Comparing acoustic pianos and digital pianos (keyboards) is like comparing physical sports and video game simulations. No one would hope to substitute, for example, Wii Sports tennis or golf for the real thing – even though virtual equivalents certainly have their time and place. Players choose their “method” for different reasons; we believe in acoustic pianos for teaching children.
An acoustic piano is far more sensitive to physical touch, and is capable of producing a more complex sound, than any electronic keyboard. A study of tone is therefore impossible when the instrument’s response and sound output is limited by its digital pre-programming. If we teach children only about notes (pressing the right key at the right time) and neglect other aspects of musicality, we are holding back their potential.
Weighted keys and other advanced features
Key weighting is better than no weighting but is still a limited imitation. Keep in mind also that electronics are often intended to have a useful life of a few years – after which they are replaced on the market with newer models. When old electronic equipment finally breaks, it can be difficult, expensive, and impractical to seek repairs. An acoustic piano can be viewed as a piece of furniture or art: needing regular maintenance but otherwise serving a purpose for function or beauty.
We recognize that having an acoustic piano in the home may not be possible or practical for everyone. Students will have an acoustic piano to play on at lessons and performances. However, in order to support their continued growth, provide the best learning experience, and curtail future frustrations, we urge families to secure a quality instrument by purchase or rental within the first year.
At your consultation, we will discuss and you will receive a paper copy of the article “Beginners need the best piano”.