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Hi everyone,
I alluded to this in a thread focused on something else, and it occurred to me that it may deserve its own thread.
I wonder if I am alone if feeling this. I'm an adult beginner. I'm slowly slogging away at my lessons and really enjoying the process. I don't think I'm any good, but my teacher insists that I am, if anything, better than the average student at 7 months of playing without any prior experience whatsoever (other than being an avid consumer of music). I'm playing on the instrument I bought online, a Yamaha Arius YDP-164. Probably good for the money, but even to my inexperienced ears and fingers it feels a bit artificial and limited.
So, I started to consider upgrading. I went to an excellent store in my area, a Yamaha piano playground that would have any pianist feel like a kid in a candy store. I started with the CFX Grand (why not), and holy smokes, what an amazing instrument! I played around a lot, and then did the same with a lot of the range of acoustics, hybrids and digitals. I think a nice upgrade for me would be an NU1X hybrid, although I am still trying to decide if I could instead go for an actual acoustic (a B3 would be the same price).
And here comes the central question of this post. I am suddenly feeling like this may not be a responsible move. I am not a good player (I can't be, given the amount I spent learning). In the store, I couldn't even play a full song (I had my Bastien classics and my Alfred and whatnot with me), because I tend to freeze when someone is listening or watching (I do much better practicing on my own of course, and I understand this is common). So I'm feeling like this may be a frivolous expense. Like the photographer to takes out-of-focus pictures of his cat buying a Leica. Should I just stick with what I have and learn? Or is an investment in something better justified in terms of learning the right technique, and as an investment in a hobby I am likely to stick with?
Have you dealt with this annoying feeling? I'm curious what your thought (and emotional) process has been, if you're willing to share.
Thanks!

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RocDoc
Repeat after me ‘ no one needs to qualify to buy a piano they love and can afford’. If there were a qualifying test, most of us would not own the pianos in our living room. For me, finding a piano I love to hear and touch has been truly inspiring; I love to play it/practice on it just to touch the keys and hear the sound I make with my own two hands. Priceless!

That is enough for me. I believe you will find that you do improve —- if only because you love to play.
Don’t be concerned about being an imposter; that word doesn’t exist in the world of piano buying.


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

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Definitely buy the piano you want and can afford- life’s too short

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In my experience the buying of a new instrument can really inspire progress. If you can afford it and have the desire I'd do it.

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If you are asking the question, you must have reservations or uncertainties. When you are absolutely sure, you wouldn't ask. That's when it's the right time for you to upgrade and won't regret the decision afterwards. Good luck.


Be yourself

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Absolutely get a real acoustic, even as a beginner. I got my K-500 less than a year after I started learning and it was one of the best purchases I ever made in my life. I love my piano and every time I play it, I get goosebumps because it sounds so real. I never touched my poor digital ever since I got my acoustic. I’m trying to give it away to family so I don’t feel so guilty that it’s not being played lol.

If I were you, I’d also check out the Kawai acoustics at about the same price range...e.g. the K-300.

Last edited by WeakLeftHand; 06/24/21 06:13 PM.

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I could have written your post, sans an in person teacher. I bought a new piano in April. I love it! Can't say I'm greatly improved but I'm trying! Good luck. Buy what you can. For me it came down to wanting to play the PIANO. For some reason continuing forever on a keyboard didn't light my fire. Personal experience here.


SunnyKeys - from Florida but not the Keys. Learning for 2 years.
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Don't feel guilty about buying a good piano - assuming you can afford it and the kids aren't going hungry. Lots of people that can't play buy pretty pianos as furniture. I have no problem with that either - it's good for the rest of us and keeps the piano makers in business. And don't think that any instrument you buy is your last one - it can be fun to upgrade...

My piano history:
- a 61 key keyboard
- a borrowed Wurlitzer console about 60 years old
- a Yamaha U1 (used)
- a 1927 Bechstein grand
Current instruments:
- a Yamaha keyboard
- a Charles Walter console
- a 1987 Yamaha C3
- a 2 manual harpsichord

all of that in 11 years...

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What you do about buying a piano is unimportant compared to getting rid of the false and destructive notions that you are an “impostor” and that love of music is somehow correlated to the material value of instruments.

“Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law”, in music anyway.


"We shall always love the music of the masters, but they are all dead and now it's our turn." - Llewelyn Jones, my piano teacher
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I think you have your issue figured out already. You're worried that this isn't a sound investment since you're just starting out. That's a perfectly valid concern. I share the sentiments of others here, though. If you can afford this and it's something you want, it'll definitely help you grow as a pianist to have an acoustic, no question. I bought my first acoustic just after about 9 months of playing, and I shared a lot of your worries and concerns. Fortunately my wife just "gifted" it to me so there was not a way for me to argue...

Basically, your worries here are practical and make perfect sense to me. "Imposter Syndrome" is something else. That will come later when people are giving you money for doing the thing and you're terrified to your core that the "mask" will slip and they'll see you for the fraud you (think / believe / know you) are... eek

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Originally Posted by Tubbie0075
If you are asking the question, you must have reservations or uncertainties. When you are absolutely sure, you wouldn't ask. That's when it's the right time for you to upgrade and won't regret the decision afterwards. Good luck.


Haven’t most of us asked this question and sometimes more than once?
- own a digital and considering an acoustic
- own an upright and considering buying a more expensive upright
- own an upright and considering a grand
- own a grand and considering a more expensive grand

At each point, the question can be asked ‘do I deserve it?’
And I don’t think I’m the only one here that made the decision without reservations

I finally just decided, if you love it, you deserve it. 😺

Last edited by dogperson; 06/24/21 07:56 PM. Reason: Typo
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Get a piano you love, you deserve whatever the heck you want!!


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Well, you’re asking the question in a piano forum and not a financial planning forum!

The feeling you have — of not feeling ‘good enough’ for a particular piano seems to be fairly common. Related to that is the idea that it feels hard to justify a big ticket purchase when you feel ‘not good enough,’ especially if you are still early in your piano journey. But I don’t think this is the best way to look at it. Piano playing is a gift that you are giving to yourself. You sound like you are truly enjoying the piano — and that is as it should be. The reason to upgrade is because you are going to enjoy the time you spend at the piano EVEN MORE than you do now! And as long as you can afford the piano, then to me it is well worth the money. Not because it’s going to magically make you a better player, but because it will make you happy to be sitting at an instrument you love. If this is something you love doing, why not invest in making the experience as lovely as it can be?

I know I spend considerably more time playing my new grand piano than I was playing my DP. Not because I feel I owe it to the piano, or because I need to feel that I was justified in spending a very large amount of money on the purchase, but because I just want to play more. The piano is a little intoxicating that way. I also love looking at it (it’s really beautiful). Perhaps that’s a bit frivolous, but I do also get enjoyment from just seeing it.

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The pragmatic, budget-focussed approach is to buy a good quality upright like a Yamaha U1 (I suggest the B series are a step too low). It needs to be in tip top condition so it doesn’t become a money pit.

Sure, there are better pianos out there but that level of piano will give you everything you need as a beginner.

And it’s easily resellable or trade-in-able should you want to do so in the future.


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You will improve much faster with a quality instrument if you know how to use it. Don't worry about how good you are right now. If you can afford it, and are serious about the piano in the long run, it's a worthwhile investment. If things don't go according to plan, I hear that resale value isn't too bad! wink

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rocdoc Offline OP
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Wow, you guys are awesome. I love to see that this kind of feeling might actually be common, and I really appreciate the thoughtful and encouraging replies.

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Originally Posted by ranjit
You will improve much faster with a quality instrument if you know how to use it. Don't worry about how good you are right now. If you can afford it, and are serious about the piano in the long run, it's a worthwhile investment. If things don't go according to plan, I hear that resale value isn't too bad! wink


I’ve always understood that new pianos, like new cars depreciate significantly the minute they move to your home.

Per piano buyer, depreciation in 5 years or less is 20% or more


https://www.pianobuyer.com/article/buying-a-used-or-restored-piano-how-much-is-it-worth/


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

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Okay, here's a different take: I play fiddle and guitar professionally, besides playing piano. I have room for a Yamaha G6. But, I know the Music comes from my hands, not from the instrument. This realization comes most often from a home where there was a violin, guitar, or piano in the home where no one played. Caveat: an out-of-tune piano almost doesn't count as an instrument.

On the other hand, the better instrument does serve as inspiration. But one has to be able to play first.


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Talk about taking out of focus pictures today's cameras auto-focus. If you set everything to automatic, you have a good chance of getting a reasonable image. It's true that people sharing images online don't need the best camera.

When it comes to pianos, Yamaha is not the most expensive brand. Don't forget before there were DPs, people have acoustic pianos at home. At the low end are the uprights. If you feel that playing out of beginner books doesn't justify spending the money on a good instrument, I know people who bought uprights for their kids. Partly because they live in a small space and partly because they want a natural sound.

When it comes to a quality upright, I can't get my hands off a Boston upright by Steinway the last time I went to a piano store. It produces a nice sound and cost over US$10,000. The first time I encountered a Boston was in the city of the same name (no relations to the city) manufactured by Kawai in Indonesia based on Steinway specs. I tried a slow movement out of the Bach French Suite on it and thought I must have one. Serves the purpose of giving a nice sound in a small space.

The enjoyment is the sound quality over the life of the instrument. DPs don't maintain value at all. They serve the purpose of music practice and produce a reasonable sound in performances. They are easy to give away if you don't want to continue lessons after a year. Acoustic pianos are harder to give away. For some people they just sit in the living room like a piece of furniture. People in the family may have taken lessons in the past but stopped playing. Acoustic pianos become part of the family whether it is played or not.

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Asking that question, on this forum, is like asking:

. . . "Should I quit drinking?"

in a bar on a Saturday night.

After you get a new piano, your playing will not magically improve. A YDP-164 _is_ "limited and artificial", compared to many more expensive DP's (and acoustic pianos):

. . . Are its limits limiting _your_ playing ?

If not, you don't _need_ a new piano.

The argument that "You'll practice more, on a piano you enjoy playing and hearing" has some validity. And that _will_ improve your playing, in the long run.

There is no "deserving" a better piano. If you would enjoy one, and won't find it a financial burden, go ahead and enjoy whatever you can afford.


. Charles
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