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Should I buy a digital or acoustic piano for my child?

Posted by Hans Heshusuis on 7th Mar 2017

Tips for buying a piano for your child

Welcome to the second of our series of blog articles on tips for parents buying a piano for their children. A piano is an expensive purchase, so it’s important for parents to research their options before purchasing.

When considering getting a piano for your child, you may be struggling with the different options. All parents want the best possible piano for their children to play on, so which kind should they buy?

Naturally, parents also want to make sure their investment will be actually played on. Pianos can make expensive decorative features if they are never played. This makes parents keen to start out with affordable options such as a keyboard or a second hand piano before making a big investment, which makes a lot of sense!

Let’s find out about the different kinds of pianos and what might be best for your child.

There are three terms often used to describe pianos: digital, acoustic and traditional.

Now, just to confuse you, acoustic and traditional pianos are the same thing! So really, your choice comes down to two options: acoustic/traditional versus digital pianos.

What is an acoustic (or traditional) piano?

A traditional piano is built the old fashioned way. The keys are attached to hammers which strike the strings, creating a sound.

It’s that simple.

What is a digital piano?

A digital piano synthesises the sound of a piano without the use of hammer and strings. The quality of digital pianos is improving over time. These days you can get highly sophisticated digital pianos which sound almost exactly like the real thing. They also come with impressive features, such as the ability to attach a USB to record your playing, or even replicate the sounds of other instruments, such as violin or drums.

Digital pianos come with weighted or weighted keys (read our article on these options here).

Which is best for my child?

Let’s consider the pros and cons of each type of piano.

Acoustic piano – pros and cons

Traditionalists argue that the nuances and expression of an acoustic piano can’t be beat. Some people believe that serious musicians must master the acoustic piano because the Australian Music Examinations Board specifies that exams for grades four and above must use acoustic pianos.

Acoustics tend to be more expensive than digital pianos, but they hold their value longer. They also cost more to maintain, as they come with physical parts that suffer wear and tear with use. But the magical sound that comes from a well built and maintained acoustic piano… it’s heavenly.

Digital piano – pros and cons

Digital piano technology is very impressive. The newer pianos have expertly recreated the feel and sound of acoustic pianos, with many added benefits. You can play silently with headphones, which is beneficial if you don’t want to annoy your neighbours. You can also record your playing with an internal sequencer and or a USB attachment. This feature is great for children who can listen back to their own playing to improve their skills. Digital pianos aren’t affected by humidity, so consider this if you live in the warmer climates of Australia.

Digital pianos are more affordable, but of course, beware of cheaper models that do not have the quality features you need. Another drawback of a digital piano is the resale value. As the technology continues to improve so rapidly, digital pianos from five years ago are positively out of date. So, your new digital piano ought to meet the requirements from the AMEB (Australian Music Education Board) .

One of the main criteria too look for is three pedals, and a fully weighted piano action, so keys feels similar to an acoustic piano.

We help plenty of parents looking to buy pianos for their children, and we can help you too. Please, come into our store to speak to our expert team and we can help you find the right choice for your needs, experience and budget.