CAN READ MUSIC
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I CAN READ MUSIC
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EASY CLASSICAL PIANO
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CHILD'S POINT OF VIEW
LEARN TO READ MUSIC
PIANO IS EASY
BIG BOOK OF SONGS
TEACH YOURSELF PIANO
EASY CLASSICAL PIANO
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TO BUY AN INEXPENSIVE PIANO OR KEYBOARD
The most important factor
to decide is whether you want an electronic keyboard or a real acoustic
Here are several things
to keep in mind as you make this first decision:
you buy a great big acoustic piano, think about why you are buying it:
if you are buying it for a child, and they have never played piano
before, you might consider buying an inexpensive electronic keyboard
first to determine the level of interest the child has. If your child
demonstrates interest, then consider upgrading to a real piano. Why?
Pianos are big and expensive, and once you buy it, it will cost
$200-300 to move it, every time. And if you want to sell, it is not
quite so easy. And if you CANNOT sell it, they are hard and expensive
to dispose of (unless you have bought a very top of the line model
such as Steinway.)
you have room for an acoustic piano? An average piano requires at
least five feet in width, plus room to get around it. And if it's a
grand, it can be 5 to 6 feet long. The average acoustic piano weighs
at least 500 pounds.
you planning on moving? As mentioned above, piano moving is not cheap
unless you have some strong friends and a truck. Count on $200-300 for
a simple move. Then add more to the cost if you have steps. Piano
movers have been known to charge as much as $100 per step if it is a
difficult move. You can shop around for movers and save a bit, but
choose a reputable company that has experience moving the specialty of
pianos. The point is that if you have an acoustic piano, do not plan
on moving it around easily or inexpensively.
Let's assume you have
decided to buy an electronic keyboard for reasons of cost, convenience or
portability. Here are points to consider before you buy:
must know why you are buying the instrument, once again. For example,
if you are buying a small electronic keyboard for a small child who
has never played, my advice is to get the simplest, least expensive
keyboard. The reason is that you do not know what your child's
interest will be until the child actually tries the keyboard. The may
love the keyboard or they may not. Your safest bet is to purchase an
inexpensive model until your child shows interest. Then you can
upgrade inexpensively rather than paying a lot initially for an
electronic musical keyboard.
not let a sales person sell you a fancy model with a lot of features.
There are dozens of models made by companies like Casio that cost
perhaps $99 and will do everything you need to do and more. I've
seen and taught people who were sold horribly complex keyboard setups
for $7500, and they would have derived exactly the same education and
enjoyment from the $99 model. The truth is, and I've owned recording
studios so I have some idea of it, that there are no features on an
expensive electronic keyboard of which a beginner can make fruitful
use. Get the simple model first.
are the requirements of a keyboard? Good question. A basic electronic
keyboard for piano lesson or recreational use should have around 48
keys (a few more or less) counting both the black and white keys. This
is what most basic electronic music keyboards (Casio) have. The keys
should be 3/4 of an inch wide: that is the standard width of keys on
all full size piano keyboards. You may run across a "mini"
keyboard which has smaller width keys, but I would recommend against
those types of models: even the smallest child can handle a full size
keyboard in their own way, and it is better they learn on the same
setup they will later play upon.
it comes with a sustain foot pedal, get that model. It should be
moderately expensive, say an extra $25 or so, but it is worth if you
have the choice. If no choice is offered, you'll do fine with the
model without the sustain pedal. The pedal adds a certain depth to the
sound, an added enhancement to the rather flat sound of an electronic
possible, your child's experience or yours will be far richer with a
real, acoustic piano, assuming it is a fairly good model in reasonable
shape. Pianos should last 50 years if not abused. But you will run across
many, many beat up old pianos, because they are hard and expensive to get
reason an acoustic piano is better is simple: the answer lies in both the
physical and pyschoacoustic experience of playing a piano versus playing
an electronic instrument. The primary difference is that on an electronic
instrument the sound is confined to a small speaker, even on an expensive
model. No matter how loud you set it, the electronic model cannot match
the acoustic model. The reason for this is that the acoustic piano has a
deep, rich sound, which is vibrating your floor and all the walls,
resounding and reverberating in the room. It's just a better musical and
that in mind, how do you go about purchasing a reasonably priced used
piano? Here are a few factors to keep in mind:
you want to know about expensive pianos, that's outside of this
discussion. Just so you know, for comparison purposes, a
well-preserved model of the Steinway brand (the "Mercedes" of
pianos) will fetch at least $15,000 to $25,000, and well into the
$75,000 area and up if that's what you want. But we're not here
type of piano you get depends largely on where you get it. Let's
divide it into STORES and
INDIVIDUALS. Stores such as piano clearing houses or outlet dealers,
or wholesale houses, are in general offering pianos of recent vintage
and of Chinese, Japanese or Korean manufacturers. The piano
manufacturing business has been taken over, in the low price range, by
the Oriental companies. They are able to turn out a creditable
instrument in the $2500 retail price range. You can pay much more, but
as of 2008, the low end for a new Chinese upright piano is $2500.
careful with wholesale piano outlets: the nasty truth in the piano
business is that these places often, not always, but often buy what is
known as "factory returns." These pianos are pianos with problems,
usually a funny clicking here or there, not able to be tuned properly,
etc., but not such bad problems that they cannot be sold to the unwary
buyer. They may have a variety of subtle problems that may never
bother you. To be honest, I have such a piano, a Chinese upright I
bought a while back for a teaching studio, and it works just fine
after constant practicing punishment! But for how long? That's the
question. But for most people's kids who play only a little,
you'll never have a problem.
of where you buy it, it pays to have an independent professional take
a look at it. I have looked at pianos for prospective buyers, and
there is a wide range of both junk and jewels out there. The opinion
of at least a decent pianist can be invaluable.
you are looking for, regardless of price, is condition. Do all the
notes play? Is it in tune? Does it look neglected? Is it obviously
damaged? Is it new, used or almost dead? You'd be surprised what
people might think you'd want to buy, especially from a private
home. On the other hand, I once consulted for a family that had bought
a house, and it came with a Steinway. They hired me to play it and see
what it was worth. It was a breathtaking PERFECT Steinway 7 foot (the
professional size) that was easily worth $60,000 to perhaps $80,000.
Perfect. How much did the sellers want? $10,000. I said buy it, and
they did. Moral: you never know what you're going to find.
it's junk, stay away at any price. Do not ever be swayed by piano
salespeople. They are very good at convincing you that this piano is
sensational. The truth is that a piano contains nine thousand moving parts and
they will baffle you with things you know nothing about until you're
convinced that the $18,000 for a 4-foot electronic Kawai grand is just what your
daughter needs to get started. The only lasting test is a pianist
playing it and saying, "It's good." We're the only ones who
In short, if buying from
a store outlet, expect a Chinese model in the low price range. And it
doesn't matter what the name printed on the piano is. I've seen
hundreds of pianos with names like (not quoting) Hugo Van Altenbrunner, or
some such exalted Teutonic name, but it is made in Shanghai, my friend. The low end
is all Oriental pianos, some very good, some not so good.
If buying from an
individual, then anything is possible. A good place to look is locally.
Families grow up and out of the piano market. April and May are good
months to buy because most corporate relocations are at that time and
leave people with expensive pianos they don't want, can't sell, and
will take any reasonable price for.
Look in the local
newspaper, talk with other families, these are a couple of approaches. I
will tell you this: never ever buy a piano sight-unseen. I've seen them
advertised online in what appear to be great bargains.
But the truth is that
pianos are like people and used cars, very unique, each with a different
history. Let a pianist take a peek under the hood.
also Larry Fine's excellent book, THE
PIANO BOOK, for a great discussion of buying pianos.
Aschenbrenner Copyright 2008 Walden Pond Press All Rights Reserved
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OF INTEREST TO PARENTS:
is a good age to start piano lessons?"
are the benefits of playing piano for my child?"
can I help my child read sheet music at the piano?"
Lessons: A Child's Point of View
POND PRESS ARCHIVES and read articles about children and piano
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US HELP YOU FIND AN INEXPENSIVE ELECTRONIC KEYBOARD TO GET YOUR CHILD STARTED!
IS EASY BOOK PACKAGE INCLUDES:
IS EASY (ISBN # 0-9718936-1-6) Sturdily bound, durable, colorful 120
page illustrated song book with 50 songs such as Jingle Bells and London
Bridge, Play Along Audio CD and removable numbered stickers.
book package order of PIANO
IS EASY includes a copy of I
CAN READ MUSIC. This fun, easy-to-understand music activity book is
the best way to start children reading music. Click
here for sample pages.
book package order of PIANO
IS EASY includes a FREE copy of the 56 minute DVD video from TEACH
YOURSELF PIANO. This video will have you playing chords (three piano
keys played with the left hand) and fun, familiar songs with both hands
right away. That's a $16.95 value free!
PLAY ALONG AUDIO CD and DVD
for a list
of songs. Click here for sample
IS EASY BOOK PACKAGE $39.95
can also purchase individual books with CD $24.95