For individuals or families hoping to improve on or develop a skill for piano playing, few items are as important as a quality keyboard to use for studying and practice. As the rise of online shopping continues to shape the marketplace, the means for discovering the perfect instrument has never been more accessible to musicians.
With technological advancement allowing players of all levels to achieve a professional sound on even the tightest budget, students of music now have a treasure trove of fine products at their disposal to help kickstart their love of playing or to take their music career to new heights. Here are just a few things to consider when looking for the best keyboard for you or your family.
Finding the Best Weighted Key Piano Keyboard for You
While the best weighted keys pianos can be found at a variety of large music stores or online shopping sites such as eBay or Amazon, a visit to a local store can provide an in-depth understanding of which keyboard you prefer. Sometimes just a few minutes with a particular instrument can create a bond that will last a lifetime.
Why Piano Keyboards with Weighted Keys Aid the Learning Process
A weighted keyboard is important for a piano player because the keys will more accurately mimic the feel of a real acoustic piano. As the hands of the player adjust to the "feel" of a traditional piano, they will properly learn the amount of pressure needed to produce the correct tone to suit a given piece of music.
While functional for practice, an unweighted or "organ"-style keyboard will lack the capacity to teach the tactile relationship between a player's hand pressure when playing and the dynamics produced on a conventional piano's sounding board. This may result in piano students ending up less prepared for piano recitals or auditions than their peers.
Choosing the Correct Keyboard
Choosing the correct weighted keyboard will often come down to personal taste and budget. Even in the world of acoustic pianos, for example, different makers or "brands" are often associated with different "weights" of piano keys.
For example, companies such as Steinway (often seen as the "gold standard" of classical-style pianos, favored by great pianists such as Glenn Gould) or Yamaha will tend to use a "tighter" action on their keyboards in order to produce larger possible variations in volume dynamics, while piano companies such as Pleyel (the favored brand of piano for composers such as Frederic Chopin) will tend to have a lighter or "looser" action, meaning the keys will not have to be pressed as hard to produce a bigger sound.
Brands of piano that favor "light" action will also make it more difficult for players to produce finer variations in sound and volume, although the keyboards themselves may be easier to play. Despite favoring extremely low-tension actions on his keyboards, for example, Chopin was legendary for his dexterity and speed as a pianist.
What the Pros Use
Since most piano competitions and conservatories tend to use Steinway or Yamaha pianos for recitals, competitions, and auditions, it is a good rule of thumb that piano keyboards with weighted keys that lean towards the "medium action" characteristics of a Steinway or Yamaha will better prepare a player's technique for any performance situation they might be faced with.
In fact, simply looking for a weighted keyboard that accurately recreates the feel of a Steinway may be the best bet for a young student, since so many conservatories solely use the piano maker's instruments that the term "all-Steinway schools" is regularly used to describe top-tier music institutions. Indeed, whether it is a band try-out or a concert at Carnegie Hall, a good "medium" action on a keyboard will help prepare players for a wide variety of performance venues.
With these tips in mind, finding the right piano keyboards with weighted keys can open up many exciting possibilities for new and old piano players alike. Whether a keyboard is purchased for the pleasure of learning or in order to foster a career in the arts, many pianists find that the purchase of a high-quality instrument can make the process of learning a breeze.