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#1173127 - 04/02/09 10:10 AM How many of your students have only a DP?  
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I'm an OLD piano student, starting lessons again for the fifth time in my long life. I recently found an excellent teacher and today will begin my 3rd month of weekly one-hour lessons with her.

I have only a Yamaha Clavinova CLP-124, which I bought new in the mid-90s. At my last lesson she told me I showed some promise, but that I could not realize that promise unless I got a good acoustic piano. By "good", I believe she meant a Yamaha grand made in Japan.

Now, I don't think she will kick me out if I don't buy an acoustic grand, but I am upgrading my digital to a Kawai CE200, which should arrive by the end of next week. I'll tell her about it today, and hope that she will not be too disappointed.

She is a very busy and popular teacher, with many years of experience. She told me when I asked, that I am the ONLY student she has without an acoustic piano. It's possible she makes an acoustic a requirement in accepting a student, but she didn't with me.

My question for you piano teachers is, do you require your students to have a good acoustic? And if not, what per cent of your students do not have an acoustic? Also, do you believe that a student's development will be limited by having only a good DP?

Thanks very much.


Kawai RX-2
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#1173139 - 04/02/09 10:49 AM Re: How many of your students have only a DP? [Re: pianozuki]  
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I have quite a few students with DP's. I am sure they would all like an acoustic grand but for many people it is not possible. I wouldn't dream of insisting that anybody go out and spend thousands on an expensive piano so they can 'realize that promise'. I advise them to get the best instrument they can afford. A lot of the time that means a DP. In fact far more of my students have a DP than they have grands.

Is development limited by having a DP? Well there is no use pretending that a DP can do everything a good acoustic grand piano can. Despite what some will say there is a difference in touch and sound. But then there are differences between all pianos. I know lots of people who have acoustic instruments which are in such a poor state they would be better off with a DP. It's much more common that development is limited by lack of practice. If I were you I wouldn't worry about it. If you are in a position to buy a nice new Yamaha grand then fine. If not then the Kawai DP will do nicely for now.


Pianist and piano teacher.
#1173150 - 04/02/09 11:10 AM Re: How many of your students have only a DP? [Re: Chris H.]  
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My question would be: why strap an anvil around your ankles when learning to swim?

It this is your dream, why not give yourself every possible advantage?

There's an order of magnitude difference between the best electric and a good upright, and an order of magnitude difference between the very best upright and a good grand.

I'm not a Steinway salesman, I don't get a commission, but if I were in your shoes, I'd run over to Sherman-Clay (downtown store), talk to Ben Klinger, and look seriously at those beautiful Essex grands. The shorter ones are made, very well, btw, in their China factory, and the 6', which is just about perfect for most homes, is made in Korea. It is a jewel, and with the economy being what it is, you can probably get it for a song.

Just my humble opinion. And you should have been here yesterday afternoon to see young Stephen's face (2nd grader) as he played through his repertoire on the grand.


"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA
#1173152 - 04/02/09 11:12 AM Re: How many of your students have only a DP? [Re: Chris H.]  
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When you play and practice on a digital piano you are learning a different instrument. You are learning to play a digital instrument. It has a different touch and feel. The same could be said about learning the electric guitar as opposed to learning on an acoustic guitar.

When you play and practice on an acoustic piano (and it doesn't have to be expensive) you are learning the touch and feel of an acoustic piano.

I have always practiced and performed on an acoustic piano. When someone asks me to play on a digital I will usually decline. That is because I don't sound very good on a digital because it has such a different touch, and I'm not used to it.

Why don't you go to a digital piano teacher? This way there is no conflict. I simply consider it a different instrument.

If you want to stay with this teacher then I would buy an old upright and get a piano tuner/technician to do some work on it. It shouldn't cost you too much, hopefully.

Good luck,
Valerie

#1173168 - 04/02/09 11:47 AM Re: How many of your students have only a DP? [Re: Tenuto]  
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I think it's going a bit far to say that a digital piano is a different instrument altogether. You can't compare it to say a Classical guitar and an electric guitar. Not only are there big physical differences but they are played in completely different ways. Not so with piano/DP.

The ideal is a good quality acoustic grand. If that's not possible then a good quality acoustic upright. If not that then a good DP. The thing that matters most is the 'good'. A lot of old acoustics are junk and limit progress far more than a DP.


Pianist and piano teacher.
#1173187 - 04/02/09 12:30 PM Re: How many of your students have only a DP? [Re: Chris H.]  
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I have a very good DP at home but am fortunate to be able to do most of my practice on acoustics in the practice rooms where I work. It is definitely a different instrument but I still love my digital. Those big crashing chords aren't very enjoyable but for learning the notes, fingering, timing, sightreading, running through old repertioire, and just noodling around my DP is great. Of course polishing a piece and true dynamics requires the real thing but even when I do acquire an acoustic, my digital will be my early morning/late night friend and will always be around.

Last edited by IPIBAHN - Sandy; 04/02/09 12:31 PM.

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#1173200 - 04/02/09 12:42 PM Re: How many of your students have only a DP? [Re: SAnnM AB 2001]  
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I would say about 10% of my students have DPs, and their development has unquestionably been limited in comparison to those with even fair-quality acoustics. You can spend $1500 and get a quality used acoustic. You have to spend twice that to get a good-quality digital (that won't retain value and is much, much more likely to break). I have probably the best DP on the market, and I won't touch it unless it's after 11PM/before 8AM. OK for developing muscle memory, and that's about it.

HOWEVER, if that's all you have to begin with, fine. Just cut out all other unnecessary expenses (if possible) and get on an acoustic soon as you can. Unless you want to play video game music, of course.

#1173203 - 04/02/09 12:44 PM Re: How many of your students have only a DP? [Re: SAnnM AB 2001]  
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John, when you say you could get one of those nice (but cheap) Essex grands for a song, how much are we talking about exactly?

In the UK the Essex 155 sells for around £10000. If you want to go up to the 173 you will need over £12000. Even that is not enough for the 6' model you mentioned. I don't teach many students who have that kind of disposable cash, do you?

Even if you can buy one of these Essex grands some will still tell you (quite rightly) that it will not perform as well as a Steinway model B and that it might in fact limit your progress.


Pianist and piano teacher.
#1173216 - 04/02/09 01:09 PM Re: How many of your students have only a DP? [Re: Chris H.]  
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Originally Posted by Chris H.


Even if you can buy one of these Essex grands some will still tell you (quite rightly) that it will not perform as well as a Steinway model B and that it might in fact limit your progress.


laugh



Actually, you can get a new grand for roughly 10K that would fulfill the needs of just about any student.

That too is a lot of money, and may price things out of reach for many families. I would remind everyone, though, that often such a price tag only 'prices a family out' because of their priorities. I'm sure there are many families that would buy a 15K car without too much of a strain (grumbling, maybe) who would recoil in horror at the prospect of spending 10K on a musical instrument.

#1173219 - 04/02/09 01:18 PM Re: How many of your students have only a DP? [Re: Mr. D]  
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You can spend $1500 and get a quality used acoustic.

I did start my search for a piano to replace my CLP-124 by looking around for an acoustic. I soon realized that I simply couldn't judge a used piano as to its health.

How do you suggest I go about finding "a quality used acoustic" for $1500?

If I were in the Washington, D.C. area I might go to Rick Jones Pianos. But I'm near Seattle..


Kawai RX-2
#1173230 - 04/02/09 01:41 PM Re: How many of your students have only a DP? [Re: pianozuki]  
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It is anathema to me to learn how to play the piano on a digital. The whole purpose of learning the instrument, technique, interpretation and all, is to learn how to produce beautiful sound. I would argue that it is not possible to do so on a digital, no matter how sophisticated. There are many good uses for a DP as delineated by Sandy. But it is not a piano, if that is what you wish to learn.
You sound insecure about the prospect of purchasing a used piano, and I do not blame you. But you should trust your ear and not be embarrassed by your inexperience. You might even be able to ask your teacher to try a couple of instruments you have pre-tested. (you might need to pay her for her time, which is a worthwhile endeavor).

#1173239 - 04/02/09 01:55 PM Re: How many of your students have only a DP? [Re: pianozuki]  
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pianozuki, I went to Kawai's site and checked out the CE200 — and it looks like a real top-of-the-line choice. I hope that your teacher appreciates the investment you're making in your musical education.

I'm an adult student, not a teacher, so I usually post in the Adult Beginners Forums — and I want to invite you to stop by and share your piano-adventures with us. Trust me, the ABF isn't just for first-time students or youngsters. Lots of us have checkered musical pasts ... and more than a few miles on the odometer. smile


Deborah
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#1173244 - 04/02/09 02:03 PM Re: How many of your students have only a DP? [Re: piano_deb]  
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Originally Posted by piano_deb
pianozuki, I went to Kawai's site and checked out the CE200 — and it looks like a real top-of-the-line choice. I hope that your teacher appreciates the investment you're making in your musical education.

I'm an adult student, not a teacher, so I usually post in the Adult Beginners Forums — and I want to invite you to stop by and share your piano-adventures with us. Trust me, the ABF isn't just for first-time students or youngsters. Lots of us have checkered musical pasts ... and more than a few miles on the odometer. smile

Thanks, Deb! I should have the CE200 in 7 or 8 days. I'll stick my head in your forum soon.

Dick


Kawai RX-2
#1173256 - 04/02/09 02:25 PM Re: How many of your students have only a DP? [Re: Chris H.]  
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Originally Posted by Chris H.
John, when you say you could get one of those nice (but cheap) Essex grands for a song, how much are we talking about exactly?

In the UK the Essex 155 sells for around £10000. If you want to go up to the 173 you will need over £12000. Even that is not enough for the 6' model you mentioned. I don't teach many students who have that kind of disposable cash, do you?

Even if you can buy one of these Essex grands some will still tell you (quite rightly) that it will not perform as well as a Steinway model B and that it might in fact limit your progress.


Chris, when it comes to the topic of humans, I find myself a slow learner. I was probably in my 50s before I realized that people can afford what they want, and cannot afford what they don't want.

I've had parents who signed their kids up for lessons, grumbling about my "high fees" who then drop them off driving a $60k automobile.

About the Essex. I don't understand why Steinway doesn't put Steinway & Sons on every instrument, and then brand the particular model in the lower right hand corner of the fall board. Are the Hondas, Toyotas and Nissans which are built in the USA, or other countries, not Hondas, Toyotas and Nissans because they weren't assembled in Japan? Then why would a Steinway designed instrument, built with parts supplied by Steinway, not be a Steinway, just because it's built in Japan or Korea or China?

I've had the opportunity to play on each model of Essex, and while the tone is necessarily limited in the smaller sizes, the actions are remarkably good. In fact, if there were any way to squeeze a second grand into the studio, I would choose the 6 ft Essex. It really is good, and at the price point, must be one of the bargains of the century.


"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA
#1173258 - 04/02/09 02:28 PM Re: How many of your students have only a DP? [Re: John v.d.Brook]  
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Chris - by the way, I wouldn't term the Essex "cheap." Less expensive, perhaps, or less polished, but hardly cheap in either sense of the word.


"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA
#1173267 - 04/02/09 02:40 PM Re: How many of your students have only a DP? [Re: John v.d.Brook]  
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I think most people who argue against using Digital Pianos have never even tried the higher-end DPs. (they are probably thinking of electronic keyboards like at walmart) The serious DP builders are creating keybeds with the same feel and touch and response as analog pianos. Sure there are differences between an analog piano and a digital piano but there are significant differences between analog pianos too. Differences in feel and sound and tone and ...... and then there's all the messing tuning and space that it takes up and you can't practice quietly using headphones.......

smile

P.S. Dick/Pianozuki that looks like a great piano you got there!

Last edited by kennychaffin; 04/02/09 02:59 PM.

Kenny A. Chaffin
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"Strive on with Awareness" - Siddhartha Gautama
#1173273 - 04/02/09 02:46 PM Re: How many of your students have only a DP? [Re: John v.d.Brook]  
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I agree about priorities and that many families will spend money on other luxuries but not a decent piano. But then to be honest some of those kids would not do well even if they had a brand new concert grand. The chances are that they wouldn't practise anyway. It always seems to be the less well off (maybe a little less spoilt?) who take it more seriously. This is of course a generalisation but it is something I have encountered. I teach at a fee paying school where the parents are well off but hardly any of them have a piano. The ones that do never practise much either so it makes very little difference.

Regarding sound. It's true that you wouldn't describe a digital as having a beautiful sound. But then there are many acoustics which sound bad, especially if they are not tuned regularly which often happens.

And what about space? I used to have a grand which was quite modest at 5'10". It was pointless because although it would fit in my music studio it sounded awful. Too overpowering. I ended up selling it because it wasn't appropriate. Even my upright is a powerful beast in my small room. I know a lot of people, some of whom are quite well off, who could not have a grand because they have no room for it. Many can't have any kind of acoustic because it will disturb neighbours and so on. For some the DP really is the only option. And if that's the case I would not reject a student for it.


Pianist and piano teacher.
#1173276 - 04/02/09 02:49 PM Re: How many of your students have only a DP? [Re: Chris H.]  
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Kenny, I was writing my post when you posted. Looks like we are sying the same thing.

BTW did you mean me and my piano? If so, which one?


Pianist and piano teacher.
#1173286 - 04/02/09 02:58 PM Re: How many of your students have only a DP? [Re: Chris H.]  
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Originally Posted by Chris H.
Kenny, I was writing my post when you posted. Looks like we are sying the same thing.

BTW did you mean me and my piano? If so, which one?


Sorry, I may have confused names... I was referring to the CE200 the O.P. mentioned he had ordered. Looks like a nice piano. I certainly am no expert, particularly on acoustic/analog pianos, but just spent the last month or so researching various Digital Pianos under $1000 to get the closest thing I could to the feel of an acoustic.



Kenny A. Chaffin
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"Strive on with Awareness" - Siddhartha Gautama
#1173291 - 04/02/09 03:01 PM Re: How many of your students have only a DP? [Re: pianozuki]  
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Before answering a "Which instrument should I get?" question, I believe it's important to find out several things: What's your goal for learning an instrument? Personal satisfaction? Casual playing with others? Formal performance? What type of music do you intend to play? Is this a casual hobby; a serious hobby; your life's calling? How much space do you have? How much money are you willing to spend? How much time you do intend to spend practicing? There's no one-size-fits-all answer.

Many factors go into the decision. Don't deny yourself the joy of making music on your terms because an instrument isn't "good enough." If you're enjoying what you're doing, but your teacher doesn't like your instrument, go find another teacher.


markb--The Count of Casio
#1173293 - 04/02/09 03:02 PM Re: How many of your students have only a DP? [Re: markb]  
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Well said Mark.


Pianist and piano teacher.
#1173294 - 04/02/09 03:07 PM Re: How many of your students have only a DP? [Re: markb]  
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Originally Posted by markb
Before answering a "Which instrument should I get?" question, I believe it's important to find out several things: What's your goal for learning an instrument? Personal satisfaction? Casual playing with others? Formal performance? What type of music do you intend to play? Is this a casual hobby; a serious hobby; your life's calling? How much space do you have? How much money are you willing to spend? How much time you do intend to spend practicing? There's no one-size-fits-all answer.

Many factors go into the decision. Don't deny yourself the joy of making music on your terms because an instrument isn't "good enough." If you're enjoying what you're doing, but your teacher doesn't like your instrument, go find another teacher.


Exactly! I meant to mention that sort of thing myself. It is the student that is paying for the lessons, eh? smile

I know in my case I'm just an over the hill 56 year old that is learning to play for my own amusement.



Kenny A. Chaffin
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#1173394 - 04/02/09 05:25 PM Re: How many of your students have only a DP? [Re: kennychaffin]  
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My perspective (as someone who's only been learning for about 2 years) is that you should have the best instrument that you can afford, have the space for, and can play without disturbing neighbors. I live in a small apartment, so no room for a grand. And again, I live in a small apartment, so any acoustic would be disruptive to my neighbors since I frequently play at odd hours. So the digital is necessary for me. Since I live in a small apartment (seeing a trend here?), having both a digital and an acoustic is out of the question.

I upgraded recently from a ~$400 DP to a high end Yamaha DP, and I couldn't be happier. I actually like my DP more than the studio Yamaha that I take my lessons on (more consistent touch and the studio's lower registers are poorly voiced). But I certainly wouldn't say that digital and acoustic are two entirely different instruments. I adjust to the acoustic with a few minutes of warmup before my lessons (just like others adjust to it from their own acoustics), and my complaints about that instrument are the same complaints that my teacher has about it.

It's easy to say that you can get a "good" acoustic for $1500 (which is less than I paid for my DP), but my experience has been that a high-end DP will be nicer than many, many uprights. I'd take a grand any day, but that's not in the cards for me yet, and even if I did have one, I'd still keep my digital.

To the OP, I'd say that if you and your teacher aren't noticing problems with your playing on the acoustic, don't worry about it. At some point, you might want to move up to a grand because it will do things that a digital can't, but couldn't someone with an upright eventually reach that same conclusion? In a perfect world, we'd all buy instruments that could last us a lifetime the first time we buy...but who lives there?

#1173424 - 04/02/09 06:07 PM Re: How many of your students have only a DP? [Re: buck2202]  
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Originally Posted by buck2202
At some point, you might want to move up to a grand because it will do things that a digital can't, but couldn't someone with an upright eventually reach that same conclusion?


Sure you can reach the same conclusion with an upright. I had never played on grand pianos until I went to college to study music as a performance major. Was my progress limited by my small upright until then? Not that I noticed. Of course it was nice to use grands for professional study and if you dream of becoming a concert pisnist you had better get used to performing on a concert grand in a large venue. That said, there are a good number of concert pianists who do not own a grand piano themselves. Most don't make enough money!


Pianist and piano teacher.
#1173445 - 04/02/09 07:01 PM Re: How many of your students have only a DP? [Re: Chris H.]  
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Originally Posted by Chris H.
.... there are a good number of concert pianists who do not own a grand piano themselves. Most don't make enough money!


frown frown frown


Kenny A. Chaffin
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#1173706 - 04/03/09 08:51 AM Re: How many of your students have only a DP? [Re: kennychaffin]  
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My child started her lessons practicing on a cheap unweighted keyboard. I quickly upgraded to an older but decent DP. Her teacher noticed her progress improved immediately. The teacher, by the way, had a small spinet, indifferently maintained. IMO.

My daughter made the same progress as any other student in that studio, limited not by the instrument but by the amount of practice she did.

Had her teacher objected to a DP, I simply wouldn't have told her, which is what I imagine most parents would do.

My prediction is that digital pianos will continue to increase the percentage of the market share until the domination is overwhelming. If you don't want to teach children who practice on them, you're severely limiting your source of students. As there's nothing you can do about it, might as well learn how to adapt how you teach to the change in environment.

The real question is: what should you do differently, if your student practices on a DP? (if anything)

Uh, how many of your students have hearing damage from iPods? how are you changing your teaching to cope with that? Hee, hee.


gotta go practice
#1173823 - 04/03/09 01:03 PM Re: How many of your students have only a DP? [Re: pianozuki]  
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John v.d.Brook Offline
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John v.d.Brook  Offline
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Posts: 7,639
Olympia, Washington, USA
Originally Posted by pianozuki
You can spend $1500 and get a quality used acoustic.

I did start my search for a piano to replace my CLP-124 by looking around for an acoustic. I soon realized that I simply couldn't judge a used piano as to its health.

How do you suggest I go about finding "a quality used acoustic" for $1500?

If I were in the Washington, D.C. area I might go to Rick Jones Pianos. But I'm near Seattle..


Well, even as we speak, the Kawaii dealer in your city, Bellevue, is offering a huge sale on instruments seized in a bank foreclosure. Have you visited the store? It's almost across the street from the Bellevue Steinway dealer. I'd visit both of them.


"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA
#1173826 - 04/03/09 01:15 PM Re: How many of your students have only a DP? [Re: TimR]  
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John v.d.Brook Offline
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John v.d.Brook  Offline
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Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 7,639
Olympia, Washington, USA
Originally Posted by TimR
As there's nothing you can do about it, might as well learn how to adapt how you teach to the change in environment. Hee, hee.


Are you sure you're not a keyboard salesman????

And, well, yes, there is something we teachers can do about it.

As teachers, we can educate our students that an electronic synthesizer, as nice as it sounds, and as handy as it is for all kinds of tasks, is not a piano.

A piano, at its heart, is a stringed instrument, which is played by felt hammers controlled by the performer using keys. It is not a percussion instrument, as is commonly misconceived, as percussion instruments the performer hammers directly on the transducing membrane, where as in stringed instruments, vibrating strings, whether bowed, plucked, or hammered, have their vibrations transferred to the transducing membrane using a bridge device.

Manufacturers, and their sales force, know all this, and if they presented it honestly to potential customers, would not make a single sale, so they have to fudge the truth (you can call it something else, if you like).

Would I prefer all my students practice on grands? Of course. Would I refuse to teach them if they were limited to uprights or electronic substitutes? Of course not. They limit themselves when they choose this route. Why should I stand in their way?



"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA
#1173839 - 04/03/09 01:39 PM Re: How many of your students have only a DP? [Re: John v.d.Brook]  
Joined: Oct 2004
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markb Offline
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markb  Offline
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Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 2,593
Maryland
John v.d.Brook wrote: "They limit themselves when they choose this route."

Limit themselves from what?


markb--The Count of Casio
#1173850 - 04/03/09 01:54 PM Re: How many of your students have only a DP? [Re: John v.d.Brook]  
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 889
kennychaffin Offline
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kennychaffin  Offline
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Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 889
Aurora, CO
Originally Posted by John v.d.Brook
Originally Posted by TimR
As there's nothing you can do about it, might as well learn how to adapt how you teach to the change in environment. Hee, hee.


Are you sure you're not a keyboard salesman????

And, well, yes, there is something we teachers can do about it.

As teachers, we can educate our students that an electronic synthesizer, as nice as it sounds, and as handy as it is for all kinds of tasks, is not a piano.
.....

Manufacturers, and their sales force, know all this, and if they presented it honestly to potential customers, would not make a single sale, so they have to fudge the truth (you can call it something else, if you like).

Would I prefer all my students practice on grands? Of course. Would I refuse to teach them if they were limited to uprights or electronic substitutes? Of course not. They limit themselves when they choose this route. Why should I stand in their way?



Are you sure you're not bigoted about acoustics? Are you an acoustic salesman? Notice how you call them KEYBOARDS. We're not talking about KEYBOARDS. We're talking about Digital Pianos which are a different thing than keyboards
I believe you're way off base here. The world is going digital. The high end digital pianos are actually BETTER in many respects than most acoustics out there. Are they the same, no, do they sound the same, not exactly, but extremely close depending on the model and how the sound was sampled and modeled. Does every acoustic piano sound alike, no, but who cares. Id the feel, the responsiveness of the keys the same? Again not exactly, but extremely close depending on the specific model. People used to play lutes, do they now? We used to have analog TV, do we now, only for a few more months. We used to have analog vinyl records now we're digital.

You say you would like all your students to play on grand pianos? Why? What benefit would they get in the long run from it beyond what they would get from a proper Digital Piano?

In what way specifically are they being limited?




Last edited by kennychaffin; 04/03/09 02:21 PM.

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