Purchasing your child’s first piano can be a daunting task. It’s preceded by a veritable minefield of questions – should I buy a piano or should I rent one? Is it okay to buy a keyboard rather for initial lessons? What sort of a piano or a keyboard should I purchase? What is the maintenance cost of a piano? We’ll help you find the answers.

Level of Commitment

The first question you want to ask yourself before purchasing a piano or a keyboard is – how committed is your child to the onerous task of learning the instrument? Do they really like it and will be interested in continuing long-term, or is it something they are just doing for one summer? This is because a piano is a major investment – in terms of money and space in your residence.

father and son playing the piano
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Some teachers and music schools absolutely insist that their students have access to a piano at home before they begin imparting lessons. In case you are not sure whether your child would want to continue with the lessons, a quality keyboard will work just fine for him or her, and you may want to talk to the teacher about this right at the outset.

Budget and Maintenance

The cost of a stellar acoustic piano starts from somewhere around $2,000 and can go up to as high as $50,000 for some grand pianos. On the other hand, a basic keyboard is priced at just $200 and there are a variety of options available to suit every budget. So, one of the first things you need to decide is how much money you are willing or able to spend on the instrument.

Also, acoustic pianos need to be tuned regularly – at least twice a year – to maintain the tone and tenor of their sound. Tunings generally cost somewhere around $100 per session and vary slightly depending on the model and make of the instrument. On the other, a keyboard does not require any elaborate maintenance rituals.

Individual Practice

Improving on any musical instrument requires consistent practice and the piano is no different. It is important that your children practice what they learn in the music class. The timing and type of daily practice are also a decisive factor. Most keyboards come with audio jacks; your kids can just plug in a headphone and practice at their convenience without disturbing anybody.

little boy trying to play the piano
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This is a feature that comes particularly handy if your child can spare time for practice only late at night or early in the mornings. Note that a proper acoustic piano can be a powerfully loud instrument. If you have other members of the family who might get disturbed, you might want to tilt the scales towards keywords.

Living Situation

Are you planning on moving anytime soon? If yes, then do not even think of purchasing or renting a piano right now and just go ahead with a keyboard. Pianos are bulky instruments; moving them from one place to another can be quite a hassle.

Moving companies can make special provisions to carefully shift the instrument, but they are sure to be expensive. Also, costs apart, transporting a piano makes it susceptible to damage as it can get bumped around in trucks or at the hands of the workmen.

girl playing the piano
Image Courtesy of Flickr

Weighted Keys

If you make up your mind to buy a keyboard, make sure it has weighted keys that would offer as much resistance as a piano. It is the resistance that allows one to play notes at different volumes on the same key on a piano. So if your child is accustomed to playing on a resistant keyboard, the transition to a piano, later on, will not be much of a challenge for him or her.

It’s a major decision and should not be taken lightly without considering all aspects of the matter. While you debate whether to get your child a piano right away or not, there’s no harm in starting out with a keyboard under a great teacher!

Piano education not only helps them build an ear and sense for good music, it also boosts concentration and retention abilities, thus paving the way for him or her to excel in academics. If you find most boxes ticked after reading through this guide, go ahead and invest in a fabulous piano.

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