Best Quality Piano for Beginning Students

Posted by: pianobuff

Best Quality Piano for Beginning Students - 05/10/06 03:56 PM

It was suggested to post this topic here, instead of the Piano Forum.

I am the type of piano teacher that wants my students to have the best quality instrument to practice on right from the beginning.
No klunckers, no digitals.
I have been recommending Yamaha U1 series. There is a person close to my studio that sells gray market Yamaha's at a reasonable price.
But there is much talk on this forum about Pearl River. My dream is to have a few (student, good quality pianos) availabe to sell to my students.
Have any teachers done this? And if so what line?
Posted by: w_scott_iv@yahoo

Re: Best Quality Piano for Beginning Students - 05/10/06 04:06 PM

You'd have to have someone set up the Pearl Rivers. They really are not ready to go right out of the box. They also are not in the league w/Yamaha, but I doubt you could become a Yamaha dealer. So, if you have access to a good tech, go for it w/Pearl River. Once set-up they are a nice value for a student and the company does seem to value dealer/customer satisfaction.
Posted by: Chris H.

Re: Best Quality Piano for Beginning Students - 05/11/06 04:48 AM

I also think it is important for students to have access to good instruments for practice. I have a local dealer who caters for the lower end of the market. Nearly all of his stock is used and/or reconditioned which he does himself. The pianos are decent and affordable which is what most beginners are looking for. I know him personally and he is a great guy. It makes me feel secure that I can send students to him and know they will not get ripped off. If you have a similar relationship with the Yamaha dealer then I think it is good that you send your stundents there.

A potential problem with stocking your own pianos to sell is that people are often suspicious of this kind of thing. There was a recent thread about dealers offering commision to teachers who send students. I don't have a problem with this but it is clear that some people do. The same situation could arise if you were to start teaching someone and then tell them you have a piano they should buy. Just a thought.

As for Pearl River I have never tried one. Most new budget pianos I have played would be far better than the 'clunckers' that many students have. If you do get some stock to sell you might consider looking for relatively modern (20 years old or so) uprights of better quality. I feel they can offer better value for money IMO.
Posted by: AJB

Re: Best Quality Piano for Beginning Students - 05/11/06 07:11 AM

Just an addendum to Chris's comments. There are some dealers who also offer piano lessons. It may depend on how you pitch yourslef and how you want to develop your business. Selling and teaching need not be mutusally exclusive.

A
Posted by: Ken Knapp

Re: Best Quality Piano for Beginning Students - 05/11/06 07:22 AM

I have a new Hardman & Peck I bought from my teacher a few weeks ago. I love it so far, but I have to admit to not being a good judge of pianos. I bought it based on trust as I've known my teacher for over 30 years.

When I chose this piano I could notice his eyes light up - not because of the money he would make on it but because he felt I would be well equipped for practice.

Ken
Posted by: WKS70

Re: Best Quality Piano for Beginning Students - 05/11/06 01:36 PM

I'm not a Pearl River fan. A Yamaha U1 series is great for beginners, as you stated at the beginning of this thread. IMHO, Pearl Rivers do not hold up well and are cheap clunkers. On the other hand, if you have students who are unable to afford Yamaha's, a Pearl River is much better than a digital.
Posted by: Gyro

Re: Best Quality Piano for Beginning Students - 05/11/06 03:38 PM

Why not digitals? It has been pointed out
on the digital forum that top echelon concert
pianists like Andre Watts and Valentina
Lisitsa regularly practice on digitals.
This bias against digitals that persists
today is unreasonable.
Posted by: LWpianistin

Re: Best Quality Piano for Beginning Students - 05/11/06 04:58 PM

no, it's not. acoustics are better (if they're in tune). electric anything is not as good as the original. electric basses, for example - a joke compared to an acoustic. i have a digital and an acoustic piano. i like both, but i mainly use the acoustic, even though it's a Wurlitzer spinet. not everyone is going to follow your lead and claim digitals as the new piano gods.
Posted by: terminaldegree

Re: Best Quality Piano for Beginning Students - 05/11/06 09:52 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Gyro:
Why not digitals? It has been pointed out
on the digital forum that top echelon concert
pianists like Andre Watts and Valentina
Lisitsa regularly practice on digitals.
This bias against digitals that persists
today is unreasonable. [/b]
I respectfully and emphatically disagree. I do not discount the value and specific use/need for the digital piano-- I make most of my living in a digital keyboard lab as a university class piano teacher. My background and passion is in performance, however.

Andre Watts probably does not REGULARLY practice on a digital piano; maybe he checks over a couple of passages in a hotel room the night before a performance, but let's get real here-- that's not where even 10% of the real practicing takes place. Maybe he has to endorse them as part of an artist agreement...

Once you get to even a good midsized upright and actually play them [acoustic vs. digital] side by side, it's no comparison at all. I'm not saying that there isn't a practical use for digital - I'll even practice on them occasionally in an emergency. But you cannot really learn the fundamentals of producing a good sound [technically] on one.
Posted by: seebechstein

Re: Best Quality Piano for Beginning Students - 05/12/06 08:26 AM

It seems that teachers sometimes have studios at places where pianos are sold. That way it keeps the teacher focused on teaching but the students have an obvious place to shop at.

Most students are beginners, and there's nothing wrong with a beginner on a full, weighted digital for $1k or $2k. If the student makes progress and the parents are supportive of spending $5k to $50k on a piano, then they can go to a good acoustic. I don't believe in students attempting to learn on an acoustic piano that costs less than $5k. Learning to play is hard enough, but learning on a clunker should drive people toward digitals.

But back to the question you asked, the best upright I've played probably is the U5. I think it was pretty expensive though, so asking parents to shell out that kind of money...
Posted by: signa

Re: Best Quality Piano for Beginning Students - 05/12/06 11:14 AM

what's wrong with beginners playing on digital? it's hard to believe some teacher still have such deep doubts about current digital piano technology. don't you know that even many teachers have both acoustic and digital pianos themselves.
Posted by: WKS70

Re: Best Quality Piano for Beginning Students - 05/13/06 10:47 AM

I don't think it's wrong for beginners to be on a digital, and I own both an acoustic and a digital. For many students who either cannot afford a better upright or who won't keep the piano maintained on a regular basis, a digital is a good option.

My digital is a very good one, but it still can't compare to my grand. The sound is so very sterile without all those beautiful undertones that shimmer on an acoustic. An acoustic piano is better for developing a musical ear in students. Another problem with practicing on a digital is that students don't develop much finger strength. I've always found interesting that my students always choose to do their lesson on my grand over the digital keyboard.
Posted by: Gyro

Re: Best Quality Piano for Beginning Students - 05/13/06 01:09 PM

Watts and Lisitsa are professionals, people whose
livelihood depends on the piano, and thus
as pros they would be aware of the best
equipment that's available to them in their
profession. Just as professional pianists
centuries ago turned to the pianoforte
when it appeared, because it offered
advantages over the harpsichord and
clavichord, today's professionals have
discovered the advantages that digitals
offer over the pianoforte.
Posted by: terminaldegree

Re: Best Quality Piano for Beginning Students - 05/13/06 04:56 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Gyro:
Watts and Lisitsa are professionals, people whose
livelihood depends on the piano, and thus
as pros they would be aware of the best
equipment that's available to them in their
profession. Just as professional pianists
centuries ago turned to the pianoforte
when it appeared, because it offered
advantages over the harpsichord and
clavichord, today's professionals have
discovered the advantages that digitals
offer over the pianoforte. [/b]
To a concert pianist, there only four advantages I can possibly think of--

1. Portability over an acoustic piano [but they're not easily portable].
2. Ability to use a headset to practice silently.
3. Low cost relative to an acoustic piano.
4. No need for a tuner.

That's it. There are no other "advantages". Any mid-grade acoustic piano wins in every other conceivable scenario.
Even with unlimited funds, you can't continually move a grand piano from hotel room to hotel room.

You seem to have "ducked" all of the specifics of my last post. Are you a dealer for digital pianos?
Posted by: Gyro

Re: Best Quality Piano for Beginning Students - 05/14/06 02:22 PM

This is what I mean about bias, a
refusal to accept something in the face
of all the evidence to the contrary, here:
someone owns an acoustic and a digital
and will not play the digital; someone
works with digitals daily and cannot
see them as anything but group learning
tools. This is probably why those awkward
acoustic/digital hybrid pianos exist,
jury-rigged devices that attempt to mimic
what a digital does for the benefit of
people who just cannot accept digital
pianos. (Similarly, there probably
were people who hung on to their clavichords
until their death rather than play a
pianoforte.)

There are many advantages digitals offer
(I'm not a dealer in anything): no tuning,
ever; no maintenance, ever; durability and
reliability--a digital should never require
any kind of repair; volume control, so
you can practice anytime anywhere; instant
record and playback at a touch of a button--
using a tape recorder today is like using a
manual typewriter, or carbon paper to make
copies; computer connectivity (this opens
up a whole new vista, like the ability
to buy a virtual concert grand piano
on a CD for a couple of hundred dollars
as opposed to more than $100,000.00 for
the real thing); portabilty;
lower purchase price; easy online buying;
greater selection; superior technique
development (this is why Virgil silent
keyboards used to be so popular with
concert pianists in the early 20th cent.);
and so forth.

Digitals are a tidal wave that is about to
engulf the piano world, and then people will
no longer be able to pretend that don't
exist like they are trying to do now.
Top concert pianists have realized
this and have gotten on the bandwagon, to
their benefit.
Posted by: terminaldegree

Re: Best Quality Piano for Beginning Students - 05/14/06 02:59 PM

Once again you have "ducked" the specifics of my original post.

Dealing with a few of your points directly:
"no maintenance, ever"- my digitals have been reliable. I have seen pianists break digital action parts in the past a few times. Never say never. Spill something into a ten year old piano and it can be repaired. Spill something into a ten year old digital-- good luck finding the replacement parts.
"volume control"- a convenience for a hobbyist, but totally inappropriate for developing technical control as a concert pianist.
"computer connectivity"- this has already been adapted to several acoustic pianos, and can be retrofitted to others.
"instant record and playback"- this has already been adapted to several acoustic pianos
"greater selection"- have you stepped into a piano store lately?
"superior technique development"- that you even suggest this proves you really don't understand concert level playing in the highest sense at all.
"Virgil silent piano"- have you actually played one of these? If I recall they have a real escapement type action and repetition mechanism. The vast majority of digitals you tout do not. Even the escapements [although an interesting improvement] feel phony.

I've already detailed what I think are the advantages to digital. Let me know when you're going to see Andre Watts perform on stage with a digital piano and I'll be happy to buy you the one ticket that is ever sold to see it.

So far you have named TWO concert pianists to back up your argument, neither of whom I would consider to be in the top, oh, thirty of those I would pay to see.

I think we will simply agree to disagree on this one...
Posted by: toda

Re: Best Quality Piano for Beginning Students - 05/14/06 03:58 PM

It seems to me that this thread is also drifting to acoustic vs. digital arguments. I think the real question relevant to the thread is this: Is a digital piano good enough for beginning students? It seems OP does not think so as well as a few others. I beg to differ. A digital piano has now reached a stage where it is good enough for most purposes, which is amply supported by the fact that more and more conservatories have digital pianos as their practice instrument. This simple fact makes it much hard to argue that digital pianos are not good enough for beginning students.

Does that make best digital pianos equal or superior to best acoustic pianos? Nope. They have come a long way, but still not there yet. However, who knows? Even within our lifetime the digital vs. acoustic arguments will have been a thing of the past, perhaps except for those who can afford really high end acoustics.

A quarter of a century ago, people were passionately debating CD versus LP music quality. Nowadays it is mostly over. The same thing will happen to pianos.

Digital pianos have great potential. They are cheaper, easier to maintain, convenient to use, and quality control is excellent, making instrument-to-instrument variation insignificant.

TD
Posted by: terminaldegree

Re: Best Quality Piano for Beginning Students - 05/14/06 04:36 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by toda:
A digital piano has now reached a stage where it is good enough for most purposes, which is amply supported by the fact that more and more conservatories have digital pianos as their practice instrument. This simple fact makes it much hard to argue that digital pianos are not good enough for beginning students.
[/b]
Name them.
We're not talking about "group" piano labs, either.

The original post was about the "best quality piano for beginners". Many digitals are nice but all of them are a compromise as a concert or practice piano. They do have their place, and I'd probably be ok with them for a beginning student for a year or two, but only that far. This argument is independent of the other neat things digital pianos can do...

Sorry to be wasting so much bandwith, but some of these statements have to be challenged.
Posted by: toda

Re: Best Quality Piano for Beginning Students - 05/14/06 06:43 PM

terminaldegree,

As claimed internet addict, why don't you google them? For example, choose two keywords "conservatory" and "clavinova" at once and see for yourself. If your "best quality" is equivalent to "money is no object", sure, Steinways and Bosies beat the digital pianos hands down. Then are we really talking about "beginner pianos"?

TD
Posted by: AJB

Re: Best Quality Piano for Beginning Students - 05/14/06 07:13 PM

This acoustic versus digital debate is rather dull/ Al; regulars here know Gyro is a big digital enthusiast. Get yourselves over to the pinao fourm and people will argue that such and such an acoustic brand is better than another.

No one really cares. It is just hot air. We all make our own mind up in the end when we balance what we prefer against what we can afford and what is practical in our circumstances.

And digital versus acoustic is totally off topic. The topic originator clearly said, "no digitals".

A
Posted by: CC2 and Chopin lover

Re: Best Quality Piano for Beginning Students - 05/14/06 07:21 PM

I feel the need to get my two cents worth in on this discussion. I think the key to the comparisons being made here between acoustics and digitals should be similar to comparing acoustic pianos to each other. In other words, you would not fairly compare Tier 3 or 4 piano to a Tier 1. In the same vein, comparing the performance of the "average" digital to a medium quality acoustic is no contest. That being said, however, let me give my own experience here. I own three Tier one pianos that I adore, including a nine foot Mason and Hamlin, Steinway B and Bechstein A. There is nothing like playing any one of them.....HOWEVER, I also own a digital setup that is a hybrid I created for the very purpose of creating as close a substitute as possible to the experience of playing one of my acoustics. I believe I have succeeded, in that I can honestly say that when I play my digital it simulates my acoustics by about 75 to 85%. This ability did not come cheap though. I needed to combine several components that you don't normally see run together in order to get this result. Therefore, the practicality for a young student is a completely different issue.
Posted by: pianobuff

Re: Best Quality Piano for Beginning Students - 05/15/06 02:05 AM

Thank you terminaldegree, my feelings are with you.
It's absurd to me when people try to make a comparison between an acoustic piano and a digital piano. They are two completely different instruments in my mind. There is no comparison. There never will be either. I wish people would stop thinking that digitals are like real pianos. Why TRY to be like a real piano when you can buy a real piano? Sorry to digital fans, but lets get real, an acoustic piano is "alive" and ever changing. I like it when my pianos need to be tuned! I know I'm not playing a fake. Buy a real piano if you want to play piano. Let's just call digitals, digitals and pianos, pianos and leave it at that.
Since I happen to teach piano not digital piano, I want my students to be practicing on a good quality instrument where they can enjoy their practice time, develop their technical and listening skills in the most optimal way.
Thank you to those that have posted.
It sounds like Yamaha U series would be a first choice then perhaps Pearl River.
I saw and played a Pearl River grand. I think it was rather small 5'4 maybe, and it sounded pretty good. I was suprised at the price of 5,000.00.
Posted by: toda

Re: Best Quality Piano for Beginning Students - 05/15/06 10:44 AM

Sure, choosing an acoustic over digital is a personal matter. But calling a digital piano a fake? It is rather funny because ABRSM allows digital pianos for certification exams up to grade 8.

TD
Posted by: zorrodepiano

Re: Best Quality Piano for Beginning Students - 05/15/06 02:14 PM

I have a Pearl River grand in my studio, it has been a good piano despite predictions to the contrary, maybe not the best sounding piano, but a nice feel, a very Yamaha-esque action.

One of my students has a Pearl River upright, again very solid action, especially for an upright.

The few problems I have had were handled promptly and to my satisfaction by Pearl River's customer support. I think the Pearl River would be a much etter choice than say a "Hallett Davis" or one of the other stencil pianos, a lot of these pianos are pretty bad.

zorro de piano
Posted by: LWpianistin

Re: Best Quality Piano for Beginning Students - 05/15/06 03:42 PM

digitals are fine for beginners. i would recommend the Casio PX100, which is what i have. it is only $500, and weighted. easy to carry (for a full-sized keyboard!!). reliable, of course.

Gyro, i understand all of the conveniences of a digital, as i have one. i will be very glad to have it in my apartmemt next semester, because then i won't have to waste gas going to campus just to practice. i will, however, still spend about 85% of my practice time in the practice rooms or in the recital hall. digitals are not as characteristic as pianos. they are like robots compared to humans. there are nuances and small oddities about every acoustice that make them special. the sound of my school's Steinway concert grand in the very good recital hall will NEVER be replaced by the prerecorded sounds of my digital, or anyone else's. why do you hate acoustics?
Posted by: signa

Re: Best Quality Piano for Beginning Students - 05/15/06 05:48 PM

i still feel pretty strange, when a teacher ask for specifically what kind of pianos that his/her students should have or else refuse giving lessons. you know, for the best one, we could just advertize like this:

I, a superb qualified teacher (insert awards, competition winners, etc, here), will take students who only have Stainways/Fazioli/Bosendorfer piano (grand prefered), because i am only interested in teaching best students who have the best pianos and don't want to waste my time on others!

how does this sound? (laugh about it if you want to. \:D )
Posted by: LWpianistin

Re: Best Quality Piano for Beginning Students - 05/15/06 07:28 PM

\:D :p that means i couldn't even teach myself!
Posted by: pianobuff

Re: Best Quality Piano for Beginning Students - 05/15/06 10:07 PM

signa,
If you are implying that I am this type of teacher-- to only accept students if they have a good quality acoustic, I'm not. But I am almost there.
This is why... The students I do have that practice on spinits or old uprights (that can't be regulated and/or tuned up to A440) and yes those that have digital pianos, find it a lot less satisfying to do their daily practice and do it correctly. The students that do have good quality acoustic pianos to practice on learn much faster, develop better listening skills and enjoy the process so much more. As a teacher, I consequently will strongly encourage my students, even at the beginning of their instruction, to have the best instrument they can possibly afford; thus having a higher success rate in their muscical studies.
Posted by: signa

Re: Best Quality Piano for Beginning Students - 05/15/06 10:55 PM

i understand your intention, pianobuff, and you have your right to demand anything from your students anyway, which is not what i want to argue. but, what i am saying is that you're trying (as you said 'almost there') to exclude some maybe very talented students who may not be able to afford a good quality acoustic or even some great digital pianos. i often think, since i am not in music profession and started to play for fun initially from even a much worse instrument - a cheap Casio keyboard, which doesn't even have 'weighted' action, an above average talent and strong determination are more important when doing something like learning to play an instrument. i don't have a lot of talent (or maybe just little bit to keep me on track) and never owned a piano of your standard, but i love music and had a little bit music background and was determined to play better which kept me trying on my own for 5 years before getting a teacher.

it doesn't tell much about my playing of course, but my teacher was happy the 1st time he watched me playing for him, because despite all the troubles, mistakes, nerversnous i had with each piece i played for him, he saw something good in my basic techniques. my teacher, a great one as i realize now, cares less about what piano i play on, but how i play and what techniques i had then and what he could teach me to advance my skills. that's the point i was trying to make, and i feel extremely lucky to have a teacher (my very first piano teacher btw) like that, who understands and knows how to help his students without any extra demands on instruments.
Posted by: toda

Re: Best Quality Piano for Beginning Students - 05/15/06 11:29 PM

pianobuff,

Your argument is a classic example of mistaking association for causation. In a nutshell, this amounts to: events A and B occur together quite frequently so A should be causing B. Just replace A with "having (expensive) acoustic pianos" and B with "better learner".

I think what's really working behind the scene is the socio-economic status and/or musical preference of the parents (or students themselves).

I suspect you would have equal or better "success rate" in teaching by recruting your students only from wealthy neighborhood or charge twice as much as the current lesson fee.

TD
Posted by: pianobuff

Re: Best Quality Piano for Beginning Students - 05/16/06 01:26 AM

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.
Posted by: CC2 and Chopin lover

Re: Best Quality Piano for Beginning Students - 05/16/06 05:54 AM

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?
Posted by: Dorrie

Re: Best Quality Piano for Beginning Students - 05/16/06 09:44 AM

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
Posted by: Hobie

Re: Best Quality Piano for Beginning Students - 05/16/06 11:02 AM

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.
Posted by: Chris H.

Re: Best Quality Piano for Beginning Students - 05/16/06 12:04 PM

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.
Posted by: Hobie

Re: Best Quality Piano for Beginning Students - 05/16/06 12:38 PM

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.
Posted by: pianobuff

Re: Best Quality Piano for Beginning Students - 05/16/06 02:20 PM

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!
Posted by: CC2 and Chopin lover

Re: Best Quality Piano for Beginning Students - 05/16/06 05:16 PM

I respect that. Thanks for your response.
Posted by: Gyro

Re: Best Quality Piano for Beginning Students - 05/16/06 05:56 PM

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.
Posted by: w_scott_iv@yahoo

Re: Best Quality Piano for Beginning Students - 05/16/06 06:06 PM

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.
Posted by: Dorrie

Re: Best Quality Piano for Beginning Students - 05/16/06 06:38 PM

Hobie -

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

Dorrie
Posted by: LiszThalberg

Re: Best Quality Piano for Beginning Students - 05/17/06 07:29 PM

Posted by: petrof1

Re: Best Quality Piano for Beginning Students - 05/17/06 08:02 PM

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.
Posted by: markb

Re: Best Quality Piano for Beginning Students - 05/18/06 11:19 AM

 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?
Posted by: LiszThalberg

Re: Best Quality Piano for Beginning Students - 05/18/06 01:30 PM

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
Posted by: childofparadise2002

Re: Best Quality Piano for Beginning Students - 05/18/06 02:20 PM

 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...
Posted by: pianobuff

Re: Best Quality Piano for Beginning Students - 05/19/06 03:42 PM

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.
Posted by: pianobuff

Re: Best Quality Piano for Beginning Students - 05/19/06 03:54 PM

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.
Posted by: LiszThalberg

Re: Best Quality Piano for Beginning Students - 05/19/06 05:54 PM

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
Posted by: LWpianistin

Re: Best Quality Piano for Beginning Students - 05/20/06 12:25 AM

 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.