Choosing the right piano for your child
“What piano/keyboard shall I get for my child?” is one of the most frequently asked questions that I get from parents. Let me try to help you in choosing the right one.
The best piano that I would always go for is a classical acoustic piano. Nothing can be better than a touch and sound of a real wood! If you are lucky to have one or have an opportunity to obtain one – I would definitely suggest sticking with classics.
However, often getting an acoustic piano might not seem very attractive. It takes a lot of space, it is quite heavy (in case if you need to transport it), and it requires regular tuning (a bit of hassle, but still – totally worth it!)
Let’s discuss alternatives.
I won’t go too much into technical description. However, let me highlight one extremely important feature essential for successful learning progress of your child (or any beginner).
We want a touch of an electronic keyboard to be as close as possible to an acoustic one. That is why I would strongly suggest looking for the abbreviation GH (stands for Graded Hammer) in a description of any keyboard.
For all beginners it is extremely important to develop finger strength. It is the key to success & progression in playing pieces that are more complex in the future (or getting grade exams done).
Many keyboards do not have graded hammers, meaning that the keys are too soft. As a result – children don’t develop necessary technical skills and struggle to play classical instrument later.
TIP: An easy way to test the keyboard would be to check if the keys make louder sound when you press it stronger; and quieter when you press softer. Non-GH keyboards make the same sound regardless how much strength you put into pressing the key (and we don’t want that!).
From my experience, I can also add that it also can be very frustrating switching from soft keyboard to a graded hammer one.
The keyboard can also have many other fun features, such as USB ports, recording function, choice of various sounds & voices etc. It is all great! However, not exactly necessary for a beginner. It’s all about the right touch!
- does not correlate with the size of your child :) The minimum to go for would be at least five octaves (60 keys – if you count both: black & white). It is very likely, that we won’t use all those keys straight away. However, it is crucial to learn different positions and how to navigate on the piano.
This kind of keyboard will last you for couple of years. Nevertheless, as the child progresses in music, the switch to a full size keyboard (88 keys) will be necessary. To avoid the hassle, I would go for a full size straight away.
It is a difficult question here. I believe every pianist has his or her favourite brand. I am a happy user of Kawai but at the same time I am very much respecting Yamaha and Clavinova. All three are excellent piano makers, so you can’t go really wrong if getting a keyboard from one of them (just bear in the mind the keyboard size & sensitivity).
Cost will vary depending on the keyboard model, size, included functions and bundle options (some retailers offer a stool and a pair of headphones to go with the instrument). Depending on your budget, I would suggest exploring your options. Have a look into several retailers, second hand options or even discontinued piano warehouses. Sometimes they have very good deals!
Lastly, it is also might be worth having a look into “Take it away” scheme available from Arts Council England. The scheme supports purchase of the music instruments for children and young people up to 25 years of age. Some more information is available here.
I hope this clarified a little bit the “piano purchase situation”. If you have any questions left, please do not hesitate to get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org
Have a musical day!