How to Choose a Keyboard

You want your keyboard to have 88 keys. Count them if you’re not sure. Anything less will get old fast.

You want the keys to be touch-sensitive. Can you play loud or soft without having to adjust the volume control?

You want a damper pedal, so you can hit a note and sustain the tone with your foot. Read More

Beyond these three absolutes, pick the best-sounding instrument you can afford. The better it sounds, the more you’ll want to play. There are sounds only the largest acoustic grand piano can make. They take your breath away.

It’s too bad, but acoustic pianos have become impractical for almost everyone these days. Too bad, because even the worst ones have a warmth of tone no electronic keyboard can mimic, at least not yet. Don’t believe any salesman who tells you otherwise.

Unfortunately, acoustic pianos are heavy and take up space. Moving them is expensive and difficult. Still, if you want the best possible experience, go acoustic – or buy both!

An electric keyboard is a fine way to start. Get a full-size, touch-sensitive one with a pedal.

How to Practice

One day, I asked Anthony’s mom how she felt his practice was going.

“Well,” she said, “he never sits down for half-an-hour, or even 15 minutes, but as he’s passing by the piano on his way to the kitchen, he’ll stop and play for 5 minutes, and he does that all the time.”

“That’s great!” I enthused. Read More

"It is?" she said.

“Yes, because instead of practice being this big deal, it turns into a hobby, something he’s having fun with bit by bit, and that’s the whole point!”

Anthony’s mom went on to say that she never worries about him getting enough time in overall, and when he gets home from school, he sits down and plays right off.

Put your piano someplace you pass by often and where your family will let you linger a moment and play. With keyboards, of course, you can put headphones on and practice anytime.

It’s better to do a little bit often than it is to practice 30 minutes the night before your lesson and not again for a week.

Sitting down at the piano is really the hardest part. If you can manage that, your 5 minutes will become 10 or 15 all by themselves.