Buying A Piano

So, you have decided you want to learn the piano? Maybe you are a complete beginner or maybe you already have some experience.

Either way, I absolutely love helping everyone learn the piano. I’ve helped many adult piano students get started learning the piano. I admire them for making the courageous decision to try something new or to brush up on an old skill amidst their busy lives.

Before we even begin lessons, I often work with parents or adult students to help them find just the right instrument to practice on.

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Learn To Play The Piano
Bromsgrove Piano Teacher

Buying A Piano Is Often A Lifelong Purchase

If you’re looking to buy a new piano, I’m here to help you make the right decision for you and your family. I will give you an overview of the options available and then post follow ups with more detailed features of each of these options.

Buying a piano is incredibly exciting because it is very likey that it will be something  you will own for a very long time and perhaps even pass down through future generations. It will add so many positive benefits to your home;  fun; entertainment; discipline; hardwork; quality family time; fulfillment; and probably more than this.

It is also likely that it will require a bit of an investment so you will want to consider your options carefully before deciding what is best for you and your family.

Acoustic Piano or Digital Piano?

There are 2 main types of instruments to consider: acoustic pianos and digital pianos.

Bromsgrove Upright Piano

A traditional acoustic upright piano.

Bromsgrove Digital Piano

A modern digital piano.

An acoustic piano is a large instrument with 88 keys, a wooden cabinet encasing a complex hammer action and strings inside it. They come in a variety of upright styles (as pictured above) or in the shape of a concert grand piano. They do not require electricity but will need some regular maintenance.  It is a heavy piece of furniture that will need a permanent space in your home.

A digital piano is an electronic piano that may or may not be portable. Modern technology means that they usually feel and sound very similar to an acoustic piano when played. Many also have workstation features with functions such as different instrumental sounds, rhythm backings, recording capabilities and much more.           

Many of my students ask me whether a keyboard is also an option. Whilst a keyboard is better than no instrument at all it will be quickly outgrown for practising piano. I don’t recommend learning piano on a keyboard as it it doesn’t have the ‘weighted’ key feel of an acoustic or digital piano. However, there are a lot of accessible options in the digital piano category that are much more substantial and better value than a keyboard.

Pros and Cons of Acoustic Pianos

Few would disagree that is very difficult to replace the sound and touch of an acoustic piano. One of the unique qualities of an acoustic piano is that when you play a note, there is a physical interreaction within the piano. The vibrations of the strings create harmonic overtones that sound simultaneously, creating a beautifully full, rich and sonourous sound.  Some of the notes in the middle of the piano have 3 strings each. This may be a subtle difference to some, but when it’s missing, you’ll be wondering why your piano sounds a little more dull and lifeless.

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PROS

  • Acoustic pianos have a rich sound and ‘weighted’ touch.
    Playing a
    well-maintained, acoustic piano is a physical experience and something that can’t be replicated digitally. Spending a lot of time at an acoustic piano helps you appreciate its sound
  • Acoustic pianos respond to how you play them.
    An acoustic piano has thousands of moving parts inside of it. This means that you have a lot of control over the sound you make. As your skills develop you will be able to create many sounds and effects that add to the beauty of your music.
  • Acoustic pianos are beautiful.
    Most pianos are stunning pieces of furniture that add an elegant aesthetic to your home.
  • The sound of an acoustic piano carries naturally.
    An acoustic piano is easier to blend with vocalists and other instrumentalists. Their sound tends to be well balanced and carries well in large and small spaces.

CONS

  • Acoustic pianos require maintenance.
    Many realise this comes along with owning a piano. But, pianos do require ongoing maintenance and care. You should expect to tune your piano at least two times a year. This costs upwards of about £70 a time. If any issues arise you’ll need a piano technician to come and do repairs. Maintaining a piano requires a financial investment and understanding that if something on your piano breaks, it can make playing challenging until it is repaired.
  • Acoustic pianos generally do not improve with time.
    Pianos are not instruments that age well in modern homes. The life span of a piano is approximately 60 years. As pianos get older, they can lose their ability to hold the correct pitch, and things may start break that are not worth repairing. Keep this in mind, especially if you are considering buying a used piano.
  • Acoustic pianos are affected by environmental changes.
    Pianos need to be kept in a stable environment. Temperature, humidity changes and exposure to moisture can affect the instrument. You’ll want to be mindful of where it is kept to ensure that it stays in working order and sounds its best.

Pros and Cons of Digital Pianos

Digital pianos have come a long way in recent years. They are an excellent substitute for an acoustic piano. Digital pianos offer greater convenience and have much less maintenance than their acoustic colleagues.

Bromsgrove Digital Piano
Digital Grand Bromsgrove

PROS

  • Little to no maintenance and always in tune.
    Unlike acoustic pianos, digital pianos require almost no maintenance. They are always in tune, and once you turn them on, they’re ready to go!
  • Digital pianos are more affordable.
    If you’re looking for a new piano, a digital piano will be a significantly cheaper option. Most high-quality digital pianos will be around £500, though there are many that can get up to £4,000 and beyond. However, it is an investment. It’s worth it to have something that sounds and feels good! You must enjoy playing it.
  • You can adjust the volume on digital pianos, as well as use headphones for private practice.
    A huge pro of using a digital piano is the ability to plug in headphones and to control the volume. This is ideal in a flat or or in homes where other people’s sleep and work need to be considered.
  • Digital pianos often have many fun features.
     Some have recording options, different instrumental sounds, rhythms to play along with, and more. They can be used with recording software by simply plugging in and playing.  Acoustic pianos, on the other hand, require several microphones and a recording studio. These features open up many doors for ways creatively work with your music. They’re fun and engaging for youngsters.
  • Digital pianos take up less space.
    The keys on a digital piano are the same as an acoustic piano, but the instrument itself does not have the internal size of an acoustic piano. Digital pianos take up far less space, making them convenient for small homes.  They’re also easy to transport, whereas acoustic pianos require specialist movers.

CONS

    • Digital pianos can be difficult to repair.
      Like all technology they can still break or stop working. It can be difficult to find a qualified technician to repair them, and in many cases, you may have to replace the entire thing. 
    • Digital pianos often sound artificial.
      Technology has advanced and digital pianos can sound and feel just like an acoustic piano. However, older models or lower quality digital pianos have inferior sound quality. Some people describe them as sounding “tinny” or “dull”. If you don’t enjoy the sound of your piano, it will be hard to stay motivated and play it.
    • Technology is always changing.
      Technology constantly evolves, and features on digital pianos become obsolete. For example, digital pianos from just 10 years ago have floppy disk drives on them. If you wanted to record music on an older digital piano, you’d find it hard transferring music to a more up-to-date piano.
    • Digital pianos may not build finger strength.
      Although many digital pianos have  “weighted keys” to mimic an acoustic piano many still aren’t weighted enough. If you’re a beginner, this can cause issues for your finger strength and dexterity. If you decide to go with a digital piano, be sure to test the weight of the keys before your buy.

    Which Sould You Buy?

    Deciding between an acoustic and digital piano depends on your own preferences. Consider your space, other people you live with, and how you plan on using itTry out many different pianos before you buy one. Digital pianos are appealing because they are convenient and low maintenance, but acoustic pianos will add beauty and depth to your music that you will miss out on when playing a digital piano.

    Choose an acoustic if:

    • You love playing classical music or would like to learn to play classical music.

    • You want to develop good technique and are looking for a sound that will respond to subtleties in playing.
    • You want the uniqueness of the feel and sound of an acoustic piano.
    • You’re interested in an acoustic piano as a beautiful piece of furniture.


    Choose a digital piano if:

    • You’re interested in recording your music.
    • You would like to create music by combining your piano skills with technology, such as instrumental voicings, accompaniment loops, and other features.
    • You’re looking for a low-maintenance instrument.
    • You need the convenience of playing with headphones or lowering the volume.

    BROMSGROVE MUSIC TUTION

    Whether you are five, fifteen, fifty or eighty years old, there are a lot of reasons to start learning to play the piano. So many intellectual, emotional, physical, social, and personal achievments will come your way! There are few reasons, if any, not to start learning.

    What is stopping you? Contact me below and tell me. Maybe I can help remove some of those barriers? Choose your keyboard. I will plan the lessons just for you. Start your musical journey with me now.

    Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

    If you like this article and want others to read it, then please  share it with your friends online. Have you started learning recently? What made you start? Did you start and give up as a child? I would love to hear your own musical experiences.

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