Fergus Black

music teacher and performer


Keyboard or Piano?

I offer piano lessons - not keyboard lessons.

The piano and the keyboard are different instruments, and they are played in different ways: on the keyboard the left hand accompanies the right, which has the tune. On the piano the two hands are more independent (which is why it is harder - as well as better for the brain!)

If someone is trying to play piano music, then an electronic keyboard is fine for a beginner in the short term, but they will outgrow it pretty quickly. Composers began writing beyond the range of five octaves around 1800, so most piano music composed since then requires a seven-octave keyboard.

If you need to get a keyboard, please bear in mind three things:
  • it must have full-size keys (like the piano, each key should be 23.64mm wide) - an octave C to C, would be roughly 18.9mm. 
    • it should have weighted keys, so they require a certain pressure to play
    • the longer (more notes), the better! The standard piano keyboard is 88 notes (counting both black and white notes)
An alternative to piano lessons, if you get a keyboard, is to have keyboard lessons instead.

In general, pianos keep their value better: the keyboard doesn't, since technology makes it obsolete quickly.

If you wish to buy a piano, my suggested route is to ask local piano tuners. I would say it is also worth paying to have a piano inspected before purchase. A good tuner will be able to tell you if it is worth buying.

Piano For Sale is a free web site for people wishing to advertise pianos for sale.