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Posted By: bigsmile Piano teachers do not accept digital piano - 06/19/14 07:16 PM
I'm looking for a piano teacher for my son who is just turning 5. I have a digital piano, and to me it seems that it should be OK for at least a beginners. But all the piano teachers I contacted required an acoustic piano instead of a digital one.

I really don't understand why they are so strict about this. I still don't know whether this is going to work for my son, and a piano is a big investment. Why I can't let my son start on the digital piano and buy a real one if he's really into it? I have been learning piano by myself on and off on the digital piano, and I have also practiced on a real piano in a few occasions. For me the feel of the digital piano is close enough to the real one. I did some research online, and find that at least for some teachers, for example, this one, believe that digital piano is OK for at least the first couple of years.

Do you think the requirement of these teachers reasonable? Do you guys suggest I keep looking for one who accept digital piano or you also think it's absolutely necessary to have a real one?

Thanks.
Which digital do you have? Are the keys weighted?
Digitals are fine; traditions are slow to evolve. The typical problem with digital is that students routinely neglect to play at/with the bottom of the keys--when the have their recitals on a grand piano, it is often pretty easy to tell who has a grand at home to practice on and who a digital. However, it is a tendency, that can be overcome and compensated for with the right approach by the teacher. Besides, there are sooooooo many other important things to learn about music and thinking than to be so concern with the limits of pianistic technique in the beginning stages.
It's a Casio Px100, it has weighted keys.

Actually, it was my wife who was contacting the teachers, and she told me she said "keyboard", instead of digital piano. I think that's probably the reason the teachers rejected it. We'll try ask them again. At any rate, considering we are living in an apartment, I really want to use the digital piano for the time being to be on good term with my neighbors.
Yeah...pianists and teachers dislike "keyboards;" neighbours dislike acoustic grands. One has to make compromises in life and learning sometimes...
Posted By: KurtZ Re: Piano teachers do not accept digital piano - 06/19/14 07:46 PM
Removed by OP because of redundancy.
Thanks for the reply.

To be honest, I'm not that into classic music. I have no intention of entering my son into serious competitions, at least not before he show any sign of being talented at this, he's not the competitive type.

I like music myself, as I said, I learn piano by myself on and off. I mostly want to introduce my son to music. I also want him to be good at piano, but I'm not that keen about him being able to play difficult classic works, but just having a way of expressing himself through keyboard.

Don't get me wrong, it's not that I just want him to be mediocre. I actually want him to be good, but I don't want him to just be good at playing difficult piano musics, but to be good at a broader sense, to be proficient in keyboard music or even music in general.
Posted By: KurtZ Re: Piano teachers do not accept digital piano - 06/19/14 08:12 PM
I changed my post because it repeated too much of what was already posted. To me it sounds like you have a healthy and realistic mindset. May you and your son find the rewards in music making as it suits you. The PX-100 is now a little outdated but it's still a good usable starter unit.

I'll add that after 2 years of playing, I switched from a pretty good digital (Korg Triton) to a modest Korean upright. The Triton went unplayed for 3 years and is up for sale. I'm fortunate that I have a situation where volume control is not a big issue.

Kurt
I am not a teacher but I think you should ask/ check with your son.

If he gets inspiration to play also from a DP, then it's probably fine. If he stops playing in a few months, it might be that he is bored with the DP sound.
Yes, I'm sure that with many of those teachers, saying "keyboard" implies non-weighted keys, and less than 88. A keyboard is generally not going to last them 2 months, whereas a digital piano could last a couple of years. The Casio, while an older model (and not as good as the entry-level Casio PX-150s out now), it's still decent enough.

Call back some of those teachers and clarify that it is a piano, with 88 weighted keys. You may still find some rejection, but you only need one teacher smile . Many teachers aren't up on digital pianos in the past 10 years and they've made huge strides. Again, your model is not cutting edge, but it is still better than what used to pass for digital pianos 10 years ago.
It's discussed in the link below, which also leads to a teacher's in depth assessment.
link to discussion and teacher assessment
I have read Rachel Iris Jimenez's article, it give me great confident in letting my son use digital piano. Thanks for the read.

Originally Posted by keystring
It's discussed in the link below, which also leads to a teacher's in depth assessment.
link to discussion and teacher assessment
If you look hard enough, you'll find piano teachers who teach on a digital. Sometimes that's all a piano teacher can afford to buy.
I don't think the problem is whether teachers use digitals in the studio, but rather whether they will accept to teach students who use digital pianos.
I teach on a digital. You're fine.

I don't agree with those teachers at all, but hey, I only started teaching a year and a half ago.

I've got my Advanced Diploma, am halfway through year 2 of the Bachelor, and all my home practising has been done on a digital piano. My recitals have been on grand pianos. Yes, digital and acoustic pianos are a bit different, but the skills translate from one to the other.

I hope you find a reasonable teacher.
Originally Posted by A443
The typical problem with digital is that students routinely neglect to play at/with the bottom of the keys...

This part puzzled me, for a reason. Acoustic pianos will produce sound when the hammer only descends a smaller distance. I use a digital piano. You cannot produce sound unless you go quite near the bottom, and this is a known thing about digitals. There are some fancier more expensive models that have sensors at two locations, so that you can expand your touch in regards to distance. This is why the statement that students playing digitals would not go far enough down into the keys surprised me, since a problem is that we have to go quite a ways down. Could there be other factors involved? Are you getting this from the students themselves - ones that you teach or talk to?

Before I bought my DP, I visited quite a few stores and explored what was out there. I remember a cheap Casio with spring loaded keys which would have created poorish habits. I once had a keyboard which was more like a toy with gimmicks. The touch was lighter than the keyboard I'm typing on. By any chance, are you thinking of those? That one would create the behaviour you describe.
bigsmile, I think Morodiene has the key: tell teachers it's a digital piano with weighted keys. Don't call it a keyboard.
Posted By: TimR Re: Piano teachers do not accept digital piano - 06/20/14 12:12 PM
Originally Posted by keystring
Originally Posted by A443
The typical problem with digital is that students routinely neglect to play at/with the bottom of the keys...

This part puzzled me, for a reason. Acoustic pianos will produce sound when the hammer only descends a smaller distance. I use a digital piano. You cannot produce sound unless you go quite near the bottom, and this is a known thing about digitals.


Just guessing. But digitals have a master volume control. It is important to set it to a level that approximates an acoustic piano, then leave it alone and do all your dynamics with touch. But if you set it too high, or move it around, you might get that effect.
hey guys im new to the forum, and recently taking my practice as a piano teacher to the next level in terms of scale, recently opened our new facility north york piano studio

and i have to admit i hadnt put much thought until now about the reasoning behind many teachers not accepting digital. But thanks for sharing i mean I do see many of the points made as valid but at the same time its in m eyes understandable not everyone will be able to afford a grand piano for home use smile and that being the case i find digital as a reasonable tool so long as my student also get practice on the real thing.
Posted By: R_B Re: Piano teachers do not accept digital piano - 06/20/14 01:18 PM
Originally Posted by keystring
Originally Posted by A443
The typical problem with digital is that students routinely neglect to play at/with the bottom of the keys...

This part puzzled me, for a reason. Acoustic pianos will produce sound when the hammer only descends a smaller distance. I use a digital piano. You cannot produce sound unless you go quite near the bottom, and this is a known thing about digitals. There are some fancier more expensive models that have sensors at two locations, so that you can expand your touch in regards to distance. This is why the statement that students playing digitals would not go far enough down into the keys surprised me, since a problem is that we have to go quite a ways down. Could there be other factors involved? Are you getting this from the students themselves - ones that you teach or talk to?

Before I bought my DP, I visited quite a few stores and explored what was out there. I remember a cheap Casio with spring loaded keys which would have created poorish habits. I once had a keyboard which was more like a toy with gimmicks. The touch was lighter than the keyboard I'm typing on. By any chance, are you thinking of those? That one would create the behaviour you describe.


Some of that may be partly true of some of the cheaper digital units.
A little farther up the scale are units with quite acceptable velocity curves.
Farther yet, customizable velocity curves can match the keyBOARD to the sound emulation (to your liking..., which may or may not match brand/model X/Y acoustic piano).

There REALLY ARE digital pianos with FAR better actions than some acoustic pianos. A GOOD digital piano does beat a POOR acoustic piano.

Anyway, I think the bigger problem with rejecting students' use of (whatever you dislike that they have at home) is that it is often what the parents have ALREADY BOUGHT and the parent/child/teacher triangle becomes a battleground that leads to the loss of yet another student - not just lost from a particular teacher, but lost from music.

There are a lot of bad digital pianos out there. It might be possible for a good technician to take an acoustic that's in bad shape and make it better but there's nothing you can do for a bad digital piano. I'll speculate that many parents looking for a piano never find themselves at places like Piano World researching and asking questions, but buy something at Costco or Best Buy because it looked like a great deal. That may be what drives situations like this. I wonder what percentage of the total digital pianos sold are the mass-market knockoffs with bad actions and bad everything else, but keep the price point at a couple hundred dollars?
Originally Posted by R_B

Some of that may be partly true of some of the cheaper digital units.
A little farther up the scale are units with quite acceptable velocity curves.
Farther yet, customizable velocity curves can match the keyBOARD to the sound emulation (to your liking..., which may or may not match brand/model X/Y acoustic piano).

There REALLY ARE digital pianos with FAR better actions than some acoustic pianos. A GOOD digital piano does beat a POOR acoustic piano.


I wanted to add that there are many very good digitals out there now that will be far superior to a good upright piano. The digitals are now trying to emulate grand piano actions. I recently purchase the Kawai MP11 for practice and teaching during the summer when I'm away, and I enjoy playing it very much. Not quite the experience of an acoustic grand, but very close.

Quote
Anyway, I think the bigger problem with rejecting students' use of (whatever you dislike that they have at home) is that it is often what the parents have ALREADY BOUGHT and the parent/child/teacher triangle becomes a battleground that leads to the loss of yet another student - not just lost from a particular teacher, but lost from music.

I agree. If a prospective student's family approaches me and says they have a keyboard, I will first ask questions about it to determine if it is, in fact, a keyboard. If so, then I will explain that they will want to upgrade to a piano, and I discuss the rental possibilities and what a person could buy new for around $500.

I do not refuse a student for this, but I do inform them that they will want to get a piano (acoustic or digital) after 2 months, which is enough time to determine if the student will want to continue.
Originally Posted by bigsmile
I'm looking for a piano teacher for my son who is just turning 5. I have a digital piano, and to me it seems that it should be OK for at least a beginners. But all the piano teachers I contacted required an acoustic piano instead of a digital one.

The OP is obviously a music enthusiast and piano lover. So much so that he wants to share this passion with his 5 yr old son. He even went out and purchased an electronic keyboard and has now decided that lessons to help his son would be appropriate, but horror of horrors, when contacting teachers, discovers that keyboards are not held in the high esteem which the salesman displayed. So he turns to a forum of piano teachers in hopes of finding validation. Thus far, the response from actual teachers has been underwhelming.

There may be other issues at play here. First, most teachers will probably not be happy taking a 5 yr old, for a whole host of reasons, but blaming this on the instrument used in the home is easier perhaps than detailing why little Dwight isn't actually ready for lessons. Or perhaps when the parent signaled that they had purchased the $295 Costco special, it was a red flag to the teacher that Dad wouldn't be able to reliably come up with the $120/mo lesson fee. There may be other issues we don't know about but which were communicated over the phone which put prospective teachers on guard.

Perhaps, for future reference of parents who share the piano passion, but haven't yet taken the leap, would be to discuss lessons for your son or daughter with a teacher or teachers first, then research instruments. Just a suggestion.

And, FWIW, more experienced teachers have learned that all other things being equal (yes, we know, they never are), the better the home instrument, the better the student's progress and growth.
Originally Posted by David Farley
There are a lot of bad digital pianos out there. It might be possible for a good technician to take an acoustic that's in bad shape and make it better but there's nothing you can do for a bad digital piano. I'll speculate that many parents looking for a piano never find themselves at places like Piano World researching and asking questions, but buy something at Costco or Best Buy because it looked like a great deal. That may be what drives situations like this. I wonder what percentage of the total digital pianos sold are the mass-market knockoffs with bad actions and bad everything else, but keep the price point at a couple hundred dollars?


Yes, at the low end. I don't think you can get a decent NEW digital for under $500. There are off-brand ones, of course, but you get what you pay for.

It is best to do your research, read reviews, and post on the Digital Piano forum on this site as well. Stick with the brand names: Kawai, Yamaha, Roland, Casio (for Casio, the PX series or Celviano models only). These are all high-quality, and honestly, with Casio PX you get the most bang for your buck. Of all of them, however, I believe higher-end Kawais have great actions.
Among the various possibilities, we have not included that there will be teachers who have never researched digital pianos, explored them, or kept abreast with their development, maybe because there was no reason to do so.

I gave a link to Rachel Jimenez blog. She is an experienced teacher and member of PW. She did a thorough exploration of digital pianos in recent times, and has a detailed write-up of her findings. It goes not only into digital pianos, but also uprights, grand pianos, and qualities of grands. Anyone (teachers in this case) who has not kept abreast, or has not run into the issue, may find the articles very informative.
I think Morodiene has done far more exploration, and has much more experiences and insights, if you look at her posts in the digital forum.

Originally Posted by The Monkeys
I think Morodiene has done far more exploration, and has much more experiences and insights, if you look at her posts in the digital forum.

I was not responding to Morodiene (check the "Re:"), and there is no competition between teachers that I'm aware of. When you are dismissing my link, did you read it before dismissing it? The advantage to the link is that everything is summarized in two or three compact posts. For those teachers who are not that interested in digital pianos, they may be more inclined to look at information all in one place.
Originally Posted by keystring
Originally Posted by The Monkeys
I think Morodiene has done far more exploration, and has much more experiences and insights, if you look at her posts in the digital forum.

I was not responding to Morodiene (check the "Re:"), and there is no competition between teachers that I'm aware of. When you are dismissing my link, did you read it before dismissing it? The advantage to the link is that everything is summarized in two or three compact posts. For those teachers who are not that interested in digital pianos, they may be more inclined to look at information all in one place.


The Re: on The Monkeys' post is to the OP.
I was referring to my "Re:" in my post, to which The Monkeys was responding.
I find the "Re:" to be unreliable, and pay no attention to it. I work out who's replying to whom by context.
Teaching on a digital is very, very bad. A student practices on a grand at home, then comes to your studio and has to play on your piece of garbage???

I think the teachers are correct to require at least a medium-quality upright for practice in the home. Grand is preferable.
Originally Posted by Polyphonist
Teaching on a digital is very, very bad. A student practices on a grand at home, then comes to your studio and has to play on your piece of garbage???

I doubt that kids who practice on a grand at home will end up with a piano teacher who teaches on a digital.

But it is true: some piano teachers can't afford to buy an acoustic. I can't blame them for their state of economics. You've got to start somewhere.
Originally Posted by Polyphonist
Teaching on a digital is very, very bad. A student practices on a grand at home, then comes to your studio and has to play on your piece of garbage???

I think the teachers are correct to require at least a medium-quality upright for practice in the home. Grand is preferable.

The result of your advice would be that I would never be able to study piano. It means that whatever I have done the last few years, would not exist. I am not the only one. You are saying essentially that anyone who cannot get an upright must teach himself, nobody without an upright can have lessons.

As for your second point: Nobody has suggested teaching on garbage. We're discussing digital pianos. Such language is needlessly inflammatory.
And practicing on a grand is no guarantee of student quality! Some of my absolute worst, worst, WORST students have a lovely grand piano at home. Rich kids tend to be spoiled rotten and don't appreciate what they have.

I also work for a few families that make six figures. Their upright piano might as well be chopped down and burned as firewood.
Originally Posted by AZNpiano
And practicing on a grand is no guarantee of student quality! Some of my absolute worst, worst, WORST students have a lovely grand piano at home. Rich kids tend to be spoiled rotten and don't appreciate what they have.

I also work for a few families that make six figures. Their upright piano might as well be chopped down and burned as firewood.

Also, you can make an demands or "deals" you want with parents re getting or keeping a good instrument, but it doesn't mean spit, because they may or may not follow through. I can't even get the parents of my students to tune their pianos, most of them. And often the best students I have also have the weakest instruments.

So the idea of punishing students because their parents have less money, or won't listen, is just totally cruel.
Originally Posted by AZNpiano
But it is true: some piano teachers can't afford to buy an acoustic. I can't blame them for their state of economics. You've got to start somewhere.

It's not true for some teachers, it's true for all teachers. Unless, of course, you win the lotto. This is why some business courses should be mandatory for all music majors; there is such a thing as a business loan. You work out a business plan, you estimate your earnings, you go to your financial institution and negotiate a loan for what you need. Or you work at another job until you save up enough money to purchase the right equipment for the job. Or you work for a studio and set aside money each month until you can afford to go out on your own. There are many avenues to follow.

There are many useful applications for digital keyboards. Learning to read correctly, fingering skills, are two which come to mind. Inputting data to notation programs is far faster, and probably more accurate using keyboards, than using a mouse or qwerty keyboard. Teaching class piano is another ideal application for the keyboard.
Originally Posted by AZNpiano
And practicing on a grand is no guarantee of student quality! Some of my absolute worst, worst, WORST students have a lovely grand piano at home. Rich kids tend to be spoiled rotten and don't appreciate what they have.

I also work for a few families that make six figures. Their upright piano might as well be chopped down and burned as firewood.

I can relate to this, but IMO this is the exception. For the most part, as my students' instruments improve, their pianism improves along with it.
Originally Posted by John v.d.Brook
Originally Posted by AZNpiano
And practicing on a grand is no guarantee of student quality! Some of my absolute worst, worst, WORST students have a lovely grand piano at home. Rich kids tend to be spoiled rotten and don't appreciate what they have.

I also work for a few families that make six figures. Their upright piano might as well be chopped down and burned as firewood.

I can relate to this, but IMO this is the exception. For the most part, as my students' instruments improve, their pianism improves along with it.

The exception, in my opinion, is when a serious student with talent and with serious parents who have the money to buy a really fine piano is lucky enough to connect with an excellent teacher.

Those are quite a few factors that have to all come together for success.
Gary, I can't argue with that! smile
Originally Posted by John v.d.Brook

There are many useful applications for digital keyboards. Learning to read correctly, fingering skills, are two which come to mind.

John, are you discussing keyboards rather than digital pianos?
Originally Posted by Morodiene
Stick with the brand names: Kawai, Yamaha, Roland, Casio (for Casio, the PX series or Celviano models only). These are all high-quality, and honestly, with Casio PX you get the most bang for your buck. Of all of them, however, I believe higher-end Kawais have great actions.

I'll add Korg to the mix. In the past few years they have made some pretty nice digitals in the $500-1000 range. Their RH3 keybed is pretty sweet.
Originally Posted by keystring
Originally Posted by Polyphonist
Teaching on a digital is very, very bad. A student practices on a grand at home, then comes to your studio and has to play on your piece of garbage???

I think the teachers are correct to require at least a medium-quality upright for practice in the home. Grand is preferable.

The result of your advice would be that I would never be able to study piano. It means that whatever I have done the last few years, would not exist. I am not the only one. You are saying essentially that anyone who cannot get an upright must teach himself, nobody without an upright can have lessons.

No, nobody without an upright can have lessons with a teacher who requires one. Some teachers have much lower standards and would be content to teach a student who only has a digital.

The fact remains that quality of pianos does correlate with student proficiency.
Originally Posted by Polyphonist
The fact remains that quality of pianos does correlate with student proficiency.

No, it does not! There is no correlation between the two.

A fantastic student (from a poor family) might be practicing on what constitutes firewood, or on a $400 Costco special, because that's all the parents can afford.

A downright terrible student (from a rich family) might be practicing on a Steinway D that the parents purchased for looks. Some families actually believe that the Steinway logo is a status symbol.
Originally Posted by Polyphonist
No, nobody without an upright can have lessons with a teacher who requires one. Some teachers have much lower standards and would be content to teach a student who only has a digital.

The fact remains that quality of pianos does correlate with student proficiency.
I'm sorry but you don't have a clue! frown
Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Originally Posted by Polyphonist
The fact remains that quality of pianos does correlate with student proficiency.

No, it does not! There is no correlation between the two.

A fantastic student (from a poor family) might be practicing on what constitutes firewood, or on a $400 Costco special, because that's all the parents can afford.

A downright terrible student (from a rich family) might be practicing on a Steinway D that the parents purchased for looks. Some families actually believe that the Steinway logo is a status symbol.

You have not proved anything. The fact that there are exceptions does not mean that there is no correlation.
Originally Posted by Polyphonist

You have not proved anything. The fact that there are exceptions does not mean that there is no correlation.
Would you happen to have proof to what YOU're saying? Otherwise it's all pub talk.
Originally Posted by Brian Lucas
Originally Posted by Morodiene
Stick with the brand names: Kawai, Yamaha, Roland, Casio (for Casio, the PX series or Celviano models only). These are all high-quality, and honestly, with Casio PX you get the most bang for your buck. Of all of them, however, I believe higher-end Kawais have great actions.

I'll add Korg to the mix. In the past few years they have made some pretty nice digitals in the $500-1000 range. Their RH3 keybed is pretty sweet.


Korg is more known for their synths, and I have not played any of their digital pianos to comment, but they do make a great product. It will be interesting to see what they are able to do in the coming years to establish themselves in the DP category.
Originally Posted by Nikolas
Originally Posted by Polyphonist

You have not proved anything. The fact that there are exceptions does not mean that there is no correlation.
Would you happen to have proof to what YOU're saying? Otherwise it's all pub talk.


I think what Polyphonist is referring to is that a student who has a good grand piano that is well-maintained and the same student who has a digital piano will not progress the same. If this is the case, I agree. However, if that student has a high-end digital, I think it will take them pretty far, but there is still room for improvement for digitals to match the expression and feedback capable on a good acoustic grand.

So, ya, that's the ideal. The same student on a crappy spinet will also be held back - perhaps even more so than by a good digital. Whether a teacher chooses to not accept a student based on whether or not they have a good acoustic grand to practice on is a different story and entirely up to the teacher's discretion.
Originally Posted by keystring
I was referring to my "Re:" in my post, to which The Monkeys was responding.


It was clear what you were referring to.

I was referring to the Re in The Monkey's post which indicates that he or she may not have been responding to your post.
My previous link was somewhat vague. One of the (full time) teachers in PW did extensive research into the question, not by reading anyone's hypotheses or speculating, but through hands-on exploration. I would link to Morodiene's posts that TM referred to as well, but I don't know where they are. The links below are all in one place, and as such are excellent references.

Discovering the Digital (R. Jimenez)

Advantages of Playing the Digital Piano

The Experience of Playing the Grand Piano

Originally Posted by Morodiene
However, if that student has a high-end digital, I think it will take them pretty far, but there is still room for improvement for digitals to match the expression and feedback capable on a good acoustic grand.

A lot of people forget that that things change over time.

I loathe the little 61 key keyboards with their horrible actions and tiny sound. If I could never hear another one of those miserable things, I would be very happy. But I'm not going to tell a family that I won't start a young kid because they have one. I might DROP a student if they do not replace it, because I absolutely believe that such a terrible keyboard soon becomes a terrible liability.

And I think almost everyone here would agree.

My feeling about DPs is more nuanced.

If I have a student who is definitely pushing towards some kind of career, I'm going to push really hard for a grand. But unlike some other people here if the option is between one of the higher end DPs, in great condition OR a spinet in second-rate condition, one that is going to make an good tech curse trying to get it to work, I'd prefer the student stick with the DP for awhile.

I say that because I fear most teachers do not go to the homes of their students and check out their pianos. Whenever I do so, I'm usually shocked at how out of tune, how unregulated and generally how awful they sound. If I sit down at a piano and can't make music to please myself, I know a student is going to fail.

So I'd rather the families I work with take LOTS of time, plan carefully how they are going to get a good instrument, then use a good DP in the meantime.

It's not a perfect solution, but this is not a perfect world.

Most of all, I'm not going to refuse to work with someone talented because the instrument is not great.
Quote

So, ya, that's the ideal. The same student on a crappy spinet will also be held back - perhaps even more so than by a good digital.

If you have played some of the spinets I've in the homes of students, you would rather play on a decent DP. Because those instruments are AWFUl. frown
Originally Posted by Gary D.
.... because I fear most teachers do not go to the homes of their students and check out their pianos. Whenever I do so, I'm usually shocked at how out of tune, how unregulated and generally how awful they sound. If I sit down at a piano and can't make music to please myself, I know a student is going to fail.

Teachers visiting students' homes every now and then for a piano check ought to be the subject of an important thread! Thanks for mentioning it.
Originally Posted by Polyphonist
The fact remains that quality of pianos does correlate with student proficiency.

Although it might be a reasonably theory, you haven't offered any evidence to substantiate this as a "fact". Therefore I classify your statement as just an unsupported idea.

Even if there is a proven correlation, the outliers are so significant the correlation would have little meaning for a teacher making decisions about which students to accept. The most gifted, highest achieving student from my studio in the last five years had a very modest piano. It was a real piano, but not a good one. I have other students with Steinway grands, etc. which are far better pianos.
So many of my students are practicing on substandard uprights (that are out of tune, out of regulation, and super loud), they might as well be practicing on tiny keyboards. They're better off with a quality DP with weighted keys.

Some parents think that ALL upright pianos are the same, and their $800 firewood will work just like a brand new Yamaha U1. And most of these families aren't poor.
I have a 76 key DP, so I guess I'm lucky to have found a teacher willing to lower her standards for me. smile

She did however ask a couple of questions first: Could the keys be played soft/loud and did it have a sustain pedal.

My keys aren't hammer graded, so there is that difference, but I'm okay with that for now. Maybe I'll treat myself to an upgrade around the holidays.






Originally Posted by Linda G
I have a 76 key DP, so I guess I'm lucky to have found a teacher willing to lower her standards for me. smile

She did however ask a couple of questions first: Could the keys be played soft/loud and did it have a sustain pedal.

But if it is only 76, it will almost certainly be unweighted, and that is one of the things that causes huge problems.
Quote

My keys aren't hammer graded, so there is that difference, but I'm okay with that for now. Maybe I'll treat myself to an upgrade around the holidays.

That's all most of us ask for. Upgrade before you develop habits that can't be fixed...
Hello bigsmile,

I think you should keep looking for a piano teacher who's OK with your digital situation, but this is based on my own experience living and working in Los Angeles. I'm not sure where you're looking for a teacher.. the climate/culture of your area could be a deciding factor on whether or not it'd be feasible to find a teacher who will work with you.

As far as making a point to specify that your keyboard is a casio with weighted keys, I'm not sure that would make much of a difference in your search. Teachers who refuse to work with students in your situation have their reasons, that may have more to do with other factors than what you would think.. If the teacher is educated, they will be well aware of the advancements in digital piano technology. If they are unaware of these things, well, I see that as a sign of a poorly educated piano teacher, so.. why would you want to work with him/her? =p
Originally Posted by josephinechang

As far as making a point to specify that your keyboard is a casio with weighted keys, I'm not sure that would make much of a difference in your search. Teachers who refuse to work with students in your situation have their reasons, that may have more to do with other factors than what you would think.. If the teacher is educated, they will be well aware of the advancements in digital piano technology. If they are unaware of these things, well, I see that as a sign of a poorly educated piano teacher, so.. why would you want to work with him/her? =p

I could not agree more.

Here is an example: just yesterday I was explaining to a student who has a weighted keyboard with three pedals why his soft pedal may give some idea of what an una corda pedal does on a grand, although of course the grand's pedal is so much better. Whereas if he plays on a spinet, or even on most uprights, the "soft pedal" will be utterly useless and will even destroy the feel of the action.

For me, this would be perfect:

1) A very young student starts off with anything, even a 61 key keyboard. Let's learn a few basic, get reading going.

2) Immediately plan an upgrade, but probably to a full sized weighted digital. Why?

3) Because I want any talented student to move up to a grand. I would not buy a grand for my own grandchildren unless they demonstrated some kind of dedication and had some kind of track record. I would not want them under any circumstances playing on an upright.

4) I loathe uprights because that is all I had until age 17, and I feel it crippled my advancement. I played on a grand in lessons, because my teacher had one, a fine Steinway, and it was pure heck for me. I went from a light action Knight to a heavy action Steinway. I even struggled with the soft pedal, because I was very small, and it was so heavy.

It was not until I got to college and had the opportunity to play on a grand each day that I finally knew what one can do.
Originally Posted by bigsmile
Do you think the requirement of these teachers reasonable? Do you guys suggest I keep looking for one who accept digital piano or you also think it's absolutely necessary to have a real one?


I teach on a grand piano and I always advocate practicing on a real piano. However, I never turn away students because they have electronic instruments because I do not want to turn away someone with real talent, or whose passion for music is quite sincere and who may, after a year or so, upgrade to a better instrument anyway. What I care about is that students practice daily and give that practice their best attention.

The electronic instruments are here to stay because they fulfill a needed function: they are inexpensive, and they can be isolated acoustically with headphones. These are big issues especially in crowded urban settings where older buildings have thin walls. It is my hope that the quality of action and variety of tonal expression will be improved year by year. I am optimistic this will happen.

As a student progresses a point is reached when an electronic instrument is a hinderance to developing a strong and sophisticated technique, and subtle tonal shadings and pedaling techniques cannot be realized on electronic instruments. But that is not what we are talking about here. Not yet.

I encourage you not to worry about this matter presently - keep your instrument for now, but keep your eye open for a piano within your price range - begin to get familiar with the market.

What your child needs most at this point is a teacher who actually knows how to teach, and parental guidance at the keyboard on a daily basis - even if you do not read music yourself, your child will need your direct guidance at the keyboard every day if you want to see actual progress. A truly competent teacher will not only teach your child, but illustrate to you in the lesson (which you or your wife attends) exactly how you are to guide your child at home. Parents who are not 'up' for this task I do not accept - there is no point in continuing.

If you want your child to fail, simply ignore them. It works every time. No exceptions.

It is not just child + teacher. It is child + you + teacher. This will take a modest degree of stamina on your part, but it takes stamina by your child as well, not to mention the teacher. A teacher can be replaced in this triangle of learning, but you can not be replaced.

The degree to which you do this is the degree to which your child will progress - it really is just that direct.



I have two kids, aged 8 and 10 roughly. For me it's a given fact that they will try quite few things and stick only on very few of them...

I figure that it's a big investment to go out and buy a piano before your child starts on piano lessons and the kid, itself, can experience what it feels like.

Certainly I've met a couple of students who went out on a limb, in Greece, which right now is in a critically ill condition economically, to get a piano after the first month of the piano. but it was dead clear that the kid was dedicated, loved piano, loved the lessons with me and has progressed tons ever since.

My other little talent is a 6 year old who has an old (hmm...), yamaha digital piano. I plan on telling them that after the 2nd year they will need to get a real piano, if they plan on having the kid spend some quality time finally. But for now we're tackling subjects which do not exactly require the best technique in the world (they have more to do with understanding rather than doing), so I guess it's ok.
Originally Posted by bigsmile
Thanks for the reply.

To be honest, I'm not that into classic music. I have no intention of entering my son into serious competitions, at least not before he show any sign of being talented at this, he's not the competitive type.

I like music myself, as I said, I learn piano by myself on and off. I mostly want to introduce my son to music. I also want him to be good at piano, but I'm not that keen about him being able to play difficult classic works, but just having a way of expressing himself through keyboard.

Don't get me wrong, it's not that I just want him to be mediocre. I actually want him to be good, but I don't want him to just be good at playing difficult piano musics, but to be good at a broader sense, to be proficient in keyboard music or even music in general.


Also a parent here, and I shared much of your sentiment when I started my daughter on piano -- and that's what is motivating me to respond. This is just my perspective. I had no particular affinity for classical piano either. I just wanted my daughter to enjoy and appreciate music. Personally I am much more of a rock and blues enthusiast. But so far, my daughter is more interested in playing classical music. She is not that motivated about experimenting yet, which I consider to be pretty essential for rock / blues / jazz. In her case, she really needed an acoustic piano to develop the right techniques to play these classical pieces. So I would recommend keeping your child's need in mind in figuring out if and when to move to an acoustic piano. If my daughter had been more interested in blues / jazz, I probably would thought seriously about moving to high end digital piano instead.

My daughter was also five when we started her. She played a digital piano for three years. I will say that while her basic playing skills developed pretty well, i.e. sight reading, rhythm, fluency, she did not come close to being able to get tone or articulation out of an acoustic. It took her some time to adjust her technique after we got the acoustic. In retrospect, should we have started with an acoustic? Without knowing what she will actually enjoy -- NO!!
Posted By: kck Re: Piano teachers do not accept digital piano - 06/30/14 01:16 AM
I am just a parent also, but my kid has been playing for 8 years and started at 5. He's now pretty advanced and works on concertos, big sonatas, etc. He plays primarily classical, but has learned some jazz, done some improv, will accompany, and can sight read fairly well now.

I think it really depends on the teacher. My kid's teacher was teaching classical technique and listening for good tone with good finger position from day one. He requires an acoustic from the get go. And we do not have a fancy one - it's a rebuilt 100 year old piano. We also have a Casio PX now too, and we use the casio on the road, but it does not come close to the subtlety that can be achieved on this not very fancy piano.

If you really want to start on a digital, look for teachers with more of a non-classical and non-competitive angle. I do agree, not every teacher is willing and able to start a 5 year old. Unless you're child is very precocious and self motivated, I would not start with a teacher that doesn't have experience teaching young kids at this age.
I have only read up to half way through page 2, so I am not sure if I am contradicting someone here or this has already been covered, but I am going to use three of my students for an example. (Regardless of the piano these students have, I have a very good quality grand that I teach on, so they are getting to play a good piano for half an hour a week.)

Student one comes from a working class family (not poor, but I am guessing can't afford to run out and buy a new upright or grand) and at home she has an upright that was passed down from her grandmother. I believe they recently had it tuned after it being out of tune since she began (this is her third year learning), and this student always jokes about how the second E above middle C on her piano doesn't work! ANYWAY, In the three years I have been watching her progress nicely, a little slow at first, but nothing I should be speaking to her parents about, but once she developed a love for playing and performing suddenly she was making leaps and bounds in her playing simply because of her love it- because she loves the music and the piano she practices more than any 10 year old I have ever taught! And her piano at home hasn't changed, it's still that old heap of "fire wood", but because she is keen to learn and loves it, she is happy to continue working on what she has for now!

Student two comes across to me as a little bit of a spoilt child (just to give you an idea of her personality- one time she demolished a piece she was performing at a recital and would not take any criticism from me, and continued to tell me someone switched the notes around on the piano) ANWAY, her parents bought her a new digital piano and she then began lessons, a couple months later they bought her a second hand upright (but in good condition- they got it from a dealer) and this student doesn't work hard because she seems to expect that the ability and skill will just fall into her lap. She has this very high quality instrument at her disposal and she hardly ever practices.

Student three has a Samick upright and a Yamaha digital (one of the cheaper ones- DGX-620 or something like that), and he made very nice progression in his playing when he only had a digital, then when he upgraded to the upright, I noticed a good lurch forward in his playing.

I guess the point I am making is, if the student has the thirst to learn and the love for it, they will put up with whatever piano they have until they get a good one, on the other hand, someone could have a top of the range grand and if they don't practice or have a passion for it, then that grand is going to waste and they might as well have a crumby old upright.
Also, the point I tried to make with that third student I spoke about, is that a digital is fine for the first few years but eventually the student will get to a point where the digital cannot take them any further. But this is exactly the same- eventually a pianist will outgrow an upright and will need to upgrade to either a grand or even a full size upright.

Yes I understand crumby instruments can cause bad habits, but I think until students (such as my first student mentioned) can get a quality instrument, the best thing to do is to bring these issues to their attention so they can be aware of what could happen if they are not careful.
Originally Posted by kck

If you really want to start on a digital, look for teachers with more of a non-classical and non-competitive angle.

There are teachers of classical piano who teach students who have digital pianos, and do so seriously. That has already been established in this thread. It does not make sense, if somebody has a digital piano and wants (their child) to learn classical, to look for a non-classical teacher.
Originally Posted by TheAccompanist


I guess the point I am making is, if the student has the thirst to learn and the love for it, they will put up with whatever piano they have until they get a good one, on the other hand, someone could have a top of the range grand and if they don't practice or have a passion for it, then that grand is going to waste and they might as well have a crumby old upright.


I grew up playing a heap of firewood, too, like your first student. If I had a better instrument, I would have progressed much faster than how I did. I would have not gotten frustrated when the piano would not respond to the sounds I was trying to coax out of it.

Did I survive? Yes, but I also think that if I had a decent upright or even a nicer digital I would have been better off. I actually hated practicing and would only play when I had to because of how awful this piano was. It was my great grandmother's and so it was in the family, but not maintained at all.

So even if the student is doing alright and practicing well, continue to encourage the parents to upgrade ASAP. Start looking into options now and save up for a nice digital or a better acoustic.
Originally Posted by rlinkt
Originally Posted by bigsmile
Thanks for the reply.

To be honest, I'm not that into classic music. I have no intention of entering my son into serious competitions, at least not before he show any sign of being talented at this, he's not the competitive type.

I like music myself, as I said, I learn piano by myself on and off. I mostly want to introduce my son to music. I also want him to be good at piano, but I'm not that keen about him being able to play difficult classic works, but just having a way of expressing himself through keyboard.

Don't get me wrong, it's not that I just want him to be mediocre. I actually want him to be good, but I don't want him to just be good at playing difficult piano musics, but to be good at a broader sense, to be proficient in keyboard music or even music in general.


Also a parent here, and I shared much of your sentiment when I started my daughter on piano -- and that's what is motivating me to respond. This is just my perspective. I had no particular affinity for classical piano either. I just wanted my daughter to enjoy and appreciate music. Personally I am much more of a rock and blues enthusiast. But so far, my daughter is more interested in playing classical music. She is not that motivated about experimenting yet, which I consider to be pretty essential for rock / blues / jazz. In her case, she really needed an acoustic piano to develop the right techniques to play these classical pieces. So I would recommend keeping your child's need in mind in figuring out if and when to move to an acoustic piano. If my daughter had been more interested in blues / jazz, I probably would thought seriously about moving to high end digital piano instead.

My daughter was also five when we started her. She played a digital piano for three years. I will say that while her basic playing skills developed pretty well, i.e. sight reading, rhythm, fluency, she did not come close to being able to get tone or articulation out of an acoustic. It took her some time to adjust her technique after we got the acoustic. In retrospect, should we have started with an acoustic? Without knowing what she will actually enjoy -- NO!!
I like the point here and want to emphasize it: just because the parent doesn't care for classical music does not mean the child won't.

I wanted to add to bigsmile that a good teacher won't enter a student into a competition if they don't feel they will do well at it. Not every teacher finds competition important, but there are some music festivals that they play for a judge and get awards and stuff like that, but they are not competitions - you only compete with yourself. Try not to make judgments about things before you get to them. Be open to what your child and their teacher have to say. Your opinion counts, of course, and you may know what is best for your child more than your child does. A teacher needs this information to help guide the student. But when it comes to music tastes and trying something new, try to be open.
Posted By: kck Re: Piano teachers do not accept digital piano - 06/30/14 05:53 PM
Originally Posted by keystring
Originally Posted by kck

If you really want to start on a digital, look for teachers with more of a non-classical and non-competitive angle.

There are teachers of classical piano who teach students who have digital pianos, and do so seriously. That has already been established in this thread. It does not make sense, if somebody has a digital piano and wants (their child) to learn classical, to look for a non-classical teacher.


The OP posted he (or she) was not into classical music and did not want to necessarily follow a competitive track and had already spoke to many teachers that would not take a child without an acoustic.

I don't doubt there are teachers that will take a kid with a digital, but my kid goes to a large program with about 30 different classical piano teachers and none will accept a student with a digital for any longer than a few months. I live in a large urban area, and many of the classical teachers are pretty intense. My brother lives rural and the more laid back teacher he has for his kid has no problem with digital or even an organ. It will vary by location. It didn't sound like the OP was having much luck and sometimes thinking outside the box helps.
There are more options today. In fact, I'd suggest that it's maybe better to be buying a piano these days than any time in the past. When my sister and I started lessons around 1970, my parents bought a new Yamaha upright. It was not top-of-the-line, but it still cost around $2,000. According to the CPI index, that's about $9,000 in 2013 dollars. That was a hopeful investment for kids who had never played piano. My point is not that they spent that much money, but that there weren't the options available yesterday that there are today. Let's say they were doing the same thing today and spent $2,000 on a really nice digital piano. That's maybe $128 in 1970 dollars according to the same CPI index (I'm taking the low end of a range). But there were no digital pianos in 1970 and nobody was selling $128 uprights either. And, in fact, you can even get a decent upright today for way less than $9,000.

http://www.measuringworth.com/ppowerus/
Originally Posted by Morodiene
Originally Posted by TheAccompanist


I guess the point I am making is, if the student has the thirst to learn and the love for it, they will put up with whatever piano they have until they get a good one, on the other hand, someone could have a top of the range grand and if they don't practice or have a passion for it, then that grand is going to waste and they might as well have a crumby old upright.


I grew up playing a heap of firewood, too, like your first student. If I had a better instrument, I would have progressed much faster than how I did. I would have not gotten frustrated when the piano would not respond to the sounds I was trying to coax out of it.

Did I survive? Yes, but I also think that if I had a decent upright or even a nicer digital I would have been better off. I actually hated practicing and would only play when I had to because of how awful this piano was. It was my great grandmother's and so it was in the family, but not maintained at all.

So even if the student is doing alright and practicing well, continue to encourage the parents to upgrade ASAP. Start looking into options now and save up for a nice digital or a better acoustic.

Oh yes, I 100% agree that a better piano will help her progress much quicker- apart from all the other benefits, getting a new piano always gives you a burst of inspiration smile
And don't worry, I have spoken to her parents a couple times about upgrading... I believe they are looking at digital pianos for a Christmas present laugh (Better late then never I suppose...)
I guess it depends on the quality of the digital piano. Usually if you learn on an accoustic piano then moving to other keyboard type instruments is easier. Learning on a non accoustic keyboard may pose various issues, some mechanical some accoustical (ex: how tempered is the electronic keyboard) but again with the right price one can get an electronic keyboard that comes close to a regular piano including touche etc... Of course the price of the electronic keyboard will be higher than that of a low end piano, especially a second hand one.
I guess for the first series of Alfred's courses an electronic piano will be ok. Later you will have to change.
If you're one of those that follow the virtuoso path which means private lessons from beginning to end with a virtuoso, then you will indeed need to start with an accoustical instrument since the prescribed work is quite different from mainstream.
Not sure if the OP is still reading this, and I haven't read all the replies yet, but just want to add that an alternative is renting an acoustic piano. This is what we did when my older kid started. Depending on location and particular availability, I'd say around $40 a month will get you something decent. So if you rent one for a few months, you can see how different a decent acoustic piano is from a decent digital and how interested your kid is in studying the piano, besides getting an exposure to music making through piano lessons. Then you can consider your options: a good digital, a decent (maybe used) acoustic, a really good acoustic, etc.

Good luck in your search.
I'm personally very leery about rentals.

A couple of months back I took a quick tour of several local piano shops. Those shops also had their rental pianos (uprights) out on the floor and some consignments (uprights) as well. Between the stores there were more than 20 of these pianos. I don't recall liking a single one of those I tried. Keys felt sloppy with too much play, felt just plain short, irritating inconsistencies of the action up and down. Color me unimpressed.

New uprights that I considered tolerable seemed to start at about 4500usd or so...how long before those start to loosen up I wonder?? I'm sure I could find a used piano through craigslist or whatever but I'm certain I that would require a lot of time to sort though all the abused pianos. But then used baby grands start kicking in at about 5500usd or so (if you have the room).

With the new digitals I think they started to feel reasonable around 1700usd. Going into the 3000usd range you get into some very nice digital actions. They feel nice and tight and consistent and from my experience with my 20 year old clavinova, the actions should wear reasonably well.

Maybe I'm being too pessimistic but I'm not really sure where some of these piano teachers are coming from. In an ideal world every student would have a well maintained concert hall grand piano in their house, but for most families that's just not going to happen.
Although your experience is valid for you, your experience is anecdotal. Perhaps the problems you experienced are due to your location - Colorado has generally a very low humidity, which would certainly cause wood shrinkage and some sloppiness in the action. Your tuner/technician could easily evaluate the cause and an estimate for bringing up to speed. Also, the size of your town, the number and quality of dealers would make a difference. As a general rule, rentals are almost never maintained at the same quality level as items for sale are. But comparing used rental pianos to new keyboards is totally unfair.

A better option might be to rent with an option to buy. The rental fee will be somewhat higher, but the quality of the instrument will be significantly improved.
Originally Posted by John v.d.Brook
Although your experience is valid for you, your experience is anecdotal. Perhaps the problems you experienced are due to your location - Colorado has generally a very low humidity, which would certainly cause wood shrinkage and some sloppiness in the action.


Your tone is quite demeaning, you risk labelling yourself a snob. I explicitly stated that I did look at new uprights but tolerable new upright starting prices are more expensive than excellent digital alternatives. And no I am not a musician by trade. I quite enjoy working in applied physics research and still find time to dabble in music.

My daughter's piano teacher has 3 steinways and a kawai shigeru and it takes less than 2 months for them to audibly fall out of tune with each other. I have a policy myself of only buying laminate instruments.

Digitals are definitely not grand pianos. Guess what? Uprights are definitey NOT grand pianos either!

So given the constraint that owning a grand piano isn't an option, the question is: what alternatives can reasonably provide a learning talented musician a path where skills can easily be transferred to a stage grand? That's the question I'm wanting to have answered myself.

Technology and competition being what it is it seems that digital pianos are constantly improving. Twenty years ago a digital was more than good enough for casual piano playing. 20 years later with several major manufacturers in fierce competition trying to create a digital copy of a grand piano, it's worth it for a professional and parent alike to keep an eye on the latest advancements and to keep an open mind on the potential.

I know, the last thing an exclusive club of specialized classical piano players needs is a flood of competition enabled by accessible inexpensive low maintenance quality instruments that digitals are absolutely becoming.
What on earth are you talking about? I was addressing the sloppiness in the actions you experienced and giving some possible causes and some possible solutions.
OBTW, I not only own keyboards, I teach students having a wide variety of them. If that makes me a snob, I'm happy for the label.
Originally Posted by John v.d.Brook
OBTW, I not only own keyboards, I teach students having a wide variety of them. If that makes me a snob, I'm happy for the label.


It doesn't make you a snob. But it suggests that you're _flexible_, and not all teachers are.

I'm sure that Rachael Jimenez is getting some grief for her blog entries on DP's. But she's not the first classical pianist to say:

. . . "Wait a minute -- these new-fangled contraptions
. . . can really be useful!"

It'll take a generation or two for full acceptance, I'm sure. The DP's should be pretty good by then.

. Charles
Would I prefer that students learn and practice on a piano? Yes, of course. But the realities of life are that everyone has budget limitations and must make choices. I see no reason to deny students the opportunity of music just because of the economic status or the short-sightedness of the parents, as the case may be.
I am all for elitism in artistic contexts, but when it comes to musical instruments the exercise is entirely cash-contingent.

Perhaps somewhere, maybe in Japan, or Latvia, or Wisconsin, the next Schubert (currently seven years old) is hammering away on a Casio, spinning out clever melodies. His father is a janitor and it was a big sacrifice just to get the Casio.

Genius does not always spring from inherited wealth, and all musicians work on whatever instrument their wallets will afford - it has been this way throughout history.

Give me a $200,000 gift certificate to purchase any instrument I desire and I will enthusiastically redefine "snobbism" to celestial heights. But until then I will make do with my mid-sized Yamaha grand. I would prefer a Bentley, but if a Honda is all I can afford then a Honda it is. Trust me, I am a determined traveler and will get plenty of milage down the road...

By the way, I do play the Lottery with the solitary goal of purchasing a brand new Hamburg Steinway D the minute the check clears, and by necessity, a spacious NYC loft big enough to hold it. [Yes, I am serious, but not entirely delusional]
Originally Posted by Jonathan Baker
I am all for elitism in artistic contexts, but when it comes to musical instruments the exercise is entirely cash-contingent.

Let me take this from another angle for a moment. We all want music to be performed on instruments that do justice to the music.

I think we will all agree that playing the Rachmaninov 3rd Piano Concerto on anything but a superb concert grand is going to be a performance disappointment. And I'm pretty confident in assuming that this will always be so, in a live performance. Now, what happens in a studio I am less sure about, because the sound is so changed. I do most of my listening on wireless headphones, by necessity, and the difference between acoustic pianos and very good digital pianos in recordings, listening on speakers or headphones, seems to be greatly lessened. The best DPs are still woefully inadequate for this music, but I would not like to be on the wrong side of history if that changes over the next few decades.

Yet I will still gamble on the Rach 3rd being played on a concert grand in the year 2150, in public or in a studio.

But with other music, including music that has not yet been composed, I'm not so sure that piano versus other keyboards - including DPs - is always going to be that clear-cut.

More and more I would like to teach BOTH, for different reasons, for different purposes. Now, ideally I would be teaching on the best DPs and keyboards that are now being made AND on a magnificent 7 foot grand, perfectly in tune, perfectly regulated, with means to record both - both for myself and my students.

Instead, I live in a small apartment where playing on anything is a problem most of the time, and on an income that barely is paying our bills when my wife also works full time.

I just finished listening to a number of Bach keyboard concertos on both piano and harpsichord. Neither entirely satisfy me. I like both sounds, but there are trade-offs. The harpischord recordings have wonderful articulation and a "clean" sound that just does not happen on piano. So bonus points for harpsichord.

The piano has such cool dynamics, pedal, the ability to phrase in a way that harpsichord can't. And it is easier to balance with the ensemble, since its dynamics are not fixed and limited.

OK. What if someone finds a way to get that harpsichord sound but with "touch sensitivity", perhaps even allowing a sustain pedal now and then, then puts it altogether in a way that really works? A keyboard could do that. You could program touch sensitivity plus the harpsichord sound. Sustain pedal? Maybe totally a bad idea. But we don't know until we try it.

Then how about some buttons to change the sound in the manner that Landowska's harpsichord did in her old Bach recordings. She was already ticking off purists. What could be done? It could all be horrible, but it could be great. We don't know. We won't know until someone does it.

Then what?

It could be horrible. It could be interesting here and there, but mostly a failure. Or it could be ground-breaking.

We don't know.

As it is we have people playing the Bach concertos on concert grands. Well, Bach didn't intend that. Obviously. To him it would be new instrument, this giant thing we play on today. We don't know if he would like it. We don't know if equal temperament would offend him. We don't know if he would prefer the more modern string sounds from the ensemble or the "period instrument sound" now being used a lot.

So what I'm saying is this: if we are teaching our students to play Romantic music and music on into the 20th century, clearly written for concert grands, yes, we want them on these grands, an on nothing else.

But what if we are trying to teach young musicians how to survive in a dog-eat-dog musical world where the only musicians who will make money need to be extremely versatile? What part are DPs (with and without all sorts of sounds/voices) going to play in helping musicians to get a job, one moment on an acoustic, the next playing a show where there is a DP in the pit merging sounds with acoustic instruments?

I've ended up in some strange jobs, scrambling to pay rent. I've needed every bit of experience I could get on every possible keyboard just to stay in music and not end up in a 9-5 job, doing some kind of work I would have loathed. And in many of those jobs I would have KILLED to have one of our modern DPs that play well, because lots of my jobs were not classical gigs.

I played for Broadway shows, played in a dance band, accompanied in almost every conceivable situation, and I just continued picking up new skills, learning new kinds of music, doing what I needed to do.

I think a lot of teachers, teachers who just teach but do not have to scramble to make a living, lose sight of how flexible we have to be to survive outside of a rather protective, academic environment.
Quote

Perhaps somewhere, maybe in Japan, or Latvia, or Wisconsin, the next Schubert (currently seven years old) is hammering away on a Casio, spinning out clever melodies. His father is a janitor and it was a big sacrifice just to get the Casio.

Or it may be a better DP/keyboard, with technology just now being developed that will make it a new instrument that people will love. Just as people who played harpsichord could not have imagined what the piano would become, we don't know where this new technology is going. Technology is going to be part of the music that is yet to come. I don't know if that will be a good thing or a bad thing - probably both - but I would say that the spark of creativity that is in geniuses will be what drives the next great talents that will come in the future, the ones who will change the musical world, not the keyboard they learn on.
Gary, as usual, a lot of gist for the mill. Thanks for the insights.

In re: Bach. I frequently remind my students that Bach loved and made use of great dynamic swings throughout his compositions and there is no reason to assume he would do differently with the keyboard works. Even the harpsichord was capable of limited dynamic changes, eg, the two manual harpsichord, and Bach made use of that instrument in the Italian Concerto. Dynamic markings in his own hand.

Bach's largest work, the St. Matthew Passion, ranges from a boy soprano singing solo to two full organs, two full choirs and an orchestra, all playing at once. Most of his organ works are marked with both color and dynamic changes. I haven't examined the scores of his orchestra works, but I can imagine that dynamics are marked there on.

All of this indicates to me that had the modern grand been at Bach's disposal, he would have been in Seventh Heaven and composed his keyboard works accordingly.
Gary,

The electronic instruments are evolving and will continue to do so, if only for economic reasons. I see no reason to resist this on any level. As I have mentioned elsewhere, I just wish the manufacturers of these instruments were half as serious as the people who play them - the technology is at hand to vastly accelerate the quality of electronic instruments but I do not sense that the manufacturers are in a big rush to do so.

The problems I encounter between electronic to acoustic instruments is that the change in tonal color frequently disorients students - they have been practicing on their electronic instruments and then when they take a lesson on my acoustic piano the key-weighting and vastly 'larger' sound throws them off a bit - but we do, after all, get through the lesson.

The other problem I encounter with intermediate to advanced students is illustrating subtleties in pedaling and various mechanisms of the hand-arm to achieve sonorities and colors. Electronic pedals tend to be starkly On or Off, without shadings, but if touch sensitive results have been improved at the keyboard, is the technology so different that it cannot also be installed for the pedal as well? They could also employ more subtle shadings in the piano to pianissimo range. I don't see why these matters could not be addressed now.

But this issue is not one-sided: too many acoustic pianos have excessively heavy weighting that is also poorly regulated, with key weight dramatically varying from one key to the next, additionally, the voicing of the hammers is frequently without consistency (one brilliant, the next muffled). Playing an even scale becomes virtually impossible on such instruments, and this is too common. There are countless piano tuners who will 'knock off' a tuning in 30 minutes, but so very few knowledgable and sophisticated technicians where voicing and other matters are concerned.

Playing Mozart or Haydn just ain't no fun on a piano with a sluggish action.

Another point, the 19th century instruments I have had access to demonstrate shallower key depth, and one I prefer over contemporary instruments.
Originally Posted by Jonathan Baker


The problems I encounter between electronic to acoustic instruments is that the change in tonal color frequently disorients students - they have been practicing on their electronic instruments and then when they take a lesson on my acoustic piano the key-weighting and vastly 'larger' sound throws them off a bit - but we do, after all, get through the lesson.

The other problem I encounter with intermediate to advanced students is illustrating subtleties in pedaling and various mechanisms of the hand-arm to achieve sonorities and colors. Electronic pedals tend to be starkly On or Off, without shadings, but if touch sensitive results have been improved at the keyboard, is the technology so different that it cannot also be installed for the pedal as well? I don't see why not - so what is holding them up?

Another point, the 19th century instruments I have had access to demonstrate shallower key depth, and one I prefer over contemporary instruments.

There's nothing holding DP manufacturers up in terms of pedal simulation - it's probably down to cost: the three pedals on my DP give me precise gradations (- actually, a lot more controllable than all but the best regulated acoustics). But mine is a top-tier DP, but which is still much cheaper than basic acoustic grands.

Its tonal gradations too can be controlled to the nth degree like a good acoustic grand's, and its responsiveness to the touch is unparalleled among DPs, and as good as that for well-regulated grands. For instance, it's much better than that of an old 85-key C.Bechstein grand (c1900) on which I give monthly mini-recitals for colleagues. The Bechstein also has shallower key depth, which makes it easy to play rapid filigree passages and glissandi, though I'm not sure I'd want such a piano as my home practice instrument.

In the end, for DPs, you get what you pay for - much more so than for acoustics, where regulation can make a huge difference to the performance.
Ben,

What brand do you have, and how much did it cost? I will look it up to get more acquainted with it.

An older Bechstein I have never played does not give me a point of comparison, but I am familiar with the new Bechsteins 234 and 282, or for that matter the Bosendorfers 225, 280 to 290. Their quality control is remarkably consistent (unlike Steinway) and a good reference point for comparison.
Originally Posted by Jonathan Baker
The electronic instruments are evolving and will continue to do so,

Most people on the forums have no historical context for the on-going development of electronic instruments (all types). There seems to be a major leap forward roughly every 10 - 12 years. In the late '40s and early '50s, magnetic tone wheels were used to generate tones and vacuum tubes and filters to approximate the sounds of various musical instruments. By the early '60s, tube oscillators were quite sophisticated and then along came transistors. By the mid '70s, real piano sound and action were achieved, well, at least according to the sales divisions various electronics manufacturing firms. In the mid to late '80s, integrated circuits were developed, and the switch from analogue tone generation to FM tone generation in process. Then by the late '90s digital tone generation was well under way. Today, I think most electronic keyboards are using recorded samples of grand pianos which are manipulated through key action to achieve an even greater piano likeness.

By the late 1990s, when I purchased my first Yamaha Clavinova, it was touted as the true manifestation of piano sound and keyboard action. It pales, of course, in comparison to the most modern of the electronic instruments of today. My most recent Clavinova, purchased in 2011, still takes a rather great suspension of reality when being played, especially together with a piano in a two-piano work.

I wonder what the next major improvement/development will be. Certainly, the action of the keyboards still need major work; the ability to generate significantly larger dynamic ranges is necessary (the piano's range being well over 140 db). In Belgium, Netherlands and Germany, electronic organ makers are now using separate speakers for individual tone groups, so that there is spacial spread of the sound, making the electronic organ sound much more life-like. They've also added "chiff" which emulates the sound of the pipe when wind first enters the pipe. Perhaps our keyboard makers will add "action noise" to emulate more fully the piano sound! All in all, the next few decades should prove most interesting.
Originally Posted by John v.d.Brook
...
Perhaps our keyboard makers will add "action noise" to emulate more fully the piano sound! All in all, the next few decades should prove most interesting.

Simulated action noise(s) are standard fare on most mid to upper level DP's.
Originally Posted by Jonathan Baker
Ben,

What brand do you have, and how much did it cost? I will look it up to get more acquainted with it.

It's a Roland V-Piano - simply a big and heavy black slab with no speakers, and a separate dedicated pedal unit, which I bought for the equivalent of $4500 in 2010. It took a lot of putting aside prejudices for me, a die-hard acoustic classical pianist, to even think of trying it out. But once I started playing, I was convinced.

But its big brother, the V-Piano Grand with dedicated speakers housed within a grand cabinet, is the version that Roland aimed directly at the classical fraternity, introducing it to the world in a series of classical concerts around the world in 2011.

Here is one of them: http://youtu.be/NfOOJYT5MCg

(The original V-Piano basically has the same piano sounds, minus two of the Grand's thirty factory presets. Neither of them have anything but piano sounds - they really are just piano 'substitutes' - therefore, are no use for those wanting to play around with funny sounds.....).
Originally Posted by spanishbuddha
Originally Posted by John v.d.Brook
...
Perhaps our keyboard makers will add "action noise" to emulate more fully the piano sound! All in all, the next few decades should prove most interesting.

Simulated action noise(s) are standard fare on most mid to upper level DP's.

Interesting. Totally missed that "noise" last time I played on a new model. Anyway, you've just given me an idea.

What we need is one that slowly drifts out of tune; plus it should be equipped with a humidity gauge so "out of tuneness" will be responsive to the environment. Further, there should be a "retune" button which can only be pressed once a year. This will replicate the piano experience. Or, a clever manufacturer could provide "tunings" by hooking the instrument to the internet, and you pay a "tuning fee" to them. This will really make an impression!
Originally Posted by John v.d.Brook
Originally Posted by spanishbuddha
Originally Posted by John v.d.Brook
...
Perhaps our keyboard makers will add "action noise" to emulate more fully the piano sound! All in all, the next few decades should prove most interesting.

Simulated action noise(s) are standard fare on most mid to upper level DP's.

Interesting. Totally missed that "noise" last time I played on a new model. Anyway, you've just given me an idea.

What we need is one that slowly drifts out of tune; plus it should be equipped with a humidity gauge so "out of tuneness" will be responsive to the environment. Further, there should be a "retune" button which can only be pressed once a year. This will replicate the piano experience. Or, a clever manufacturer could provide "tunings" by hooking the instrument to the internet, and you pay a "tuning fee" to them. This will really make an impression!

Ha ha, yes we have discussed that very thing on the DP forum. The mid to upper level DP's also allow you to tune individual notes, (also loudness on some), and some people claim that by making small out of tune adjustments, they are able to avoid some of the sterility associated with the sound of many DP's. They do come with many of the standard historical tuning temperaments anyway.
That is really droll. [Linked Image] Thanks for sharing that info!
Posted By: TimR Re: Piano teachers do not accept digital piano - 07/16/14 07:59 PM
Originally Posted by John v.d.Brook
What we need is one that slowly drifts out of tune; plus it should be equipped with a humidity gauge so "out of tuneness" will be responsive to the environment. Further, there should be a "retune" button which can only be pressed once a year.


I like it! When you press retune, it automatically deducts $200 from your credit card.
Originally Posted by John v.d.Brook

What we need is one that slowly drifts out of tune; plus it should be equipped with a humidity gauge so "out of tuneness" will be responsive to the environment. Further, there should be a "retune" button which can only be pressed once a year. This will replicate the piano experience. Or, a clever manufacturer could provide "tunings" by hooking the instrument to the internet, and you pay a "tuning fee" to them. This will really make an impression!

What you missed: the sound does not cut off on some keys when you lift them, because the damper is not dropping.

The keys start to have increasing lot motion, which will be uneven in different registers.

Half pedal effects are not quite working because the dampers are not all working perfectly evenly.

And so on. laugh

Seriously, acoustic pianos are uneven by nature. The very best are so well tuned and regulated that this is no longer a factor, but for most of us the reality is that usually we are between the last session with a technician and waiting for the next session.

Some pianists are not bothered by the slight bit of out-of-tuneness that happens between tunings. It has always driven my nuts, still does, and I have never fully enjoyed practicing on an instrument that was not tuned very recently.
Originally Posted by John v.d.Brook
Gary, as usual, a lot of gist for the mill. Thanks for the insights.

In re: Bach. I frequently remind my students that Bach loved and made use of great dynamic swings throughout his compositions and there is no reason to assume he would do differently with the keyboard works. Even the harpsichord was capable of limited dynamic changes, eg, the two manual harpsichord, and Bach made use of that instrument in the Italian Concerto. Dynamic markings in his own hand.

But that kind of change is a block dynamic change. It's not so much different from hitting a button to change sounds/registers.

I was listening to Trevor Pinnock last night, and one of the things that struck me was that the harpsichord was clearly tuned to non-EQ, but the strings were much closer to our modern EQ idea, which is pretty much the only way it can be in things that continually modulate.
Quote

Bach's largest work, the St. Matthew Passion, ranges from a boy soprano singing solo to two full organs, two full choirs and an orchestra, all playing at once. Most of his organ works are marked with both color and dynamic changes. I haven't examined the scores of his orchestra works, but I can imagine that dynamics are marked there on.

Regardless how carefully marked strings and winds always play with subtle dynamics because they are available - or very huge dynamic contrasts, when that is effective.
Quote

All of this indicates to me that had the modern grand been at Bach's disposal, he would have been in Seventh Heaven and composed his keyboard works accordingly.

What we do know is that composers always tend to be forward-looking. That may be less true for people like Brahms and Rachmaninov, but if we think of people like Beethoven, Berlioz, so many others it's obvious that composers like to experiment with whatever is new.

I still think the number one use for DPs that mimic accoustics is in all performance situations where the choice is a very good DP or some horrible piece of firewood that is out of tune, unregulated, and so on.

And we've all played on such acoustics, swearing to ourselves the whole time.
Originally Posted by Jonathan Baker
Gary,

The electronic instruments are evolving and will continue to do so, if only for economic reasons. I see no reason to resist this on any level. As I have mentioned elsewhere, I just wish the manufacturers of these instruments were half as serious as the people who play them - the technology is at hand to vastly accelerate the quality of electronic instruments but I do not sense that the manufacturers are in a big rush to do so.

I suspect it is a balance of demand for the really important improvements that we are hoping for and what the average person is willing to pay for.

I became serious about DPs before most people simply because a series of events forced me in that direction. My Yamaha grand was destroyed in a fire, and I simply did not have the money to even THINK about replacing it. I was suddenly going back to practicing on an old Kawai upright, lent to me by a friend. It was a workhorse, but I loathed every moment I played the thing. The action was very heavy, sluggish, and I could get almost zero dynamic control on it. The pins were solid as a rock, so it would hold a tune forever, but there were so many wild strings that it sounded out of tune even when it had just been tuned.

There is nothing like being stuck with an awful acoustic to make most DPs suddenly seem a WHOLE bunch nicer. wink
Quote

The problems I encounter between electronic to acoustic instruments is that the change in tonal color frequently disorients students - they have been practicing on their electronic instruments and then when they take a lesson on my acoustic piano the key-weighting and vastly 'larger' sound throws them off a bit - but we do, after all, get through the lesson.

There we have a true potential problem. I'm not sure how subconscious the adjustment is for those of who started on acoustics and play them with complete ease. I've spent a LOT of time playing DPs for a couple decades now. There are some things they won't do for me, and I simply know what those things are. I miss them.

But I have also not played everything out there. I tend not to check things out for the same reason I don't go around testing grands. I have no money to buy what I would like. My experience tells me that no DP will do what a fine grand will do, but my experience is also very incomplete. So I tend to listen most to people who HAVE to perform on DPs, for any reason.

I see these people as problem solvers, trying to bridge the gap.

I see moving back and forth as a 21st century necessity, so those players who can navigate back and forth have an edge in simply making money.
Quote

The other problem I encounter with intermediate to advanced students is illustrating subtleties in pedaling and various mechanisms of the hand-arm to achieve sonorities and colors. Electronic pedals tend to be starkly On or Off, without shadings, but if touch sensitive results have been improved at the keyboard, is the technology so different that it cannot also be installed for the pedal as well? They could also employ more subtle shadings in the piano to pianissimo range. I don't see why these matters could not be addressed now.

I think they are being addressed, but you have to play a LOT of DPs to fully experience what is currently the cutting edge.
Quote

But this issue is not one-sided: too many acoustic pianos have excessively heavy weighting that is also poorly regulated, with key weight dramatically varying from one key to the next, additionally, the voicing of the hammers is frequently without consistency (one brilliant, the next muffled). Playing an even scale becomes virtually impossible on such instruments, and this is too common. There are countless piano tuners who will 'knock off' a tuning in 30 minutes, but so very few knowledgable and sophisticated technicians where voicing and other matters are concerned.

The pianos played on at home by my students are usually horrible. So I tend to rate DPs against that. Granted, it's a very low standard, but for me it is valid. Paradoxically we face a similar problem in that we are both in areas where the cost of living is VERY high and where privacy is rare, so people in more rural areas will not fully understand what we are up against. *I* am up against it myself, with neighbors on both sides and above me. Trying to get quiet time is nearly impossible. For many years the bulk of my practice HAD to have been on a DP, with earphones. The years where I had the space and privacy had really come to an end before my grand was turned into charcoal.

I don't like this reality, but for me it is reality.
Originally Posted by John v.d.Brook
. . .
I wonder what the next major improvement/development will be. Certainly, the action of the keyboards still need major work; the ability to generate significantly larger dynamic ranges is necessary (the piano's range being well over 140 db). . . .


140 dB? A source for that? 0 dB is (roughly) the lower limit of audibility, and 140 dB will give permanent hearing damage in a short time.

. . . Real pianos aren't that soft, or that loud.

Pianoteq (and I assume, current sampled software pianos) lets the player vary the dynamic range (from ppp to FFF) from a highly-compressed 0 db to an extremely wide 100 dB.

There are unsolved problems in acoustic-piano simulation, but "dynamic range" isn't one of them.

. Charles

PS -- this is an interesting example of a belief that _was_ true "once upon a time", but isn't true now. But the memory lingers on.

Originally Posted by Gary D.
Paradoxically we face a similar problem in that we are both in areas where the cost of living is VERY high and where privacy is rare, so people in more rural areas will not fully understand what we are up against. *I* am up against it myself, with neighbors on both sides and above me.


I can relate to this. That is certainly our reality as well.

I just wanted to chime in that this thread gave me a real pause as I am a parent of a child who is starting on a low-end Casio DP.

She's probably not exactly the next Schubert grin or next anything but now that she has her DP, she spends hours on it with her manuscript notebook and a pencil as she fiercely writes down her "composition." Obviously, it's not the most ideal instrument to practice on but it's definitely a big improvement over the paper keyboard I started on.

I don't know where her musical education is going but if we'd need to upgrade, we could afford something like a grand v-piano or N2/3 if we really tried so a decent acoustic grand piano itself is within our reach but we won't be able to afford a house that can accommodate it. I'm really hoping that technology would continue to improve and soon, parents won't have to feel guilty about not being able to afford a grand piano.
Handy guide for loudness levels:
http://www.gcaudio.com/resources/howtos/loudness.html

Musical instruments are at the bottom.
Originally Posted by malkin
Handy guide for loudness levels:
http://www.gcaudio.com/resources/howtos/loudness.html

Musical instruments are at the bottom.


Thank you!

Using that, "whisper-quiet library" (close to "concert hall"?) is at 30 dB, and piano maximum is around 100 dB:

. . . So piano dynamic range is about 70 dB.

. CHarles
Originally Posted by Charles Cohen
Originally Posted by malkin
Handy guide for loudness levels:
http://www.gcaudio.com/resources/howtos/loudness.html

Musical instruments are at the bottom.


Thank you!

Using that, "whisper-quiet library" (close to "concert hall"?) is at 30 dB, and piano maximum is around 100 dB:

. . . So piano dynamic range is about 70 dB.

. CHarles

With all due respect, Charles, a musical instrument's dynamic range is not dependent upon the environment it's played in (unless it's a vacuum, ha ha). However, our ability to perceive that range is very much dependent upon that environment. The two are often confused.

As for that list, take a very close look at it. There is an obvious incongruity which calls into question the validity the data presented. The author of that list contends that a 'cello is almost 8X louder than a piano(111db vs 103db)! Anyone who has accompanied a 'cellist knows how very difficult it is to play under the 'cello. If anything, the piano is 8X louder than a 'cello. I would say it's probably even a greater difference. Interestingly, the author does point out that symphonic orchestra peak is 137db, and again from experience, we know that with a full orchestra, you can still hear the piano. What does that suggest about the peak power of the piano?
Lists like that are only meant as a general guide, especially as relevant to hearing conservation. There are a few different metering scales that are used for different purposes (dBA, dBC, etc. ) which is another source of confusion.

A roughly accurate sound level meter is available as an ipad app for anyone interested in measuring.

Since the dB scale is logarithmic, it doesn't make sense to say something has a dynamic range of 20dB, because the between 0-20dB is not as great a difference as 20-40dB or from 40-80dB.

I never really liked audiology, but it was required.
Originally Posted by malkin
Since the dB scale is logarithmic, it doesn't make sense to say something has a dynamic range of 20dB, because the between 0-20dB is not as great a difference as 20-40dB or from 40-80dB.

Actually, the differences are identical. That's the beauty of using db's. They express a power ratio and a 20db ratio is roughly 100X.

[I guess I should explain where I learned this stuff. Way back when, during the Vietnam war, I was drafted and the military, in it's wisdom, decided that musicians would make excellent electronics engineers, so sent me to electronics school for 24 mos. When I got out I was able to parlay that knowledge into a sideline recording business, which definitely helped make ends meet, as a teacher. Not entirely a bad exchange!]
I was going to say that you remember your audiology better than I do, but the fact is that I really only learned enough to become a speech-language pathologist, which is not very much!

[So, in your case at least, the military got it right!]
Yes, I should have made clear that I was talking about "usable" dynamic range -- playing softer than the ambient noise is (a) very hard, and (b) musically pretty useless.

From a "Sound on Sound" article:

http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/may99/articles/recpiano.htm

Quote
With the dampers lifted, a piano will resonate for over 10 seconds in the middle registers and over 40 seconds in the bass strings, although the balance of decay times is very dependent on the construction. The top C may last around 3 seconds and the same spread of decay times is apparent within the harmonic series of a single note, with the fundamental or first partial lasting far longer than the upper harmonics. The dynamic range of a piano, measured at the rather distant reach of 10 metres, varies between about 85dBC and 70dBC for the loudest playing (the upper notes being weaker than the bass notes). At the quiet end of the scale, bass notes rest around 50dBC, with mid and upper notes falling to 37dBC.


I don't know if I believe those numbers. But they give (C-weighted, which I think means "flat, no EQ") ranges of something around 50 dB.

The question of why you can hear a solo piano over (or "through") an orchestra -- that's a very good point! And I don't have any simple answer.

. Charles

PS -- I don't think we'll get much more out of this tangent. My point was only that the dynamic range of a good DP (sampled, or modelled like Pianoteq) is similar to the dynamic range of an AP. [For examples of measured DP dynamic ranges, see the "DPBSD" thread in the "DP and Synth" forum.]
Originally Posted by Charles Cohen

The question of why you can hear a solo piano over (or "through") an orchestra -- that's a very good point! And I don't have any simple answer.


Well, you don't always, depending on how thick the orchestral textures are, how carefully the conductor scales down the dynamics, and how reverberant the hall is.

In the Brahms concertos, the piano is frequently drowned out by the orchestra when heard in concert. But when you're there watching, you see, and focus in on the pianist's playing, and your brain filters out some of the orchestra. If you were to hear exactly the same performance without being able to see it, you'd be straining hard to hear what the pianist is playing much of the time in the tuttis.

It helps if the piano is voiced brightly, so that it rings out with its distinctive timbre. That's how the solo violin in a violin concerto can be heard even above the orchestral violins - a good composer will make sure that the soloist is playing at a higher pitch than any of the strings when they are also playing, and of course, the conductor will also scale the volume of the orchestra down. But in a cello concerto, things are much more difficult, and it's much more difficult for it to ride above the orchestra in tuttis.
Posted By: TimR Re: Piano teachers do not accept digital piano - 07/18/14 11:57 AM
Originally Posted by bennevis
Originally Posted by Charles Cohen

The question of why you can hear a solo piano over (or "through") an orchestra -- that's a very good point! And I don't have any simple answer.


Well, you don't always, depending on how thick the orchestral textures are, how carefully the conductor scales down the dynamics, and how reverberant the hall is.


When I lived in Germany I had a long daily commute, much of it on the Autobahn.

I listened to the local Radio Klassik station, and they seemed to program more piano than anything else. The piano competed well with the road noise frequencies, and other instruments did not. I don't know if it was the timbre or the pitch range or a little of both. A middle brass concerto, say trombone or horn, was difficult to hear, but piano was fine. At any rate, I think they chose music partly based on what would be heard in high speed driving.

The radio engineers probably had a different approach to compression as well.
I am not a piano teacher, just a parent smile

I never grew up with musical instruments in the home. I now have 2 digital pianos (Yamaha Clavinovas), 2 guitars (well, 1 is broken), and a drum set.

With regards to the pianos ... my kids have spent countless hours on those pianos practicing, singing, playing for family and friends ... we even have had a few neighborhood block parties where we moved all the equipment into our garage and had a little "garage band" action happening during the party.

I have been rejected by piano teachers who will only teach if the family has an "acoustic".

All I can say is that having music in the home is an absolute blessing. I cannot thank those teachers enough who have been able to look past our "flawed" pianos and continued to teach my kids.
Quote
. . .
The radio engineers probably had a different approach to compression as well.


Radio engineers are well-known for compressing music as much as they can. Especially for pop music, people like to listen to the _loudest_ station on the dial.

The FM classical stations are probably a little bit closer to the original (recorded) sound. But they know that many people will be listening in their cars. And that means that they _must_ boost the soft passages. Without such boost, those sections would be way, way below the level of "road noise".

. Charles

Thanks for your reply. My son has already started off with a piano teacher who doesn't mind us having a DP. He's on his second lesson just yesterday. At this moment, I really don't know how much success my son is going to have, so my next move is going to depend on that. If he's really into classic, then surely I will buy him an acoustic.

Thanks again, your advice is really helpful.

Originally Posted by rlinkt
Originally Posted by bigsmile
Thanks for the reply.

To be honest, I'm not that into classic music. I have no intention of entering my son into serious competitions, at least not before he show any sign of being talented at this, he's not the competitive type.

I like music myself, as I said, I learn piano by myself on and off. I mostly want to introduce my son to music. I also want him to be good at piano, but I'm not that keen about him being able to play difficult classic works, but just having a way of expressing himself through keyboard.

Don't get me wrong, it's not that I just want him to be mediocre. I actually want him to be good, but I don't want him to just be good at playing difficult piano musics, but to be good at a broader sense, to be proficient in keyboard music or even music in general.


Also a parent here, and I shared much of your sentiment when I started my daughter on piano -- and that's what is motivating me to respond. This is just my perspective. I had no particular affinity for classical piano either. I just wanted my daughter to enjoy and appreciate music. Personally I am much more of a rock and blues enthusiast. But so far, my daughter is more interested in playing classical music. She is not that motivated about experimenting yet, which I consider to be pretty essential for rock / blues / jazz. In her case, she really needed an acoustic piano to develop the right techniques to play these classical pieces. So I would recommend keeping your child's need in mind in figuring out if and when to move to an acoustic piano. If my daughter had been more interested in blues / jazz, I probably would thought seriously about moving to high end digital piano instead.

My daughter was also five when we started her. She played a digital piano for three years. I will say that while her basic playing skills developed pretty well, i.e. sight reading, rhythm, fluency, she did not come close to being able to get tone or articulation out of an acoustic. It took her some time to adjust her technique after we got the acoustic. In retrospect, should we have started with an acoustic? Without knowing what she will actually enjoy -- NO!!
Thanks for all that had replied. I had read through all 4 pages of replies (trust me I am serious), there are some very informative posts.
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