Buying a Keyboard – Advice for New Piano Students
Pianos are wonderful instruments, and lessons are perfect for all ages. (Yes, adults can learn how to play piano too!) These days, many people opt for a nice keyboard instead of purchasing an actual piano. A good quality keyboard will play and sound like a real piano, but have number of benefits, such as price, portability, no need for regular tuning, and the ability to use headphones. For those who are interested in recording/production, the benefits of a keyboard (vs. a piano), are huge – you can plug it into your laptop and create!
Of course there is no replacing a beautiful Steinway, so if you have the money and space to buy a very nice piano, please do so! For everyone else . . .
You might consider the Yamaha P45 — It’s full-sized, weighted keys, and has hammer-action, so it will play/feel/sound very close to a “real” piano. The P45 is in the sweet-spot of nice quality at a good price. Online ordering is a good way to go, because you can have your keyboard delivered, rather than trying to fit it into your car 😉 There are nice bundles that include the keyboard, pedals, bench, stand, etc. The furniture style ones are especially nice. For those who are assembling their own “bundles,” if the student is on the smaller side, it’s a good idea to get a height-adjustable stand and/or bench. Here’s a good basic adjustable stand, and here’s a simple adjustable bench.
The P45 is meant to replace a piano. It will have also have some fun sounds to play with, but they will be more classic keyboard-oriented sounds (organs, Rhodes-style keyboards, harpsichord, etc), rather than synthy electronic pop stuff. For fun sounds, you could connect your keyboard to GarageBand, Logic, Reason, or any other audio creation software, and use a limitless number of interesting sounds (and perhaps explore production in the future).
For young beginners, you would be okay with a mini-keyboard, like the NP-12. Another idea is the Alesis Recital, which is full-sized, but does not have weighted keys. These choices are a fun way to get started on a budget. If you go with something like the NP-12 or the Alesis, you’d want to upgrade to a full-sized instrument fairly quickly.
Alternatively, you could get more of a synthesizer-style keyboard, but they frequently don’t come with nice full-sized weighted keys, unless you are going for something like a Nord (wonderful, but expensive – more of a pro stage keyboard).
While there is nothing like the “real-thing,” it’s pretty easy to make a case for going the keyboard route. Advantages: cost, portability, midi capability (connect to your computer), no need for a piano tuning, movers, etc. The main thing, is learn how to play it! Red Pelican Music offers wonderful in-home and studio piano lessons in the Los Angeles area, as well as online (remote or virtual) lessons worldwide! Give us a ring (310) 893-0776, or sign-up to get started!