1. Just Starting Out (Child)
If your child is just beginning their piano lessons and you are not sure whether or not they will continue taking them, it is definitely understandable that you will not be running out to buy a brand new upright piano.
For young children, the most important component of piano is learning to identify note names and sounds, and most of their repertoire and technique will only involve the middle octaves. For this reason, buying a cheaper electric piano (even one that does not have a full set of 88 keys) is a great way of making sure that your child is able to practice at home without making a large investment in a large instrument!
If you do choose to buy one of these pianos, you will need to replace it after approximately a year of lessons if your child chooses to continue in their lessons as it will no longer be adequate for their needs. The exact timing of switching to a better piano should be discussed with your child’s teacher.
2. Just Starting Out (Adult)
Adults who are just starting to play the piano are more likely t stick with it than children, and will be introduced to more complicated songs much faster. For this reason, it is important that a full-sized keyboard or piano be purchased for at-home practice. Electronic pianos with headphone jacks are especially helpful for those living with roommates or in apartments with thin walls!
As a beginner, however, it is completely understandable that you do not want to spend a large amount of money, so if you are having any financial concerns you should not shell out the extra money for weighted keys or a new upright.
3. Casual Player
Casual players who enjoy piano, but who do not want to become professionals have a unique set of requirements for their instrument. If money is tight, shelling out for a new upright may not be in the cards. Finding a second-hand piano that has been well-maintained is one fantastic option for these players. While cheap pianos might be tempting, their cost in repairs will not be worth it! Another option is to choose an electric piano with weighted keys and pedals that can effectively mimic an acoustic upright. If you decide on an electric piano, be sure to try out the pianos in-store before you buy one. It is very important that you purchase a piano that sounds authentic to you – the sound quality and feel of the piano is far more important than any of the bells and whistles that may be attached to it.
4. Advanced Pianist
For an advanced pianist, nothing can match the benefits of a new acoustic piano. Talk to your teacher about the brands and models that are going to be the best for your future work with music. While the price is going to be much steeper at this level, the sound quality and emotive ability of the instrument needs to match the talents of the performer. It is impossible to evoke nuanced emotion on a sub-par piano, and advanced pianists are working at a level where they require a practice piano that is comparable to those that they will be performing on.
No matter what level you are at, or the piano that you are choosing to buy, never choose a piano that does not feel ‘right’ under your hand. Every musician will have a different opinion of brands and models, and when you are the one spending the money, you want to make sure that your instrument will be something you will love – not just tolerate.