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For actual piano performance major: Kawai MP11 vs Avantgrand
#2638311 05/01/17 03:28 AM
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I am asking for a student who will be starting a Piano Performance degree this August.

Assuming that:
1. Practice in dorm room for a piano performance major for when practice rooms are unavailable.
2. Using only headphones and not any onboard speakers (which the MP11 doesn't have anyways)

For anyone who routinely plays on an acoustic grand, here are some questions for you:

1. Would the Avantgrand clearly be significantly superior in action? Or would the MP11 be a credible practice instrument relative the AvantGrand?

2. Is this a credible approach for a dorm room practice to maximize time, or would it ruin the student's 'touch' when he transfers to the practice room with actual acoustic grands?

Yes, we know that the Avantgrand is a lot more $.

Thanks in advance for any help.

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Last edited by faulhorn; 05/01/17 12:15 PM.
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Re: For those w. Acoustic Grand: Kawai MP11 vs Yamaha Avantgrand
faulhorn #2638326 05/01/17 05:00 AM
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Originally Posted by faulhorn
1. Would the Avantgrand clearly be significantly superior in action? Or would the MP11 be a credible practice.


Yes. And yes.

The AG's action is certainly superior. The MP11's action is certainly good enough to be a credible practice instrument for anyone's needs.


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Re: For those w. Acoustic Grand: Kawai MP11 vs Yamaha Avantgrand
faulhorn #2638337 05/01/17 05:57 AM
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I have a concert grand piano and an MP11. I have not tried the AvantGrand. However, I use the MP11 as my only practice instrument when I'm away in the summers. When I return to my acoustic, there is no adjustment time needed besides the slightly different spacing of the keys between the two pianos (and every piano is slightly different in this). But the action is nearly identical.

I think either would be good in your scenario, but a side thing to consider is the MP11 would be easier to move to and from a dorm room than an AG.


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Re: For those w. Acoustic Grand: Kawai MP11 vs Yamaha Avantgrand
faulhorn #2638350 05/01/17 06:58 AM
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MP11's keyboard action is somewhat heavier than on average grand, but it may be even better for practicing, because it is typically advised to practice on instruments with heaviest action. In terms of responsiveness and 'touch' you will have no problems switching from MP11 to acoustic grand. It's an absolutely credible approach for practice.

(I have not tried the AvantGrand.)

Re: For those w. Acoustic Grand: Kawai MP11 vs Yamaha Avantgrand
Morodiene #2638356 05/01/17 07:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Morodiene
When I return to my acoustic, there is no adjustment time needed besides the slightly different spacing of the keys between the two pianos (and every piano is slightly different in this).


I guess you mean the shape of black keys. Or what spacing do you mean?

Re: For those w. Acoustic Grand: Kawai MP11 vs Yamaha Avantgrand
faulhorn #2638384 05/01/17 08:42 AM
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Another one here with both an MP11 and an acoustic grand (Yamaha). I have not tried the AG so cannot compare it. My thoughts on keyboard action:

I totally agree with the above comments in that I can practice, play and also work on technique on my MP11 and have no problems transferring those skills over to my acoustic grand. In my case, the touch on my acoustic is heavier than the one on the MP11 so some relatively minor adaptation may be required on my part. However this is no different than the change in touch of the action from one acoustic piano to the next, so this may actually help one's adaptation skills as well.

Re: For those w. Acoustic Grand: Kawai MP11 vs Yamaha Avantgrand
faulhorn #2638490 05/01/17 01:08 PM
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Another +1 echo to the above. I also play an MP11 every day, and an acoustic grand a couple of times a week. I find that while there are certainly differences between the touch of the two, I have zero issues sitting down and immediately playing the grand after playing on the MP11 for a week; they're just that similar.

I haven't played an AG before, but based on my experience any upgrade from an MP11 would be "nice if I had the discretionary income" rather than an "it would help my playing" kind of thing.


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Re: For those w. Acoustic Grand: Kawai MP11 vs Yamaha Avantgrand
faulhorn #2638524 05/01/17 02:24 PM
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I played on many high end keyboards and think that both are OK. However, what is often underestimated, is the importance of a very solid stand. Practicing on a wobbling piano is bad. If you go with MP11, you will need a rock solid stand for it, so that you feel as you are playing on a real grand.

Re: For those w. Acoustic Grand: Kawai MP11 vs Yamaha Avantgrand
Iaroslav Vasiliev #2638529 05/01/17 02:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Iaroslav Vasiliev
Originally Posted by Morodiene
When I return to my acoustic, there is no adjustment time needed besides the slightly different spacing of the keys between the two pianos (and every piano is slightly different in this).


I guess you mean the shape of black keys. Or what spacing do you mean?
The white keys on the MP11 are slightly bigger than my acoustic. But that is different between brands of pianos, especially older ones like my acoustic (late 1980s).


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Re: For those w. Acoustic Grand: Kawai MP11 vs Yamaha Avantgrand
faulhorn #2638563 05/01/17 03:32 PM
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If budget is not an issue and action a priority, avant grand.

Kawai is going to release a comparable action on a digital instrument within the next year, they call it the kind NOVUS. Not sure how long it will be before we see the base model like an Avant GrandN1.

In the meantime, when you can't get into a practice room and you need headphones not to make your roommate crazy... your going to be mainly hacking away at scales, arps, hannon, czerny, memorizing fingerings, patterns, etc. If budget is an issue you can get away with less. Even less than an MP11. But an MP11 would be alright. VPC-1 would be ok with your laptop too.

Re: For those w. Acoustic Grand: Kawai MP11 vs Yamaha Avantgrand
Andrew_G #2638727 05/01/17 11:48 PM
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Originally Posted by AndrewGleibman
I played on many high end keyboards and think that both are OK. However, what is often underestimated, is the importance of a very solid stand. Practicing on a wobbling piano is bad. If you go with MP11, you will need a rock solid stand for it, so that you feel as you are playing on a real grand.


Thats why you should only use table stands... I can not stand even the smallest wiggling from a keyboard.. So i choose a tablestand with adjustable legs... so i can even adapt leglength to an uneven floor.

Re: For those w. Acoustic Grand: Kawai MP11 vs Yamaha Avantgrand
faulhorn #2638745 05/02/17 02:16 AM
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Huge thank you to all who replied.

Sounds like there is concensus that:

1. AvantGrand is better. I purchased one on behalf of our church and the student in question does like it very much. He has not played the MP11 but played a Kawai that is floor standing with speakers which is supposedly the same action. He liked the AvantGrand more, but did think the Kawai was decent - he used headphones with both. But that was six months ago before he was invited to be a piano performance major and the thought was not even in the fringes of his mind at

2. Though the AvantGrand is better, the MP11 is sufficent and won't be harmful. The student actually prefers heavier actions on his practice pianos so that during performance, the concert grand keys feels lighter than what he is used to.

if there are any additional comments, love to hear them.

Last edited by faulhorn; 05/02/17 02:32 AM.
Re: For those w. Acoustic Grand: Kawai MP11 vs Yamaha Avantgrand
faulhorn #2638760 05/02/17 05:07 AM
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If you don't mind some other thoughts, how large is the dorm room and will the student have a roommate? Does the dorm room have elevators, even? I was a woodwind rather than a piano major, and it's been a long time since my school days, but I don't recall most dorm rooms being very large. So I'd make sure that an AvantGrand or even an MP11 is even practical in the room.

A couple things I'd also consider are the availability of practice rooms. In some schools getting practice room time is a daily struggle, while in others they are readily available at all hours. If you know where the student will attend I'd find this out to see how needed a digital piano in the dorm might be.

Finally, if the student would like the opportunity to play gigs while in school something more portable than either may be preferable, such as a stage piano.

Sorry if I'm throwing a damper on things, but I'm thinking back to my music school days and trying to picture what it would have been like to get an AvantGrand up four flights of stairs to my dorm room at one school and where it would have even fit.

Re: For those w. Acoustic Grand: Kawai MP11 vs Yamaha Avantgrand
Morodiene #2638763 05/02/17 05:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Morodiene
The white keys on the MP11 are slightly bigger than my acoustic. But that is different between brands of pianos, especially older ones like my acoustic (late 1980s).


That's a huge suprise for me. Once I played Steinway grand with non-standard key width, but it was manufactured in 1890s or in 1900s. I thought there is no such problem now. What is the difference of one octave in millimeters between your acoustic and MP11?

Re: For those w. Acoustic Grand: Kawai MP11 vs Yamaha Avantgrand
faulhorn #2638802 05/02/17 08:05 AM
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Are the keys actually narrower, or is this the thing about American pianos having shorter keys (from fallboard to keyslip)? Interesting stuff!


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Re: For those w. Acoustic Grand: Kawai MP11 vs Yamaha Avantgrand
faulhorn #2638820 05/02/17 08:35 AM
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For a piano performance major in college, in a dorm room? Neither. For doing theory/ear training homework? A small MIDI keyboard.

Many of the top performance programs have practice room access 24/7/365. Even the schools that close their buildings at night, tend not to do so until 11pm or midnight. For that matter, sometimes professors (I don't, but some do) will allow access to their studios for practicing at odd hours. Dorms typically have enforced "quiet hours" where practicing music is specifically prohibited. You could practice with headphones, though...

Unless the facilities at the college are woefully inadequate, students can find enough practice room availability just by managing their schedule appropriately. The course load that a typical undergrad takes isn't really conducive to practicing more than 4 hours a day or so, on the weekdays anyway. Practice room access is always easier on the weekends.



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Re: For those w. Acoustic Grand: Kawai MP11 vs Yamaha Avantgrand
Iaroslav Vasiliev #2638826 05/02/17 09:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Iaroslav Vasiliev
Originally Posted by Morodiene
The white keys on the MP11 are slightly bigger than my acoustic. But that is different between brands of pianos, especially older ones like my acoustic (late 1980s).


That's a huge suprise for me. Once I played Steinway grand with non-standard key width, but it was manufactured in 1890s or in 1900s. I thought there is no such problem now. What is the difference of one octave in millimeters between your acoustic and MP11?
IIRC, it's like 1-2mm. Not much at all, but with smallish hands, it does make a difference and I need to practice a piece on my MP11 if I'm going to record on that for a bit.

My piano is a Petrof which had not really made it way to the states as prominently as it is now. At the time it was ordered, it was unheard of except in eastern Europe, I believe.


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Re: For those w. Acoustic Grand: Kawai MP11 vs Yamaha Avantgrand
terminaldegree #2638827 05/02/17 09:07 AM
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Originally Posted by terminaldegree
For a piano performance major in college, in a dorm room? Neither. For doing theory/ear training homework? A small MIDI keyboard.

Many of the top performance programs have practice room access 24/7/365. Even the schools that close their buildings at night, tend not to do so until 11pm or midnight. For that matter, sometimes professors (I don't, but some do) will allow access to their studios for practicing at odd hours. Dorms typically have enforced "quiet hours" where practicing music is specifically prohibited. You could practice with headphones, though...

Unless the facilities at the college are woefully inadequate, students can find enough practice room availability just by managing their schedule appropriately. The course load that a typical undergrad takes isn't really conducive to practicing more than 4 hours a day or so, on the weekdays anyway. Practice room access is always easier on the weekends.

Most practice room pianos are terrible, even the locked ones for piano majors. I think having a piano in the dorm for silent practice would be great, as long as it doesn't annoy the roommate(s).

To the OP: you mention the student preferring heavier actions, so I think perhaps you should consider the VPC1 as previously mentioned. That may be more to their liking than the MP11.


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Re: For those w. Acoustic Grand: Kawai MP11 vs Yamaha Avantgrand
Morodiene #2638891 05/02/17 11:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Morodiene

Most practice room pianos are terrible, even the locked ones for piano majors. I think having a piano in the dorm for silent practice would be great, as long as it doesn't annoy the roommate(s).


It depends on the school. Practice rooms at the Peabody Conservatory were a bit rough, back in the years I was there, but you had easy access to classrooms and faculty studios that were better. At the University of Texas, practice rooms were in such good shape during my DMA that people would occasionally record in the grand piano rooms.

As a piano faculty member, I feel that looking after the condition of the practice spaces and ensuring proper funding for their care is part of my job, whether that means articulating a piano purchasing or repair plan to administrators (or student senate, should a fee be levied for that purpose), developing viable maintenance guidelines with the tech, or even stepping in to tune something or make a repair in a pinch.


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Re: For those w. Acoustic Grand: Kawai MP11 vs Yamaha Avantgrand
terminaldegree #2638899 05/02/17 11:56 AM
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Originally Posted by terminaldegree

Many of the top performance programs have practice room access 24/7/365...

Unless the facilities at the college are woefully inadequate, students can find enough practice room availability just by managing their schedule appropriately.


I've not seen every top program, or even middling program out there, but unless we know the OP's situation, it strikes me as an unwarranted assumption that it would be trivial to schedule on-campus practice time that fully satisfies anyone's needs. We have no idea what facilities they have, what their individual schedule is, how impacted their programs are, what time they are most productive, etc. We don't even know if they're living on or close to campus (there are such things as commuter schools and off-campus housing).

I personally think it would be more helpful to focus on the substantive arguments of whether a DP would help or hurt a piano performance major, rather than to dismiss all concerns as logistical inconveniences applicable only to substandard programs.

Edit: Sorry, this came off as was harsher than I intended. I think I just feel as someone who wants to be able to get roll out of bed or take a 15-min break from reading and hit the keys, without having to trudge across campus to the music dept., that having a DP in-house is way better net-net than relying on completely off-site acoustic pianos.


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