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Having only a digital piano to practice at home...
#2966134 04/12/20 03:17 PM
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To everyone else that doesn't have a real piano, or just has like a really crappy upright at home - are you still motivated to practice? how?

It's been a month since I last touched a real piano, and it will probably be another month or so. I haven't been able to force myself to practice for four days by now. I can't take another hour of touching those plasticky keys and hearing the cold, digital sound.

Re: Having only a digital piano to practice at home...
CianistAndPomposer #2966141 04/12/20 03:40 PM
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You know, the one I work with feels real enough even though it's quite old and about 5 keys or so keys accentuate more or less by default. I think it's my fault for beating the crap out of it. I doubt it was designed to have Rach pieces and Chopin etudes practiced on it for hours on end.

I was really surprised when I discovered the pianist, Eric Zuber had posted a video of himself playing Chopin Op. 10 No. 1 getting ready for the Chopin Competition, and that I had run across it long before knowing anything of him, thinking it very good but assuming him an amateur because of the instrument.

I guess there's a certain drive when one's very seriously determined to learn things that's hard to substitute even to the point of not having all that pleasurable an experience while doing so. Please don't take this as a dig. It's really just me emptying my rambling on what I think an interesting subject that I hadn't previously considered.


A couple nights back I was reading about Sorabji and how he primarily practiced on a silent keyboard. I can't imagine trying to conceive the physically of playing music of that complexity and density without any real time aural feedback to help. I've always figured Rachmaninoff was moreso polishing when he was practicing the 3rd Concerto on his way to playing it's premier...Artists are weird?

Re: Having only a digital piano to practice at home...
CianistAndPomposer #2966157 04/12/20 04:39 PM
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Originally Posted by CianistAndPomposer
To everyone else that doesn't have a real piano, or just has like a really crappy upright at home - are you still motivated to practice? how?
I've been practicing on my digital - three to four hours a day - for ten years now. I've never owned an acoustic.

Though of course, it's a state-of-the-art model in terms of emulating the characteristics of an acoustic, so once I start playing, I forget that it's just a big black box of electronic trickery.......


"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: Having only a digital piano to practice at home...
CianistAndPomposer #2966223 04/12/20 06:39 PM
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My main instrument is a Novus NV10 hybrid digital. It's every bit as good as a 9ft Steinway from an action standpoint. I can transition back and forth between it and acoustic grands with no issues at all. Of course, you'll never get the sonority out of a digital you will out of an acoustic. But from a note learning and technical standpoint it's not an issue if you get the right one.

Re: Having only a digital piano to practice at home...
CianistAndPomposer #2966243 04/12/20 08:01 PM
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Originally Posted by CianistAndPomposer
To everyone else that doesn't have a real piano, or just has like a really crappy upright at home - are you still motivated to practice? how?

It's been a month since I last touched a real piano, and it will probably be another month or so. I haven't been able to force myself to practice for four days by now. I can't take another hour of touching those plasticky keys and hearing the cold, digital sound.
The huge majority of the pianos people own are probably no better than your digital. The pianos owned by and especially the pianos usually discussed by PW members are not typical of the pianos most people own.

Let the music inspire you and forget about comparing your piano to those usually discussed here. If your digitals has sound adjustments try out different ones and you may find one whose sound you like more.

I have a Mason BB now but for much of my life I played on a Baldwin Acrosonic at home and an early model Clavinova accompanying high school musicals. I never thought much about the minimal quality of those instruments because I was enjoying the music.

Re: Having only a digital piano to practice at home...
CianistAndPomposer #2966249 04/12/20 08:15 PM
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Originally Posted by CianistAndPomposer
I can't take another hour of touching those plasticky keys and hearing the cold, digital sound.
Maybe it's time for you to upgrade your DP while you can't use an AP. In my case, I have a baby grand and a good DP and most evenings I prefer the DP because it's much quieter and also because it can actually sound better for certain pieces/composers compared to my small AP. APs and DPs are different animals but in both cases there is different quality grades. I also like to pretend I'm playing in a large hall, so with the DP I can add reverb, modify other parameters on the spot, etc.

Re: Having only a digital piano to practice at home...
CianistAndPomposer #2966284 04/12/20 10:54 PM
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Originally Posted by CianistAndPomposer
I can't take another hour of touching those plasticky keys and hearing the cold, digital sound.

What digital piano have you got?

Re: Having only a digital piano to practice at home...
CianistAndPomposer #2967566 04/16/20 01:46 AM
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I feel your pain because that's the situation I'm in also. I have an ok-ish DP and an old console that I bought for piano tech studies that are holding me over until I can actively shop around for an acoustic piano, hopefully a grand. I crave the touch and tone of a real piano, but due to my schedule and the coronavirus situation I don't think I can bring one home until the summer. I do have to say, I'd take my DP any day if I have to choose between that or any of my family friends' uprights, or most used pianos on craigslist. My DP is always in tune and has uniform action albeit somewhat stiff... although I do know this is a very low bar. It seems like the lack of acoustic piano is temporary in your case. You (and me too) will survive this!

Re: Having only a digital piano to practice at home...
CianistAndPomposer #2967575 04/16/20 03:47 AM
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Think about Mozart during his journeys through europe practicing on a piece of paper with drawed keys

Re: Having only a digital piano to practice at home...
CianistAndPomposer #2967578 04/16/20 04:02 AM
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I've only ever had my DGX 630 for around 15 years now.


'Its too rare to break a hand from playing the piano ... But playing Hanon as written will break your hand'

- Self proclaimed 'piano teachers' on the internet.
Re: Having only a digital piano to practice at home...
CianistAndPomposer #2967641 04/16/20 09:21 AM
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Maybe it's time to try a VST. That will help with the "cold digital sound".

You can't change the key feel.

. . . Have you tried adding some reverb?


. Charles
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PX-350 / microKorg XL+ / Pianoteq / Lounge Lizard / EV ZXA1 speaker
Re: Having only a digital piano to practice at home...
Charles Cohen #2967647 04/16/20 09:45 AM
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( Another Pianoteq user here, Charles. )

Originally Posted by Charles Cohen
Maybe it's time to try a VST. That will help with the "cold digital sound".

You can't change the key feel.

. . . Have you tried adding some reverb?


alex-plays.org :: Bechstein A190 :: Kawai MP11SE :: Pianoteq 6.5
Re: Having only a digital piano to practice at home...
CianistAndPomposer #2967844 04/16/20 11:47 PM
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I grew up with an acoustic and currently have a Yamaha Clavinova. I do understand your pain somewhat as I miss the touch and sound of my acoustic. It's not in my or my family's best interest at the moment to have an acoustic: I have a young toddler and can only practice at nights when he's asleep. So I keep in mind that 1. It is better than having nothing, 2. It allows me to practice at night with the headphones on, 3. One day I will own an acoustic again.
I'm motivated to keep up with my practice with the quarterly/themed recitals on this forum. I was previously even more motivated as I had wanted to pay for rental time here and there on an acoustic in order to do the recordings for submission. That has of course been put on hold with COVID-19.
Personally I do still enjoy my Clavinova. I'm not sure what model of a digital you have but perhaps if owning an acoustic isn't in the cards right now, a higher end digital piano is?

Re: Having only a digital piano to practice at home...
CianistAndPomposer #2967858 04/17/20 12:59 AM
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Definitely feel the piano sound on my digital isn't up to par with an acoustic. Up to the end of last year, I was able to access a grand piano at a local conservatory for weekly practice. Due to space limitations I can squeeze an upright in the living room but a baby grand would be impossible. Someone in the family gave up playing piano for 10 years due to downsizing to a small space before getting a Casio DP. The piano is at home with her dad. The last piece she worked on was Liebestraum by Liszt. I'm sure the upright would sound much better but under the circumstance having a DP is better than than not being able to play at all.

The last few months with the C-19 social isolation, I started playing a few Jazz tunes out of a book. There is no comparison when it comes to the piano sound. But I'd switch to the Jazz organ or Vibe effect which is fine with the Jazz pieces. During the Christmas break I'd get into playing a few seasonal tunes with the sound set to Organ. Playing hymns with 4-part harmonies work fine with an organ. The end of last year I played a piano arrangement of the piece "Meditation from Thais" by Massenet with a violin solo in the original. The Strings sound on the keyboard did the job although the sound is nothing like a violin or a strings ensemble.

Over 10 years ago, a friend of the family brought their 2 sons who was in Suzuki piano & violin to our place. They played "Minuet in G" as a duet for us. The older boy had a Casio keyboard with barely 49 keys like a toy. The keyboard probably doesn't have weighed keys of an acoustic and not touch-sensitive either. The playing was nice. The keyboard is not going to give the best sound but did the job. When you're on the road, the upright has to stay at home.


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