Advice on choosing a piano



Every student needs an instrument to practice on. You will get most of your lessons if you have a piano suitable for your level and age. The most important thing to consider will be the number of keys and whether or not the keys are weighted. 

There are three basic categories of keyboard instruments available; acoustic pianos, digital pianos and electronic keyboards. 


ELECTRONIC KEYBOARDS
They are often shorter than a real piano (48 or 61 keys), and they do not have weighted keys. Learning the piano on a non-weighted, small size keyboard is less than ideal, and it could even be discouraging. 

This is suitable only for complete beginners, or for learners who are interested in playing the keyboard as a hobby. They are not recommended for anyone who has a genuine interest in playing and performing, taking exams, or for children older than primary school age.

Electronic keyboards are the most affordable way to get started as they can be purchased new from £50. However, they should be replaced with a digital or acoustic piano within less than a year since the beginning of lessons to allow further progress. 


DIGITAL PIANOS
Providing a full range of keys (88 keys) with weighted action, this instrument will last a few years (or many years for advanced and more expensive models) and is suitable for beginners to advanced level players. You may enjoy the feature that allows you to record your playing, and the option of playing with the headphones may be very useful if you don't want to disturb people around you. 

While it's impossible to entirely simulate the experience of playing on an acoustic piano, digital pianos are designed to sound and feel as much like a real piano as possible. They can be bought new from around £350 to £6000. 

WE RECOMMEND
- Yamaha Arius series, which are Yamaha digital pianos with model numbers beginning YDP (YDP-143, YDP-163). 
- Slightly cheaper, but still high-quality instruments are Yamaha P- models (P-45, P-105, etc.). They can be bought with or without the original Yamaha digital piano stand. 
- We are also fans of Casio Privia digital pianos, model numbers beginning PX- (PX-130, PX-150, etc.). These are perhaps more affordable than Yamaha series and a great place to start.  
- If you have a good budget for your purchase, consider looking at Roland, Kawai or Korg digital pianos. 

Please note: Some portable digital pianos are sold without the keyboard stand, and you will need to purchase one separately. A simple adjustable X frame keyboard stand can be bought new from around £25.  



ACOUSTIC PIANOS 
The sooner a student has the opportunity to practice on an acoustic piano, the better. A quality acoustic instrument that produces sound from real strings and real wood offers a level of responsiveness, and a range of dynamics and tone colour than even the most excellent digital piano cannot match. Acoustic pianos need tuning approximately once in a couple of years. They should not be kept near the heat source, so make sure that you keep your piano as far from the radiator as possible! 

Upright Pianos
Upright pianos are an ideal option for those with limited space who want to enjoy the natural sound created by hammer action, strings and soundboard, and explore all the possibilities of a piano. These are an excellent investment, and with appropriate care will last a lifetime.

Yamaha upright models are some of the most reliable upright pianos on the market, but there are other good brands such as Kawai, Boston, Schimmel, Challen, and many more.  


Grand Pianos
Grand or baby grand piano is the best option you can get, as they offer the full range of dynamics, sonority and expression. With a smooth and very responsive touch, this instrument allows advanced and professional players to fully express themselves. 

Acoustic pianos are expensive, but they last an entire musical education. They can be bought new from around £1,500 for the upright version, or hired from a music shop from roughly £40 per month. Please note there will normally be a delivery cost on top of this.  

One can alternatively buy a second-hand grand or upright piano for a good price. However, before purchasing a second-hand instrument, we advise hiring a registered piano technician or piano professional. They will examine the instrument for you for the same price you would pay for one tuning, starting from £70.

Choosing the right piano can be a challenging task, and you can always discuss these options with your piano teacher.

If you have any further questions, please email us at academy@pianomaestros.com, we will be happy to help.

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