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#927858 - 05/16/06 01:26 AM Re: Best Quality Piano for Beginning Students
pianobuff Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 1580
Loc: Pacific Northwest
toda and signa,
Both of you, I think are missing the point.
Please read my first (original) post.
I am looking for an affordable, good quality, acoustic instrument for my students to begin their musical studies with. I do think this is important. That is why I am trying to find the best option for my families that cannot afford very much.
Pearl River's I've seen are of adequate quality at a reasonable price (2-3K.)
An inferior piano at home can take away from the music lesson. If you are going to pay for piano lessons then you owe it to yourself and/or your child to do whatever you can to have a decent enough piano to practice on.
I don't deny families from taking lessons from me based on their instrument as long as it is not digital. It has nothing to do if a family is poor or not, I just don't teach this way.
When there is a will there is a way. And I do feel finding an adequate instrument to practice on is part of the assignment, as important as the music assignment itself.
Signa, I do understand your point of view. But I have to say, if I was your teacher, I would also see potential, and I would want you to have a finer instrument to practice on, than a casio keyboard. I would want this for YOU. I feel that you deserve a nicer instrument to learn on, so that your potential can grow as a musician. Simple as that.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher,
member MTNA and Piano Basics Foundation

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#927859 - 05/16/06 05:54 AM Re: Best Quality Piano for Beginning Students
CC2 and Chopin lover Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/12/06
Posts: 1981
pianobuff,
I took the time to address your post with absolutely no response from you afterward. I explained to you how I put together a digital system that most pianists would love to play....that comment being based on comparisons I make all the time between it and my other three Tier 1 acoustic grand pianos. Yet you weren't curious in the least about it. I find that curious. You just keep referring to digital instruments as inferior and not as nice to learn on. What if the student could afford such a system, and their parents preferred NOT to listen as they plunked away on their scales early on?(so they could put on headphones to pracvtice) What if they could accompany themselves with strings, vocals, 150 other instruments and then record it to hear exactly what they were doing right and wrong-all this to keep the lessons fresh, enjoyable and interesting. What if the response of the keyboard was 90% the feel of the acoustic grand (which most uprights are not even close to), and the sound of the digital emulated an acoustic perfectly? Would you think any differently about this?
_________________________
Piano Technician/Tuner

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#927860 - 05/16/06 09:44 AM Re: Best Quality Piano for Beginning Students
Dorrie Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/09/05
Posts: 438
Pianobuff,

As a newish student I don't know if I would buy a piano from my teacher, but I would love it if my teacher referred me to specific models/stores technicians. I would gladly pay for the advice.

I have a clunker and a digital, and enough money put aside to buy myself a decent piano (10K). However, buying a new acoustic is just too darn confusing; add the used market and my head spins.

When you can barely play yourself, advice to buy the piano that "sounds best" is not helpful. Add some stage fright and no wonder people decide a digital is a better purchase. The accoustic piano market is just too confusing for the neophyte amateur to negotiate.

Piano teachers seem reluctant to give advice on purchasing pianos. So long as it was advice (and not an order/demand) I would ceertainly appreciate it.

Dorrie

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#927861 - 05/16/06 11:02 AM Re: Best Quality Piano for Beginning Students
Hobie Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/11/05
Posts: 475
Loc: Rocky Mountains
Pianobuff

I am the teacher who came under some criticism in the Business Ethics thread a month ago. I sell a piano or two each year. I get a small commission for it. My goal is to have my students playing an instrument that furthers their goals. This store I represent also sells digitals and they are included in the price list/brochures at my studio. I mention this only because Gyro has posted several places that "some teachers have a kickback arrangement with stores that sell acoustics, and will discourage their students from buying a digital for that reason" He was referring to me, and I just wanted to set the record straight. I also sell digitals.

When I get a new student I always ask what they have for an instrument. It is inevitable that some students will have clunkers or digitals. That is the way it is. As a teacher is really difficult to "tell" a parent that they need to go out and purchase another instrument. If somebody says, "Oh, we have an old spinet my grandmother gave us...I think it needs some work because a few keys stick, and it hasn't been tuned in 20 years" I will politley give them the name of the tuner I recommend, and wish them luck.

In a perfect world, all of my students would (at least)have a nice studio upright that has been tuned and maintained. Too bad this world is far from perfect.

My philosophy is that motivated students will play ANYTHING! I have had terrible students with Steinways and awesome students with digitals. Take a look back at Chris H's thread about motivating kids. We all agreed that the single most important factor to the student's success was his/her own motivation. I do not recall anyone saying it was the instrument itself that made them want to play.

The hope is that as a student becomes more involved with music and playing, they will slowly ascend through the "teirs" of instruments, maybe someday ending up with a beautiful grand. Or if you are CC2 and Chopin lover, 3 grands AND a digital!!! A while ago there was a thread called "show us your pictures" in the AB forum...CC2's setup is to die for.

But to address your original post:
No, you can't screen students by their instruments. It is a good thought and a noble wish (that all students have a nice instrument), but these things are beyond your control.

Dorrie, I would suggest a decent piano to consider is a Boston UP 118..a nice studio upright. You will pay a bit more than $5,000 for a new one. I am very happy with the sound of mine.
_________________________
"Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others." Groucho Marx

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#927862 - 05/16/06 12:04 PM Re: Best Quality Piano for Beginning Students
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2837
Loc: UK.
I have to say I often reccomend Yamaha and Kawai. Many people on this forum knock them and I would agree that it is possible to do better if you know what you are looking for or have a higher budget. At least these makes tend to be consistant in sound and quality. You know pretty much what you are going to get if you buy new. They are also established names and will be easy to sell when the time comes to trade up. Take my grand for example. I tried a lot of pianos before buying a Wilh. Steinberg and I am satisfied I got a good deal. However if I want to trade up I know the resale value will not compare favourably with the likes of Yamaha as hardly anyone has heard of Wilh. Steinberg. This doesn't matter much to me as I have no plans to upgrade for a while but you need to think about it if you buy a starter instrument.

I am not sure that it doesn't matter what instrument a student has. From what I have seen it is quite an important factor. Many kids have had their progress stunted because they haven't got something decent to practice on. By something decent I mean a piano, acoustic or digital, that actually works and is fairly well in tune with itself. I know I have quite a few students whose pianos do not even measure up to this description. It made a big difference to me as I posted in the practice environment thread.
_________________________
Pianist and piano teacher.

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#927863 - 05/16/06 12:38 PM Re: Best Quality Piano for Beginning Students
Hobie Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/11/05
Posts: 475
Loc: Rocky Mountains
Chris

You are right, I probably shouldn't have written that students will play ANYTHING, since nobody will learn much on an instrument that is unplayable. I just see that this quality issue comes with the territory if you are teaching as much as we are...and we are left fairly helpless to change it.

I get the comment sometimes from students, "your piano sounds different than mine". That is a good bet that they are playing on a poorly tuned instrument.

But again, I wonder, "who can I control?" the answer is, "only myself". Given this I refrain from pressuring parents or using other tactics to persuade parents/student to spend money in ways they do not want to.

The decision about the instrument ultimately is in someone else's hands.
_________________________
"Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others." Groucho Marx

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#927864 - 05/16/06 02:20 PM Re: Best Quality Piano for Beginning Students
pianobuff Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 1580
Loc: Pacific Northwest
CC2 and Chopin lover,
I apologize that I didn't respond to your post, directly.
It is because I am in pretty much the same situation as you. Three grands and a digital keyboard along with a multi-track digitial recorder. The digital is in a separate room.
I guess it is a matter of opinion. I still stand by mine. I teach classical piano. I teach my youngest students using Suzuki Piano Basics where the focus is listening, techinique and tone development. I'm sorry, but IMHO this cannot happen on a digital. Digital keyboards are a great tool for recording, composition, special effects. My son uses our Yamaha S88 for soundtracks for his filmmaking. It is wonderful for this kind of thing.
I would not think of using my digital for teaching piano, nor for the enjoyment of pure playing.
My personal opinion here!
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher,
member MTNA and Piano Basics Foundation

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#927865 - 05/16/06 05:16 PM Re: Best Quality Piano for Beginning Students
CC2 and Chopin lover Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/12/06
Posts: 1981
I respect that. Thanks for your response.
_________________________
Piano Technician/Tuner

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#927866 - 05/16/06 05:56 PM Re: Best Quality Piano for Beginning Students
Gyro Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/05
Posts: 4533
LWPianistin, I admit I am not the leading
advocate for acoustic pianos. I grew up
with acoustics and all the problems
associated with them: tunings,
after which the instrument seemed to sound the
same, or worse; sticking keys; malfunctioning
strings; strange, buzzing noises that appear out
of nowhere; things falling off the rattletrap
mechanism; etc. Talk about "clunker," any
acoustic piano is almost by definition
a clunker when compared to a digital.

You could today--not sometime in the
future--play a big-time classical concert
on a digital.

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#927867 - 05/16/06 06:06 PM Re: Best Quality Piano for Beginning Students
w_scott_iv@yahoo Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/29/05
Posts: 1120
Loc: West Virginia
I agree whole-heartedly w/Pianobuff. The piano makes all the difference in the world. When I taught privately, I encouraged all of my beginners to get a good quality acoustic piano. I would reluctantly agree to allow a digital if they agreed to trade up as soon as possible. Having consistent feedback from a good acoustic is essential to develop various sensitivities about how touch can affect tone, what constitutes proper tone, pedaling techchniques, and accurate pitch awareness. And so far as a stable tuning goes, a student's potential for developing perfect pitch can be dashed if pitch levels are variable.
Just a quick story, I had a student who was fairly advanced who just could not develop the simplest of pedaling techniques. I finally went to her home, and the pedal rods on her old Howard grand were crossed!
I also have to echo Pianobuff's sentiments regarding digitals. I own a digital for those times when an acoustic is not available. It's a valuable tool, but it's no substitute for an acoustic piano. Subtle touch controlled tone variations and advanced pedaling are totally lacking. They can have nice feeling actions, but those actions do not control sound the way an acoustic does.

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#927868 - 05/16/06 06:38 PM Re: Best Quality Piano for Beginning Students
Dorrie Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/09/05
Posts: 438
Hobie -

Thanks for the Boston suggestion. I will check it out.

Dorrie

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#927869 - 05/17/06 07:29 PM Re: Best Quality Piano for Beginning Students
LiszThalberg Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/13/06
Posts: 3288

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#927870 - 05/17/06 08:02 PM Re: Best Quality Piano for Beginning Students
petrof1 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/10/06
Posts: 151
Loc: Gulf Coast
Pianobuff: I understand what you mean about the acoustic pianos. They are good for learning classical music. I much prefer those myself.

It seems to me the last 3 piano teachers I have had in the different areas that I have lived, all had the Yamaha upright. It seems to be a popular choice of piano when teaching many students usually in the beginning level or intermediate. If you can get a gray market yamaha upright at a reasonable price that would be a good choice.

I think those are great pianos for teaching students classical music. I can't see playing the classical music without the effective pedaling that is often required when playing these classical pieces and you don't get that effect with the digitals.
_________________________
Make music not war

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#927871 - 05/18/06 11:19 AM Re: Best Quality Piano for Beginning Students
markb Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/29/04
Posts: 2593
Loc: Maryland
 Quote:
is it right to put a child of 7 on a 700 $ dollar keyboard to start out with???
Absolutely, if the instrument is playable and if that's what the parents can afford. To say you shouldn't do that is to deny a child an opportunity to have a lifelong love of music or piano. If the child subsequently shows an affinity, dedication, and capability to advance, putting off a major purchase for a year or two is not going to realistically negatively impact his or her future success with the instrument.

Let's face it--a very small minority has enough talent and dedication to make it to the very top. The rest of us teach, play professionally or semi-professionally, are gifted amateurs, or are complete hacks (like me). And for most of us, the fact that we didn't start with an expensive piano will make little to no difference in the long run.

Also, it can take a while for a child to choose an instrument that he or she can really settle down with. Why spend several thousand on a piano when the child might very likely decide that the saxophone is really what he wants to play?
_________________________
markb--The Count of Casio

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#927872 - 05/18/06 01:30 PM Re: Best Quality Piano for Beginning Students
LiszThalberg Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/13/06
Posts: 3288
Good Point.... But, I was stuck on the same keyboard for 6 years. In my opinion the only acceptable keyboard is the Yamaha clavinova.

Any opinions on the Clavinova???


Debussy20

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#927873 - 05/18/06 02:20 PM Re: Best Quality Piano for Beginning Students
childofparadise2002 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/13/04
Posts: 538
 Quote:
Originally posted by markb:
 Quote:
is it right to put a child of 7 on a 700 $ dollar keyboard to start out with???
Absolutely, if the instrument is playable and if that's what the parents can afford. To say you shouldn't do that is to deny a child an opportunity to have a lifelong love of music or piano. If the child subsequently shows an affinity, dedication, and capability to advance, putting off a major purchase for a year or two is not going to realistically negatively impact his or her future success with the instrument.

Let's face it--a very small minority has enough talent and dedication to make it to the very top. The rest of us teach, play professionally or semi-professionally, are gifted amateurs, or are complete hacks (like me). And for most of us, the fact that we didn't start with an expensive piano will make little to no difference in the long run.

Also, it can take a while for a child to choose an instrument that he or she can really settle down with. Why spend several thousand on a piano when the child might very likely decide that the saxophone is really what he wants to play? [/b]
Well said! Thanks! Indeed some parents just can't afford to buy a good acoustic piano but their kids still deserve a good piano education if the kids desire so. These kids might not progress as fast as they themselves could have, but depending on their dedication some of them might progress faster than some kids who do have a good piano...

Some music schools have financial aid for kids from under-privileged families even for beginners. I wonder whether such financial aid are for lesson fees only, or whether it helps cover the cost of a decent entry level piano...

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#927874 - 05/19/06 03:42 PM Re: Best Quality Piano for Beginning Students
pianobuff Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 1580
Loc: Pacific Northwest
I disagree. Why start a child out with an inferior instrument? Expecially if the teacher has a fine instrument. The student will immediately be discouraged by the sound and feel of their instrument at home, and will probably not want to practice, thus discontinuing music lessons. I've seen it happen!
If a family can afford a grey market Yamaha U1 for example at 4,000, making monthly payments if needed, is part of giving their child a good start in music and I feel it is do-able. When there is a will there is a way. If the child quits they can always sell their Yamaha U1 for what they paid for it. There would be no loss. You could not do this with a digital keyboard!!
If it truly is not feasable financially, then finding an acoustic piano at a church, for example, to pracitce on would be a better option than practicing on a digital keyboard. Again IMHO.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher,
member MTNA and Piano Basics Foundation

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#927875 - 05/19/06 03:54 PM Re: Best Quality Piano for Beginning Students
pianobuff Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 1580
Loc: Pacific Northwest
One other thing. To me, playing and teaching the piano is not just learning the notes. It is listening to tone, devloping a good ear, proper pedaling, musical phrasing, knowing when a piano is going out of tune, how the piano mechanism works, what produces bad tone or good tone, etc...
If a student wants to just learn chords, read music, learn theory, and thats all, a digital keyboard would work just fine. And there are a lot of teachers that teach only these things. Therefore, I don't think any child will be denied a music education if a students wishes to own and practice on a digital keyboard.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher,
member MTNA and Piano Basics Foundation

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#927876 - 05/19/06 05:54 PM Re: Best Quality Piano for Beginning Students
LiszThalberg Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/13/06
Posts: 3288
I agree. There are many pro and cons to buying an electroninc piano. You can connect to the computer, Record songs, Change instruments, compose and the keyboard will put it into sheet music. But you can't beet the good ole' sound of an acoustic piano. Lets not make this anouther one of those acoustic vs. piano topics.

Debussy20

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#927877 - 05/20/06 12:25 AM Re: Best Quality Piano for Beginning Students
LWpianistin Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 500
Loc: VA/MD/England...long story...
 Quote:
Originally posted by Gyro:
LWPianistin, I admit I am not the leading
advocate for acoustic pianos. I grew up
with acoustics and all the problems
associated with them: tunings,
after which the instrument seemed to sound the
same, or worse; sticking keys; malfunctioning
strings; strange, buzzing noises that appear out
of nowhere; things falling off the rattletrap
mechanism; etc. Talk about "clunker," any
acoustic piano is almost by definition
a clunker when compared to a digital.

You could today--not sometime in the
future--play a big-time classical concert
on a digital. [/b]
you just described my little spinet perfectly \:D i still love it to (literally) pieces. i COULD play say, my junior or senior recital on a digital if i wanted, but it would sound like crap compared to on a nice, TUNED concert grand.
_________________________
That's right...I have the same birthday as Mozart. If only it meant something and I could have one thousandth of his genius...in my dreams, i suppose.

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