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New teacher suggests we get a better piano
#2868489 07/11/19 07:15 PM
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Hello there, we just switched my 12 year old from a teacher who was teaching at his house to a teacher with the local philharmonic orchestra. This new teacher uses a room in which he teaches on a grand piano, whereas my son's previous teacher used an older digital piano. We have a Yamaha digital piano at home on which we practice.

My son tells me that the new teacher recommends we get a better piano because the keys on a grand piano are much heavier. I'm not sure if those were the teacher's exact words because he didn't mention this to me; it is possible that my son misinterpreted what he said, so I just want to see if that makes sense to anyone. Unfortunately, we just don't have room for a baby grand (nor, for that matter, an upright piano). It just seems a little strange to me because I thought the whole point of a digital piano was to replicate the feeling of playing a real piano.

Any input is much appreciated. Thanks!

Re: New teacher suggests we get a better piano
Mshepard83 #2868503 07/11/19 08:03 PM
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"It just seems a little strange to me because I thought the whole point of a digital piano was to replicate the feeling of playing a real piano."

Actually it depends on the digital piano. Less expensive models do not even come close to the feel of a real piano (action too light, etc.) - more expensive models with sophisticated action mechanisms do a better job. In reality, no digital really replicates the experience of playing an acoustic piano. But then, of course, some acoustic pianos are better than others (depending on make, age, condition, etc.) - and a good digital would be more desirable to practice on than a subpar acoustic. Coincidentally, there is a recent thread on PW wherein an individual is purchasing his first acoustic - and he has been having trouble adjusting to the acoustic action because he has always played on a digital. I would agree with your son's new teacher that some type of acoustic instrument would be desirable for home practice.

What make/model of digital piano do you currently own? Is it a portable instrument on a stand, or something that looks more like a small upright? Uprights don't necessarily take up as much space as you might think. .


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Re: New teacher suggests we get a better piano
Mshepard83 #2868508 07/11/19 08:21 PM
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Even a Yamaha Avangrand does not feel the same like a real piano. Yet, that Avangrand is as expensive as a real Yamaha Piano. If you do not have a place to put even an upright, why do you need to worry about what the teacher said? Just ignore what he said, for nothing will change anyway.

Re: New teacher suggests we get a better piano
RonaldSteinway #2868520 07/11/19 09:01 PM
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Originally Posted by RonaldSteinway
Even a Yamaha Avangrand does not feel the same like a real piano. Yet, that Avangrand is as expensive as a real Yamaha Piano.
Why do you say an Avantgrand doesn't feel the same?

I think when it's played without the sustain pedal it should feel exactly the same and perhaps only slightly different when the pedal is used since I don't think it replicates the lifting of the dampers. In fact, the main selling point for an Avantgrand is supposed to be it feels just like an acoustic piano.

Re: New teacher suggests we get a better piano
Mshepard83 #2868545 07/11/19 10:43 PM
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There might be some threads on this question, in the "Piano Teachers" sub-forum. The general feeling in the "Digital Piano" forum, is that even an AvantGrand (which is expensive, and uses an action similar to a grand-piano action) isn't quite the same as an acoustic grand. (For one thing, I don't think it has "string resonance", a significant part of the sound of an acoustic piano.)


Two questions for you:

. . . Which Yamaha digital piano do you have ?

. . . What level material is your son playing ?


Thanks --


EDIT:

It's possible that you have a "synth-action" keyboard now, rather than a "hammer-action" or "fully-weighted" keyboard. In that case, the new teacher is right:

. . . A new instrument would be a good idea.

However, a good digital piano (with fully-weighted keys) might be adequate, as the "new instrument".



Last edited by Charles Cohen; 07/11/19 10:47 PM.

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Re: New teacher suggests we get a better piano
Mshepard83 #2868555 07/11/19 11:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Mshepard83
it is possible that my son misinterpreted what he said, so I just want to see if that makes sense to anyone. Unfortunately, we just don't have room for a baby grand (nor, for that matter, an upright piano). It just seems a little strange to me because I thought the whole point of a digital piano was to replicate the feeling of playing a real piano.


I'd say your son didn't misinterpret anything. It's kind of brazen and arrogant for a piano teacher to say such a thing to a new young student, and by extension to his family. I would never do it. It's dismissive, at a time when a new teacher should instead be trying to *build* a relationship.

But there is some truth to the teacher's remark just the same. A good acoustic piano would probably serve your son better than a digital, especially if he has been studying for a few years already. You may not have room for a grand piano, but an upright will fit in the same space as your present Yamaha digital.

P.S. My guess is that this teacher is too snobbish to consider good upright pianos, but they are worthy contenders.

Re: New teacher suggests we get a better piano
Mshepard83 #2868579 07/12/19 01:51 AM
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IMO if your son is learning classical music and if he will continue to take lessons for years to come (seriously pursue piano playing) then it is worth to have an acoustic piano.
IMO it is better to discuss this with your son's teacher in person.

Re: New teacher suggests we get a better piano
Peter K. Mose #2868581 07/12/19 02:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Peter K. Mose
Originally Posted by Mshepard83
it is possible that my son misinterpreted what he said, so I just want to see if that makes sense to anyone. Unfortunately, we just don't have room for a baby grand (nor, for that matter, an upright piano). It just seems a little strange to me because I thought the whole point of a digital piano was to replicate the feeling of playing a real piano.


I'd say your son didn't misinterpret anything. It's kind of brazen and arrogant for a piano teacher to say such a thing to a new young student, and by extension to his family. I would never do it. It's dismissive, at a time when a new teacher should instead be trying to *build* a relationship.

But there is some truth to the teacher's remark just the same. A good acoustic piano would probably serve your son better than a digital, especially if he has been studying for a few years already. You may not have room for a grand piano, but an upright will fit in the same space as your present Yamaha digital.

P.S. My guess is that this teacher is too snobbish to consider good upright pianos, but they are worthy contenders.


I do think the teacher should have talked to the parents rather than the student, but I see the conversation as a sign of caring from a teacher who sees a promising student who is practicing on an unsuitable keyboard. I don’t see any snobbery in this but an attempt to ‘build up’ the student.


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
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Re: New teacher suggests we get a better piano
Mshepard83 #2868582 07/12/19 02:13 AM
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What standard is your 12yr old son? A relative beginner - or advanced grades? That will make a big difference to the reason.

When I enrolled for lessons (again) about 7 years ago, one of the first thing she did was to ascertain what sort of piano I would be practising on.


Alan from Queensland, Australia (and Clara - my Grotrian Concert & Allen Organ (CF-17a)).
Re: New teacher suggests we get a better piano
Mshepard83 #2868639 07/12/19 07:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Mshepard83
. Unfortunately, we just don't have room for a baby grand (nor, for that matter, an upright piano). It just seems a little strange to me because I thought the whole point of a digital piano was to replicate the feeling of playing a real piano.

There are digital pianos, and then there are digital pianos. I know that very well, because in 2010, I spent a month going around all the digital showrooms trying out all likely suspects before buying the one I still use now.

From your OP, I suspect that what you have is a slab, which isn't as good as one of Yamaha's more dedicated digitals for pianists (which take up the same space as uprights, because they're designed to look like real uprights).

Even from my perspective as one who only has a digital at home to practice on (albeit a high-end one which replicates the responsiveness of a real piano uncannily well), I'd say that for a kid learning, a good acoustic - upright or grand - is always better. It's not just the action (not necessarily heavier objectively - there's also the inertia to contend with), it's also the way the piano responds to the touch.

Especially for classical music, developing the ability to vary touch and voicing of individual notes within textures & chords, and mastering various pedal effects are all-important after the beginner stage, and very few digitals give you a decent simulation of them.

Experienced pianists can easily adapt to any digital as well as acoustic, but learners should ideally develop their chops on the real thing, especially if classical piano is the main goal.


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: New teacher suggests we get a better piano
Hakki #2868645 07/12/19 07:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Hakki
IMO if your son is learning classical music and if he will continue to take lessons for years to come (seriously pursue piano playing) then it is worth to have an acoustic piano.
IMO it is better to discuss this with your son's teacher in person.


I agree. Just discuss this in person with the piano teacher.



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Re: New teacher suggests we get a better piano
Hakki #2868664 07/12/19 09:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Hakki
IMO if your son is learning classical music and if he will continue to take lessons for years to come (seriously pursue piano playing) then it is worth to have an acoustic piano.
IMO it is better to discuss this with your son's teacher in person.

I don't agree. He'll soon be a teenager and might very well shift circadian rhythm, so he'll go to bed later and get up later. With a good digital piano he can play at his heart's desire until two o'clock in the night without keeping the rest of the family awake.


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Re: New teacher suggests we get a better piano
Mshepard83 #2868731 07/12/19 12:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Mshepard83
Hello there, we just switched my 12 year old from a teacher who was teaching at his house to a teacher with the local philharmonic orchestra. This new teacher uses a room in which he teaches on a grand piano, whereas my son's previous teacher used an older digital piano. We have a Yamaha digital piano at home on which we practice.

My son tells me that the new teacher recommends we get a better piano because the keys on a grand piano are much heavier. I'm not sure if those were the teacher's exact words because he didn't mention this to me; it is possible that my son misinterpreted what he said, so I just want to see if that makes sense to anyone. Unfortunately, we just don't have room for a baby grand (nor, for that matter, an upright piano). It just seems a little strange to me because I thought the whole point of a digital piano was to replicate the feeling of playing a real piano.

Any input is much appreciated. Thanks!
Several folks have weighed in here - and some have asked questions. Would you like to continue the dialog?


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YouTube channel - http://www.youtube.com/user/pianophilo
Re: New teacher suggests we get a better piano
Mshepard83 #2868749 07/12/19 01:04 PM
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I play mostly a digital piano these days. In my case it's a Casio PX-870, which costs ~$1k. Of course there are also very good Yamaha and Kawai models in the same price range. While the action is not *exactly* in every way the same that you'd feel on a quality acoustic, I don't think using a digital of that type - with things such as weighted keys and a reasonably realistic pedal response - is going to hinder technical development. In fact it's far worse to use a less-than-optimal acoustic. You do want access to a quality acoustic piano of course, but the practicality of a good digital is hard to beat. As mentioned above, you can play in the wee hours without waking up the neighborhood.

Re: New teacher suggests we get a better piano
pianoloverus #2868777 07/12/19 01:55 PM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by RonaldSteinway
Even a Yamaha Avangrand does not feel the same like a real piano. Yet, that Avangrand is as expensive as a real Yamaha Piano.
Why do you say an Avantgrand doesn't feel the same?

I think when it's played without the sustain pedal it should feel exactly the same and perhaps only slightly different when the pedal is used since I don't think it replicates the lifting of the dampers. In fact, the main selling point for an Avantgrand is supposed to be it feels just like an acoustic piano.


It really does not feel like a real piano. Especially with the price, I really think it is not worth it. I will only buy Avangrand if I live in a place where the sound of the piano will bother people. Otherwise, it is better to buy a regular piano.

Re: New teacher suggests we get a better piano
RonaldSteinway #2868824 07/12/19 04:21 PM
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Originally Posted by RonaldSteinway
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by RonaldSteinway
Even a Yamaha Avangrand does not feel the same like a real piano. Yet, that Avangrand is as expensive as a real Yamaha Piano.
Why do you say an Avantgrand doesn't feel the same?

I think when it's played without the sustain pedal it should feel exactly the same and perhaps only slightly different when the pedal is used since I don't think it replicates the lifting of the dampers. In fact, the main selling point for an Avantgrand is supposed to be it feels just like an acoustic piano.


It really does not feel like a real piano. Especially with the price, I really think it is not worth it. I will only buy Avangrand if I live in a place where the sound of the piano will bother people. Otherwise, it is better to buy a regular piano.
I've played one albeit briefly and didn't notice a difference. Except for what I noted earlier the action is exactly like an acoustic so I don't see why there should be a difference. What would be the point of having the acoustic action if it didn't feel like an acoustic?

Re: New teacher suggests we get a better piano
Mshepard83 #2868860 07/12/19 07:26 PM
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I don't sense any radical difference in the feel of the action between a decent "modern" digital and an acoustic. The main "feel" difference to me lies in the sound, vibration etc.

Re: New teacher suggests we get a better piano
Mshepard83 #2868883 07/12/19 11:24 PM
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About 'string resonance' and the Yamaha AvantGrand:

. . . Old AvantGrand's don't seem to have 'string resonance';

. . . New AvantGrand's (with an "X" at the end of the model number, and "VRM voices"), _do_ have 'string resonance'.

So they're getting closer to _sounding_ like an acoustic, as well as _feeling_ like an acoustic.

But "closer" is not "the same as".

Yes, some answers to questions would be helpful . . .


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Re: New teacher suggests we get a better piano
Mshepard83 #2868890 07/13/19 12:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Mshepard83
Unfortunately, we just don't have room for a baby grand (nor, for that matter, an upright piano).

Unless you live inside a prison cell, you will have room for an upright piano. And baby grands are not much bigger. Most people have no concept of piano's actual size.

Even digital pianos take up space, too. What kind of keyboard do you currently possess?


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Re: New teacher suggests we get a better piano
Mshepard83 #2868891 07/13/19 12:52 AM
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Unless the sound is the issue (neighbours), an upright really does not take up much more space than a good digital with a proper case with built in pedals. A piano keyboard is always the same in length, so it's not possible to make them less wide.

But a very good digital that feels like an acoustic grand to play costs a lot. I just went piano shopping for fun and the one Yamaha digital that I would have bought to replace my Roland was over 8000euros. That's the price of a decent used baby grand (if one gets lucky) or a good new upright here.

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