pianos

Posted by: adultpianist

pianos - 12/07/12 03:35 AM

I have a digital piano at home. Although it has weighted keys, it is not like an accoustic. I have played a number of differet accoustics ranging from new to old, uprights and grands. My favourite accoustic is a Yamaha grand that has very smooth keys and a silky touch. However, I have played some awful uprights with keys so stiff you really do have to use your fingers and stregth to play it. Why do pianos get like that? Is it because they are not overhauled or kept in damp conditions? Unfortunately my recent piano exam was on such a piano which was a shame. I think I could get used to playing such stiff pianos but don't use them enough to get used to the feel and touch.

Why is it that professional pianists demand decent piano, and have the opportuity to try them before they perform, but we as beginners are just given any old piano and can do nothing about it and just have to get on with it. It is one thing, to sit and play stiff pianos on your own but when you are given one to use for an exam and you have never had the opportunity to play it before is not on. I guess if you are experienced enough you can adapt to anything but we are not experienced. Yes we can play up to a point but to become really experienced takes years and if pianists who have got 30 years playing under their belt can demand only top quality piaons, then there is no excuse for making us use inferior pianos for the exam. I understand if circumstances are beyond their control and they have to go with whatever is available as was in my case... but they should not be sending students to poor venues.
Posted by: Morodiene

Re: pianos - 12/07/12 08:31 AM

This is a curse for all pianists except ones with lots of money who can pay to haul their own piano wherever they go. Even those of us who are more experienced. But how did we get more experienced? We played on a lot of glorified firewood, just like you seem to have experienced.

It is a shame that you had to do an exam on one, and I would be sure to complain to the people in charge of that exam. Most judges will test out the piano so they know if there are issues and warn students (and better yet, account for that in their judging). However, the better thing to do is to learn how to make the best out of whatever instrument you have.

Playing on a digital is definitely a disadvantage. Those tend to be a very light action, even on "heavy" settings. I had purposely purchased a piano with a heavier action to practice on at home (acoustic) so that I would be accustomed to using more strength when playing, and then when I played on a lighter action piano it would be easy. Of course, this can backfire if you're not used to adjusting to the different action and then your tempo FLIES. smile

I do recommend getting a good acoustic as soon as you can. Every piano is slightly different, so you'll have to test them out and see what you like best. Yamahas are great if in great condition, but there are a lot of very nice pianos out there. I think if you practice on an acoustic, you will be less thrown by performing on one than when you practice on a digital and go to perform on an acoustic.
Posted by: adultpianist

Re: pianos - 12/07/12 03:13 PM

Originally Posted By: Morodiene
This is a curse for all pianists except ones with lots of money who can pay to haul their own piano wherever they go. Even those of us who are more experienced. But how did we get more experienced? We played on a lot of glorified firewood, just like you seem to have experienced.

It is a shame that you had to do an exam on one, and I would be sure to complain to the people in charge of that exam. Most judges will test out the piano so they know if there are issues and warn students (and better yet, account for that in their judging). However, the better thing to do is to learn how to make the best out of whatever instrument you have.

Playing on a digital is definitely a disadvantage. Those tend to be a very light action, even on "heavy" settings. I had purposely purchased a piano with a heavier action to practice on at home (acoustic) so that I would be accustomed to using more strength when playing, and then when I played on a lighter action piano it would be easy. Of course, this can backfire if you're not used to adjusting to the different action and then your tempo FLIES. smile

I do recommend getting a good acoustic as soon as you can. Every piano is slightly different, so you'll have to test them out and see what you like best. Yamahas are great if in great condition, but there are a lot of very nice pianos out there. I think if you practice on an acoustic, you will be less thrown by performing on one than when you practice on a digital and go to perform on an acoustic.


I asked the school where I go why they do not have acoustic pianos and they say digital pianos are cheaper because you do not have to pay to get them overhauled every so often. Also, as well as one to one lessons, they have group lesson where students are at different stages so they use headphones and you can only do that with a digital. Having said that, if I was in charge of a music school, I would make sure there was at least one acoustic piano to give students the option and experience on one. I have a digital piano as it does not require tuning and one of the advantages is that you can record yourself playing, and hear how it sounds. The other nice thing about it is it has 100 built in piano tunes so at the touch of a key you have a chopin concerto or a Brahms or a jazz piece which is nice. So I think both types of piano have their own advantages and disadvantages.
Posted by: PianoStudent88

Re: pianos - 12/07/12 04:07 PM

Originally Posted By: adultpianist
I have a digital piano as it does not require tuning and one of the advantages is that you can record yourself playing, and hear how it sounds.

adultpianist, I have an acoustic piano and it is very easy to record and listen to myself playing it. I just pull out my iPhone. And if I didn't have an iPhone, I could easily buy some other digital recorder to record myself.
Posted by: Marco M

Re: pianos - 12/07/12 05:14 PM

Key actions on acoustics are very different, from upright to grand, and even from upright to upright and from grand to grand. Decent digital pianos today priced > 1800 EUR feature key actions which fall into the range of acoutic actions, and they donĀ“t miss to be in that range. The light digital piano actions of the decent DPs somehow imitate what you can expect from a very good grand: it is light, with weighted keys. The best acoustic pianos intent to provide you with a light action. Some DPs come closer to the upright actions. Upright actions are heavier, and if the upright is of low quality, then the action might even be extra heavy and stiff. But a decent DP action imitating a good upright action is never extra heavy and stiff.
Posted by: Morodiene

Re: pianos - 12/08/12 09:20 AM

Originally Posted By: adultpianist
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
This is a curse for all pianists except ones with lots of money who can pay to haul their own piano wherever they go. Even those of us who are more experienced. But how did we get more experienced? We played on a lot of glorified firewood, just like you seem to have experienced.

It is a shame that you had to do an exam on one, and I would be sure to complain to the people in charge of that exam. Most judges will test out the piano so they know if there are issues and warn students (and better yet, account for that in their judging). However, the better thing to do is to learn how to make the best out of whatever instrument you have.

Playing on a digital is definitely a disadvantage. Those tend to be a very light action, even on "heavy" settings. I had purposely purchased a piano with a heavier action to practice on at home (acoustic) so that I would be accustomed to using more strength when playing, and then when I played on a lighter action piano it would be easy. Of course, this can backfire if you're not used to adjusting to the different action and then your tempo FLIES. smile

I do recommend getting a good acoustic as soon as you can. Every piano is slightly different, so you'll have to test them out and see what you like best. Yamahas are great if in great condition, but there are a lot of very nice pianos out there. I think if you practice on an acoustic, you will be less thrown by performing on one than when you practice on a digital and go to perform on an acoustic.


I asked the school where I go why they do not have acoustic pianos and they say digital pianos are cheaper because you do not have to pay to get them overhauled every so often. Also, as well as one to one lessons, they have group lesson where students are at different stages so they use headphones and you can only do that with a digital. Having said that, if I was in charge of a music school, I would make sure there was at least one acoustic piano to give students the option and experience on one. I have a digital piano as it does not require tuning and one of the advantages is that you can record yourself playing, and hear how it sounds. The other nice thing about it is it has 100 built in piano tunes so at the touch of a key you have a chopin concerto or a Brahms or a jazz piece which is nice. So I think both types of piano have their own advantages and disadvantages.


Of course, they do. I wasn't saying otherwise. However, in order to get better at playing on an acoustic, you should practice on one. And for any serious pianist (i.e., someone who wants to play advanced repertoire), there comes a point at which a digital just won't cut it.
Posted by: Morodiene

Re: pianos - 12/08/12 09:22 AM

Originally Posted By: Marco M
Upright actions are heavier, and if the upright is of low quality, then the action might even be extra heavy and stiff. But a decent DP action imitating a good upright action is never extra heavy and stiff.


I do not agree...I've played on some very light action uprights. It really depends on the piano. The important thing, however, is the responsiveness of the piano. The digitals cannot duplicate the responsiveness of good acoustics in my experience.
Posted by: jdw

Re: pianos - 12/08/12 09:39 AM

I would be very leery of a music school that claims to teach piano but doesn't want to bother with having even one acoustic instrument!
Posted by: Morodiene

Re: pianos - 12/08/12 11:28 AM

Originally Posted By: jdw
I would be very leery of a music school that claims to teach piano but doesn't want to bother with having even one acoustic instrument!


It depends on what the circumstances are. I just moved to FL last year and was teaching out of my home, and this year opened up a vocal conservatory. I teach piano and voice there, but I have yet been unable to afford to move my Yamaha grand from WI to the studio, and my Petrof is staying at home! So all we have are digitals. We know the necessity for having good acoustic pianos and are saving to get to that point, but that is different from not bothering. It all depends on the context. wink