Question: My child is starting piano lessons. What kind of piano should I get for them? I found a free one on Craigslist and most of the keys still work. Could I start them on this piano until they get good enough to deserve a better one?
The selection of an instrument for your budding student is an important one. Students of the piano will spend many an hour practicing scales and building up to ever increasingly difficult pieces. A link should build between the artist and their instrument. This is why it is critical to select a piano that encourages them to sit down and play.
Imagine someone beginning to learn a sport, say, baseball. One wouldn’t give the budding player a stick broken off from a nearby tree and tell them; ‘learn with this, and when you get really good we’ll give you a real bat!’ It is obvious that this would not be conducive to enjoyable learning and would impede musical progress. One would be tempted to simply quit when placed under this handicap.
Unfortunately, we see this far too often in the world of pianos. The difference between a fully functional, professional grade piano and the ‘Craigslist deals’ and cheap keyboards one often sees in us for practice is like day and night. Even budding pianists can tell the difference, even if they cannot express what exactly they are feeling.
Creating Frustration – Bad Tone, Bad Performance
Young students are much more perceptive to tonal quality and touch than many parents think. Many of the ‘free deals’ that can be found on Craigslist (and yes, even at some piano dealers) can be much more trouble than they are worth. A badly built and maintained piano may require much more repair and restoration work than is initially noticeable when examining the exterior. It is always recommended that you contact a qualified piano technician prior to considering the purchase of one of these used pianos.
It can be incredibly frustrating to sit down at a barely functioning piano that has been poorly maintained and attempt to bring some kind of discernible melody out of it. It is maddening for the professional; just imagine how frustrating it is for a beginning student. Sadly, we see this so often. It is no wonder that many students fail to stick with piano lessons.
In terms of monetary value, a durable, high-performance instrument can and will help you and your student get the very most out of piano/music lessons. A well-built, properly maintained instrument will stay in regulation and in tune saving you money in service calls. Many music teachers also have minimum requirements for the student’s practice instrument – and with good reason! Making an initial investment in a quality instrument will increase the odds your student stays with music throughout at a minimum their academic career. Lastly, resale value on pianos—as long as regular maintenance is completed—is good.
Piano Options Available – Kawai & More
You don’t need to necessarily break the bank when it comes to shopping for a new piano. The K-Series of Professional Upright Pianos from Kawai is the primary piano we recommend for student and practice use. These vertical pianos are some of the finest available today and offer Kawai’s ABS-Carbon Millennium III Action, extended length keys and a warm, full quality of tone that is pleasant to play and hear. These range from the more affordable K-200 to the incredible K-800. The Millennium III Action design offers the stability and responsiveness of parts constructed out of an ABS/Carbon Fiber blend.
Another good option is our selection of pre-owned Yamaha pianos. We primarily offer a selection of used Yamaha U1 Upright Pianos that offer a brighter quality of tone when compared to our new Kawai instruments. This is often preferred by some pianists. If you are looking for grand pianos, we offer a selection of new Kawai and fully rebuilt vintage Steinway & Sons and Mason & Hamlin pianos. Although more expensive, nothing can fully compare to the touch and tone that the grand design offers!
In conclusion, no matter which piano you end up choosing, please consider that the progress and enjoyment your student (and yourself) will receive out of learning the instrument can be directly tied to the quality of piano you choose.
Chupp’s Piano Service & Restorations | New Kawai Pianos | Used Yamaha | Restored Mason & Hamlin | Fine Steinway & Sons