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#2425274 - Today at 01:34 AM Lessons hampered: my digital piano vs. her acoustic piano
amv256 Online   content
Junior Member

Registered: 06/24/14
Posts: 15
I've been taking piano lessons for about a year now, and enjoy them immensely, but hands-down the biggest stumbling block has been the enormous gulf between the [comparatively] heavy action of my teacher's Yamaha baby grand and my own Yamaha digital stage piano. Because of this, I find it nearly impossible to practice dynamics and other nuances of performance.

I live in an apartment and have no room (nor likely the patience of my neighbors) to invest in a true acoustic piano. Sadly, I can't seem to find a digital piano anywhere—and I've played the most expensive pro models available at local stores—that even APPROACHES true piano action. Every digital stage piano, despite the sales brochure, feels like a toy by comparison. I love digital pianos personally, but they're ruining my ability to truly learn dynamics the way a traditional piano student should.

In 2015 this must be a common problem, though. Digital keyboards are the only practical solution for many students, but so many teachers have true acoustics. Has anyone else found a solution for this? It's a drag to spend six days a week practicing on what is, essentially, a totally different instrument in tactile terms.

Thanks!


Edited by amv256 (Today at 01:35 AM)

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#2425288 - Today at 02:34 AM Re: Lessons hampered: my digital piano vs. her acoustic piano [Re: amv256]
Markarian Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/06/12
Posts: 816
Loc: Seattle Area
Try the Kawai MP11. Its action is by far the closest you'll get to the real thing. I go from it to my Steinway downstairs and tbs difference isnt so shocking that its bothersome. Same action also as the CA65 or CA95.
_________________________
2012 NY Steinway Model B | Kawai MP11 | Korg Kross 61

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#2425289 - Today at 02:37 AM Re: Lessons hampered: my digital piano vs. her acoustic piano [Re: amv256]
bolt Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/23/09
Posts: 214
Check out the Kawaii VPC1
_________________________
"There is more to this piano playing malarkey than meets the eye" - adultpianist

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#2425291 - Today at 02:40 AM Re: Lessons hampered: my digital piano vs. her acoustic piano [Re: bolt]
Markarian Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/06/12
Posts: 816
Loc: Seattle Area
Originally Posted By bolt
Check out the Kawaii VPC1


Also a good board, but needs a sound module or computer attached and the action is not as nice as the MP11, which has longer keysticks. Still, it is considerably cheaper.
_________________________
2012 NY Steinway Model B | Kawai MP11 | Korg Kross 61

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#2425294 - Today at 03:01 AM Re: Lessons hampered: my digital piano vs. her acoustic piano [Re: amv256]
amv256 Online   content
Junior Member

Registered: 06/24/14
Posts: 15
Thanks for the recommendations, everyone. I'll definitely look for the Kawaii in particular tomorrow at some local shops that might have one.

Beyond that, is upgrading my keyboard the only solution? I'm still thinking about the average kid or teenager who wants to take piano lessons seriously, but can't drop $2800 on a professional stage piano. It's not so much an issue in my case, but I feel like piano teachers in general must have some solution to the issue of so many of their students not having access to an instrument that allows them to practice.

The funny thing is that I care so little about the guts of any stage piano for practice purposes; you'd think by now someone would have figured out a reasonable way to transplant the front end of an acoustic piano onto the back end of a digital one. Strange.

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#2425304 - Today at 03:42 AM Re: Lessons hampered: my digital piano vs. her acoustic piano [Re: amv256]
backto_study_piano Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/28/10
Posts: 676
Loc: Australia
I'm wondering if you were to put your question to the Digital Forum - someone there might have a solution. There are many more Digital users there.

Even between playing different uprights, can mean a different feel. My teacher had a new YAMAHA grand with a fairly heavy action, as well as an elderly, but quite good upright. I had a new YAMAHA upright. Playing the 3 different pianos regularly helped me to be able to adapt to another quite well, but you do get used to your own piano.

What level are you playing at? You'll probably eventually get to a level where a Digital will hamper your progress.

Have you discussed the issue with your teacher - they might have a solution too?

I've rarely played Digital, but at one stage was playing one in Church. I found that I was better to cut the volume back a little so I had to play harder, otherwise I felt it was too soft and sensitive. But it was a quite old Digital.
_________________________
Alan from Australia (and Clara - my Grotrian Concert - she's 7'4" long and ebony) & 2 Allen Organs [long story - the first is for sale] - MDS312 and CF-15.

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#2425307 - Today at 03:49 AM Re: Lessons hampered: my digital piano vs. her acoustic piano [Re: amv256]
Groove On Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 01/20/15
Posts: 174
Originally Posted By amv256
you'd think by now someone would have figured out a reasonable way to transplant the front end of an acoustic piano onto the back end of a digital one. Strange.

The manufacturers are already transplanting the acoustic piano actions into digital keyboards. Those Kawai boards all have really nice key actions (VPC-1, MP11, MP7). The main issue for the player is how the key-to-sound connection feels; that is still the Holy Grail for digital keyboards. Make sure to try out a Roland V-Piano, I've enjoyed playing my friend's, it definitely has one of the better key-to-sound connections.

But I think if you really want to be able to play an acoustic piano, you need to find one to practice on. Maybe a local college, music school or local bar during off-hours?

For example, near my house there's an assisted living center that has a beautiful well kept Yamaha grand. They let me practice on it as long as I buy lunch at their café.
_________________________
The question is, am I making music or just playing a bunch of notes?

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#2425318 - 27 minutes 53 seconds ago Re: Lessons hampered: my digital piano vs. her acoustic piano [Re: amv256]
Markarian Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/06/12
Posts: 816
Loc: Seattle Area
If you're on a budget, you also might want to check out the Casio PX-5S at $999. It has a great action and feature set, especially at that price.
_________________________
2012 NY Steinway Model B | Kawai MP11 | Korg Kross 61

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#2425320 - 20 minutes 7 seconds ago Re: Lessons hampered: my digital piano vs. her acoustic piano [Re: amv256]
ando Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/10
Posts: 4080
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Originally Posted By amv256
Thanks for the recommendations, everyone. I'll definitely look for the Kawaii in particular tomorrow at some local shops that might have one.

Beyond that, is upgrading my keyboard the only solution? I'm still thinking about the average kid or teenager who wants to take piano lessons seriously, but can't drop $2800 on a professional stage piano. It's not so much an issue in my case, but I feel like piano teachers in general must have some solution to the issue of so many of their students not having access to an instrument that allows them to practice.

The funny thing is that I care so little about the guts of any stage piano for practice purposes; you'd think by now someone would have figured out a reasonable way to transplant the front end of an acoustic piano onto the back end of a digital one. Strange.


Ok, I'm a teacher and this is how I see it:

I make it my business to know what's out there in terms of digitals, uprights and grands at various price points. That way I can present different options to parents based on their budget. I also know where to find grey market Yamahas and Kawais because they are a valid option.

It's not up to me to provide instruments myself or setup any kind of system to purchase pianos. I just provide pros and cons for different options according to circumstance. Beyond that, the student/ parents carry the responsibility to research, negotiate and purchase their piano. But no student of mine will leave my lesson confused about the issue and what the compromises are.

Also, as a teacher, it's my responsibility to make sure my piano has a light to medium touch so that it doesn't disadvantage students. Believe me, many teachers are very stingy when it comes to the maintenance of their own pianos. They will often be ridiculously heavy, noisy, out of tune, poor dampers. I consider this unacceptable - especially when they present their piano as a good instrument. Such teachers get used to their own piano and can compensate for its weaknesses, but it's very unfair on a student to learn on a heavy old action.

Yamaha has made the Avant Grand series, which is an acoustic grand action coupled to a digital sound module and speakers, but they are super expensive. I'd say the Kawais mentioned above are the best bet for those on a budget. If your teachers piano is still noticably harder to play than these, the problem is your teacher's piano and you'll probably have to change teacher because there is practically zero chance of a teacher admitting their piano is in bad shape. And you are right that you need to have your lesson piano and your home piano not too far apart in touch in order to progress well with your learning.

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