Choosing an Instrument
It's important to have an instrument that sounds and feels good! Your child will not practice otherwise - and this makes sense, as the desire to learn an instrument is the desire to create beautiful sounds. A quality acoustic piano is the ideal. The feel, joy and feedback from a good acoustic will keep one playing for years - they are an amazing lifetime investment.
But most parents don't want to commit financially until they know they have a committed child, and fair enough. Or, you may wish to play in a small apartment where pianos aren't permitted and don't fit, or simply don't have the available funds to outlay for an acoustic.
However, to progress well in piano for the long term, students will need an instrument that lets them gain the wrist and finger dexterity and strength needed to create the plethora of different sounds and moods a piano can convey.
There is a compromise now as both Roland and Yamaha have developed beginner digital pianos that don't compromise on feel or sound, but just have the basics for super affordability - and rental packages are available for as little as $5 a week.
I don't recommend keyboards for learning piano. It is like trying to learn guitar on a ukulele. The techniques and muscle memories that are developed are completely different between a keyboard and a piano.
The student's relationship with their instrument, and desire for learning and mastering it, only happens if the instrument is comfortable to play and sounds beautiful. Considering the investment made in money and time for lessons, it makes sense to invest in an instrument that gives the best experience.
Digital pianos are a fabulous option for those in units (headphones, volume control and compact size) or for those who need a cheaper option to an acoustic piano.
They offer keys that feel weighted and change volume depending on how hard you press them, like an acoustic piano (touch sensitivy). This is vital to develop finger strength and stretch, (technique).
Standard keyboards do not have this and I don't recommend them at all.
When buying a digital piano it is important not to compromise too much on playing comfort.
Some digitals claim to be good instruments, but the 'realistic' piano action in the keys is often very uncomfortable to play for longer than 10 minutes. (Too much 'bounce back' on the fingers). This does not encourage practice and messes with the development of finger technique.
There are so many models out there to buy, that purchasing can be very confusing.
I've chosen the keyboards I've found to have outstanding feel and sound as a top feature and best affordability.
Ask me about where to find the best deals on these instruments.
Rent to Buy
Digital And Acoustic
Kosmic.com.au offer rental plans on all their digital pianos with options to buy at reduced prices throughout stages of the rental period.
WA Music Company offer rent-to-buy pianos, for $24 a week over 3 years. The quality is designed for European conditions, so they won't last as long without upgrading parts as a piano designed for our weather.. but it's a fabulous comnpromise for affordability and will give your child the real piano experience that encourages years of learning.
Piano Magic have also recently expanded to include a hiring service for those who wish to try piano playing before they commit, startingat $55 p/month.
An acoustic piano in super conditon is ideal to learn and play on. It's been shown that students who learn on a quality acoustic, are way more likely to progress to the higher stages of piano. This is due to the indescribable feeling of playing with rich acoustic timbres and feel.
A new, upright piano, built for our harsh Perth weather conditions can start around $8000. When bought with our weather conditions in mind, a new piano will give decades of quality sound and feel with minimal maintenance costs. I recommend Bernstein from Piano Magic.
Acoustic pianos need to be tuned annually and occasionally parts need to be replaced to retain comfortable feel and sound quality. For this reason, I don't recommend buying a cheap, old one, privately, unless it can be shown what parts have been replaced and how it has been serviced over the years. Often people buy a 'bargain' only to find the piano is too worn to tune and is only worthy for a costly trip to the tip.
Please ensure your second hand piano's condition before you purchase it.
I personally recommend the team at Piano Magic in Belmont for purchasing acoustic pianos. All their second hand pianos are conditioned by the owner with continuing quality service.