How to Choose a Keyboard or Piano for Beginners

So your child wants to learn how to play the piano, and you’re on the lookout for the perfect instrument to help them on their musical journey. But with so many options out there, how do you choose the right one? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

First things first, it’s important to remember that a good instrument can make all the difference in your child’s musical experience. Just like you wouldn’t want your child playing soccer in cheap flip-flops, you don’t want them learning to play the piano on a subpar instrument. However, that doesn’t mean you need to break the bank and buy a baby grand.

To find the right keyboard or piano for your child, you’ll need to consider factors such as your budget, your child’s skill level, and the type of music they want to play. But don’t worry, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know to make an informed decision.

So if you’re ready to help your budding pianist find the perfect instrument to play on, let’s dive into our guide on how to choose a keyboard or piano for beginners.

Different Types of Piano Keyboard Instruments

If you’re thinking of getting a piano keyboard instrument, it’s good to know that there are three basic types to choose from. Let’s take a look at each one:

  1. Acoustic pianos: These are the largest and most expensive type of piano keyboard instruments out there. But, they’re also considered the best for developing piano skills. With their impressive sound quality and touch-sensitive keys, you’ll definitely feel like a pro playing on one of these bad boys.
  2. Digital pianos: If you’re looking for something smaller and less expensive than an acoustic piano, digital pianos are a great option. They may not have the same depth of sound as an acoustic, but they come pretty close and are much easier to move around. Plus, they can mimic the feel of an acoustic piano with weighted keys.
  3. Electronic keyboards: The most affordable option of the three, electronic keyboards are perfect for those just starting out. However, they may not have the same touch as an acoustic or digital piano, and they may have fewer keys, limiting the range of music you can play.

So, depending on your budget and skill level, there’s a piano keyboard instrument out there that’s perfect for you.

Get Started with Acoustic Pianos: Top Picks for Beginners

Acoustic Pianos

When it comes to learning how to play the piano, having access to an acoustic piano early on can make a big difference in a student’s progress. Unlike digital pianos, acoustic pianos produce sound from real strings and wood, which creates a unique level of responsiveness that even the best digital pianos cannot replicate.

Of course, quality acoustic pianos can be expensive, with a price range typically between $4,000 to $8,000 for a quality upright piano, also known as a “vertical” piano. If you’re looking for a grand or baby grand piano, prices can range from $6,000 to $10,000 or more. 

At Harlem Shakes, we recommend the Yamaha U1 as a favorite upright piano, but there are also other great brands like Kawai, Boston, and Schimmel.

If you’re unsure about purchasing a piano for a beginner, there are plenty of piano stores that offer affordable acoustic piano rental programs. However, if you already own or plan to purchase a used piano, be sure to check that it is in good working condition and properly tuned. An acoustic piano that is in poor condition can lead to frustration and hinder a beginner’s progress in learning the piano.

Get Started with Digital Pianos: Top Picks for Beginners

Digital Pianos

If you’re a beginner pianist, starting on a digital piano could be a great option. While it’s not the same as playing on an acoustic piano, digital pianos are designed to mimic the sound and feel of an acoustic piano as closely as possible. Plus, they come in a console-style cabinet and are smaller and more affordable than upright pianos, with prices ranging from $1,000 to $2,000.

We recommend the Yamaha Arius series as the best digital piano for beginners. These Yamaha digital pianos have model numbers that start with “YDP” (such as YDP-143 and YDP-163), and can cost between $1,000 and $2,000.

If you’re on a tighter budget, the Casio Privia series is also a great option. These Casio digital pianos have model numbers that start with “PX” (such as PX-130 and PX-150), and are more affordable, starting at less than $500. While they may not match the feel and sound of an acoustic piano as closely as the Arius series does, they are still great quality and a good place to start.

Here are the top-rated Yamaha Arius and Casio Privia models on Amazon. Take a look at the features and compare to find the best fit for you:

Top Yamaha Arius models:

Top Casio Privia models:

Remember, while digital pianos can’t entirely replace the experience of playing on an acoustic piano, they are still a great option for beginners. In fact, a high-quality digital piano is much better than an old, out-of-tune acoustic piano with sticky or broken keys!

Get Started with Electronic Keyboards: Top Picks for Beginners 

Electronic Keyboards

If you’re interested in learning piano but aren’t quite ready to invest in an acoustic or digital piano, an electronic keyboard is a great way to get started without breaking the bank. However, it’s important to keep in mind that not all keyboards are created equal.

A non-weighted, non-full-size beginner keyboard may be discouraging for a beginner pianist. We recommend upgrading to a digital piano with weighted keys as soon as possible, but if you’re not ready to spend that much just yet, there are still some good options available.

When shopping for a keyboard, the number of keys and whether or not they are weighted are the most important factors to consider. We suggest choosing a keyboard with at least 61 keys to be able to perform all the exercises in our lessons. Weighted keys will also help build hand strength and make it easier for a student to transition to an acoustic piano in the future.

The Yamaha PSR Series and the Casio CT Series are great options for beginners. These models cost between $200 and $500 and offer a range of instrument sounds and pre-recorded rhythm tracks.

Remember to purchase a bench and keyboard stand as well. The correct height is important for good posture and playing technique. The Casio CB7 is a great option for a sturdy and simple bench that’s tall enough for both kids and adults.

What is the Best Piano for Beginners? Acoustic vs. Digital or Electronic

If you’re thinking about getting a piano for a beginner student, there are a few options available to you. While digital pianos and electronic keyboards have their advantages, there’s nothing quite like an acoustic piano when it comes to learning the piano as a beginner.

Sure, digital pianos and electronic keyboards are more portable and can be connected to a computer for educational and music production purposes. They can also be used with headphones to avoid disturbing anyone in the house. And the best part is, they don’t require tuning.

However, if you have the space and budget for an acoustic piano, it’s worth considering. An acoustic piano adds a touch of elegance and commitment to making music a part of your family’s life. It’s a statement piece that can bring joy and beauty to your home.

Moreover, beginner students who have access to a quality acoustic piano will have the opportunity to develop better musicianship from day one. There’s no comparison between the feel and sound of an acoustic piano versus a digital one.

In summary, while digital pianos and electronic keyboards have their advantages, an acoustic piano is the better choice for beginner students who want to develop their skills and musicianship.

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