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#2425448 - Today at 11:26 AM Should a child begin his lessons on a digital piano?
viettube22 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/19/12
Posts: 15
Could you pls help me?

I am looking for a digital piano for my child, who started learning piano a few months ago.

However, my mother thinks that a six-year-old child, who starts learning piano, should not use a digital piano yet. Some likely reasons:

- The sound is not good enough. I think many have already debated this topic. Personally I think the sound is no longer a problem.

- There are too many features in a digital piano: too many sounds, midi, too many buttons. These may distract a child, especially if he is a beginner. Perhaps when he is in Grade 4 or above, a digital piano is good, but not now.

What do you think about the second point?

Thank you

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#2425454 - Today at 11:35 AM Re: Should a child begin his lessons on a digital piano? [Re: viettube22]
Cue Zephyr Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 05/16/15
Posts: 39
Loc: Eindhoven, Netherlands
Sound isn't a problem. I found the Yamaha DPs to have great sound for built-in speakers. Not surprising, they get good sound out of the very small speakers that are in a Yamaha THR10 portable guitar amplifier.

There are quite some features in most even basic DPs, but there's few buttons and much of the features require some button combinations to access them. Having said that, there's a few features that may be useful to a beginner for practice etc.
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#2425463 - Today at 11:46 AM Re: Should a child begin his lessons on a digital piano? [Re: viettube22]
MacMacMac Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/24/09
Posts: 4098
Loc: North Carolina
In a digital piano, sound is a problem for anyone with skill. But for a beginner, not so much.

But touch is a problem at all levels of skill. A digital piano is very unlike an acoustic. Skills learned on a digital must be unlearned on an acoustic ... if the goal is to reach a high level of skill.

Does your beginner expect to attain a masterful level? If so, he'll need an acoustic piano before long.

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#2425468 - Today at 11:52 AM Re: Should a child begin his lessons on a digital piano? [Re: viettube22]
JazzPianoOnline Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/14/07
Posts: 111
Loc: raleigh, nc
Digital pianos today have excellent sound and the actions are quite sophisticated and, i believe, superior to older uprights which are common for parents of young beginners to start on.

if you get a digital, avoid the slab models and get one that is on a stand that comes with a bench (like the Yamaha CLP 500s). the reasoning is that the keyboard/bench is perfectly set up for good posture so your child won't get into bad habits if, for instance, you have a slab keyboard on a kitchen table where hand/foot/body position will be out of whack.

good point about the distraction aspect of the various voices and other features. i always thought that those features would help engage kids but you can certainly look at it from both points of view.
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#2425472 - Today at 12:11 PM Re: Should a child begin his lessons on a digital piano? [Re: viettube22]
viettube22 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/19/12
Posts: 15
Thanks a lot. Your replies so far make me think I should not buy a digital piano yet.

I live in the UK. Do you think £3,000 can buy an old upright piano that is really good and can last many years?

Regards,

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#2425478 - Today at 12:22 PM Re: Should a child begin his lessons on a digital piano? [Re: viettube22]
bennevis Online   content
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 6242
Originally Posted By viettube22

However, my mother thinks that a six-year-old child, who starts learning piano, should not use a digital piano yet. Some likely reasons:

- The sound is not good enough. I think many have already debated this topic. Personally I think the sound is no longer a problem.

- There are too many features in a digital piano: too many sounds, midi, too many buttons. These may distract a child, especially if he is a beginner. Perhaps when he is in Grade 4 or above, a digital piano is good, but not now.

If it's a child learning piano, I believe that an acoustic will be better. If there's no problem with space or neighbours, there's really no reason to prefer a digital over an acoustic.

And I speak (or rather, write grin) as one whose piano is a digital, and has never owned anything else. I've seen how many people who learnt exclusively on digitals never develop the requisite control of dynamics and tone - they just thump all the time - because they play their digitals at unrealistically low volumes. Which means that they never develop the control to vary their touch and play softly - they thump on digitals because they can. Doing the same on an acoustic would soon deafen them.

And children will almost certainly play with the controls - especially the volume control - even more so than adults. I've also seen parents who tell their children to turn down the volume, because they're too 'loud' and 'noisy', compounding the problem. A child playing an acoustic will just have to learn to control his touch; a child on a digital just twiddles a dial.

Last but not least, as you've said, all those dials, levers, knobs, switches and colourful flashing lights are just an invitation to a techno-savvy child to play with them rather than practise........
_________________________
"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."

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#2425484 - Today at 12:33 PM Re: Should a child begin his lessons on a digital piano? [Re: viettube22]
bennevis Online   content
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 6242
Originally Posted By viettube22


I live in the UK. Do you think £3,000 can buy an old upright piano that is really good and can last many years?


Definitely.

You can even buy a decent new one for that. Have a look at Pianist magazine, which has regular reviews of pianos as well as lots of advice for pianists, from beginners to advanced, plus several pages of music scores to play from: www.pianistmagazine.com
_________________________
"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."

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#2425492 - Today at 12:49 PM Re: Should a child begin his lessons on a digital piano? [Re: viettube22]
viettube22 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/19/12
Posts: 15
Thank you again. So it seems I should spend my time looking at upright pianos instead.

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#2425519 - Today at 01:49 PM Re: Should a child begin his lessons on a digital piano? [Re: viettube22]
Bachus Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 04/29/15
Posts: 61
I dont think there are many upright acoustic pianos under 10k that can compete with a Kawai MP11, it got better keyfeel then most of them and several great piano sounds.. And top of all, your kids can excersise with a headset so you can keep on friendly standing with the neighbours...
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#2425552 - Today at 02:16 PM Re: Should a child begin his lessons on a digital piano? [Re: Bachus]
spanishbuddha Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/08/09
Posts: 2599
Loc: UK
Originally Posted By Bachus
I dont think there are many upright acoustic pianos under 10k that can compete with a Kawai MP11, it got better keyfeel then most of them and several great piano sounds.. And top of all, your kids can excersise with a headset so you can keep on friendly standing with the neighbours...

Way off IMHO, you can't have played many 'quality' uprights. For me the K500 beats anything digital for piano, and you could arguably include even the old workhorse U1 as better; the K500 beats many a baby grand. ... and I say this as a digital fanboy. You really need to get out more. smile
OP was using £.


Edited by spanishbuddha (Today at 02:18 PM)

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#2425574 - Today at 02:36 PM Re: Should a child begin his lessons on a digital piano? [Re: viettube22]
ElmerJFudd Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 01/07/10
Posts: 481
If space is available, neighbors and noise not a concern, and you want the student to learn to play the piano - a new upright or well maintained upright from Kawai or Yamaha (and others if you do your research - check the acoustic forum here) would of course still be preferable to a digital piano. Access to a good teacher is just as important.

On the other hand, economics have brought very playable digital instruments within the reach of families who cannot afford a decent acoustic upright. Space and noise is no longer a concern, or the cost of maintenance and tuning. In todays world I have a lot more families that opt for the digital alternative and I do not turn them away. These kids are learning to play and making music has become a life enriching part of their education. Will we see concert pianists spring up from the current crop of students that began their lessons on digital instruments? Only time will tell. But I suspect passion and desire are always the drive. For surely some wonderful pianists began their lessons on some pretty lousy upright pianos.


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#2425648 - 56 minutes 37 seconds ago Re: Should a child begin his lessons on a digital piano? [Re: viettube22]
phunqe Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 02/21/14
Posts: 63
If you don't have wall to wall neighbors an upright is always a good bet.
Otherwise I would take a look at the already mentioned Kawai MP11 (if budget allows).

I agree that the action needs to be up to par with an acoustic and the MP11 fits that bill. I am not saying it's exactly the same, but from my experience with pianos I don't think your child would have any issues going to a real piano if learning on the MP11.
There's other advantages to a digital one as well, you might see all the buttons and functions as distractions, but they can also nurture and spark creativity.

Being able to use headphones is also a plus in my opinion. If your child is very keen and creative you might think it "cute" to listen to it for 5 hours straight now, but check back later on and tell if you feel the same way smile


Edited by phunqe (55 minutes 5 seconds ago)

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#2425659 - 44 minutes 32 seconds ago Re: Should a child begin his lessons on a digital piano? [Re: viettube22]
phunqe Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 02/21/14
Posts: 63
To finish my ramblings; I understand your concern regarding the fact that your child is only 6 year's old and the learning of piano theory and practice should be the focus.
Ultimately only you can take into account everything, being the parent and knowing your child's traits and personality smile

Good luck.


Edited by phunqe (38 minutes 56 seconds ago)

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#2425660 - 37 minutes 28 seconds ago Re: Should a child begin his lessons on a digital piano? [Re: ElmerJFudd]
bennevis Online   content
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 6242
Originally Posted By ElmerJFudd
Will we see concert pianists spring up from the current crop of students that began their lessons on digital instruments? Only time will tell. But I suspect passion and desire are always the drive. For surely some wonderful pianists began their lessons on some pretty lousy upright pianos.


Lang Lang practised on a cheap Chinese-made upright (much worse than anything we can buy today for £3000) for most of his childhood. He didn't do too badly, I hear wink .

But it was still an acoustic, and he was able to develop his touch and tone, and keyboard control, on it. Under the scrutiny of his parents.

A child playing a digital with headphones (as someone recommended) could be practising Chopsticks with all the wrong notes in the wrong order, and his parents would be none the wiser......
_________________________
"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."

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#2425664 - 29 minutes 25 seconds ago Re: Should a child begin his lessons on a digital piano? [Re: viettube22]
ElmerJFudd Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 01/07/10
Posts: 481
Indeed, indeed. I'm not Lang Lang by any stretch, but I learned on a piece o' ____. At some point my parents were able to get a second hand Everett, very common in the north east, school piano model. Something like this,

And I played that throughout high school before university where they had much better pianos. Ha ha

I am thinking a gently used K500 or U1 is still in the $7000 area?

For families that have the space and enjoy the sound of practice, I always recommend they give PianoAdoption.com a shot. With a little digging, some healthy nephews and a pickup truck - free is always a good price, and with a little luck, it still holds tune. Done.

But again, the reality is becoming that these refurbish-able pianos are winding up in the trash, especially the ones near 100 years old. They don't hold tune anymore, the sound boards are cracked, everything is worn and its too much to invest in. Where an acoustic is not possible, the digital is better than nothing - actually in some cases, much better.

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#2425672 - 19 minutes 25 seconds ago Re: Should a child begin his lessons on a digital piano? [Re: viettube22]
Springmissy Online   content
Junior Member

Registered: 02/11/15
Posts: 6
Loc: Greece
I would get him or her a digital. When I used to practise the piano as a child I used to find people's - my parents mostly, comments about my playing really annoying, even if they were positive comments. I would have got on a lot better if I could have practised in true privacy and at any time of the day or evening - with headphones on. Also I think £3000 is a huge amount of money to spend on an instrument for a child. What if he gives up after a year or so. I now have a new digital piano a Casio Privia and it's brilliant. I love being able to practise and learn new songs without disturbing other people or the noise inviting my kids to come along and tell me how bored they are of hearing that!

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#2425677 - 3 minutes 29 seconds ago Re: Should a child begin his lessons on a digital piano? [Re: viettube22]
fizikisto Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/13/12
Posts: 1044
Loc: Hernando, MS
6 year old children are often smarter and more self aware than we give them credit for. Have you talked about tis with your child? Maybe take them to a store that has both digital and acoustic pianos in your price range and let him see if there are any that he really likes. He's the one that's going to be playing it after all.
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