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Before you can start lessons, you need a piano. Piano keyboards come in many styles, and it can be hard for the first timer to know what is the best instrument. Here is a guide to help you find the best instrument, and the accessories you need.
The biggest purchase for a new pianist is obviously a piano or a keyboard. Now, what type of instrument do you need?
Oh dear! A trip to a music store can easily get confusing- there are simply too many choices!
Here is some help:
The first time you buy a piano, you are buying an instrument that hopefully will stay with you for a long time, so you need to find one that really suits your needs.
Remember that prices in a store are usually negotiable, so it pays to do your research before you buy ; ) More tips here: How to Buy Piano- Your Piano Buying Guide.
The answer to this is the best quality of the type of instrument you prefer. If an electrical instrument is what you want, buy the best you can afford.
Make sure it has pedals, and a full sized, touch sensitive and weighted 88-key keyboard.
If you would like an acoustic piano, check out second hand uprights first, you can find great second hand instruments. But bring a pianist or technician along to help you try out the instrument.
Piano keyboards can be divided in five main groups:
1. Electronic Keyboards: These instruments are portable, normally budget friendly and have lots of fun sounds and effects to play around with. Electronic keyboards are generally not great for classical style pianists, but there are some good alternatives.
2. Digital Pianos: Digital pianos, (or electric keyboards) are serious competitors to acoustic upright or grand piano keyboards. The sound and touch is excellent, and no maintenance is required. Many models are also somewhat portable. A digital piano is not the same as an acoustic in feel, neither in key-weight or "touch". But still, it is a budget friendly instrument and a great alternative for keeping in a place with less that ideal temperature or humidity/dryness.
3. Acoustic Upright Pianos: An acoustic piano is an investment for the serious pianist. A small upright needs little space and comes in many brands and models. An upright is too heavy to move around, and needs regular care, maintenance and tuning for a long life. There are many different prices and brands available. You could also consider buying second hand.
4. Acoustic Grand: A grand piano is for the serious pianist who wants to get the best. A grand needs a larger room though, and is not an instrument to be tucked away in a corner, but to be proudly displayed! Many different prices and brands are available, and second hand can be a brilliant choice.
5. Hybrid Pianos: The best of two worlds, an acoustic and digital instrument in one. Costly- of course, but what an instrument!
Even though a good instrument is the first thing you need, there are some more basic accessories that are necessary for best playing results:
Absolutely essential for comfortable playing is a great piano bench. The more comfort, the more you will want to practice!
The absolute best is an adjustable bench, especially padded, that you can put at exactly the right height. As a good bench will help you to sit with the best posture when playing, it will also facilitate balance and coordination. Read more about the piano bench here.
Good lighting is also very important when playing and practicing.
Make sure your lighting is adequate and does not cast any shadows on the keyboard.
It is also important that you can easily read the notes in front of you (without squinting or craning your neck)- it is amazing what great lighting can do to ease tension!
A handy and very useful little gadget that every serious piano player need is a metronome.
There are many different types available, and in many price ranges.
Learn how to practice with a metronome for great results here: How to use a metronome.