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5 year old starting lessons, piano purchase help!
#2537996 05/09/16 08:16 AM
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Hello all,

I'm a newbie and know nothing about piano/music myself. My 5 year old has been in group Yamaha lessons for two years and we will now be making the switch to a private teacher. We currently have a two-year old Casio PX135 digital piano.

1. How long will be the Casio be good enough for, which grade? In other words, should I upgrade now or wait? I have heard of friends whose kids still practice on a digital piano at home until at least grade 5 piano.

2. If I wanted to upgrade, is there any concerns with getting a hybrid (i.e. Yamaha Avantgrand series) with real action vs. getting an acoustic upright? Space is an issue and I am worried about maintenance. I am thinking they hybrid is a good compromise to give her the grand action vs. getting a mediocre upright? Please tell me if I am wrong.

Many thanks.

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Re: 5 year old starting lessons, piano purchase help!
icedtea_gal #2538008 05/09/16 09:06 AM
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I suggest you ask the new teacher for their advice. Better to do that than regret your purchase.

Ian


I'm all keyed up
2016 Blüthner Model A
Re: 5 year old starting lessons, piano purchase help!
icedtea_gal #2538009 05/09/16 09:16 AM
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Can I conclude from your writing here in the first place that your daughter is enthusiastic about piano? My first inclination is that a digital piano should be fine for a 5 year old, maybe even preferred. But, it should have a weighted action, that means there should be some weight to the feel of depressing a key. If it feels like an organ (no weight) that's not a good thing (unless you're playing organ). As for when to upgrade and to what you'll know when your daughter wants something more substantial to play on and the repertoire she's working on demands it. For now just be glad she enjoys her lessons.

Re: 5 year old starting lessons, piano purchase help!
icedtea_gal #2538181 05/09/16 05:30 PM
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After a year of private lessons, our 5 year old prefers to practice on our Yamaha AvantGrand N2 over our Steinway B. He often wants it on the harpsichord voice. I think he'd have to be a serious prodigy to "need" an acoustic grand before age 12 or 13. I'm glad he's developing his ear on an instrument that's always in tune. The metronome and playback features are useful too.


Steinway B
Yamaha AvantGrand N2
Roland RD-700NX
Re: 5 year old starting lessons, piano purchase help!
icedtea_gal #2538193 05/09/16 05:52 PM
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forget the casio, you don't want your kid to be a Salieri. Buy a bosendorfer imperial and make him play early Mozart pieces from day one...


unlocked by keys
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Re: 5 year old starting lessons, piano purchase help!
icedtea_gal #2538195 05/09/16 05:54 PM
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IMHO you will notice a huge difference in your child's progress when you switch to private lessons- what you think you want now is probably not what you'll want a year from now assuming your child sticks with it. It took us 4 tries to get the "right piano". My son started at age 6 with a cheap unweighted keyboard. We upgraded to an ~$800 DP 4 months later (DGX-650)- which I hate. The keys are supposedly weighted but they feel nothing like the real thing. We upgraded to a sub $1K 1960's acoustic 3 months later and kept it for 1 year. 6 months after we got it- I was dying for an upgrade but I took my time because I didn't want to make another "mistake". A year later we upgraded to a Yamaha grand. We've had our Yamaha grand for a year now and I'm still happy with it.

In short, I would recommend that you find an inexpensive acoustic for the weight/action and take a year or two to familiarize yourself with pianos before spending a significant sum of money. The piano market is very confusing and it's really easy to make a mistake that you'll regret.

Good Luck!



Yamaha G2
Re: 5 year old starting lessons, piano purchase help!
icedtea_gal #2538198 05/09/16 05:56 PM
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My kid doesn't like Mozart nearly as much as the classic "Grumpy Troll".


Steinway B
Yamaha AvantGrand N2
Roland RD-700NX
Re: 5 year old starting lessons, piano purchase help!
icedtea_gal #2538253 05/09/16 08:32 PM
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I think up to a certain price a digital will better than most used acoustic uprights unless you get extremely lucky. Unless there is a major problem with the digital that would hinder your daughter's progress, I would let your daughter play the digital you already have for at least a couple of years.

I think the biggest advantage of the AvantGrand is the ability practice silently with headphones. Since they are among the most expensive hybrids or digitals available(I think they start at 8-10K), at their price point a very nice upright nice used grand might be preferable.

Last edited by pianoloverus; 05/09/16 08:32 PM.
Re: 5 year old starting lessons, piano purchase help!
icedtea_gal #2538320 05/10/16 02:55 AM
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From the tech specs, the Casio PX135 seems to be just fine for the first couple of years. If you need to beef it up, you could add a good speaker system to give it more body. Also, my daughter sometimes switches to the other sounds for entertainment.

As others have stated, simply going from group lessons to one on one sessions will make a huge difference.

Regarding the hybrid with real action and digital sounds, of course the realism of the action is unbeatable, but as the sound engine of the AvantGrand has not been updated for a while, you are giving something up.

Will your child have access to acoustic pianos somewhere on a regular basis? Then, I think, you can stay with the Casio for quite some time. You can use that time to find out more about acoustics, hybrids etc. and test play them all :-)


Kawai CN35. Daughter wanted a piano, so we got one. Now who'll learn faster? ;-)
Re: 5 year old starting lessons, piano purchase help!
icedtea_gal #2538431 05/10/16 01:33 PM
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I my case, I paid for a used 1983 Yamaha CX3 upright for $4500, which I just sold for $3000, after 7 years of good use.
If I had to do it again, I would still prefer an acoustic piano.

Re: 5 year old starting lessons, piano purchase help!
icedtea_gal #2538474 05/10/16 03:34 PM
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So a hybrid isn't as good as an acoustic?

I'm thinking Yamaha Avantgrand N1/N2 or Kawai CS10 vs. Yamaha U1 or Kawai K300?

Re: 5 year old starting lessons, piano purchase help!
icedtea_gal #2538541 05/10/16 06:06 PM
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Well, define "as good"?

An acoustic is not as good as a digital, because I can not turn the sound down at night or play it via headphones. In a few years probably my daughter will want to play at night and I want to sleep. Or she wants to play when I need to work...

An acoustic is not as good, because it requires tuning twice a year to stay as much in tune as a digital.

An acoustic is not as good because I would not be able to move it upstairs into my daughters room if I wanted to, on a whim.

An acoustic is not as good because you can not record your playing to MP3 straight and/or overdub what a friend has played.

I have been looking at acoustics since we got our digital and if I ever buy an acoustic, I will buy one with silent feature. Probably all in with transducer, like the Yamaha Transcoustic (based on U1 I think) or Kawai ATX2-f (available in K200, K300, K500 size). Then I only loose the ability to move the piano :-) And I gain all the "features" of the acoustic while preserving the digital I have now.

But our CN35 will be good for an other year or five. No hurry at all.


Kawai CN35. Daughter wanted a piano, so we got one. Now who'll learn faster? ;-)
Re: 5 year old starting lessons, piano purchase help!
icedtea_gal #2538550 05/10/16 06:42 PM
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My kids sleep even though while I'm playing wink

Some good advice and stories here. Let me just say that there are no hard rules like grade 1 use cheap keyboard, 2-4 digital, 5-6 acoustic, 7+ grands only. You play what you get and you don't get upset wink

If your child is going to be performing and competing, then it would make some sense to get a piano with a keyboard/action similar to that of the piano at the venue. Grands typically have "heavier" actions so it's generally quite a shock to jump from a light console upright to a big grand.

Re: 5 year old starting lessons, piano purchase help!
Hendrik42 #2538569 05/10/16 07:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Hendrik42
Well, define "as good"?

An acoustic is not as good as a digital, because I can not turn the sound down at night or play it via headphones. In a few years probably my daughter will want to play at night and I want to sleep. Or she wants to play when I need to work...

An acoustic is not as good, because it requires tuning twice a year to stay as much in tune as a digital.

An acoustic is not as good because I would not be able to move it upstairs into my daughters room if I wanted to, on a whim.

An acoustic is not as good because you can not record your playing to MP3 straight and/or overdub what a friend has played.

I have been looking at acoustics since we got our digital and if I ever buy an acoustic, I will buy one with silent feature. Probably all in with transducer, like the Yamaha Transcoustic (based on U1 I think) or Kawai ATX2-f (available in K200, K300, K500 size). Then I only loose the ability to move the piano :-) And I gain all the "features" of the acoustic while preserving the digital I have now.

But our CN35 will be good for an other year or five. No hurry at all.


All very true, I had a Yamaha hybrid for a long time and in many ways it gives you a lot of freedom to play at difficult times, a great keyboard and action and recording straight to the sound card on your computer is easy. I love hybrids and pure digitals for a lot of reasons. As I got into middle age and became nostalgic I practiced less and used the hybrid less and played an acoustic more. Real pianos do sound a bit better but yes they are a bit less practical. In the end I found I was playing the instrument I loved more and if you're a bit romantic about real pianos then that's probably what it is. I still have a Yamaha hybrid (albeit a different one I bought second hand while I didn't have an acoustic piano), but since the real one arrived I just haven't got round to playing it. If I was a more dedicated practiser I would though.

Last edited by DiarmuidD; 05/10/16 07:44 PM.
Re: 5 year old starting lessons, piano purchase help!
icedtea_gal #2538949 05/12/16 01:43 AM
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FWIW (I don't teach):

I'd suggest holding on to the PX-135. It's good enough to learn a lot of keyboard technique.

At some point (I don't know _what_ point), if your child is doing intermediate-level classical stuff (Mozart / Beethoven), the teacher might say:

. . . "You really should get an acoustic piano -- it would make a substantial difference
. . . to his/her playing."

When that happens (a few years from now, probably), re-post the question. The digital piano market will have changed (they are getting closer to acoustic pianos, year-by-year), and you'll get something newer and better than you could buy now.





. Charles
---------------------------
PX-350 / microKorg XL+ / Pianoteq / Lounge Lizard / EV ZXA1 speaker
Re: 5 year old starting lessons, piano purchase help!
Charles Cohen #2539089 05/12/16 01:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Charles Cohen

I'd suggest holding on to the PX-135. It's good enough to learn a lot of keyboard technique.

At some point (I don't know _what_ point), if your child is doing intermediate-level classical stuff (Mozart / Beethoven), the teacher might say:

. . . "You really should get an acoustic piano -- it would make a substantial difference
. . . to his/her playing."


I agree with this! My kids are now 14 and 16. Working on Rondo Alla Turca, Moonlight Sonata, some Yaruma piece (not a River Flows.., she played that a couple of years ago), and a pretty tough version of Pachelbel's Canon, so I guess intermediate level stuff. Right now they're practicing on a Casio PX350, which isn't really different than what your child is playing on. It's true they usually practice on an acoustic, but we're between pianos for another week or two, and the casio is fine. Not the same, but I wouldn't have any concerns with a young child playing on one. My daughter says she doesn't like the feel, but she's still playing 30 to 90 minutes a day, so it can't be too bad, and sometimes my son liked practicing on it better than on the M&H we sold, because he could play with the sound. Keeping a child interested is what's most important in the beginning.
Todd


Previously: M&H AA (2006)
Currently: Phoenix C212 (2016)
Re: 5 year old starting lessons, piano purchase help!
gnuboi #2539126 05/12/16 03:56 PM
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Originally Posted by gnuboi
My kids sleep even though while I'm playing wink


they could sleep while you're playing wink


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Re: 5 year old starting lessons, piano purchase help!
icedtea_gal #2539278 05/13/16 09:28 AM
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Hi,

I've been down the "upgrade" path a few times thanks to my son progressing well on the piano (started when he was 7, he's a teen now).
Started with a small digital, then a weighted digital (Yamaha clavinova), then a "good" upright, then a Grand.

If I had to do it again, I'd start with a used upright (acoustic) piano. It should be good enough even if things get serious.
You could also rent an acoustic, and if things go well, buy it after certain time.

A weighted digital is an "ok" compromise, but the action and sound (in particular) are not that close to the real thing (despite many claims out there).

Regards,
Abie


The joy of music making!
Re: 5 year old starting lessons, piano purchase help!
icedtea_gal #2539714 05/14/16 07:14 PM
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Went with an acoustic. Got a good deal on a Kawai k300. smile

Re: 5 year old starting lessons, piano purchase help!
icedtea_gal #2539718 05/14/16 07:26 PM
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Congratulations, a very nice piano, may it bring you a lot of joy smile

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