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Minimum size instrument for beginner


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#1 Misterioso

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Posted 24 September 2019 - 13:26

What is the minimum size of keyboard required for a beginner? - Is a full 81 key instrument needed, and would he / she be okay without weighted keys at the beginning (although obviously not ideal)?

 

Many thanks in advance.


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#2 Latin pianist

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Posted 24 September 2019 - 13:52

While 81 keys and weighted keys are best, I have had plenty of beginners with shorter keyboards and non weighted keys, especially at school where I don't see the parents. I would say any instrument is better than nothing- which I also get sometimes- although mini keys is a no no! I have had students take grade 1 while still having an unsatisfactory instrument having to imagine the dynamics at home or running out of keys. Usually then, parents are happy to progress to something better.I can teach reading music but not good technique on these instruments. Are you asking about someone who's going to buy a keyboard or someone who has one already?
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#3 Dorcas

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Posted 24 September 2019 - 14:52

Well said Latin pianist.  However, I did have one student get through a grade 2 piano with distinction, with the aid of a small children's toy.  That put me in my place somewhat.  However, standard sized keys, touch sensitive keys, and ideally a room big enough for a grand piano, backing orchestra and possibly a choir are my ideal.  Realistically, it's just me, a digital (I cannot wait for howls of disapproval from the purists), and a now defunct CD player.


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#4 Misterioso

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Posted 24 September 2019 - 16:11

While 81 keys and weighted keys are best, I have had plenty of beginners with shorter keyboards and non weighted keys, especially at school where I don't see the parents. I would say any instrument is better than nothing- which I also get sometimes- although mini keys is a no no! I have had students take grade 1 while still having an unsatisfactory instrument having to imagine the dynamics at home or running out of keys. Usually then, parents are happy to progress to something better.I can teach reading music but not good technique on these instruments. Are you asking about someone who's going to buy a keyboard or someone who has one already?

 

Thanks for responding, Latin pianist and Dorcas. It's for someone who will consider buying a keyboard if offspring takes to it. Interesting to note that you also get nothing sometimes! How does the child get on in these instances? I would do it for a couple of weeks, but I think that would have to be my limit!


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#5 Latin pianist

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Posted 24 September 2019 - 16:32

If they haven't got an instrument progress is slow but there is some progress. I tend to go back to the beginning each week then gradually move forward where we go back to if you see what I mean.A 6 year old I teach at school has just got a piano after 2 terms without anything and he is able to move onto More Tunes for Ten Fingers as he understands everything in Book 1.
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#6 Norway

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Posted 24 September 2019 - 16:54

I've just had someone do well at grade 3 with a smallish unweighted keyboard of about 5 octaves. Now she is on grade 4 she needs a bigger one as the pieces include higher and lower notes than those available on her current instrument. I've also had success with beginners on cardboard keyboards of just over 2 octaves.


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#7 Dorcas

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Posted 24 September 2019 - 16:57

I think it all depends on the circumstances.  Few of my students last if they don't have a keyboard of sorts, as without something to practise, it is essentially the same lesson all the time.  If the parent is sitting in on the lesson, they see little porgress and a confused child.  If the parent isn't sitting in, and have paid for a full course of lessons, then yes, I can see that working.  OK, let's wait for the onslaught of parents and teachers who say they all sit in on lessons and expect and accept little progress!  Yes, some most probably do, but I think they are very unusual.

 

I think, having seen the difference in a youngster who has moved from a basic non-touch sensitive keyboard to a weighted digital piano, the difference is immense.


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#8 Dr. Rogers

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Posted 24 September 2019 - 16:59

I seem to be a little stricter than some of my colleagues here.  I require all piano students to have, at minimum, an 88-key weighted keyboard with at minimum a damper pedal.  I will begin lessons with a lesser instrument, but I insist that they upgrade within a month.


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#9 Misterioso

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Posted 24 September 2019 - 17:35

I've just had someone do well at grade 3 with a smallish unweighted keyboard of about 5 octaves. Now she is on grade 4 she needs a bigger one as the pieces include higher and lower notes than those available on her current instrument. I've also had success with beginners on cardboard keyboards of just over 2 octaves.

 

Do you produce the cardboard keyboards yourself, Norway, or do you buy them? Do the pupils find them very unsatisfactory to use, given that there is no sound? If parents are unwilling to shell out right at the beginning, this could be a way forward for a short time.

 

Edit: Or what about a roll-up one? - At least it makes a sound if nothing else.


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#10 Norway

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Posted 24 September 2019 - 18:12

Aren't roll up ones very large? For children to tread on? I produce my own (done on a drawing board, half way between piano key and keyboard key size) and then get them laminated. While there's no sound, some of my pupils just can't afford anything else, and then we do alot of playing in the lesson while they have the chance to use a real instrument. The advantage is that they can be encouraged to sight sing the tune on the cardboard keyboard while playing it.


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#11 jenny

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Posted 24 September 2019 - 18:29

 

I think, having seen the difference in a youngster who has moved from a basic non-touch sensitive keyboard to a weighted digital piano, the difference is immense.

 

Same here. I teach 2 sisters who only had a keyboard at the start, but now have a digital piano and progress has really taken off! So much so that they're now moving to longer lessons. 


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#12 Dorcas

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Posted 24 September 2019 - 20:38

I seem to be a little stricter than some of my colleagues here.  I require all piano students to have, at minimum, an 88-key weighted keyboard with at minimum a damper pedal.  I will begin lessons with a lesser instrument, but I insist that they upgrade within a month.

You have a point.  It all depends on filthy lucre, and which is most important, having your nails neatly manicured or something to chip them on.


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#13 Dorcas

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Posted 24 September 2019 - 20:42

 

 

I think, having seen the difference in a youngster who has moved from a basic non-touch sensitive keyboard to a weighted digital piano, the difference is immense.

 

Same here. I teach 2 sisters who only had a keyboard at the start, but now have a digital piano and progress has really taken off! So much so that they're now moving to longer lessons. 

 

 

 

It so much depends on the family and situation.  When I have insisted on a proper piano, I was lucky to get students.  Being more flexible. that is curcial.  But how do  you justify and accommodate those who want cut price lessons, and cut price terms an conditions.


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#14 Aquarelle

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Posted 24 September 2019 - 20:51

Well said Latin pianist.  However, I did have one student get through a grade 2 piano with distinction, with the aid of a small children's toy.  That put me in my place somewhat.  However, standard sized keys, touch sensitive keys, and ideally a room big enough for a grand piano, backing orchestra and possibly a choir are my ideal.  Realistically, it's just me, a digital (I cannot wait for howls of disapproval from the purists), and a now defunct CD player.

Ditto - yes even my CD player is begging for retirement. Actually I do have 2 digitals - a jolly good Roland and a stage piano I cart around for classroom lessons. And I've lent out a couple of  small keyboards for some beginners whose parents are "not sure if he'll like it."  


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#15 Misterioso

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Posted 25 September 2019 - 10:00

 

Well said Latin pianist.  However, I did have one student get through a grade 2 piano with distinction, with the aid of a small children's toy.  That put me in my place somewhat.  However, standard sized keys, touch sensitive keys, and ideally a room big enough for a grand piano, backing orchestra and possibly a choir are my ideal.  Realistically, it's just me, a digital (I cannot wait for howls of disapproval from the purists), and a now defunct CD player.

Ditto - yes even my CD player is begging for retirement. Actually I do have 2 digitals - a jolly good Roland and a stage piano I cart around for classroom lessons. And I've lent out a couple of  small keyboards for some beginners whose parents are "not sure if he'll like it."  

 

 

That might be a possibility. I have a loan / hire violin for people to try, so I could maybe do the same with a keyboard. But do you find, Aquarelle, that they come back to you in a similar state to that in which they went out?


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