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#55774 - 09/20/11 08:02 PM Re: Pianos vs. keyboards: a way of solving the iss [Re: tdow]
LukeInChiTown Offline
Contributing Member

Registered: 08/05/11
Posts: 31
Loc: Chicago, Illinois
First off, I agree that there are many digital pianos out there that make for a better practice instrument than some of the acoustic instruments that students might already have. Sometimes, they inherit a beast of a piano when a grandparent passes, and this might be the whole impetus behind getting the kids lessons. Starting out on a crummy upright can be just as detrimental as starting out with a cheap keyboard. Both situations put the student behind the 8 ball to start out.

I would expect a parent would be willing to spend $700 - $1000 on a decent digital piano or used vertical piano if they are going to start out on lessons. I've occasionally accept students who have lesser instruments in the beginning, but with the understanding that they need to upgrade after six weeks of lessons if they want to continue.

One of the biggest technical struggles I've had with keyboards, even ones with "weighted" keyboards, is that many of them will allow you to still get a very soft sound when a key is depressed very slowly. An acoustic piano requires a minimum velocity to get the hammer to strike the strings. Students who play on these types of keyboards get very used to being able to create soft sounds without any strike to the key, thus they are very frustrated with their efforts produce no tone at all on an acoustic piano. This is easily demonstrable to the parents, and can be a persuasive argument for them getting a nice used acoustic or good quality digital instrument.
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#62723 - 04/14/13 10:33 PM Re: Pianos vs. keyboards: a way of solving the iss [Re: LukeInChiTown]
Mark Purney Offline
New Member

Registered: 04/09/13
Posts: 1
Loc: Mesa, AZ
You won't often hear this from a piano tuner, but I think it's a great idea for any serious pianist (not just instructors) to have both a digital in addition to an acoustic piano, as long as it's a higher quality digital action like a Clavinova or a Kawai MP10 stage piano.

1. With a digital, you can practice any time of day with headphones without disturbing others. More potential practice time is a good thing. Also, real piano practice isn't the most pleasant to listen to - practicing the same passage slowly 20 times might drive other people insane. I'm more inclined to focus on real practice if I'm not concerned about how my practicing is impacting others.
2. Wear and tear: When learning a new piece or working out difficult passages by repeating them many times, any decent keyboard will do. I'd rather prolong the life of the action parts and hammers in my grand piano and let my digital keyboard take the abuse.
3. Practicing on more than one instrument can help you to more readily adapt to a playing a piano you aren't as familiar with. If you only practice on one instrument all the time, it can be more difficult to perform on something that doesn't have the same key weighting, inertia, friction, power and tone as what you're used to playing.
RPT @ Mesa Piano Service

#62769 - 04/18/13 08:40 PM Re: Pianos vs. keyboards: a way of solving the iss [Re: Mark Purney]
tdow Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 04/13/10
Posts: 398
These are some great points Mark!
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#62772 - 04/19/13 01:39 PM Re: Pianos vs. keyboards: a way of solving the iss [Re: tdow]
CJKitty Offline
Regular Member

Registered: 06/02/11
Posts: 84
I get a lot of students that only have a keyboard to practice on. As someone said, some of the keyboards are not of very good quality either. I always explain to the parents the problems that can arise by not having a piano to practice on.

I recently had a student that started with a keyboard and then six months into the lessons, the parents purchased a piano. Everyone was so excited. Unfortunately, the child quit taking lessons 6 months after the purchase of the piano! Her parents said she wouldn't practice and they weren't going to force her. She was more interested in her karate lessons.

So..... since I need the students, I do the best I can with what I have to work with. I enjoy the students, and hope I've influenced their lives in a good way.

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