So your little cherished ones have shown a liking to the piano, or perhaps you believe that learning the piano could be a fantastic option for them? Fantastic! We may be a little biassed but we truly believe that piano playing can open up a realm of joy and musical possibilities for children and that when they learn piano, they carry a skill for life that can affect all aspects of their lives.
From improving mental and memory development to a plethora of other skills, piano is a fantastic choice, but for many parents, particularly those from non-musical backgrounds themselves, it can be difficult to know where to begin.
Today we aim to remove the confusion around purchasing a piano, presenting options for different avenues to get your child started with piano, so even if you are not a musician yourself, you can rest easy knowing that you have made the right investment for your child’s progress and your home.
We will endeavour to break down the key things to consider when buying a piano, the options available as well as some things to think about when investing in their future learning, so without further delay, let’s jump in!
As we have outlined before in our guide to interior piano design and also where to position your piano, the first things to consider when buying a piano is where it is going to live in your home. This will help determine the kinds of options available to you and what colour, style and space you physically have for the piano. For example if you live in a smaller sized flat, then you may wish to explore digital piano options over acoustic piano options. However if you are looking for your piano to be the heart of the home and a real stand out piece, then perhaps you are looking to place it in a living room or study, then an upright or maybe even a grand piano could be perfect for what you are looking for based on the look you are trying to achieve.
The second thing to note when getting started is what your physical requirements of the instrument might be, for example does it have to be played silently? This is particularly common amongst parents with young learners or seasoned players who would like for their child to be able to practice via headphones. Many people believe that digital pianos are the only option for this, but wish they could have a real acoustic piano…Well thanks to the innovations of silent piano technology, almost any acoustic piano, new or second hand can be fitted with a silent system!
The final thing to note is the ability level of the child or others who will be playing the instrument, this is primarily because the requirements of a beginner will be very different from that of an advancing pianist. As your child’s piano playing develops, they will need an instrument that can keep up with their playing and they will need to be able to pull more expression from the instrument. This is typically linked to budget as the more expensive pianos get, typically the more responsive and sophisticated the action is. Our job as a piano retailer is to find an instrument that both meets your budget requirement but also the ability level of the player. This is why we created our bespoke consultation and qualification process with our piano experts to be able to produce personalised piano proposals for you.
What If They Give Up?
By far, the most common concern that we hear from parents looking to purchase their children a piano is that they are worried about their child giving up after investing in a quality piano.
Whilst we have written plenty of guides to helping keep piano learning fun and exciting for your child, this is the exact reason why we created our Kickstart Rental Scheme, providing a quality portable piano that can be rented on a monthly basis, easily stored and returned at a later date whilst they decide whether or not the piano is right for them.
This minimises the risk for the parent and gives full peace of mind if your child does decide that the piano is not for them. This is why we also often deter people from buying either low quality home digital pianos or portable pianos outright because these instruments are not easy to trade in or sell again and they will likely be stuck with them after their child decides to stop playing.
On the flip side of this however, if your child takes to piano playing and you decide that you are ready to invest in their future enjoyment and learning, by starting with a rental instrument, then not only can you use a percentage of your rental money towards the new instrument, but it can be easily brought back to us, hassle free.
Thinking For The Future
Another common trap that many parents fall into, particularly when making the jump from a digital piano to an acoustic instrument, is to focus purely on budget. Of course, this is an important factor in finding the right piano for you, however opting for the more affordable choice will generally result in the child either outgrowing the capabilities instrument and needing to upgrade it once again or will mean that you have wasted part of your investment and are again stuck with an instrument that doesn't fit their requirement.
Instead, a far more sustainable approach is to think long term and specifically, what do you want your child to be able to achieve from the instrument overall? If the piano is purely for leisure and casual use, then a more affordable option can still suit their requirement, however for those looking to progress through the grades and achieve a high standard of play, investing in a higher quality instrument now will pay dividends in the long run.
Generally speaking quality acoustic pianos can last easily 40-60 years before needing renovation or refurbishment works, so an instrument like this can easily last a lifetime. (It is also worth noting here the things to know surrounding ‘refurbished/reconditioned pianos’ - learn more about this here)
Only Trusting The Teacher or Player Advice
This is an interesting one and at first may sound as though we do not trust piano teacher’s opinions, we do! And in fact, we actually actively work with our teacher network to ensure they are aligned with not only our beliefs but also ensure the students who we refer to them are being given great advice!
The reason we say this is because every piano player is different and whilst piano teachers are highly trained in understanding the technique and expressive skills of piano playing, they are likely unaware of piano production and construction techniques, or the rapid changing nature of the piano market and piano pricing.
This is particularly true when a piano teacher is insistent on buying a particular brand. The piano landscape is incredibly varied and each brand brings their own unique flare to the table. The teacher’s own brand allegiances may now be out of date and they may not know that even the best manufacturers make cheaper models in other parts of the world that are not up to the standard on which the companies’ reputations were built, though the names and logos remain unchanged.
Perhaps the most prevalent example of this is piano teachers only recommending instruments produced in Japan and not those from Indonesia or China. However, most entry level pianos are still produced in these countries and particularly in the case of China, Chinese piano production has come on leaps and bounds within the past few years and can easily now match that of the Japanese production quality. Learn more about this in our guide to the rise of Chinese manufacturing here.
This is sometimes why we may encourage students and parents to bring their teacher along when selecting their piano as this will give the teacher first hand experience with these instruments too and see how it may affect the student’s learning. Many are often surprised by the quality of Chinese produced pianos!
The same too can be said about the child themselves. It is often not uncommon for children to associate themselves with the brands that they have heard of before. Whilst they may believe that it is the right instrument for them, they may also be buying purely out of brand loyalty. This is why we would generally recommend asking the child to try something super premium and comparing it, to see if they can hear and feel the difference. If the answer is no, then chances are they are buying out of brand loyalty instead of quality.
We hope this quick guide has helped offer a little more information on the pino purchasing process so that you as parents are informed and prepared when visiting a piano showroom. If you would like to learn more about purchasing your first piano, or would like to explore our piano showroom to help find the right piano for you, contact our experts today or book a piano demonstration!