How To Choose A Piano For Home Practice 

To get the most out of piano lessons, your child needs to be practicing at home, and to do this they need something to practice on. Different types of pianos and keyboards available can be confusing. Here is a simple break down of the different terms and what they mean. 

Touch-Sensitive Keyboard 

(AKA Touch response or velocity sensitive)

 

This is the absolute minimum for a keyboard. Usually comes with 61 keys. Any level below this will sound robotic and not musical. The "touch-sensitive" term means that you can get loud and quiet sounds by pressing the key harder and softer. A 61-key touch-sensitive keyboard is sufficient for our piano beginner programs. Keep in mind you may need an upgrade to a digital piano in 2 years to effectively practice piano playing techniques.

Pros:

  • affordable

  • always in tune

  • portable (can be powered by batteries)

  • comes with other instrument sounds

  • can be connected to a computer and tablet

Cons:

  • not effective for practicing playing techniques

  • more advanced songs need more than 61 keys

  • may become outdated after 7-10 years due to technological progress

Digital Piano 

(AKA semi-weighted / fully weighted keyboard)

 

Digital piano usually has 88 keys, which is a full-size piano. It not only responds to the touch with loud and quiet sounds, but the keys feel a lot more like how piano keys are played. It is sufficient for playing in most music genres unless your goal is to become a concert pianist, you may need to invest in an acoustic piano. It is relatively lightweight and easy to relocate. Digital piano needs no tuning and will always sound much better than an under-maintained acoustic piano.

Cons:

  • lack of authentic rich sound compared to a well-maintained acoustic piano

  • may become outdated after 7-10 years due to technological progress

Pros:

  • realistic playing experience

  • effective for practicing playing techniques

  • always in tune

  • easy to relocate

  • comes with other instrument sounds

  • can be connected to a computer and tablet

Our favorite digital piano is Yamaha P71.

Acoustic Piano

 

An acoustic piano has thousands of moving parts inside of it, and the sound you get from a piano is a reaction from those moving parts. You have a considerable amount of control over what shape the sound will take. How you choreograph your hands and how you approach the keys will create innumerable sounds and effects that add to the beauty and depth of your music. An acoustic piano can be a beautiful piece of furniture that adds a charming aesthetic to your space. An acoustic piano is sensitive to its environment. It gets out of tune easily due to changes in humidity and temperature. It means annual tuning is minimum maintenance. And a well-maintained acoustic piano will sound good and can last for 60 years.

Cons:

  • high price tag

  • affected by environmental changes

  • requires maintenance

  • heavy and bulky, not easy to relocate

Pros:

  • rich sound and touch

  • responds to how the keys are played

  • looks nice in a home

  • 60 years lifespan when well-maintained

Bottom Line

 

Choose Touch-Sensitive Keyboard if you are a beginner and want to see if playing the piano is your cup of tea.

 

Choose Digital Piano if you enjoy playing the piano and want to improve your playing skills, a digital piano is suitable for more advanced techniques.

Choose Acoustic Piano if your goal is to become a professional concert pianist, an acoustic piano is a way to go. A good acoustic piano can cost $5000 or more. An out-of-tune piano with no regular maintenance can do more harm to the piano and the student.