Perhaps you say, “Just get one with weighted keys and a pedal”, or maybe you advise students to, “buy a digital piano that has a stand and three pedals that looks like a real piano”?
Whatever your current level of knowledge about digital pianos, if you find it hard to give specific recommendations about good options for your students, this article will hopefully be of interest.
Encouraging families to upgrade their instrument can sometimes be an on-going battle, particularly when they can’t see what’s wrong with Grandad’s 100-year-old untunable dinosaur or the Casio keyboard with plastic keys and 4 octaves they found in the attic.
Of course, there are plenty of parents happy to invest, provided their child shows interest and continues to practice, but we all know that fewer and fewer parents these days are prepared to fork out for a real acoustic piano. Given this, having some knowledge of digital pianos is vital for any modern piano teacher.
When it comes to upgrading , I normally first send parents and adult students to my article Buying/Renting Pianos and Keyboards. Unfortunately this article is already becoming out of date but it does give parents the initial options of buy versus rent, digital versus acoustic and basic things to look for.
I have to say that I used to think that digital pianos were a seriously poor substitute for the real thing (and they often were), however times are rapidly changing and technology is fast bringing the acoustic and digital worlds together.
There is no denying that digitals have a number of benefits for modern families: students can practice with headphones (note also Yamaha’s “Silent Pianos” which are normal acoustics that can also be silenced and played with headphones), they are more portable, they take up less space, they are cheaper to buy and maintain and don’t need tuning, etc. etc.
Indeed the boundaries are now being completely blurred by Yamaha’s “Hybrid” Avant Grand which is a digital piano that has a complete acoustic grand piano action inside and is as good as the real thing, say the pros.
My top recommendation for students and parents now is any Roland digital piano featuring the “PHA III Ivory Feel action with Escapement”. Roland has been developing this action over many years and I believe they are now making the best digital piano actions currently available (and no, I’m not affiliated!).
This action is available in the following Roland pianos:
In my opinion, there are four important things that set this action apart from others currently on the market:
If you’re a teacher, I highly recommend checking out this action for yourself.
What piano do you recommend?
Tim Topham is the founder and director of TopMusic. Tim hosts the popular TopCast show, blogs regularly at topmusic.co and speaks at local and international conferences on topics such as pedagogy, business, marketing and entrepreneurship. Tim has been featured in American Music Teacher, The Piano Teacher Magazine, California Music Teacher and EPTA Piano Professional. Tim holds an MBA in Educational Leadership, BMus, DipEd and AMusA.