Is your child interested in learning how to play the piano? You may have one major obstacle in your way: a piano is large, and it can be very difficult to find space for even a small one in your home.
However, there is another option: a keyboard. But can you learn to play piano on a keyboard? If so, what are the differences? Piano teachers often teach with keyboards because they are portable. However, there are some things you do have to keep in mind when learning.
You May Want to Take Keyboard Lessons Instead of Piano Lessons
Some teachers do offer keyboard lessons instead of piano lessons. Keyboard lessons focus more on the melody. Students learn to play it with their right hand while learning to use their left hand to play block chords or one-finger chords.
Piano lessons, on the other hand, focus on teaching the student to play with both hands. This is more difficult, but it’s also more rewarding and is considered more “proper” music lessons by some.
If your child truly wants to learn to play any song written for the piano, encourage them to take piano lessons instead of keyboard lessons.
How Do Keyboards Differ from Pianos?
One of the biggest differences between the piano and the keyboard that can affect learning is that piano keys are weighted, while keyboard keys may not always be. Weighted keys help players build up finger strength because it takes more effort to push them down. Because of this, learning on a keyboard first can make playing on a piano more difficult, or at least require you to get used to the weight.
This is why many teachers prefer to use what is commonly called a “weighted keyboard.” This type of keyboard, which is more properly referred to as a digital piano, features keys with some resistance behind them. This makes playing one more similar to playing a piano than a standard keyboard, so it helps the player build up their finger strength.
Other differences between the two have less of an impact on learning to play, but they’re still very helpful. First, keyboards can play “backing tracks” for you, which is helpful if you’re learning to play in time with other players. You can also change the sounds your keyboard plays, going from a church organ to a classical piano to animal sounds and other unique options. Keyboards don’t require tuning or much maintenance, but they do need to be plugged into a power outlet.
How Are Pianos and Keyboard Similar?
Other than dealing with key weight, learning to play piano on a keyboard is actually pretty easy because of the similarities between the two. The keys on both instruments are arranged in the exact same pattern and size (on a full-size keyboard, anyway—there are smaller keyboards that do have narrower keys).
When learning on a keyboard, you’ll want to make use of one that has at least 72 keys on it. While most pianos feature 88, few songs actually make use of all 88 of those keys. Using a keyboard with 72 keys will let your child play the vast majority of compositions.
It’s completely possible to learn to play the piano by using a keyboard, and many people do. The fact that keyboards are also usually more affordable and portable are two great reasons to consider buying one over a traditional piano.
We Can Help with Lessons
If your child wants to learn to play the piano or the keyboard, our teachers are here to help. They come to your home to teach, so there’s no need to do anything other than be ready to learn. Contact us today to arrange a lesson!