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#2105090 - 06/19/13 10:00 PM Is it okay to use a keyboard to learn how to play piano?
mikel1992 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/19/13
Posts: 1
Hello everyone my name is Michael and I'm 21. I'm looking to play the piano for the first time. For some reason its just been really cool to me for a little bit and I want to get into it ASAP. I've found some sites to teach me but I'm missing one thing, the piano LOL. I'm wondering if its okay if I buy a keyboard from best buy or any electronics store for this. I have about 100 dollars to spend, is this okay as well?

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#2105113 - 06/19/13 10:37 PM Re: Is it okay to use a keyboard to learn how to play piano? [Re: mikel1992]
Bobpickle Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014


Registered: 05/24/12
Posts: 1383
Loc: Cameron Park, California
While it could get you by for a short period of time, you would need to upgrade to something with properly weighted keys after a few months if you really wanted to progress - this is typically $300-$500 minimum as far as digital pianos are concerned, I believe. As far as how to spend your initial $100, I'd look on Craigslist for either functional uprights people are trying to get rid of (this could mean they're free, though I wouldn't take it if any of the keys stick or just plain don't function) or a used digital piano (they have long lifespans and this way, you could maybe get a half-decent quality mid-to-low-end purchase for an affordable price).

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#2105122 - 06/19/13 10:47 PM Re: Is it okay to use a keyboard to learn how to play piano? [Re: mikel1992]
Sand Tiger Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/25/12
Posts: 995
Loc: Southern California
Welcome to the forum mikel1992.

Most will vote nay on a $100 keyboard. It is better than nothing, but more suited to learning to play keyboard than piano. What is the difference? Digital pianos tend to have hammer action which tend to be closer to what is found on acoustic pianos. That and some decent sensors allow a wide range of dynamics and control. A $100 keyboard from the big box store won't.

With all that, there are few right or wrong answers when it comes to music, and a person can learn quite a bit about music, and make some interesting sounding music, even on a low cost electronic keyboard.

New digital pianos start around $400 and most on the digital forum will suggest models that cost $600 on up. So it is a big jump up in price for someone thinking in terms of $100.
_________________________
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#2105184 - 06/20/13 02:34 AM Re: Is it okay to use a keyboard to learn how to play piano? [Re: mikel1992]
BeccaBb Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/11
Posts: 905
Loc: Thunder Bay, On Canada
There is also the option of looking for used pianos and/or keyboards on Craigslist, local ads etc.

For instance, if you were nearby I'd give you my old acoustic. smile She's old but playable. I haven't even advertised it's free to a good home.

So you could also put up an ad yourself looking for one as long as your willing to move them.

Just a thought.
_________________________
Becca
Began: 01-12-11


Floundering and Lost
Roland RD300NX

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#2105186 - 06/20/13 02:39 AM Re: Is it okay to use a keyboard to learn how to play piano? [Re: mikel1992]
Charles Cohen Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/12
Posts: 1184
Loc: Richmond, BC, Canada
My story:

I had an old Korg synth with an unweighted keyboard. I wanted to get re-connected to piano playing after a 40-year layoff.

The Korg's piano sound was decent, but the keyboard action was _very_ different from an acoustic piano. When I started practicing scales, and trying to develop an even touch, I decided that I was wasting my time:

. . . My goal was to play a _piano_, not a synth.

I wanted 88 weighted keys. That decision cost me $800 (for a Casio PX-350).

HOWEVER:

If you don't know much about music, and you're not sure what you want to do with it, you can start with a low-priced, unweighted keyboard. You may outgrow it, but it will have been useful.

I don't know what the big-box stores are selling. The Yamaha NP-11 is often recommended here as a starter keyboard -- around $160, new. Unweighted keyboard, 61 keys (don't get less), with touch response. There's probably an equivalent Casio.

I think that "touch response" is an absolute requirement -- that means that the note plays louder, if you hit the key harder. Without that, you'll find that "expressive playing" will be really, really hard.

. Charles

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#2105657 - 06/21/13 09:35 AM Re: Is it okay to use a keyboard to learn how to play piano? [Re: mikel1992]
Rincewind Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/14/13
Posts: 9
Hi Michael,

If you are on a tight budget, you should look for second hand weighted DPs. Many entry level boards are on offer (for two reasons - their owners either got bored by piano and sell, or they got excited and are upgrading to better).

Getting a keyboard is not the right course of action. But if you do, at least make it something like Yamaha NP11 suggested by Charles Cohen. But only if you are unable to find a good second-hand weighted DP.

Don't worry about buying used board, they have practically unlimited life.

Buying an acoustic for this price - you would have to be extremely lucky to run across somebody like BeccaBb :), to get a usable one. Most likely it would require repairs and maintenance which would cost several times more than what you are prepared to spend.

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#2105668 - 06/21/13 10:03 AM Re: Is it okay to use a keyboard to learn how to play piano? [Re: mikel1992]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11474
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: mikel1992
Hello everyone my name is Michael and I'm 21. I'm looking to play the piano for the first time. For some reason its just been really cool to me for a little bit and I want to get into it ASAP. I've found some sites to teach me but I'm missing one thing, the piano LOL. I'm wondering if its okay if I buy a keyboard from best buy or any electronics store for this. I have about 100 dollars to spend, is this okay as well?



Don't waste the $100 on something you will have to upgrade in 3 months. A keyboard is not the same as a digital piano. Be careful that you know the difference yourself. Some keyboards call themselves a digital piano, but they lack 88 keys, and they are unweighted and/or not even full-sized. A true digital piano is meant to replace a regular acoustic piano. Often they will focus on the feel and sound quality of the piano sounds. When shopping for a digital piano, take headphones with you to test them out so you can compare the sounds equally. If you can't play, ask the store clerk to play for you.

You may as well try some other options that will give you a more permanent solution.

- Save the $100 and keep saving up money each month until you have enough to buy a new, good digital piano (around $500).

-Do the above and keep an eye on Craigslist for used DPs. I think you'd be able to find something good here as well, but slightly older technology.

-Keep an eye out for a good deal on an acoustic upright. I was able to get an upright off of CL for $200 plus the cost of renting a little U-haul trailer for $30 and the help of my husband and a friend to move it. I did put in about $180 after that to have the pitch raised up to A=440 and have some work done on it, but it was in great condition for the price. If you go the acoustic route, be sure to do your research, and if you don't know what to look for, have a piano technician check it out for you and give you their unbiased opinion.

Acoustic pianos are more of an investment because they do need to be tuned after you move them and then usually once/year or twice depending on how much the humidity swings in the seasons, but there are pros to getting them. The feel of a good acoustic upright is better, so you get more control than some DPs. However, DPs have come a long way and they are pretty good in comparison to an upright. The other pro to acoustic is that the sound is much louder and better...you can feel the vibrations as you play it, which makes the instrument come alive. For me, playing on a DP feels rather dead. So if I have a choice, I always choose a good AP over a good DP. But I understand that APs aren't always possible, especially in an apartment situation.

-Check out your local piano dealer. Many of them have rentals available for a low monthly amount (around $40/mo I think). After 6 months, you can use your rent payments as a downpayment on an instrument (recommended), or you can continue to rent (not recommended).

Don't be in a hurry and end up getting something you'll need to replace soon once you realize it wasn't a good investment. A few months won't make much a difference in the long run, but taking the time now will help tremendously in your progress to prevent frustrations that a bad instrument can create.
_________________________
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MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#2105686 - 06/21/13 10:51 AM Re: Is it okay to use a keyboard to learn how to play piano? [Re: mikel1992]
ten left thumbs Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/22/09
Posts: 3336
Loc: Scotland
If you can't afford a piano, but a guitar instead. I am serious. No point wasting money.
_________________________
I am a competent teacher.


www.justfingers.co.uk
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#2105691 - 06/21/13 11:00 AM Re: Is it okay to use a keyboard to learn how to play piano? [Re: mikel1992]
PaperClip Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/21/09
Posts: 516
Loc: Amsterdam, Holland
Only for the first 6 months. After that you want a fully weighted keys to play on.
_________________________
Chris

Playing since May 02 2009

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#2105733 - 06/21/13 12:34 PM Re: Is it okay to use a keyboard to learn how to play piano? [Re: mikel1992]
Kymber Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/25/08
Posts: 1348
Loc: MA
Just get the best quality one you can for the money you have.

A couple of things worth mentioning:
-if the best one you can afford doesn't sound or feel the greatest don't let that be a deterrent (sometimes they can be a little uninspiring.
-just know when you do transition to a better quality instrument you might have to get used to the weight and feel of the keys. But with a little practice you will be fine.

Also....
You might want to ask around and see if there are any places with pianos that will allow you to use them. Like schools or churches. My colleague goes to a church every morning to play the piano.

And, ask around. Sometime people have pianos they want to get rid of. Check piano adoption in your area. You will probably want someone (a technician) who know about pianos to go with you though to made sure its a decent one.

Best of luck.
_________________________
“The doubters said, "Man cannot fly," The doers said, "Maybe, but we'll try,"
And finally soared in the morning glow while non-believers watched from below.”
― Bruce Lee

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#2105835 - 06/21/13 03:57 PM Re: Is it okay to use a keyboard to learn how to play piano? [Re: mikel1992]
Brian Lucas Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/11
Posts: 951
If you have a computer, especially a Mac, you can also consider getting a MIDI controller. New, 88 key, at least semi-weighted controllers start at around $200. Used would be even cheaper. It's cheaper because it doesn't produce any sounds by itself, you have to hook it up to your computer and use something like GarageBand to generate the sound. Just another option.
_________________________
-Brian
BM in Performance, Berklee College of Music, 21+ year teacher and touring musician
My Downloadable Video Piano Lessons
My Sight Reading eBook
My Music

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#2105919 - 06/21/13 07:02 PM Re: Is it okay to use a keyboard to learn how to play piano? [Re: ten left thumbs]
4evrBeginR Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/27/09
Posts: 1607
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: ten left thumbs
If you can't afford a piano, but a guitar instead. I am serious. No point wasting money.


Good reply. I don't think there are any activity or hobby that could be done on a $100 budget (maybe guitar is it). Even if you watch TV as a hobby, you'll need to buy a TV, and $100 isn't buying you much. That's not counting all the programs, DVR, cable, Internet costs. In fact, if you consider how expensive watching TV is actually, or skiing, or tennis, piano is really not that expensive. Even running requiring maybe 2 pairs of shoes a year, and average running shoes are like $120 a pair.
_________________________
Art is never finished, only abandoned. - da Vinci

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#2105921 - 06/21/13 07:06 PM Re: Is it okay to use a keyboard to learn how to play piano? [Re: mikel1992]
TomInCinci Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/12/13
Posts: 15
I'm a noob here (and on the piano) but I'll tell you what happened to me. I signed up for lessons, certain that my 20 year old Kawaai keyboard would be fine, at least long enough to see if piano was for me. On my 2nd lesson I got a major shock when I saw that the feel of the mechanical (accoustic) piano was NOTHING like the keyboard I was practicing on. Half of my key presses rewarded me with silence. There was no way my scheme was going to work. As luck would have it, I went onto slickdeals.net later that night and there was a Casion CDP-120 on sale for $249.00. It has 88 weighted keys and is fine for me. I hope the day comes when it's holding me back and I need a better piano but for now it's perfect.

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#2105932 - 06/21/13 07:28 PM Re: Is it okay to use a keyboard to learn how to play piano? [Re: mikel1992]
tangleweeds Offline

Silver Supporter until Jan 11 2012


Registered: 12/21/08
Posts: 1269
Loc: Portlandia
My experience was that I did OK just starting out with a touch sensitive, semi-weighted, MIDI controller for the first few months, but after that I was strongly motivated to juggle my finances to upgrade to an actual digital piano, and then I was much happier.

A touch sensitive keyboard is somewhat adequate for learning to relate the dots on the sheet music to the pattern of black and white keys on the instrument. But to learn the control necessary to play expressively, you're going to want to prioritize saving up for a better instrument, if only a decent digital piano or (technician vetted) Craigslist piano.
_________________________
Oops... extremely distracted by mandolins at the moment... brb

neglected piano blog

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#2105937 - 06/21/13 07:37 PM Re: Is it okay to use a keyboard to learn how to play piano? [Re: mikel1992]
Michael_99 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/12
Posts: 935
Loc: Canada Alberta
mikel1992,

Hello everyone my name is Michael and I'm 21. I'm looking to play the piano for the first time. For some reason its just been really cool to me for a little bit and I want to get into it ASAP. I've found some sites to teach me but I'm missing one thing, the piano LOL. I'm wondering if its okay if I buy a keyboard from best buy or any electronics store for this. I have about 100 dollars to spend, is this okay as well?

_________________________________________________

Absolutely, Mike. Absolutely. I played a sax in a blues band and played a sax in the concert band. The keyboard player played a keyboard, of course, in the blues band and he also played a oboe in the concert band. We all stood when we played in the blues band except the drummer. I suggest you sit when you play the keyboard because you have to have proper hand position and sitting posting as new piano player.

As you learn a little piano, and save a little money, you will probably want to buy a digital piano with weighted keys, that cost around 3 to 5 hundred dollars.

When I had to go to the hospital for a month, I took a keyboard with 64 spring loaded keys as opposed to weighted keys because at the time digital keyboards with weighted keys cost a couple thousand dollars. The nurses and doctors said lots of patients brought laptops but nobbody ever brought a keyboard except me.

It is what you have and what you do with what you have that matters. So make good use of your keyboard, learn the names of the notes and say the names of the notes as you read the music. Only look at the music and never look at your hands. So read the music and play the notes without mistakes. If you are starting to make mistakes, you are going to fast. You have to learn to play without mistakes slowly. Playing the piano is awesome, I am pleased to hear in your post that you want to play the piano. Good luck.

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#2105960 - 06/21/13 08:47 PM Re: Is it okay to use a keyboard to learn how to play piano? [Re: mikel1992]
Bluoh Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/20/11
Posts: 421
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: mikel1992
Hello everyone my name is Michael and I'm 21. I'm looking to play the piano for the first time. For some reason its just been really cool to me for a little bit and I want to get into it ASAP. I've found some sites to teach me but I'm missing one thing, the piano LOL. I'm wondering if its okay if I buy a keyboard from best buy or any electronics store for this. I have about 100 dollars to spend, is this okay as well?


You have to do what you have to do. It sounds like you're doing it for a whim but maybe you'll get into it.

$100 would be alright in your situation; try to get a weighted keyboard so it feels like you're pressing real keys (this makes all the difference, and you can make it louder/softer by how hard you press).

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