Shall I buy a Piano or Keyboard?

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Classical Piano By: Please log in to see tutor details
Subject: Piano » Classical Piano
Last updated: 11/08/2012
Tags: keyboard, piano

When starting piano lessons it is essential that you have an instrument at home to practise on. The purchase of a new instrument can be a daunting task. In this article I hope to offer some advice to make this process easier.


How much space do you have to house the new instrument and how easy can you access your building/room? Do you need the instrument to be portable to take with you to performances or to other places to practise? Keyboards are smaller and easier to transport. Pianos and digital pianos are larger and can be very heavy. It is important that pianos are kept away from windows and sunlight and ideally the humidity needs to be between 40 and 45%.

Pianos have 88 keys, but keyboards and digital pianos vary. 61 keys are fine if you are a beginner, but ideally you need to have at least 76 full size piano keys.  

When buying a keyboard, you will need touch-sensitive keys, so that you have the ability to play both loud and soft.  If you are taking lessons with a view to playing an acoustic piano in future, it is essential that you buy an instrument with weighted keys. If you begin on light unweighted keys, it will be a challenge when you transfer to a real piano, and you will have to relearn your technique. Graded hammer-action weighted keys are even better, because they give the bass notes a heavier touch which is closer to pianos. It is best to get 32 note polyphony (so you can play up to 32 notes at the same time) and a sustain pedal which will be essential when you progress onto more advanced repertoire.


Pianos are more durable and, unlike keyboards, they don’t become out of date quickly. Manufacturers are constantly coming out with new designs or keyboards with better features and sounds. However, pianos require more maintenance. Periodically you will need to have it cleaned inside and tuned to compensate for the stretching of the strings.


A decent piano will cost you about two thousand pounds, whereas good keyboards are a lot cheaper. Digital pianos are mid range in terms of cost.


Emily Askew Recorder Teacher (South West London)

About The Author

I am a friendly, enthusiastic and engaging music teacher and professional musician. I have 10 years of teaching experience of all ages and abilities.

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