Small digital keyboards - How useful are they

Discuss the digital alternatives to the acoustic piano

Postby Paganini » Sat Oct 22, 2005 6:47 pm

I studied piano years ago and want to start again. I am considering one of those 61 key digial keyboards(for space reasons), but the abbreviated number of keys concerns me. Can most intermediate level piano pieces be played on them? I learned a couple of Chopin Preludes when I was taking lessons; what are the chances this kind of keyboard will be able to handle them?

Thanks




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Postby 65-1074818729 » Sun Oct 23, 2005 3:02 pm

Paganini ,

I started with a 61 key keyboard a number of years ago, to see if I was going to be interested enough to take piano studies seriously. That was adequate for less than a year when it became apparent that a full size keyboard/piano would be needed to make serious gains. I then purchased an upright acoustic piano and that made noticeable difference in my progress.

My situation was somewhat different than yours in that I had no previous experience in music. I wanted to find out if I had the interest and ability to learn piano before investing in a full size instrument. You have some past experience therefore you have a good idea what is involved.

Personally, I feel that if you plan on pursuing piano studies in a serious fashion, you will probably not be satisfied with the smaller instrument for long.

I have hyperlinked below a page for you from the Piano Education Page which may be of assistance.

Digital Piano

Good Luck


AFlat :)
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Postby Stretto » Sun Oct 23, 2005 4:29 pm

While in music in college, I only had a 61 full-key Casio keyboard. I was fortunate to be able to use the pianos in the music dept. for the majority of my practice, but used the keyboard a lot to just get the notes when starting a piece or to help with memorizing or for composing. Since my mind mostly had the music memorized based on playing a piano, I was automatically pressing the keys harder and softer for dynamic levels although it wasn't the same. Also, some pieces that had notes going down below the keys or up above, again I either had to pretend I was hitting them or play them an octave away from what they were actually written. It was frustrating to say the least because I was used to a regular piano and a casio keyboard with light-weight plastic keys and no dynamic variation just didn't do what I wanted to do especially dynamically. Even the full-size digital pianos I have heard to me just don't sound as good as a regular piano.
If you really want to learn to play, and that's what your space allows, I would go ahead with the digital keyboard rather than not learn at all. There is a lot of music that would stay within the range of the smaller keyboard and you can learn so much and review so much about rhythm, notes, chords, keys, write music, practice ear-training, etc. Also, there are a lot of wonderful avenues to explore with a keyboard connected to a computer that a regular piano cannot do, so if you ever did get a piano sometime, it wouldn't be a total waste to have the keyboard. I lived in apartments for quite a while and when I first moved out on my own moved my piano with me, but then when I was going to be moving again to another apartment in a different state, I didn't know if there was anyone to help me get it into the apartment or get it to fit, etc. That's when I sold it and got the cheap keyboard just to keep up my playing (that was before the day of modern digital keyboards). If a person is planning on doing a lot of moving, I most likely wouldn't recommend owning a piano and moving it around because I think moving to different climates would be really hard on a piano and might possibly ruin it, for example, going from a dry climate to a humid climate or vice versa. Again, I would start on the keyboard, perhaps try to get a chance practicing on a regular piano whenever possible and down the road you may have a place with more room for a piano and then you will appreciate the piano so much more. You'll still be able to keep up your playing vs. no keyboard or piano at all. Of course, if you find yourself being able to use a regular piano occasionally or eventually be able to get a regular piano, you most likely will find your hands, and arms feeling weak and sluggish at first at the keys and may have to "re-train" your technique a little because the touch on most if not all keyboards is so much lighter than that on a piano.
If someone is really wanting to learn to play the piano from scratch, and is debating between a piano or keyboard, then I think a person either needs to learn to play the keyboard and be a keyboard player (I think there are lessons for playing the keyboard) or learn to play the piano and be a piano player. I don't think a beginner can really practice all the time on a keyboard, then go to lessons, recitals, performances on pianos and do very well because the touch is so different. The two are really totally different instruments and can't really be interchanged as the same thing. Being used to playing on a piano, when I play on a keyboard, I can't stand it because it just won't produce the sound I want it to. But again, even for myself, if I only had space, money, etc. for a keyboard I would own one and practice on it too just to keep my playing up. Depending on how much money I wanted to spend and how long I was planning to use it, I would try to get one with dynamic touch and a pedal, basically as close to a piano as possible. Then again, if I thought I might be able to get a piano in the near future, I might get by cheaper temporarily and save my money toward a piano. I still have my little Casio keyboard (probably about 15 years old now) and my students sometimes use it, like I have siblings that come together, one plays on the keyboard with headphones while the other has their lesson.




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Postby 108-1121887355 » Thu Dec 01, 2005 11:11 am

Great idea when siblings here, and I have several, to have a keyboard for them! I think I may treat myself to one for Christmas!
I have bought several for gifts for others - now it is my turn. Any reccomendations? Would love to have two pianos again, but can't afford it. Wonder how the piano and keyboard would sound together?
Joan ???
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Postby Dr. Bill Leland » Thu Dec 01, 2005 3:19 pm

Joan:

Don't know how expensive you want to go, but the Yamaha Clavinova is super. We've (NMSU) had a whole lab full of them for about 15 years and they've held up well. Full 88-note keyboard, touch-sensitive, damper pedal, and you can get them with or without a lot of extra bells and whistles.

Bill.
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Postby 108-1121887355 » Thu Dec 01, 2005 8:18 pm

Bill,
Thank you! That is everything I want - 88 keys, touch sensitive, damper pedal and no extras - how did you know? Of course you did not mention the cost! I will check into it ASAP. Thanks again.
Joan
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Postby Dr. Bill Leland » Fri Dec 02, 2005 1:19 pm

Joan:

Sometimes, if you're lucky, you can latch on to a used one being sold in the want-ads or by schools, churches--and even music teachers! They're very popular. Also, the stores might take in used trade-ins for newer models.

I don't know what the current retail is for new Clavinovas, but I'm sure you can get an idea on the web from Yamaha or appropriate stores. In fact, I think they're even starting to show up at places like Sam's Club and Best Buy.

Bill L.
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Postby 108-1121887355 » Fri Dec 02, 2005 5:13 pm

Bill,
Thank you. I am on the lookout. I tried the Yamaha site last night but got stopped twice by my computer. Need a new one. I will try again tonight.
Joan
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