Supplies for Starting Piano Lessons
One of the most important things you can do for music lessons is to set up properly to start with good equipment and all of the right materials! Here are some suggestions to get you started.
What Piano or Keyboard Should I Choose?
The most important thing when starting piano lessons is having a good instrument to play! There are several things you need to consider when choosing the right one:
- How much space will you have for your instrument?
- Will you need to control how much noise it will make?
- When and where will you be playing: in a family room or in a quiet bedroom?
- Would you prefer the sound and feel of an acoustic piano or have the flexibility of an electronic keyboard?
- Will you be able to have a piano tuned regularly or would you prefer less maintenance?
- Would you like to be able to connect it to other devices for practice and music making?
Both acoustic and electronic instruments have their positive and negative things to consider:
- Resonant and rich sound
- 88 keys
- Classic feel and weight
- Fixed location (hard to move)
- Acoustic sound controlled only mainly by the force of touch
- Some have “practice pedals” which allow sound to be dampened, but not silent
- Pedals and action allow for more advanced techniques
- Multiple sounds
- 88 keys (recommended) but can also come with fewer keys for use in smaller spaces
- Weighted or touch-sensitive keys
- Portable (can be moved easily)
- Electronic sound controlled by volume controls as well as force of touch
- Most enable the use of headphones for silent practice
- Can be connected to electronic interfaces and devices
Students can successfully start piano lessons on either an acoustic piano or on an electronic keyboard. I usually recommend that my students start with a keyboard unless they already have an acoustic piano at home. If you’d like to start with a keyboard, here’s my advice:
Absolute must-haves in a starter keyboard:
At a minimum, you should look for a keyboard with:
- Weighted or semi-weighted keys
- Full 88-key range
- Sustain pedal jack
- Headphone jack
These features will let you practice comfortably on an instrument that will encourage good habits, and will give you the flexibility of practice when and where it’s convenient. After all, that’s what’s most important: making it possible for you to practice!
Here are some keyboard models that I recommend:
(Disclaimer: these are Amazon affiliate links, so purchasing through this site helps support me and my studio!)
The Alesis Recital Pro features hammer action weighted keys with adjustable touch response, 12 premium sounds, built in speakers and features to split the keyboard, record, and it can also run on batteries! I use Alesis keyboards in my performances, and this is my students’ favorite model by far.
The Casio CDP-150 is the upgrade of a model that I’ve used in my school studio for years. It features scaled hammer action keys, can run on its power supply or on AA batteries, and can be connected to the Casio SP-34 portable three-pedal unit which simulates the pedals on a grand piano!
The Yamaha P-71 is one of the best choices for a full-featured keyboard for piano lessons. It features fully weighted keys, 10 voices, the ability to split and layer sounds, and is easily portable at only 25 pounds and has a slim profile that makes it ideal for small spaces.
If you’d prefer to get a package all together with everything you’ll need to be ready for lessons including keyboard, keyboard stand, pedals, and other accessories, here are a few to check out!
Now that you’ve got your piano or keyboard, what else do you need?
Here are my recommendations! Some are necessary and all are helpful. Start with whatever makes sense for you– you can always add or upgrade later!
A good keyboard stand:
If your keyboard didn’t come with a stand, it’s always a good idea to have one. A good stand ensures you can set it up at the right height for your body. Most tables and desks are a little too high for most people to play comfortably while sitting or standing.
A sustain pedal:
It’s so lovely to be able to create long smooth phrases and washes of sound on the piano, and having a sustain (or damper) pedal is essential to playing right from the beginning. Even if you’re just starting out, you’ll encounter lots of pieces that will need one!
Headphone jack adapter
Most keyboards use a 1/4″ headphone jack, and if you’re going to use wired headphones that would normally work with your tablet or phone, you’ll probably need an adapter!
It’s always good to have a set of headphones around to practice! Sometimes we need to keep the sound quiet from everyone else, and sometimes we need to focus so we can hear our own music making!
Have more questions?
Please contact me if you need advice about what to choose for your setup!