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Buying a Keyboard or Piano – Advice for Beginners

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Calendar November 25, 2016

Buying a Keyboard or Piano – Advice for Beginners

Purchasing your first instrument is an important decision to make as a beginner. Piano lessons are a great investment, but you’ll also need something to practice on at home. For a lot of people, this is generally a choice between a piano and a keyboard.

There are some clear differences between pianos and electric keyboards that you’ll want to consider. You have to also figure out which option is most practical for you.

Acoustic Piano

When it comes to quality, the acoustic piano wins by a long shot. A quality acoustic instrument produces a rich sound from real strings and real wood. This offers the responsiveness and range of dynamics and tone that is hard for digital imitators to match. Many pianists will insist that even the best keyboards cannot compare.


For beginners, the piano offers the player the chance to build finger strength and become accustomed to a finer control of sound. A pianist can use pedals and a lighter or heavier touch to convey emotion or broaden the range of the notes. The more a student has the opportunity to practice on an acoustic instrument with this nuanced musical responsiveness, the better.


Acoustic pianos are quite expensive. Expect to pay between $4,000 to $12,000 for an upright piano and $13,000 to $50,000 for a grand piano. Moving a piano is also quite a hassle, requiring professional help. You’ll also want to make sure there is sufficient room in your home to house it. You need to be prepared for the upkeep as well – keeping a piano healthy means getting it tuned twice a year and cleaning it regularly.


When it comes to practicality, keyboards are the way to go. They are affordable and easy to move around. They are also versatile, usually including a range of different electronically manipulated sounds. This makes it attractive for musicians who want to play a variety of musical styles outside the classical and jazz sounds associated with the acoustic piano


If you’re not ready to spend a few thousand dollars on an instrument, a beginner can easily get started on an electronic keyboard. A keyboard allows you to remove the pressure of commitment that comes with investing in an acoustic piano. It also allows you to practice quietly, sparing your family and friends with volume control features and a headphone jack.


Keyboards simply don’t sound or feel as good. They usually have fewer keys (61 compared to 88), which are notoriously light and plastic-feeling compared to pianos. They also lack touch-sensitivity, which is the ability to change volume depending on how hard a key is pressed. Practising on a keyboard simply won’t translate to good performance on a piano without playing adjustments.

Alternative Options

Both keyboards and pianos have their advantages and it comes down to judging what is best for your goals and circumstances. There are, however, a few helpful alternatives that can serve as a compromise between these two options.

Digital Piano

Digital pianos are designed to sound and feel as much like an acoustic piano as possible. Keys are weighted to provide the right resistance to touch and are sensitive to speed and pressure. This allows for a range of dynamics and tone closer to an acoustic piano. These are a great option for more serious players looking for an affordable and high-quality alternative to keyboards.

Piano and Keyboard Rental

If you’re unsure whether to buy a piano or can’t afford an outright purchase but still want to practice on the real thing, renting a piano is an ideal solution. Pianoforte are specialists in piano hire in Sydney and provide a number of rental plans, including a rent-to-buy plan which offers up to 6-months of rent credited towards a purchase, so you can slowly work your way towards ownership.

Pianoforte also offers a range of piano services and products. Our range includes a variety of keyboards, acoustic pianos and digital pianos. Visit one of our three piano showrooms in Sydney, or check out our products online.