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Help me buy a piano


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#1 gracie1978

Posted 25 May 2019 - 04:05 PM

4yo DS really wanted to learn to play the piano, so I have him in lessons.  We are about 5 lessons in and he has surpassed me in terms of musical knowledge...
He's not gifted or anything, just enjoys it and the teacher is impressed with how quickly he is picking it up.  He is happy to practice and play on his own.  I tried to help him yesterday and he quickly corrected me... I thought a 2 meant play with both hands apparently not!

It's already become obvious to me that his little keyboard isn't right for practice, he has already noticed the weight difference in the keys and will struggle more than most kids with finger strength.  And we don't have all the keys for this week's song ;)

I think a digital piano might be good for us, I hate the idea of having to get a piano tuned every 6-12 months (another job!) And the room I'd put it in is a combined kitchen dining so there are a lot of temperature fluctuations.

I don't want to be the twit who buys their 4yo a $1200 piano that he loses interest in by the end of the year ... Everything on gumtree seems expensive and rental costs look like they'll add up quickly.
I don't have a heap of cash, but it seems silly to pay all this money for lessons and not be able to practice properly at home.

Any advice from someone musical or who has been in this position will be gratefully received.




#2 Romeo Void

Posted 25 May 2019 - 04:18 PM

Electric was how we went and I couldn't be happier.  I'd suggest holding tight for a few more months though, jut to make sure this is what he want's to do.  Even though he's noticed the difference in key weights, he's still able to learn so much on your little practice keyboard for now.

#3 RynandStompy

Posted 25 May 2019 - 04:22 PM

Look for the annual Aldi electric keyboard sale. Keyboard , music stand, stand and stool are all reasonably priced. We upgraded DD to a real piano recently after she'd had years of enjoyment with the Aldi one

#4 gracie1978

Posted 25 May 2019 - 04:29 PM

Thanks guys!
Good advice, DP has just suggested holding out to Christmas and handballing it to the six grandparents :)

Aldi is a great suggestion, we live near a fantastic one so I'll keep an eye out.

Edited by gracie1978, 25 May 2019 - 04:29 PM.


#5 Phascogale

Posted 25 May 2019 - 04:32 PM

I completely agree with with PP wrote.  An electric piano will the way to go.  They have the same keyboard as an upright piano but are might easier to move around.

$1200 sounds like about the right amount that you will be spending.  This will also get you a nice stand (or housing) and a seat as well.  There are cheaper ones but I can't really comment on the quality.

I bought my daughter an electric piano.  They are very different in how they 'feel' to play than a keyboard.  They are meant to be fine up until about grade 4 and then you're supposed to have a 'real' piano but my daughter plays above this and still loves it.  We also have a proper upright (that needs tuning and it needs to be done more than once and it's not cheap which is why I expedited buying an electric one - you can still play it, it's only just out of tune and most people probably won't pick it)

What's also great is that you can put in a set of headphones and you don't have to hear it.

I wouldn't be buying an Aldi one like suggested above.  They are just a keyboard.  And probably not much more than you currently have.

But you have time.  Your son can still learn a fair bit on what you already have.  Leave it 6-12 months if you want.

#6 EmmDasher

Posted 25 May 2019 - 07:43 PM

Digital pianos are great. We committed to one this year. I am really enjoying refreshing my own skills too. I shopped around and tested a few out and went with the Kawaii KDP110. It was about $1300 on sale. There was a cheaper one around the $1000 mark but it was a lot less sturdy and wobbly. The one we bought will have real longevity and I can enjoy playing it too.

#7 The Little Engine

Posted 25 May 2019 - 07:59 PM

I would look for a digital piano or good quality keyboard.
A word of warning the Aldi keyboard has a very strange action amd I don't believe plays very well.

#8 tenar

Posted 25 May 2019 - 08:09 PM

We got one child from age 4 to 8 with a $600 Yamaha digital piano (the newer but similar model seem to be the P121, $700ish going on looking at one shop only: you might find it on special somewhere).   By that stage, doing her grade 2 piano exam, the limitations of that instrument were evident.  We have since upgraded to a somewhat better digital piano which we got secondhand (and sold the old one for suprisingly close to what we paid for it). We considered an acoustic piano: there was a family piano available, but the appeal of the kids being able to use their headphones to practise when other people are talking in the living room was substantial.

You absolutely must get something with weighted keys (the keys are similar in weight and feel to a real piano, allowing your child to develop the hand strength and coordination that will allow him to perform on acoustic instruments) and that is touch sensitive (you can play different notes at different volumes depending how fast you hit the note)

Enjoy!

#9 Kattikat

Posted 25 May 2019 - 08:12 PM

I love love love my Roland electric piano. It was pretty pricey but so worth it - the sound/speaker quality is brilliant and it feels like a real piano to play. Look out for something called 'polyphony' which is how many notes it can play at once: once you start playing chords in both hands and using the sustain pedal those notes add up quickly! The Roland also has features like recording, splitting the keyboard and heaps of cool sounds (it's fun to make up stories using the sound effects setting!). I cried when the removalists took away my upright when I did it, but wouldn't want it back now- takes up so much room and it's so LOUD! Love popping my headphones in and bashing away and nobody can hear how terribly I'm playing lol

#10 ERipley

Posted 25 May 2019 - 08:16 PM

Our music teacher recommended the Yamaha P125 digital piano for our 5yo. Weighted keys and lots of other features. I think we paid $799 for it, but then you get the stand and seat and it’s getting towards that $1200 mark.

I say go for it. If you have other kids it’s likely to get more use from them too. Even if your son’s current interest wanes it may well come back. It’s just a really nice thing to have around for everyone to tinkle on.

#11 gracie1978

Posted 25 May 2019 - 09:44 PM

Good suggestions, thank you everyone!

#12 Cimbom

Posted 25 May 2019 - 10:05 PM

I see some on Gumtree for free every now and then but I know nothing about pianos so I don't know how much tuning and minor repairs would cost.

#13 Mrs Twit

Posted 25 May 2019 - 10:25 PM

When my kids started playing I bought a second hand keyboard for about $100. Kids were having lessons on a beautiful baby grand and I didn't want them to be confused with the difference so non-negotiable features for me were regular piano size weighted keys, touch sensitive keys (so they could vary the volume, and 88 keys so they had the same range as the piano.

Keyboard was good enough for the first 2 or 3 years and then we bought a beautiful second hand (but still quite new) Yamaha piano for $2000 from a music shop. I had been looking at cheap second hand piano on ebay but there is so much that can go wrong with a piano depending on its age, how it has been stored and used, whether it has been regularly tuned etc that I decided it wasn't worth the risk.

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Bonuses of a keyboard or digital piano over a normal piano are being able to practice with headphones or with the volume very low for minimal disturbance plus all of the cool features that come with a decent keyboard. Also it is portable which is great for concerts/talent shows/setting it up in someone's bedroom etc. But we all love the piano - the look, the sounds, the feel of it. Nothing compares. It was a huge investment for us - but 3 of us play and it gets a lot of use. Sometimes the keyboard comes out at the same time and we all play together.

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I would look for a decent secondhand keyboard with the features above and move to a digital piano once you are sure he will continue. There is usually a tough spot they hit after a while and a lot of kids give up around that time. If he can push through that there is a good chance he will continue.

#14 ipsee

Posted 25 May 2019 - 10:35 PM

If you'e run out of keys already I would get something as soon as you can. The lessons are not cheap, and he will progress much, much faster if he can practice at home.

#15 pitzinoodles

Posted 26 May 2019 - 12:07 AM

View PostCimbom, on 25 May 2019 - 10:05 PM, said:

I see some on Gumtree for free every now and then but I know nothing about pianos so I don't know how much tuning and minor repairs would cost.

Be very wary of this! People are usually giving these away because the soundboard is broken and it’s not worth the cost to fix them.  Had a few friends pick up a ‘beautiful old piano’ for free, paid the removal costs only to discover they are left with an out of tune piece of furniture that’s difficult to get rid of!

#16 all-of-us

Posted 26 May 2019 - 05:23 AM

View PostEmmDasher, on 25 May 2019 - 07:43 PM, said:

Digital pianos are great. We committed to one this year. I am really enjoying refreshing my own skills too. I shopped around and tested a few out and went with the Kawaii KDP110. It was about $1300 on sale. There was a cheaper one around the $1000 mark but it was a lot less sturdy and wobbly. The one we bought will have real longevity and I can enjoy playing it too.

We have the same one -: 8 yr old daughter loves it and has a great ‘key feel’.  One will turn up I saw one last week on a Facebook buy-swap-sell site

#17 Sancti-claws

Posted 26 May 2019 - 08:28 AM

Grandma bought a Yamaha P something for DD (well for both, but as the first has already left home she got dudded) and its great.

#18 Veritas Vinum Arte

Posted 26 May 2019 - 08:43 AM

View Postpitzinoodles, on 26 May 2019 - 12:07 AM, said:



Be very wary of this! People are usually giving these away because the soundboard is broken and it’s not worth the cost to fix them.  Had a few friends pick up a ‘beautiful old piano’ for free, paid the removal costs only to discover they are left with an out of tune piece of furniture that’s difficult to get rid of!

My parents got rid of my old piano free for this reason. They mentioned in the ad though that it was untenable.

I purchased a Casio Privia Px 750 as I turned 40. It is lovely to play. Weighted keys, all pedals and the keys are textured like my old piano’s were.

My kids did not go far with piano (change of piano teachers killed enthusiasm), but I happily play the pieces from the movie The Piano on it. I was never goong to be a concert pianist but playing gives me pleasure.

#19 Cimbom

Posted 26 May 2019 - 09:44 AM

View Postpitzinoodles, on 26 May 2019 - 12:07 AM, said:



Be very wary of this! People are usually giving these away because the soundboard is broken and it’s not worth the cost to fix them.  Had a few friends pick up a ‘beautiful old piano’ for free, paid the removal costs only to discover they are left with an out of tune piece of furniture that’s difficult to get rid of!

Is that easy to check? Can't you play it when you go to inspect it to see? Sorry if it's a dumb question!

#20 petit_manchot

Posted 26 May 2019 - 01:47 PM

I’ve taken up playing again as an adult. I bought a second-hand Casio CDP 130 for about 300 dollars and so far it’s been a great investment. The E2 has a slightly tinny sound, but it’s only really noticeable to me; apart from that it’s a great instrument, and definitely good enough quality for a beginner.

I love that I can turn the volume down and play once my toddler is in bed.

#21 ~strawberry~

Posted 26 May 2019 - 10:11 PM

View PostCimbom, on 26 May 2019 - 09:44 AM, said:

Is that easy to check? Can't you play it when you go to inspect it to see? Sorry if it's a dumb question!

Not a dumb question at all. It's really worth getting a piano tuner to check out any second hand acoustic piano before you buy. Most pianos will become untunable if not looked after and regularly tuned. Once the sound board splits, then there's nothing you can do.

#22 Lady Monteagle

Posted 27 May 2019 - 08:31 AM

I LOVE my Roland digital piano. When I bought it for a few grand 15 years ago it was the most piano-y-feeling instrument I could find, and I still find it stands out compared to others I play, though I think Kawai and Yamaha models are also good.  I'm happy for my kids to practise up to 8th grade level work on it, though we have a real piano that they mostly use.  

However if I were advising the parents of a keen and capable 4-year-old student, assuming no-one else in the house wants to use the instrument, I'd say that a decent keyboard would do fine for maybe 6-12 months to determine consistent interest before laying out more serious cash.  "Decent" would have to include at least 4 octaves (if you're running out of notes already, yours must be quite small, or his teacher has him jumping around quite early?), can hold down at least 4 notes at once, and piano sized keys if not weighted.  A lack of weighted keys would become an issue fairly quickly, within 6-12 months depending on progress.  Unless he's a very tall kid I guess he won't want pedals for a while yet.

#23 **Xena**

Posted 27 May 2019 - 09:43 AM

We're looking to buy this one for our son as a combined Christmas/Birthday present (he's 15 not 4 but a casual player).
https://www.jbhifi.c...l-piano/900130/

Edited by **Xena**, 27 May 2019 - 09:45 AM.


#24 pitzinoodles

Posted 27 May 2019 - 10:14 AM

View PostCimbom, on 26 May 2019 - 09:44 AM, said:



Is that easy to check? Can't you play it when you go to inspect it to see? Sorry if it's a dumb question!

Absolutely you can play it, but you don’t know whether it’s fine and just needs a tune, or it’s actually untunable. If it’s being given away for free it’d be likely it’s the latter. If it’s an older piano, definitely worth getting a piano tuner to look at it.

#25 8mimi8

Posted 27 May 2019 - 07:49 PM

I had an old thread about starting piano lesson for my 5 yo dd so I thought i’ll chip in. We bought second hand yamaha p125 two weeks ago for $400. We had fun tinkering with it chop stick style. She started her first weekly lesson today and the teacher said what we have is perfectly suitable for practice




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