couple of the keyboards seem to have silent options where you plug in headphones.

OP posts:
DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen · 28/04/2019 15:30

My electric piano is weighted and I have no issues practising on it then swapping to my tutor's piano. You can use headphones with it and also adjust the volume.

DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen · 28/04/2019 15:30

Piano Time series is great.

DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen · 28/04/2019 15:34

This is mine and I love it. I bought it on the strength of many on line reviews from piano tutors who use it for lessons.

Tintini · 29/04/2019 11:38

If you want to play piano then an electric keyboard is a poor substitute, but equally, if you want to play electric keyboard, then I think a piano is a poor substitute! They are different instruments with different capabilities. If he's drawn to the keyboard (eg seen it being played in a band?) then that seems a good choice.

It sounds from your post like he wants to explore this to get a better understanding of music in general / enhance his singing and musicianship, rather than a specific desire to learn piano. In this case, I'd venture the opinion that keyboard is a good option. On a keyboard you get a whole bank of beats and sounds to explore to incorporate into creative music-making.

The other thing to bear in mind is that I believe classical piano and electric keyboard tend to be taught in different ways by teachers and tutor books (ie it's not just that the music is of a different style, the approach is actually different). Classical piano tutor books focus on note reading in both the treble and bass staves. Keyboard tends to take a chordal approach (more like jazz piano) - you learn to read notes from the treble staff and chord notation so that you can learn how to play around with the chords underpinning the music. Again, if his objective is to support his singing and learn how music is constructed, I wonder if the keyboard / chordal approach might be most useful. As well as being able to read music, another important musicianship aim is to get a good understanding of harmony. Eventually with classical piano you do this too, but it seems to me like the keyboard approach puts this to the fore because of its chordal approach. (Speaking personally, despite years of classical instrumental lessons as a child, my understanding of harmony and how music is constructed was poor because all I did was read the notes in front of me.)

But I've not answered your question yet. We have three keyboard instruments: A great Yamaha PSR-E363 keyboard which has so many functions and would fulfil any beginner keyboarder needs I think (think that was about £150). We also have a Yamaha Arius YDP-164 digital piano (I only play that as I much prefer the sound of a piano, even though I tend to play 'keyboard / chordal' style - that was £900). And we have a Yamaha PSR7 420 which came from a charity shop for £20. My 7-year old will only play the cheap one! I'd say that you don't really need to spend much to get an instrument on which you can learn to read music and understand keyboard harmony. My DS will be able to achieve this on the £20 instrument (if he actually plays it of course!)

For keyboard tutor books DS has the Progressive Keyboard books which seem good and I think could definitely be used to teach yourself. To be honest we don't follow the books much - more exploring the chords and improvising.

Redcherrytree · 29/04/2019 11:43

Julian Bradley does a ‘how to read music in 15 minutes’ YouTube video that I found useful.

JaneR0chester · 29/04/2019 11:53

If you have the space, would you consider a piano from somewhere like freecycle? We got an old family piano, which DCs learnt and practised on for a year, before we splashed out for a proper piano. The free piano didn't stay in tune for long, but gave us the chance to see if kids would enjoy playing and stick with learning.

stucknoue · 29/04/2019 11:58

If you have space, get a piano, freely available so often, look online, freecycle etc. First piano tutor or similar will teach to play and read music, but do consider lessons so that the groundwork is done right. Dd teaches this age group and they learn super fast (expect to pay £10/30 mi s for a young teacher, £20 for a full professional)

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