Often, parents will want to see their child make progress before they invest in a real piano. However, most keyboards are unsatisfactory to learn on, and many of the better teachers will not take students unless they have a full-size piano with weighted keys. Our experiences tell us that kids who begin on keyboards will drop out of lessons at a greater rate than kids who learn on a quality piano.
Today’s digital pianos have improved greatly and are now an option to consider. The piano should have 88 keys, each weighted to respond evenly. It must generate sufficient volume to explore that dynamics occurring in the music. It should also have 3 working pedals and a long sustain.
Benefits of a digital piano include lower service cost as they never need tuning and are more mobile. However, there are still many excellent teachers who will not accept students that do not have an acoustic piano.
These pianos can be a great cost-saving alternative; however, they can come with significant risk. Many older pianos were not built to last. Don’t assume because the piano looks good that is free of major structural problems, poor tuning stability, unbalanced actions, excessively bright tone, lack of sustain, etc. Always buy from a reputable dealer and insist on a warranty and trade up guarantee.
A new piano is always the best option if it is a quality product. The best pianos have great scale design, high quality materials, and are built by skilled craftsman. It will have a good warranty and be from a reputable manufacturer. Name brand is not always a guarantee of good value. Manufacturers often build different qualities but still put their names on the front of all of their pianos.