absolutely essential that students have easy access to a suitable piano or keyboard on at
least 5 days per week. Students who live
between two houses may need an instrument at both.
The ideal instrument to practice on is a well tuned acoustic piano in good condition.
- ideal for technique development
- motivating to play on
- need to be tuned regularly
- older pianos can malfunction, keys can be loose or sticky
- older pianos can be impossible to tune or go out of tune quickly
- a quality instrument will cost a few thousand dollars
A keyboard with 76 to 88 weighted keys is another suitable option.
- do not need to be tuned
- will be in great condition if you buy new
- cost as little as $600
- have great sound effects
- have a different touch/feel to an acoustic piano (disadvantage in learning technique)
- may have less keys than an acoustic piano
- are unsuitable for students at a late intermediate/advanced level
Why not a smaller keyboard?
- From the first year of lessons, fewer than 76 keys greatly limits the repertoire that can be practised at home.
- It is confusing to the student's hand when keys have a smaller width than regular piano keys.
- When keys are 'lightweight' (easy to press), the student stiffens the wrist and connects notes, playing with the fingers only. These tension issues are difficult to remedy later on.
- The teaching of dynamics (loud and soft) will be delayed until the student has a weighted key instrument in order to prevent further tension/control issues.
Rent an instrument:
hire-buy scheme (ask about your options at Barratts Music store), buying second hand (in good condition) or opting for an electric
piano/clavinova. Musicorp Australia offer hire-buy schemes for suitable keyboards.
If you need a piano moved: my father runs a furniture removal business in Launceston. Call him for a quote. He even has an electric stair climber which is great for moving pianos!
If you own a
piano, have it tuned or serviced every two to three years. A
student practising on an instrument that is noticeably out of tune does not
have the opportunity to develop an accurate sense of pitch.