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Should I buy a piano with weighted keys?

Posted by Hans Heshusuis on 14th Feb 2017

Tips for buying a piano for your child

Welcome to the first 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.

It’s important and confusing subject: weighted keys. Parents often ask us: “The teacher told us to get weighted keys – is that right?”

But first, let’s learn what weighted keys are and why they matter when learning the piano.

What are weighted keys?

Weighted keys are a feature of digital pianos, designed to replicate the key style of traditional or acoustic pianos.

Traditional pianos use a hammer to strike the strings. Your finger hits the key, and the hammer strikes the corresponding string, producing a note. If the key is struck lightly, a softer sound is produced. And of course, if the key is struck forcefully, a louder note is heard.

Digital pianos replicate this feature by using weighted keys. A piano with weighted keys requires more pressure from the fingers to produce the note.

If you have ever tinkered with a keyboard without weighted keys, you’ll know that the keys are quite flexible and easy to press. These are not recommended for children as they can’t develop dexterity and weighted technique.

Pros and cons of weighted keys for your child’s digital piano

Pros of weighted keys

  • Helps children learn the technique for use of an acoustic piano later on
  • A child will build the necessary finger strength required for an acoustic piano as their skill improves
  • The weighted key allows for more variation in tone and dynamic of the note, allowing children more freedom of creativity

Cons of weighted keys

  • They are harder for small hands to operate, possibly causing children to feel frustrated
  • If children learning on a keyboard transitions to a piano with weighted keys, they will struggle with technique and hand strength
  • The non-weighted key produces a simple note, with no variation of lightness or force of touch, allowing for limited creative expression
  • They are more expensive than cheap non weighted keyboards (non weighted keyboards can serve as an introduction to learning to play piano, at a low price).

Our advice

Many music teachers want children to start on weighted keys so they don’t develop bad habits. We recommend you speak with your teacher for specific advice. However younger children with limited hand strength may enjoy the non-weighted keys as the instrument is easier to play. On the other hand, if your child is older and more progressed in their skill level, a weighted key would be the best option.

Come into a store, test out the keys options and speak with our team about your child’s stage of ability and strength.