What I tell Parents about Digital Pianos

I teach piano in a music store (one of my many “jobs”), and often have parents ask me about their kids taking piano, but all they have is a digital.

I tell them several things:

  1. An excellent quality acoustic (i.e. grand or upright, not a spinet or console) is the best choice – BUT they have price and maintenance issues that too many parents don’t want to deal with.
  2. Second choice would be an excellent quality digital – with 88 weighted keys, excellent quality speakers. They will need to add a piano-style sustain pedal and a keyboard stand (if the keyboard doesn’t already have one). The downside is that it will last around a decade, whereas an acoustic will last the rest of their lives. (For some, this last statement is a disadvantage of acoustic pianos!)
  3. Third choice, and definitely last, is the el-cheapo keyboard that the music store sells. Granted, in our market there is not a strong need for that particular music store to have the good ones in stock (2 other music stores in town carry them). For some parents, though, all they want to spend – indeed, all they may be ABLE to spend, is $150 on a little dinky one. I explain the limits they are putting on the child – and I require that the keys be full-size. I also explain that the child will outgrow it in less than a yeay, but $150 is all some parents will spend on the keyboard.

So I deal with it!

I am also trying to get parents to hook their keyboards up to the computer, explaining the capabilities that gives the child. I ahve had limited success, because most of my parents have Windows machine, which are difficult to setup for MIDI operation. The Mac side is so much easier, my Mac using parents are more likely to take advantage of it.


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