Buying your first piano or keyboard? It can be a difficult choice, you don’t want something that you or your child are going to outgrow in a few months. But you might not want to invest too much is the beginning if you aren’t sure how long you or your child will stick with the piano.
In this post I will break down the options available to show you how to choose your first piano. Hopefully clearing up some of the terminology will help you make a more informed decision.
A standard, traditional piano. Most have 88 keys, although I have come across some with less.
- Best quality
- Long term reliable option
- Less shock when you need to play a piano in an exam
- Authentic sound
- Upkeep and ongoing costs – needs to be tuned every 1-2 years which should cost €80 – €200
- Difficult to move – if you are in rented accommodation or may be moving soon you need to think about moving costs, usually about €150 – €200
You can pick up a second hand piano from about €150 upwards in auctions and on listing sites such as buyandsell, adverts and donedeal. New pianos usually start at about €2000, a second hand piano should be sufficient for most beginners.
Touch Sensitive Keyboard
This is the minimum level of keyboard I recommend for any student. “Touch sensitive” just means that if you press a key softly it plays a quiet note, and if you press it hard it will play a loud note. Any keyboard without this functionality is really just a toy. I bring a touch sensitive keyboard with me when I do trial lessons in students’ homes.
- Keys not weighted
- Will probably need to be replaced with a more advanced model in about 1-2 years, especially if a student wishes to sit exams
Second hand about €100 – €150, new about €200 – €400.
Semi-weighted or Fully-weighted Keyboard
The next step up, for those who want the quality of a piano (almost!) but the flexibility and movability of a keyboard. Weighted keys are designed to feel like a piano, and require as much pressure to press the key down, simulating the hammer action in a traditional piano.
- Reasonably realistic piano sound
- Still not the full texture and rich sound of a piano
- Generally more expensive than second hand piano
Second hand about €300 – €600, new fully-weighted upwards of €1500, semi-weighted upwards of €800.
I hope this make some of the terminology in the different types of keyboards clear, and helps you to make a decision on your first instrument. Leave a comment below if you have any questions and I’ll be sure to get back to you.