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#1411540 - 04/05/10 03:19 PM Re: Digital/acoustic students - Can you tell the difference? [Re: John_B]
bitWrangler Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/07
Posts: 1789
Loc: Central TX
This is from a parent's point of view. We have a 10yo daughter and a relatively high end DP as well as an acoustic grand. Even 2 years ago (when she was 8) I could tell the difference when she practiced primarily on our DP vs our acoustic (she was practicing mainly in the mornings due to homework load in the afternoons). Her teacher could tell as well and pretty much forbid her from using the DP (we're not quite so strict and let her use it when circumstances warrant, but she practices primarily on the acoustic). The difference was subtle, and if it weren't for the fact that I had heard the piece she was working on many times I might not have noticed a difference, but there was definitely a difference. As others have mentioned and IMHO, it's really a 90/10 kind of deal where a DP might get you 90% of the way there, but to get that last (and some would say most important) 10%, a good acoustic is almost indispensable.

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#1411580 - 04/05/10 04:03 PM Re: Digital/acoustic students - Can you tell the difference? [Re: Minaku]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3190
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: Minaku

So, yes, I will dismiss your argument; the original position that digitals can and do hinder progress on the piano technically and artistically still stands.


Now that, I think, is short sighted.

Digitals have limitations when serving merely as a substitute for an acoustic.

But they can make music in their own right. And surely making music is our goal, not achieving manual dexterity on one instrument called a piano.

To get the most out of a digital, just as with an acoustic, requires input from a teacher. This is an unplowed field at the moment - lots of opportunity for teachers to expand their horizon and their customer base. Voices, rhythms, fills, memory banks, etc. - all are necessities for the performing artist. Useless, of course, for those who define themselves solely as a classical pianist.
_________________________
gotta go practice

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#1411595 - 04/05/10 04:14 PM Re: Digital/acoustic students - Can you tell the difference? [Re: TimR]
Ben Crosland Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/11/10
Posts: 419
Loc: Worcester, UK
I would like to ask those who have actual experience of taking on students who, up until that point, were practising exclusively on a digital, and were then given the opportunity to practise on an acoustic - approximately how long did it take for them to make up the technical shortfall?
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#1411641 - 04/05/10 05:14 PM Re: Digital/acoustic students - Can you tell the difference? [Re: Minaku]
edt Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/07/09
Posts: 210
Minaku the velocity curve is actually one of the most important adjustments a digital pianist makes with his instrument. There is a linear curve which means that if you press light you get a small MIDI input, press hard you get more, but it acts in a linear fashion, press twice as hard you get twice as much MIDI. You can also use a velocity curve that bows up or bows down, so that either the keyboard responds more than your touch so that if you press twice as hard you might get 4 times higher MIDI, or you can go the other way, if the curve bows down and if you press four times as hard it will only double the MIDI number.

If you are playing a digital piano and want to add more expressiveness to your playing, selecting the right velocity curve helps. A lot of times a digital piano doesn't have the perfect touch, and instead of just giving up and buying a new piano you can fix things by choosing the right curve.

Velocity curves are essential for playing your digital piano properly. Also if your student is playing on a digital piano and you notice they are having problems building up enough strength in the fingers, you can get them to change their velocity curve from something responsive to a linear curve, since a linear curve will make them work harder to get the same expressiveness.

By the way some digital pianos have "light" "medium" and "hard" settings but it's important to find out if these are linear velocity curves or non-linear ones or if only "medium" has the linear curve because it makes a big difference in how the digital piano responds.

I think even if you teach 9 and 10 year olds knowing what they are practicing on and how it works (which usually means a digital piano not a real one) can only help.


Edited by edt (04/05/10 05:21 PM)

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#1411732 - 04/05/10 07:38 PM Re: Digital/acoustic students - Can you tell the difference? [Re: edt]
John_B Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/17/10
Posts: 621
Loc: Bristol, UK
edt,

If you want to start a thread about velocity curves, etc please do so, but it seems a pity to take this thread off on a tangent.

Just a pity that this interesting thread has been hijacked.


Edited by John_B (04/05/10 08:26 PM)

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#1411784 - 04/05/10 09:13 PM Re: Digital/acoustic students - Can you tell the difference? [Re: John_B]
Elissa Milne Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/11/10
Posts: 1337
Loc: Sydney, NSW, Australia
Point is that the question is "can you tell the difference between students who practice on a digital as compared to an acoustic piano?'. And the answer is an unequivocal 'yes'.

Asserting that no one should be learning to play an acoustic piano is kind of beside the point.......
_________________________
Teacher, Composer, Writer, Speaker
Working with Hal Leonard, Alfred, Faber, and Australian Music Examination Board
Music in syllabuses by ABRSM, AMEB, Trinity Guildhall, ANZCA, NZMEB, and more
www.elissamilne.wordpress.com

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#1411913 - 04/06/10 12:31 AM Re: Digital/acoustic students - Can you tell the difference? [Re: Elissa Milne]
trillingadventurer Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/28/08
Posts: 304
Loc: San Diego

"When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but really loves you, then you've become real." From The Velveteen Rabbit

Perhaps it is the warmth of the wood that draws me in.
Or the fact that it is my personal blood and bones physics that will bring out
a raw and vibrant chord
a whispering and breathy phrase
an ethereal and sustaining chime.

My parents purchased a jet black Kawaii upright when I was 7.
It took 3 strong men to move the giant thing into our living room.
It was shiny, smooth and somehow emitted a feeling of excitement
even danger. Afterall, one could smash their hands underneath the hinged fallboard.

For 7 years I played with it. No lessons. I ran my hands up and down the sturdy ivory keys. I learned some of Fur Elise by ear. (Horrible fingering I'm sure). For 7 years I visited the Kawaii and enjoyed it fully. And suddenly, severely at 14 I needed lessons. I dove into the instrument and learned to tame my wild hands, my anxious teenage mind. I sat the phone on the floor next to the sound board and played my boyfriend part of The Moonlight Sonata. He had a piano too and played me some strange chords he made up at that moment. We didn't last but the Kawaii...

That piano my parents purchased….there was no such thing as a digital anything back then. Less choices meant a 7,000 dollar done deal on a young hard working Engineer’s income. Neither of my parents were musicians but they seemed to know that having a piano seemed like a good thing to do. For them the decision was as serious as buying a car or a large appliance. There was no middle path…no “trying it out for awhile” to see if I liked it or was any good. They made an uncharacteristic leap of faith and to this day it still mystifies me. (In a good way.)

Yes, they bought that boxy, awkward, steely stringed leviathan and am I ever grateful they did.

My piano, my real acoustic
hammered and glued,
pressed and sculpted,
notched, chiseled, painted,
veneered and engraved piano is
my anchor,
my dreamscape,
my escape, my friend.

Sometimes a technician has to come and tune or replace a pad here, a hinge there. I make him a cappacino and we talk about amazing pianos that visit his shop. “The stories they tell me!” he exclaims as he gulps down the last of his drink. ‘See you in 6 months’ I see him out, shut the door and feel re-inspired by my instrument’s fresh tune-up. I know its story well. It began its life when I was little.

Now it is now part of me.
_________________________
M. Katchur

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#1411938 - 04/06/10 01:25 AM Re: Digital/acoustic students - Can you tell the difference? [Re: trillingadventurer]
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5924
Loc: Down Under
trillingadventurer, thumb (and where's the emoticon for shedding a little tear?)
_________________________
Du holde Kunst...

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#1411966 - 04/06/10 02:57 AM Re: Digital/acoustic students - Can you tell the difference? [Re: currawong]
Elissa Milne Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/11/10
Posts: 1337
Loc: Sydney, NSW, Australia
trillingadventurer - that is unbelievably moving - it's fantastic writing, let alone being a powerful contribution to the conversation...... If I could memorise such a long piece of writing I would quote you everywhere I go......
_________________________
Teacher, Composer, Writer, Speaker
Working with Hal Leonard, Alfred, Faber, and Australian Music Examination Board
Music in syllabuses by ABRSM, AMEB, Trinity Guildhall, ANZCA, NZMEB, and more
www.elissamilne.wordpress.com

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#1411996 - 04/06/10 05:04 AM Re: Digital/acoustic students - Can you tell the difference? [Re: trillingadventurer]
John_B Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/17/10
Posts: 621
Loc: Bristol, UK
trillingadventurer,

What a wonderful, beautiful, moving, loving and inspiring post!

(By the way, your post reminded me of a really lovely book about one man's love afair with the piano: "The Piano Shop on the Left Bank: Discovering a Forgotten Passion in a Paris Atelier" by Thad Carhart. Very highly recommended indeed.)

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#1412021 - 04/06/10 06:51 AM Re: Digital/acoustic students - Can you tell the difference? [Re: John_B]
Volusiano Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/10
Posts: 770
What if volume control is the reason why the OP is considering a DP in the first place, although the OP can afford either an AP or a nice DP? I'm not saying it really is, just assuming hypothetically here for the sake of the question.

What if the OP has a volume control restriction (neighbor, not wanting to drive family crazy for practicing the same thing over a million times, want to practice at night, etc)? And if the OP follows the advice here and buys an AP but as a result has very limited practice time? And had the OP bought a nice DP, while not ideal for sound and feel, the OP can practice a lot more thanks to volume control? What is more important to a beginner student? Practice time at the expense of ideal touch and sound? Or ideal touch and sound at the expense of practice time? Keeping in mind that we're not talking about a crappy DP, but a nice, good DP here. Just not as nice as an AP.

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#1412025 - 04/06/10 07:10 AM Re: Digital/acoustic students - Can you tell the difference? [Re: Volusiano]
Elissa Milne Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/11/10
Posts: 1337
Loc: Sydney, NSW, Australia
Volusiano, the concerns you raise are addressed in the posts of substance above. A really good digital is a great choice in a lot of contexts, but it doesn't change the issues that those who practice on a digital piano but wish to play an acoustic piano will face as they develop..... Can you tell the difference between students who practice on a digital and an acoustic? Yes. Should you buy an acoustic piano if you only wish to practice between midnight and 2am and you live with neighbours on the other side of the wall? No.

It's like asking if poodles really are like labradors, and then saying, but I can only have a poodle because I'm allergic to other dogs. If you don't have a choice then this information is interesting but won't impact on your 'choice' (since you have none).
_________________________
Teacher, Composer, Writer, Speaker
Working with Hal Leonard, Alfred, Faber, and Australian Music Examination Board
Music in syllabuses by ABRSM, AMEB, Trinity Guildhall, ANZCA, NZMEB, and more
www.elissamilne.wordpress.com

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#1412071 - 04/06/10 09:01 AM Re: Digital/acoustic students - Can you tell the difference? [Re: Elissa Milne]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11661
Loc: Canada
Quote:
If you don't have a choice then this information is interesting but won't impact on your 'choice' (since you have none).

It does have one impact - if you would like to produce something, knowing the limitations of your instrument can help - you don't go there. Example: My DP is especially poor for learning, though it can give an impressive "grand" effect at a distance. It does not sound until you have almost key bedded and the keys are especially heavy. I would probably strain myself trying to get ornaments past a certain point when the action is not doing what it ought to (heavy keys that have to descend too great a distance) so I concentrate on other things. Because I know the limitations of the instrument I can work realistically.

Quote:
It's like asking if poodles really are like labradors, and then saying, but I can only have a poodle because I'm allergic to other dogs.

My answer is that cats look cute when sleeping but I've never heard a goldfish snore.

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#1412072 - 04/06/10 09:03 AM Re: Digital/acoustic students - Can you tell the difference? [Re: John_B]
John v.d.Brook Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7353
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Originally Posted By: John_B
It would be a pity for the interesting discussion in this thread to be diverted into the usual cul-de-sac.

yawn


John, this discussion is something more on the order of hash and rehash. Every argument posted thus far has been made, ten times over, in previous threads. Only the posters are new. A little bit of diversion for flavor, please!
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#1412081 - 04/06/10 09:29 AM Re: Digital/acoustic students - Can you tell the difference? [Re: Elissa Milne]
Syboor Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/01/09
Posts: 56
Loc: Amsterdam
I play mostly on a digital, and a few observations:

It is very important to keep the volume high. The speakers simply aren't good enough to produce good sound at low volume, you loose all the details. The salesperson sold my me current DP basically be demonstrating how terrible all the other DP's sound at 50% volume.

The way the keys resists you is different between a DP and an acoustic. With the acoustics I tried, there was an extra 'bump' of resistance just beyond the half-way point (so when the key is already half way down). With my digital, the resistance is pretty even throughout. I think that is actually very nice and predictable (if you play a DP a lot). But it makes it possible that when you pounce the key on the surface in a specific way, you give it enough momentum so that it will (very reliable) go down all the way the key bed. The same technique on a acoustic gives very unpredictable and uneven results.

My DP simulates sympathetic resonance up to the 5th harmonic. The abrupt cutoff at the 6th harmonic is a bit weird if you're specifically testing for it (ghosting notes), but I don't notice it when playing. The sympathetic resonance simualtion (which is not at all a standard feature on DP's yet) makes it possible for the pedal to create "colour", not just legato. Very nice. I haven't learned any advanced pedaling techniques such as half-pedal, and I can imagine that they would be difficult to learn on a DP. Even though the pedal is able to give a continuous (instead of an on-off) signal to the DP, I doubt that a sample-based DP can create very realistic effects from this signal (ie. it should take longer to damp the bass section than it takes to damp the treble section etc.).

I like to start lessons with a baroque/classical piece and do romantic pieces later in the lessons, when I've gotten used to the acoustic piano. I try to focus on the tactile / aural sensations when I play my first piece in the lesson, and somehow I often find myself playing better than at home (where I am often distracted / have memory lapses).

The DP has certain advantages. The harpsichord sound (and lack of dynamics when using it) is very useful, to learn "other" ways to bring out different voices. My teacher guessed correctly that I had been using it to practice my little prelude. The DP makes it very easy to record yourself and play along with your recording, and I use this a lot when learning new repertoire.

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#1412400 - 04/06/10 05:38 PM Re: Digital/acoustic students - Can you tell the difference? [Re: John v.d.Brook]
John_B Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/17/10
Posts: 621
Loc: Bristol, UK
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
John, this discussion is something more on the order of hash and rehash. Every argument posted thus far has been made, ten times over, in previous threads. Only the posters are new. A little bit of diversion for flavor, please!


John, I take your point.

I've only been a member of PW for a few months so hadn't realised that the topic had been done to death countless times before (though it is predictable once you think about it). Your views and those of the other teachers who participate here are always very valuable.

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#1412415 - 04/06/10 05:47 PM Re: Digital/acoustic students - Can you tell the difference? [Re: John_B]
Elissa Milne Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/11/10
Posts: 1337
Loc: Sydney, NSW, Australia
Originally Posted By: John_B
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
John, this discussion is something more on the order of hash and rehash. Every argument posted thus far has been made, ten times over, in previous threads. Only the posters are new. A little bit of diversion for flavor, please!


John, I take your point.

I've only been a member of PW for a few months so hadn't realised that the topic had been done to death countless times before (though it is predictable once you think about it). Your views and those of the other teachers who participate here are always very valuable.
Isn't that the difference between a forum and a reference? The same topics will be discussed by different people as time goes on.... The responsibility of a thread is surely to the OP?
_________________________
Teacher, Composer, Writer, Speaker
Working with Hal Leonard, Alfred, Faber, and Australian Music Examination Board
Music in syllabuses by ABRSM, AMEB, Trinity Guildhall, ANZCA, NZMEB, and more
www.elissamilne.wordpress.com

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#1412569 - 04/06/10 09:38 PM Re: Digital/acoustic students - Can you tell the difference? [Re: Elissa Milne]
John v.d.Brook Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7353
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Oh, please understand, I don't mind the recycling of topics. I was just smarting a bit at being chastised (very mildly, BTW) for adding a little humor and spice to the topic.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#1412583 - 04/06/10 10:03 PM Re: Digital/acoustic students - Can you tell the difference? [Re: trillingadventurer]
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Originally Posted By: trillingadventurer

"When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but really loves you, then you've become real." From The Velveteen Rabbit

Perhaps it is the warmth of the wood that draws me in.
Or the fact that it is my personal blood and bones physics that will bring out
a raw and vibrant chord
a whispering and breathy phrase
an ethereal and sustaining chime.

My parents purchased a jet black Kawaii upright when I was 7.
It took 3 strong men to move the giant thing into our living room.
It was shiny, smooth and somehow emitted a feeling of excitement
even danger. Afterall, one could smash their hands underneath the hinged fallboard.

For 7 years I played with it. No lessons. I ran my hands up and down the sturdy ivory keys. I learned some of Fur Elise by ear. (Horrible fingering I'm sure). For 7 years I visited the Kawaii and enjoyed it fully. And suddenly, severely at 14 I needed lessons. I dove into the instrument and learned to tame my wild hands, my anxious teenage mind. I sat the phone on the floor next to the sound board and played my boyfriend part of The Moonlight Sonata. He had a piano too and played me some strange chords he made up at that moment. We didn't last but the Kawaii...

That piano my parents purchased….there was no such thing as a digital anything back then. Less choices meant a 7,000 dollar done deal on a young hard working Engineer’s income. Neither of my parents were musicians but they seemed to know that having a piano seemed like a good thing to do. For them the decision was as serious as buying a car or a large appliance. There was no middle path…no “trying it out for awhile” to see if I liked it or was any good. They made an uncharacteristic leap of faith and to this day it still mystifies me. (In a good way.)

Yes, they bought that boxy, awkward, steely stringed leviathan and am I ever grateful they did.

My piano, my real acoustic
hammered and glued,
pressed and sculpted,
notched, chiseled, painted,
veneered and engraved piano is
my anchor,
my dreamscape,
my escape, my friend.

Sometimes a technician has to come and tune or replace a pad here, a hinge there. I make him a cappacino and we talk about amazing pianos that visit his shop. “The stories they tell me!” he exclaims as he gulps down the last of his drink. ‘See you in 6 months’ I see him out, shut the door and feel re-inspired by my instrument’s fresh tune-up. I know its story well. It began its life when I was little.

Now it is now part of me.



My friend, this is a very inspiring and real to the heart essay on your relationship to your piano and your whole musical life as it has developed in the arts and in teaching!

I almost missed your richness and I'm so glad I came back to read more today as you hold the "pearl of wisdom" for the day.

Have you thought of writing and journaling more? In your spare time, of course! I was concerned for you during the earthquake in Mexico the other day and hope all is well with you. I liked your April Fool joke! (f/b) But, didn't take it as such immediately. Took me a while to catch on to it. I "hooted" with laughter when I realized the joke!

Take care and thank you so much for sharing your rhapsody about your love of your instrument.

Betty

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#1412599 - 04/06/10 10:32 PM Re: Digital/acoustic students - Can you tell the difference? [Re: Betty Patnude]
MarcoM Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/17/10
Posts: 246
I don't think one can paint all 'digital' students with the same brush. Do you think somebody playing on a semi-weighed 'big box store special' keyboard with no velocity layers is comparable to somebody playing on a high end digital piano like the HP-307, or to somebody else playing on a Yamaha Avant Grand N2/N3?

And can you compare somebody playing at home on an out of regulation turn of the century upright to somebody on a solid U2 to somebody else that has access to a 7' grand?

In this day & age I would think that a good teacher would need to have at least a passable level of understanding of digital pianos and how to set them up so that they would hinder the student the least amount (right velocity curve and volume at a minimum), as much as of course the easy answer is always 'buy an acoustic grand piano and keep it in tip-top shape' by reading some posts here it seems that unless one has access to one they will never be able to learn to play.

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#1412628 - 04/06/10 11:24 PM Re: Digital/acoustic students - Can you tell the difference? [Re: MarcoM]
John v.d.Brook Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7353
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Marco, as far as I can ascertain, most of the piano teachers here either have an electric, or have plenty of experience playing one. And that may be the very reason we emphasize the need for a "real" piano for students.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#1412890 - 04/07/10 12:34 PM Re: Digital/acoustic students - Can you tell the difference? [Re: John v.d.Brook]
SAnnM AB-2001 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/20/04
Posts: 2022
Loc: Canada
I'm an adult student with a high-end Roland DP. I've had it for 5 years (it was light years ahead of my Casio keyboard!!). I do love my ability to play with headphones on but now that I'm late(ish) intermediate, the ONLY practicing that is satisfying on my DP are some technical exercisess, the beginning stages of learning a new piece, sightreading and using the software that I can connect to with my midi cables. I practice at least 2/3 of my time on an acoustic and can say with confidence that if you aspire to reach beyond an intermediate level, you will definitely want an acoustic. (I know my teacher will also be THRILLED when I get one.)
_________________________
It's the journey not the destination..

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#1413082 - 04/07/10 04:36 PM Re: Digital/acoustic students - Can you tell the difference? [Re: Ben Crosland]
JimF Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/08/09
Posts: 1713
Loc: south florida
Originally Posted By: Ben Crosland
I would like to ask those who have actual experience of taking on students who, up until that point, were practising exclusively on a digital, and were then given the opportunity to practise on an acoustic - approximately how long did it take for them to make up the technical shortfall?


I am also interested in the answer to Ben's question. Specifically, I started out on a cheap keyboard a year ago, upgraded to a high end digital last November, and started 1 hour weekly lessons on my teacher's acoustic grand on Jan 1, 2010. I seem to have most of the symptoms described by the teachers on this thread when playing on the teacher's grand - trouble controlling dynamics, and a certain uneven quality in tones produced that I attribute to the different feel of the accoustic. The latest shortcoming to arise is in pedalling, where my digital is very forgiving if I do a complete abrubt lift off the pedal, whereas the acoustic will give a giant CLUMP if I don't do it properly.

I practice very diligently one to two hours daily and it makes me sick to think that I am baking in bad technique that will have to be unlearned.

So, I would be very interested in knowing your opinions on how long it will take to correct this growing list of technical problems once I have left the digital behind. I understand it will vary for every individual, but isn't there something you can offer as to how hard it will be to make corrections? For discussion maybe we could assume I will move to an acoustic a year from now.

Thanks for your input.

Jim
_________________________
La Fille aux cheveux de lin - Debussy
Ma Mere L'Oye - Ravel
Mozart Sonata K545

Estonia L190 #7284





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#1413465 - 04/08/10 09:06 AM Re: Digital/acoustic students - Can you tell the difference? [Re: MarcoM]
John_B Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/17/10
Posts: 621
Loc: Bristol, UK
Originally Posted By: MarcoM
In this day & age I would think that a good teacher would need to have at least a passable level of understanding of digital pianos and how to set them up so that they would hinder the student the least amount (right velocity curve and volume at a minimum)...


It's my belief that playing with the volume control set low, rather than at a level comparable to an acoustic piano, is one of the causes of the restricted dynamic range and lumpy phrasing that various teachers have said afflicts most people who play solely on DPs.

(Of course the reason some people use DPs is so they can play at lowish volumes.)

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#1413476 - 04/08/10 09:27 AM Re: Digital/acoustic students - Can you tell the difference? [Re: JimF]
John v.d.Brook Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7353
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Originally Posted By: JimF
Originally Posted By: Ben Crosland
I would like to ask those who have actual experience of taking on students who, up until that point, were practising exclusively on a digital, and were then given the opportunity to practise on an acoustic - approximately how long did it take for them to make up the technical shortfall?


I am also interested in the answer to Ben's question.


Jim, over the years, I've taken on a number of students who had electronics. Looking back, the most advanced of them was working on a Chopin Ballade. I never had the opportunity to transfer her to a piano, as she moved, but in general, her progress seemed stymied. I can't blame it totally on the electric keyboard, however, because even though at her lesson, we would solve problems, it's impossible to know what she could have achieved practicing on a piano.

A few students have started with me using electrics, but transitioned to a piano within a year, or have quit when they outgrew the keyboard and parents didn't want to spend the money investing in a piano.

I currently have one early intermediate level student using a keyboard for practice at home (my keyboard, actually) and progress is satisfactory, but not great. There are other issues involved, however. So again, it's hard to know what she would do with a piano in a proper practice environment.

John
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#1413629 - 04/08/10 02:34 PM Re: Digital/acoustic students - Can you tell the difference? [Re: John v.d.Brook]
JimF Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/08/09
Posts: 1713
Loc: south florida
John,

Thanks for the response. I guess its best if I just promise myself to make the transition as soon as possible. (...gadzooks, sick I can't imagine what the quid pro quo for my wife vis-a-vis a grand piano will be...) cry

Until then, I guess I just have to work extra hard to sidestep or minimize the weaknesses. I should bring this up with my teacher.

Jim
_________________________
La Fille aux cheveux de lin - Debussy
Ma Mere L'Oye - Ravel
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#1413645 - 04/08/10 03:01 PM Re: Digital/acoustic students - Can you tell the difference? [Re: JimF]
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Go to www.montparker.com and find some of the music Carol Montparker plays on her site. She is a Steinway artist and a long term piano teacher of master class proportions, Carnegie Hall performances, she's an artist and an author.

If you hear real artistry at the acoustic piano, you realize that a digital does not work for a true artist. Digitals work well for those in the entertainment area, many being portable, able to record, compose on and have computer storage and printing, play with rhythms and interesting voices not only piano sound. The low cost of small digitals are an eager purchase for people wanting to spend the minimum investment while seeing if their children will have "fun" at the piano or not.

Digitals have a certain life span for a pianist who plays with great musicianship skills, technique and artistry, and especially anyone with a passion for classical music.

I have both with my new purchase of a digital solely for the computer and software with which to compose.

The money I spent in 1981 for a Yamaha U1 for teaching purposes and my only piano has proven itself over and over because I've only had annual tunings and never any maintenance other than tuning. I love my Yamaha U1.

The majority of inquiries I receive have small digitals and their ability at the piano has a lid to it at some point. But, a student might be perfectly happy at that point and not seek further instruction. If the student goes on in piano study the acoustic piano ownership requires different touches than the minimal needed to play a digital.

It's like aspiring to be a ballerina: you have soft ballet slippers until you get the toe shoes. On your toes elevates you to a new dimension of ballet. Similar analogy of digital to acoustic piano.


Edited by Betty Patnude (04/08/10 03:06 PM)

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#1414068 - 04/09/10 08:13 AM Re: Digital/acoustic students - Can you tell the difference? [Re: Betty Patnude]
Bunneh Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/08/08
Posts: 399
Loc: Berlin
As a student myself, I think buying a high-quality digital and then after a year or two moving on to a Grand, while keeping the digital out of respect for the significant other and for night-time practice and technical exercises - and also so you constantly play on 3 different instruments! - is a perfectly viable, even clever, way of doing things.

Would anyone disagree? If so, why?
_________________________
aim for the moon - if you miss, at least you'll be among the stars.

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#1414109 - 04/09/10 10:00 AM Re: Digital/acoustic students - Can you tell the difference? [Re: Bunneh]
cinstance Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/12/09
Posts: 104
My son started (when he was 6 1/2) with a Roland digital piano for one and a half years. We upgraded to a Kawai RX-3 two months ago because he had outgrown the digital piano. "outgrow" here means the digital can no longer meets the teacher's requirements such as producing tone color, pedal practice, and producing consistent dynamics when switching to an acoustic for performance.

After the upgrade, my son found out that he could play a trill with faster speed and easier with the acoustic upon the first try, and he really begun to experiment with different touches and listen to the tone rather than satisfying with just playing the notes right like he were with the digital before. The transformation from digital to acoustic is not hard at all for a little boy, but I can feel how different his playing is now from two months ago.

My view is that a good digital piano might be OK for a young beginner, but it would be better to start with an acoustic to avoid the unnecessary transition later.

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#1414114 - 04/09/10 10:12 AM Re: Digital/acoustic students - Can you tell the difference? [Re: cinstance]
LisztAddict Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/12/05
Posts: 2896
Loc: Florida
Can you tell that this person does a large portion of his practice on a DP?

http://www.youtube.com/user/doowlehc#p/u/10/xMf4bGvjbwQ

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