Differences Between a Piano and a Keyboard

shutterstock_2357011893First things first, if you’re interested in Miami piano lessons, you can succeed with either a piano or a keyboard. There are several significant differences between the two, as well as many key similarities. Understanding what sets them apart will help you choose the perfect instrument for you or your child.

Can I learn piano on a keyboard?

Yes! There are some noteworthy differences to the feel and sound production of keyboards vs. pianos. However, the way in which the notes are organized is identical. This means that music you learn from your private piano teacher in Miami on one instrument can be easily transferred to the other, fingerings and all. Often keyboards will have fewer keys than a piano (a standard size piano provides about seven octaves), but this is accomplished by leaving out the very highest and lowest notes. The middle range of the instrument, where most music is played, will be the same.
If we can play the same music on both and learn to play piano on a keyboard, why choose on one or the other? Let’s look at a few of the main differences.

Pianos are acoustic; keyboards are not

Probably the most immediately noticeable difference between pianos and keyboards is their appearance, and this has a lot to do with how they produce sound. Pianos are large and made of wood. They create sound when you push down a key, which causes a hammer mechanism to strike a string. The string vibrates and in turn the wood of the entire instrument vibrates. No speaker or electrical current is ever involved. This produces a wonderful natural sound.
Keyboards on the other hand make use of electricity to vibrate a speaker on (or connected to) the instrument. This means that a keyboard only needs to be big enough to fit the keys, a speaker, and any adjustable settings (like volume) it might include. The portability that this entails can be very beneficial. A piano is difficult and expensive to move. Meanwhile a keyboard can travel in your car, or simply move around your home as you see fit. You can even put it away when it’s not in use.


Action describes how the keys behave when pressed down. Because of the way pianos work, they required more force to push the keys. This is a desirable feature, so if you want a keyboard that behaves more like a real piano you should look for an instrument with “weighted keys.”


Pianos typically have 2-3 pedals. The most commonly used one is the “sustain pedal” which allows notes to continue ringing after your fingers leave the keys. Most keyboards will have an option to plug in a pedal, however they don’t always come included. A lot of music can be played without a sustain pedal, especially when starting out. But if you want to get as close as possible to the full features of a piano with a keyboard, make sure you get a sustain pedal to go with it.

Let’s talk money…

While the price ranges of both pianos and keyboards can vary considerably, as a general rule, pianos will be more expensive. This makes sense when you consider the raw materials and careful craftsmanship that goes into building one. While a high price point doesn’t always indicate quality, the high cost of many pianos is well deserved, as they are excellent instruments.
For a more affordable option, keyboards are often the way to go. High end, professional, keyboards (which often aim to mimic the feel of a piano) can cost several thousand dollars, however you can find many excellent options for as little as $100. If you are looking for an affordable instrument for beginning piano lessons, a keyboard is likely the choice for you.


Because they have more moving pieces, pianos require more upkeep than keyboards. Parts can get out of place, and the strings require regular tuning. Professionals can handle all of this expertly, though. This means that a high quality, well maintained, instrument can last for generations.
Keyboards often operate through circuitry which doesn’t break easily but is difficult to fix when it does. If an affordable keyboard stops working it’s usually easier to simply get a new one rather than to repair it. But until then you’ll never have to worry about it going out of tune!
Do you have an instrument already and are looking for Miami piano lessons? Or are you interested in piano lessons but still not quite sure what instrument to get? Either way, please reach out to us here so we can get you started with a teacher and help you find the perfect piano or keyboard for you! Our teachers can either come to your home to teach or can also provide online music lessons. Our virtual music lessons are taught by local music teachers who plan their lessons to suit your child. Contact us today to find an instructor near you who will help your child master their skills.
Article by Bryan Dubrow

Differences Between a Piano and a Keyboard

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