As I start to write this article I may be slightly biased having bought a digital piano only last year! But I don’t want to seem stupid and answer the question, ‘Is a piano the best?’ giving lots of reasons as to why it is not the best of instruments to learn to play.
Well, please believe me, I am going to give an honest account of what I think to be true. I hope that you enjoy reading this article and appreciate that I will also give reasons as to why the piano may not be the best instrument for you to learn.
The white or black key is simply pushed down and a note can be heard. The pitch is perfect and if a natural note from the white key is not desired but preference is for the sharp then it can be easily found by pushing down the black key to it’s left or right.
It doesn’t involve hoping to find the correct finger position as you do when learning to play the violin or holding the string down firmly against the fret board of a guitar to stop the annoying buzzing sound.
Unlike playing a trombone or any brass wind instrument, playing the piano certainly doesn’t involve having to find the correct vibration of your lips when blowing into a mouth piece.
As for the tuning process, even drums need regular tuning and almost any time a violin or guitar is played they too need tuning.
The digital piano, it just works wonderfully when I turn it on. I touch a key and the note plays perfectly.
- 88 Keys – 7 Octaves
A piano covers 7 octaves. The reasons for this are both historical and practical. The piano we recognise today originated from the 60 key, 5 octave harpsichords. But as time passed and composers such as Rachmaninoff wanted to expand their range of music so the famous piano manufacturer Steinway added more keys in the 1880s and increased the kind of music that could be performed on the piano.
In doing so the piano now has such a wide range of pitch from its lowest note to its highest note that it can replicate almost any piece of music played by any other instrument.
For this reason you are not limited at all by the musical composition you may wish to write or learn to play. If you wish to play pieces of music unaccompanied you can and you will have all the correct notes covered!
- Bass and Treble Clef
With such a large range of 7 octaves the piano incorporates both bass and treble clef, unlike most other orchestral instruments.
In an orchestra the violin, flute, clarinet, trumpet and oboe for example play the higher notes and use just the treble clef. The cello, trombone and tuba, for example play the lower notes and use only the bass clef.
Yet playing well with other instruments is critical when performing in an orchestra and therefore when studying an instrument other than the piano as your major at college performance ability on the keyboard is considered to be very important since an understanding of bass and treble clef is required. It is therefore felt by professors that students with keyboard skills certainly have a head start as music majors.
- More Than One Note
The piano is one instrument that can use one or both hands to play chords.
A chord played on the piano is when two, three or more notes are played simultaneously. The left hand is usually used to play the chord whilst the right hand plays the melody.
Learning the piano chords is a great way to help increase your understanding of how the different notes fit together and in turn leads to a more rounded understanding of music theory.
Chords are a great starting point for composition and may lead to a greater understanding and wish to progress in one’s piano playing ability.
- Dynamic Range
It can be played loudly or quietly. Or with more or less emotion. It can be played quietly to help accompany a soft singing voice or dramatically to help accompany a loud passionate solo.
I love the emotion of sound that can be delivered through the delicate or forceful touching of the keys.
- A Great Place To Start
If you were lucky enough to play the piano as a child and learn the basics before moving to another instrument I don’t think you could ask for a better place to start.
The piano is versatile and you may have spent many years studying it before deciding to move towards another instrument. But what a foundation to have had. The simplicity of the pianos form that will have allowed you to understand musical theory and then taking this knowledge forward to learn another instrument can only be in your favour.
- Space Available
Maybe you don’t have enough room for a digital or upright piano and maybe you have young child who you worry may spill a drink on it or run into it. I understand these scenarios.
- Pianos need tuning too
It is true, the piano is a stringed instrument and so it will need tuning. This is not cheap and is best done quarterly in its first year and then twice a year if played regularly.
A piano is large and heavy to move. It is almost impossible without a number of people and the right equipment to transport an upright piano.
An 88 key digital keyboard is a little too large to carry any distance and a vehicle is needed to transport it.
You may have no admiration for any keyboard players and simply no wish to play the piano. Or you may know that you definitely want to play a different instrument, the guitar for example. Steve Vai may be your guitar hero. You saw him play and were amazed by his talent. I understand if you thought ‘yep that’s for me! I want to be in a band and play the guitar.’ Well, that’s completely understandable. I cannot argue with that. Good luck!
And The Winner
Well, it’s got to be the reasons for. There are not many reasons why the piano isn’t best.
And you may be thinking now that I didn’t make much of an effort with the reasons against. I admit I did think of a few more reasons, but for that I need another title!
The Reason why the Reason For Wins:
That was on my original list.
I thought that parents who had children who wanted to learn may have to make a commitment to take the child to the teachers house or back to school for a piano lesson.
Or maybe you want to learn, but having been at work for a long day and don’t want to face the teacher tonight or travel again after arriving home.
Or perhaps the piano teacher cannot give a lesson at your chosen time.
And then I thought but you can learn ONLINE NOW whenever you are free
- Cost of lessons
This too was on my original list!
I thought an individual who wants to learn or a parent who has a child or children who wanted to learn may well have felt that the cost of a piano teacher was a little more than they wanted to pay.
And then I thought but you can learn ONLINE NOW! at far less cost.
- Piano Cost
Yes the cost of a good upright piano is considerable. The cost of a digital piano is much less in comparison.
Well I understand the kids who just want to be in a band and learn to play the drums or guitar. That makes perfect sense to me.
I also understand completely if a digital piano is a little out of your price range or maybe just not feasible to purchase right now.
But there really isn’t any reason why the piano isn’t the best, is there?