Piano / Keyboard
Is the instrument suitable for all ages?
The piano or keyboard is often chosen as a beginner instrument. I started learning the piano at the age of 4 and instantly took to it. I have also successfully taught learners as young as 3 - you just have to find a teacher with an approach geared towards this age group. I have also successfully taught many adult beginners or returners, with adults in their seventies enjoying the creativity and focus of lessons.
Should I buy or rent an instrument?
There are a number of options when it comes to acquiring an instrument:
How easy is it to learn?
The advantages are that you don't have to worry about trying to make a sound - all the keys are there in front of you to see. What makes learning the piano different (and perhaps more difficult) than some other instruments is that as you are reading two lines of music (staves) at once and playing with two hands, it often takes time to build up co-ordination and fluidity. I often tell students and parents that it usually takes longer to achieve the level of Grade 1 on piano than it does on other instruments.
Which makes are recommended?
When making the important decision of buying a piano/keyboard, you can't beat going into a music shop, speaking to an expert and trying out the pianos in real life. Makes I have tried and liked are: Yamaha, Kawaii, Roland, and Casio. If you want to shop online, then there are plenty of piano comparison and information sites to be found. I would strongly recommend buying a piano in person though, and from a reputable dealer. Visit my page about local music shops to find your nearest shop.
Are there different types and sizes of the instrument?
There are two main types of piano - acoustic and digital. Within this you will find options such as upright, grand and baby grand. Have a look over at 'The Piano Man' to find out about the differences between the acoustic and digital pianos - www.thepianoman.ltd.uk/upright-pianos
What social opportunities are there when learning this instrument?
Although it is usually a solo instrument, the piano or keyboard can bring opportunities for playing with other musicians. You could form or join a rock or pop band with other members, such as guitarists, drummers and vocalists. You may join with other solo musicians to accompany their playing or singing. There are opportunities to play pianos in orchestras and jazz groups. Check out this video of renowned jazz pianists for some inspiration: