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#947309 - 10/04/07 04:31 PM Advice on piano  
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ctc Offline
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canada
I would like to ask for your advice regarding digital and acoustic piano for an 11 year old who has been taking piano lessons for the last 7 years.

---------------------------------------------

Hello Everyone, our 11 year old daughter has been learning and playing the piano for almost 7 years now. The first 2 years with Yamaha music and was just using a Casio keyboard and the last 5 years with Royal Conservatory music using YAMAHA CLAVINOVA CLP950.

She is now in Grade 4 piano and almost all her learning is based on the Royal Conservatory music.

To all the teachers out there, is the Yamaha Clavinova digital piano good enough or is it time for us to buy her an acoustic piano now ?

If we need to get her an acoustic piano and we only have about $3500 to $4000 to spend ..... what brand and model can you recommend the best for this price range in terms of sound quality and workmanship ? And yes, we are only looking at brand new acoustic piano.

I was at the Walters Music store today and I was shown a 48" Remington RV-121 PE. The 52" Remington is about $5000.

I was advised that Indonesian made pianos are also good and to stay away from chinese made ones for now because the quality is still not that good.

Looking forward for your advice and recommendations.

Thank you very much !!!

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#947310 - 10/04/07 04:41 PM Re: Advice on piano  
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dumdumdiddle Offline
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Yes, she needs an acoustic piano. I personally prefer Yamaha (you might find a used U1 in your price range). I recently sent a student to a Yamaha dealer and they purchased a new Cable Nelson piano; made by Yamaha in China (is my understanding). I'm not familiar with them but I've heard others say they are decent and the dealer has a policy where you can 'trade up' within 5 years to another piano and apply all of the purchase price from the first piano to the second (perhaps to a new Yamaha). You should check it out.


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#947311 - 10/04/07 04:52 PM Re: Advice on piano  
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John v.d.Brook Offline
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ctc, I feel your angst! Yes, she needs a real piano at this point. As far as which piano to get, you should also ask for opinions on the piano forum page, although you know you'll get an ear full.

I am very happy with my Boston upright, which can be had for $5,000 if you are a good negotiator. Any of the Kawai/Yamaha which are 118 cm or above should be satisfactory. The better uprights are quite satisfactory until the student reaches grade 7 or 8 or perhaps even 9. I'll leave that to my Canadian colleagues to opine on, however.

Study Larry Fine's piano book carefully. The Korean pianos are rapidly climbing in quality and are very close match to the Japanese models.

And do consider a used grand piano. A teaching friend of mine down in Austin got a really nice Kawai grand. She needed some financing, as it was $14,000, but it is wonderful, 6'6".

Best of luck in your search.


"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
#947312 - 10/04/07 04:58 PM Re: Advice on piano  
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pianoexcellence Offline
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You need a real piano.

$4000 is a nice amount to spend on a used piano. A nice used yamaha U1 us the obvious choice. It is a piano that does nothing wrong, but nothing exceptionally well either. For a budget upright, that is all you can expect.

The Korean and Chinese pianos are very hit and miss. I have seen exceptional ones, and I have had the...ahem...priviledge to fix the rotten ones.

The best advice I can give you is to find a pianist\technician who can see the pianos with you. He can help you negotiate for any work that needs to be done as well. I do this all the time, and my customers are always happy with the piano they end up with.


Music is the surest path to excellence

Jeremy BA, ARCT, RMT
Pianoexcellence Tuning and Repairs
#947313 - 10/04/07 10:08 PM Re: Advice on piano  
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Morodiene Offline
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I know this may not be a popular opinion, but I bought a refurbished Yamaha G3 (6' grand). It was refurbished in Japan, so I just need to make sure that I have a humidifier in the room in the drier months, but I bought it for about $7500 USD. Now, you could get a smaller refurbished grand for your price range, I'm sure, but you don't want to go too small, or it won't last your daughter the rest of her life and have to upgrade later. If you can swing the extra cash now, it's well worth it.


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#947314 - 10/05/07 11:54 AM Re: Advice on piano  
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Gyro Offline
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An acoustic might be nice--as a kind of
supplement to the digital, that is, to give a
different perspective on playing. But
I don't see this as a necessity. What
has she been playing on and progressing
with all these years? And why is it now
suddenly a necessity to have an acoustic?
What I suspect is that outdated attitudes
are starting to surface here. There are
many in the classical piano establishment
who still cannot accept digital pianos
as real instruments, even though we are now
well into the digital piano age.
Thus, a student may be doing fine on
a digital, with no problems at all, and
yet this will eventually begin to bother
some people, and they will insist that she
change to an acoustic, "so that her technique
will not suffer"--the fact that her technique
has not suffered all these yrs. on the
digital will be irrelevent to them; they
want her on an acoustic because of
their ingrained attitudes, and that's
there is to it.

The anti-digital faction will say things
like: "you can't develop the proper
technique on a digital," or "you can't
'stroke' the keys on a digital like
you can on an acoustic," etc. Statements
like this reveal that these people have
never even played a digital piano. Digitals,
in fact, are superior for developing
technique. This is why the silent keyboard
used to be so popular with concert pianists
in the 1930's and why Claudio Arrau used
one up until his death (a silent keyboard
is like a digital with the power turned
off). It has been pointed out on the
digital forum that top concert pianists
today, like Andre Watts and Valentina
Lisitsa, use digital pianos for practicing.

#947315 - 10/05/07 11:58 AM Re: Advice on piano  
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Gyro Offline
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An acoustic might be nice--as a kind of
supplement to the digital, that is, to give a
different perspective on playing. But
I don't see this as a necessity. What
has she been playing on and progressing
with all these years? And why is it now
suddenly a necessity to have an acoustic?
What I suspect is that outdated attitudes
are starting to surface here. There are
many in the classical piano establishment
who still cannot accept digital pianos
as real instruments, even though we are now
well into the digital piano age.
Thus, a student may be doing fine on
a digital, with no problems at all, and
yet this will eventually begin to bother
some people, and they will insist that she
change to an acoustic, "so that her technique
will not suffer"--the fact that her technique
has not suffered all these yrs. on the
digital will be irrelevent to them; they
want her on an acoustic because of
their ingrained attitudes, and that's
there is to it.

The anti-digital faction will say things
like: "you can't develop the proper
technique on a digital," or "you can't
'stroke' the keys on a digital like
you can on an acoustic," etc. Statements
like this reveal that these people have
never even played a digital piano. Digitals,
in fact, are superior for developing
technique. This is why the silent keyboard
used to be so popular with concert pianists
in the 1930's and why Claudio Arrau used
one up until his death (a silent keyboard
is like a digital with the power turned
off). It has been pointed out on the
digital forum that top concert pianists
today, like Andre Watts and Valentina
Lisitsa, use digital pianos for practicing.

#947316 - 10/05/07 12:16 PM Re: Advice on piano  
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Morodiene Offline
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Boynton Beach, FL
Gyro, I have played many digitals, some good, some bad. I have played many acousticals, some good, some bad. From my experiences, I would pick playing on a "good" acoustic grand over a "good" digital any day. I have never felt satisfied with the digital touch and sensitivity, no matter how many changes I make to the settings. I like digitals, and I think they are great for many people, but this OP asked if the digitals are good enough, or if an acoustic piano would be better.

My thoughts are, that if they can get a good acoustic for their money, then they should. If they cannot, however, then I agree stay with the digital since that has worked thus far.


private piano/voice teacher FT

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#947317 - 10/05/07 12:45 PM Re: Advice on piano  
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Diane... Offline
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Diane...  Offline
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Western Canada
ctc, You can rent acoustic pianos from a music store!

I'm guessing $30 - $40 a month. That's just a wild quote/guess.
BTW: Don't quote me on this. I have been quoted, and it got me in trouble! laugh

Maybe rent an acoustic piano for a year, and see how it goes.


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Diane
Jazz/Blues/Rock/Boogie Piano Teacher
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#947318 - 10/05/07 04:29 PM Re: Advice on piano  
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dumdumdiddle Offline
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Posts: 1,269
California
I'm a big fan of digitals, especially since parents are usually clueless as to what constitutes a good acoustic piano. I have had thrilled and ecstatic parents tell me of the wonderful find they got for only $500 in the PennySaver.... or that Grandma is going to let them have her 60 year old spinet. Ughh.

I played on an old Gulbranson spinet for 12 years. The action was too light, the ability for dynamic contrast was null, and in the end my technique did suffer. I would have been better playing on a non-weighted (yet always-in-tune) keyboard. When the choice is between an El Cheapo piano and a digital, the digital IMO wins hands down.

However, for students who are at the late intermediate/advanced levels, there is no substitute for a GOOD acoustic piano.

And I wouldn't recommend renting a piano. The rentals that I've seen and played on have typically been the lower quality pianos that get rented/returned, rented/returned.


Music School Owner
Early Childhood Music Teacher/Group Piano Teacher/Private Piano Teacher
Member of MTAC and Guild
#947319 - 10/05/07 05:10 PM Re: Advice on piano  
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kissyana Offline
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kissyana  Offline
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Northeast Illinois
Gyro,
I have to wonder... does the digital piano industry pay you everytime you endorse them? (just kidding)
I agree that digitals (GOOD ones) are a great tool and would be fine to keep playing for the casual musician. However, serious, advancing pianists need the real thing.
How would you perform a piece for prepared piano on a digital?

#947320 - 10/05/07 05:13 PM Re: Advice on piano  
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pianoexcellence Offline
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Posts: 753
Abbotsford, BC, Canada
I often perform on a digital. It is a high quality yamaha stage piano. It works alright. When compared to a piano, it is not even close.

Playing on a real piano has many specific differences.

1) you cannot play half pedal on a digital. this is something that constantly plagues my digital performances. Half pedal is almost always used by skilled performers.

2) A digital does not have the same change in tone (in regards to dynamics). This is why people who learn on digitals tend to "pound" when they get onto a real piano.

3) Digital pianos (especially synths) lose thier value at an astonishing rate. A good piano will retain it's value.

4) A real piano vibrates and oozes with artistic energy and personal character. It makes the music feel "real" and facilitates a bond with the performer. A digital piano feels impotent and antiseptic, and it is difficult to want to spend time with it.

5) The feel really is different. Even the best digitals do not have a feeling that simulates the let-off function of a real piano. It is this let--off and the resultant aftertouch that gives energy to fast playing. A digital will suck energy because the stroke has no let-off or aftertouch.

6) A quality piano adds prestige to the home

7) Remember, your daughter is taking piano lessons, not "pretend piano" lessons. You can learn some driving skills from playing video games, but nothing compares to getting in a worthy car and revving the engine. This is why the vast majority of piano teachers still require a real piano for acceptance into thier studio.


Music is the surest path to excellence

Jeremy BA, ARCT, RMT
Pianoexcellence Tuning and Repairs
#947321 - 10/05/07 06:41 PM Re: Advice on piano  
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dumdumdiddle Offline
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dumdumdiddle  Offline
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California
Quote
The anti-digital faction will say things
like: "you can't develop the proper
technique on a digital," or "you can't
'stroke' the keys on a digital like
you can on an acoustic," etc. Statements
like this reveal that these people have
never even played a digital piano.
Mmm.... and I'm thinking that people who make such comments have probably reached only an early intermediate level of playing ability, and therefore have never experienced the profound difference in tone quality that just can't be duplicated on a digital.


Music School Owner
Early Childhood Music Teacher/Group Piano Teacher/Private Piano Teacher
Member of MTAC and Guild
#947322 - 10/05/07 08:52 PM Re: Advice on piano  
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pianoexcellence Offline
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Posts: 753
Abbotsford, BC, Canada
Dumdumdiddle,

According to Gyro, we (and everyone who agrees that a good piano is better than a good digital) are just a faction (a small group united against a larger mainstream)

I don't know about your area Gyro, but around here almost nobody performs on digitals. There is no respected teacher who endorses practicing on a digital as a primary instrument.

I have a Korg Triton, and a Yamaha stage piano, and they are great for sequencing (korg) and portability (yamaha). You won't find me saying that digitals are useless (I use both every day) but they are not a tool to sharpen your technique or perform solo on.


Music is the surest path to excellence

Jeremy BA, ARCT, RMT
Pianoexcellence Tuning and Repairs
#947323 - 10/05/07 10:22 PM Re: Advice on piano  
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Tenuto Offline
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U.S.A.
The only piano that has ever inspired me is the real acousic piano. I also have a digital piano at home but I never feel like playing it. I can create many beautiful tonalities with half pedalings that are impossible on electronic digitals. I can feel the vibration of the acoustic instrument and of its strings go up through my fingers, through my body and into my soul. An acoustic instrument creates magic. A digital can be useful but absolutely not acceptable for a serious classical pianist. Even a used acoustic piano is much more of a serious instrument, as long as it is in working order.

#947324 - 10/06/07 01:23 PM Re: Advice on piano  
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Gyro Offline
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In one of the last photos taken before
his death, Claudio Arrau posed in his
home with, not a big grand, but an ancient
silent keyboard in the background, apparently
his pride and joy and the secret to his
great playing. The message seemed clear:
this is the way to become a great player;
its the mechanics of the fingers on the keys,
any keys, and the instrument need not
even produce a sound.

#947325 - 10/06/07 01:36 PM Re: Advice on piano  
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Theowne Offline
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Theowne  Offline
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Toronto, Canada
Quote
its the mechanics of the fingers on the keys,
any keys
Then again, the "mechanics of the fingers on the keys", in my case, at least, differs a lot from an acoustic to my digital piano.


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#947326 - 10/06/07 02:06 PM Re: Advice on piano  
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pianoexcellence Offline
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Abbotsford, BC, Canada
A digital keyboard is a wonderful thing, as Arrau may have experiencd. Nobody here is trying to argue that a digital is useless. Used properly it could conceivably help technique. (I often practice by table tapping, there is movement on wood...) It is all good, but in the end, Arrau would not perform on the keyboard when playing piano music.

I just completely disagree when people suggest using a digital as a primary practice instrument.


Music is the surest path to excellence

Jeremy BA, ARCT, RMT
Pianoexcellence Tuning and Repairs
#947327 - 10/06/07 02:09 PM Re: Advice on piano  
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Morodiene Offline
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Boynton Beach, FL
Gyor:
That picture you are referring to does not speak directly at digital pianos. After all, a plastic silent keyboard is quite a bit cheaper. Think about it: playing on a slient keybarod does what? It improves one's mental readiness, and coordinate that with what the fingers are doing. No one here argues that mental work is not beneficial. And I *highly* doubt that Arrau didnt' practice on a fine grand acoustic piano. That silent keyboard did not replace a need for the actual thing, it supplemented it.


private piano/voice teacher FT

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#947328 - 10/06/07 03:59 PM Re: Advice on piano  
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John v.d.Brook Offline
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Olympia, Washington, USA
Hi all - I'm at my son's home in Austin, TX, for the weekend (wife's birthday) and he has the Baldwin Hamilton upright we bought in 1967 as our wedding gift to each other. I've been practicing for the last 90 minutes, and I must say, even at 40, it's considerably better than my $2,000 Clavinova. My Clavinova is very useful for many jobs, but it is no substitute when you need the real thing.


"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
#947329 - 10/06/07 11:11 PM Re: Advice on piano  
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Morodiene Offline
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Happy Birthday to the missus smile , and I think it's clear that those who say that a digital cannot measure up to a good acoustic do not say so because we are anti-digital, but becuase it is simply a fact. When you get to subtle nuances required in advanced repertoire, its not possible to do many of them on digitals. But up until that point I think a digital piano can be a very good instrument to learn on.


private piano/voice teacher FT

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#947330 - 10/09/07 09:33 AM Re: Advice on piano  
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ctc Offline
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canada
Thank you all for your valuable insight and advice. We went to look at some pianos over the weekend but I will create a new post on what we have found.

#947331 - 10/09/07 02:51 PM Re: Advice on piano  
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kritta Offline
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Quote
ctc, You can rent acoustic pianos from a music store!

I'm guessing $30 - $40 a month. That's just a wild quote/guess.
BTW: Don't quote me on this. I have been quoted, and it got me in trouble! [Big Grin]

Maybe rent an acoustic piano for a year, and see how it goes.



It is actually closer to $90-$120 per month to rent a spinnet or upright piano. (in my area)


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#947332 - 10/09/07 03:47 PM Re: Advice on piano  
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pianoexcellence Offline
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It is 40-50 in my area


Music is the surest path to excellence

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Pianoexcellence Tuning and Repairs
#947333 - 10/10/07 10:16 AM Re: Advice on piano  
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kritta Offline
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Wow! That's a lot cheaper than my area!

The stores that these price quotes came from also offer rent-to-own programs, in which all of the money paid for rental could be applied toward the purchase of a new piano.

I guess the stores in my area are trying to "encourage" customers to buy rather than rent.


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#947334 - 10/10/07 02:34 PM Re: Advice on piano  
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kritta Offline
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Quote


Even the best digitals do not have a feeling that simulates the let-off function of a real piano. It is this let--off and the resultant aftertouch that gives energy to fast playing. A digital will suck energy because the stroke has no let-off or aftertouch.




Very good point, and very true!!! I experience this every Sunday when I play on my church's digital piano. It is a Kawai MP9500 (I think they stopped making them last year), and it has an action -- complete with hammers. When helping my church choose a digital piano, I found that this one felt the most like a real piano and was more sensitive than other digitals --- but even this quality digital piano doesn't even come close to substituting for a good accoustic piano.

Digitals have their place -- my church is meeting in a temporary location until we construct our own building, so a digital is a good choice in this situation. --- but--- the digital is constantly thwarting my attempts to play musically, especially when it comes to voicing. Every week I also notice that the action sucks energy and doesn't allow me to keep momentum when playing -- this results in my fingers being taxed more than when playing on a real piano (on which the use of my arms and the creation of momentum aids my fingers).


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