It is the new year and you feel this is the time to get started. But… you don’t have a piano!
Here are some scenarios you may have encountered :
– Not sure if my child is going to commit. Catch 22? (Not really; wait for it.)
– A brand new piano will cost a fortune! (You’re absolutely right!)
– I’d love to buy or hire a piano but we really have no more room to squeeze another furniture in … (We hear this a lot.)
– Our home is noisy enough; a child bashing at the keys is one problem too many … (We hear you.)
– What if my child just quit – Would I have lost my money? (No, you wouldn’t.)
– What if my child grew bored of the piano and decided to choose another instrument? (They won’t if you get a perfect-fit teacher.)
Most of you might have experienced a combination of such concerns above, which can actually be addressed easily. Please read on.
First, let us make this clear: You shouldn’t bargain with you kid. “If you practice 20 minutes a day, we will get you a piano” is a lost battle. She will not practice and you will feel wise not wasting your money on an instrument. False.
Step No. 1:
The fact that you’re already here and reading this means you care about the quality of your child’s education. The price is, of course, an important factor, but having the right teacher is even more crucial. The right teacher will not just uninspiringly sit through a lesson and recite information like a answer.
The right teacher will inspire your child, bring enthusiasm into the smallest detail and showcase how beautiful music really is.
S/he will engage, try to be a trusted friend of your child and work with the child, rather than just demand work matter-of-factly. The right teacher will make your child want to show off and do more, rather than just produce what was asked.
Music can change your child’s life in ways and manners you haven’t thought of.
Here’s your ultimate reality check: If your child is not jumping up and down and looking forward to the next lesson, you know the teacher may not be suitable and it’s time to find a different one. Your child’s time and development are more precious than money, and having a right teacher is the only shortcut to building a strong relationship between your child and his/her instrument.
Never compromise on lesson quality, even if the lessons are completely free.
Why? Because the right teacher will make music-learning an attractive and fulfilling process for your child. A 45-minute or hour-long session will feel like the blink of an eye with the right tutoring. With a bespoke teacher matched to your child’s need in place, many hesitations will evaporate – we give you our word from 15 years of experience.
Step No. 2:
Encourage, support, and praise! Start by giving your child the privilege of knowing how much you count on them to do well; how much their effort means to you, and support them through their daily/weekly practice.
Don’t just say “well-done, now go brush your teeth,” but really mean it.
When given the opportunity and encouragement, children will go out of their way to make parents proud of them. It’s tried-and-tested psychology and works most of the time. Also note that if your child doesn’t like the subject – it is mostly due to the teacher who is just not very excited about the subject her/himself. In which case, what could the child be expected?
Step No. 3:
Forget about acoustic pianos
Yes we said it. Acoustic pianos are costly. They are massive, they are noisy, and they could limit your child’s practising time. But if your budget is solid, you have sufficient space and loud sounds are not a concern – go right ahead and be the proud owner of a gorgeous baby grand piano.
Solution: Digital Pianos
They are slimmer, much slimmer. Digital pianos cost the equivalent of a 6-month hire of an acoustic piano (plus removal costs, tuning, admin, etc.) Digital pianos need no tuning every 6 months and they can work with headphones so your other child can do homework in the same room undisturbed. Your neighbours also won’t knock on the wall at 8 pm because they can’t watch TV in peace. Be clever: the hassle of getting the right instrument can be reduced to a small task of “click and deliver” if you know what to look for and where.
We like online ordering because it is stress-free and easy. It is also cheaper, in most cases. We specifically like Amazon for the convenience of next-day delivery, competitive prices and ease of use. Take full advantage of it especially if you already have an Amazon Prime account.
We list below some popular options of different price ranges for you. Disclaimer: we ARE proudly affiliated with Amazon, but you pay nothing extra through our recommendation. We are here to help you wade through the jungle of endless options and we hope our expertise and effort can help you find a satisfactory product that best suits your need and budget. Those few pennies earned from affiliation can help us maintain our services and offer more interactive advice – not only via articles but vlogging too (coming out soon so watch this space).
Here are what we feel great products for you to get started with and can also take you through a journey as high up as you aspire.
This is our first choice for its unbeatable best value for money. Not too expensive and doesn’t come with thousands of sounds and features you’d never use, but it is not too simple to make you regret you didn’t opt for a more expensive one. This is as good as a proper (acoustic) piano. There are 88 wide-weighted keys and it comes with superb sound, headphone jack, a proper stand that won’t look shabby in your living room, 3 pedals and a cover. The cover will prevent liquid spillage from damaging the unit. It also comes in 3 different colours: black, mahogany and white. The price usually ranges between £650 to £750.
It carries the same features as the Yamaha above, and the brand is as well-known and of the same if not better reputation. We would prefer the Yamaha option, as it is simply the best value for money, but this Korg may be a great bargain. It has good online reviews so we don’t wish to dismiss it for being less known. C. £550, which would save you £100 from the Yamaha option.
We can not say we know much about this brand, but being half the price of the Yamaha above is something we couldn’t dismiss. Note that the stand, sturdy as it may be, looks less like a firm piece of furniture and more like a DIY, especially with the wire-attached plastic pedal. It doesn’t feel as right but many reviewers seem to like it, probably for the very competitive pricing of c. £300.
This basically offers you the actual keyboard part but without a stand, legs and a protective cover. The price tag is an attractive bonus and can save you a few hundreds of pounds in comparison. However, do take into consideration how frequently you have to carry this back and forth between places for the daily practice. If you try it to leave it on a separate stand, it might still be wobbly/flimsy/not stable enough and the keyboard can fall off when played. Or you can utilise your dining table, though it would look messy and take up quite lots of space. C. £250–£300
This is a good compromise between the proper ‘furniture’ sturdy stand and the keyboard-only option above. The keys are still nicely weighted and wide as in a real piano, and it comes with a functional stand that takes less space than the Yamaha option at the top: a great in-between option for the budget-conscious musician.
This is as good as an emergency exit on a plane. It will save your life but only use it when you absolutely have to. Don’t choose it if your child is above 5 years old, unless you really, really need to keep the price low. Remember – this is not a digital piano anymore, but a digital keyboard. Soft/narrow keys, small in size, lightweight, and verging on being inappropriate for any serious piano lesson. We have to mention this option as it is the ultimate portable tool for vocal teachers and toddlers. C. £100
Complete your piano with this Yamaha stool. It has nothing special, but will match the piano and will look great together. Using a regular house chair back and forth of course works too and this recommendation is a purely aesthetic option. C. £75
We hope you have become a little more enlightened and less confused after reading through this article, which helps cross over the first step with a promising starting point. You are very welcome to leave us any comment and ask questions below or via direct contact.
We will be delighted to offer more options, solutions and ideas, and be of your assistance.