If you already have an upright or grand piano in good working order, then fantastic!!! Stop reading right here!!!
But if you don’t have any keyboard at all, then have a look at the three categories below for options.
However the type you choose will probably depend on your budget and space limitations. It may also depend on whether you want to get a really good instrument straight away, or wait until further down the track when you or your child is more advanced.
I would strongly recommend that if you can afford at least a digital piano (option 2) straight away, then do that, as a low-priced electronic keyboard will need to be upgraded after a year or two.
A rough guide to the different types of keyboards are:
1. Low-priced electronic keyboard ($100-$300)
This could suit a beginner until about 1-2 years of lessons.
Make sure it has touch-sensitive keys. This means that you can control the loudness or softness just by playing the notes, just like a real piano. Also make sure it allows a sustain pedal to be connected. Pedalling is an important part of playing piano.
2. Digital piano ($600-$2000)
This could suit a student from 1 to 5 years of lessons.
Make sure it has (1) a full 88-key keyboard, (2) weighted and touch-sensitive keys and (3) facility for a sustain pedal to be connected.
3. Upright or Grand piano (Acoustic) ($5000+)
This is by far the best option for a student having had 5 to 10 or more years of lessons. There is nothing like a real piano for rich and beautiful sound, playing pleasure and for promoting great piano style and technique.
If you are serious about you or your child mastering piano, an upright or grand piano is essential. So long as it is a quality instrument, there is simply nothing better for playing enjoyment or playing style.
Here is an example of category 1 - the Casio CTK3200. Cost is about $250. (See photos below).
Here is one example of category 2 - a Casio CDP230BK Digital Piano, costing around $700. (See photo below).
Here is a link to another example of category 2 - a Korg SP280 Digital Piano, costing around $1100.
Here is an example of category 3 – A Kawai ND21 Upright Piano (costing about $5000)
and a Kawai GL10 Baby Grand Piano (costing around $10000).
It is important that any keyboard that you purchase comes with a pedal like the one ticked below.
You will also need to buy a stand, if the keyboard doesn’t already have one. A stand like the one below starts from around $50.
Do I need lots of different tones and rhythm auto-accompaniment?
The short answer is no, not for learning piano. The only time you need them is if the student is learning ‘keyboard’, as opposed to ‘piano’. In this case the different sounds and rhythms are essential.
What about buying second-hand?
If buying a second-hand upright or grand piano, you may get a good one, but as there are many pitfalls, make sure you get it checked out by a qualified piano tuner first. So long as the piano is in good condition, be guided by the sound you like and how good the keyboard action feels to play.