Piano or Keyboard?

Probably the first two questions when a new student begins lessons are “Do I have to have a piano ?” (spoiler: YES!) and “Should I get a piano or keyboard?” (spoiler: It’s complicated!)


Pianos come in 3 varieties — spinet, upright, or grand. There are all kinds of variations on this — baby grand, upright grand, square grands — but the big categories are these. Spinets are short uprights; Uprights are tall; Grand pianos look like this:

Why be great when you can be GRAND!

Pianos are acoustic. They need to be tuned. They need to be treated as living instruments — wood is porous and does not like dry climates. They are often passed down from generation to generation. You can buy them at a store or off Craigslist. Interestingly enough, many used pianos are cheaper than keyboards. Some Grand pianos INCREASE in value over time.

Click here for what to look for in a piano


Keyboards are electric. They come in all different sizes. They do not need to be tuned. They often have different sounds or beats. Some, not all, keyboards are easily moved or stored. They will hold tune for the life of the instrument. Because the sounds are electric they don’t always “sound” like a piano. That’s because acoustic piano strings resonate and vibrate and electric keyboards do not.

Click here for what to look for in a keyboard

So. Which one is it? Which is better? Here it is. The final, definitive answer.

The best piano or keyboard is the one you will actually practice.


Apples to apples, if you’re really comparing a solid keyboard with weighted keys, realistic pedal, and professional sounds, then a keyboard is just as appropriate as an acoustic piano. In fact, I would rather a student play a professional keyboard than an out-of-tune spinet. Keyboards sometimes get a bad rap when students use a TOY instead of an instrument.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is children-toy-piano-on-white-260nw-559509004.jpeg
Perfect for pieces using only 30 notes to play with your tiny, tiny tiny hands.

You need to get an instrument that aligns with your values. Do you intend to be a concert pianist? Get an acoustic piano! Do you intend to move regularly? Get a keyboard!

Before you lay down your hard earned cash, please talk to me, a piano technician, or someone with professional piano experience with an interest in you. Notice, I did not say talk to a “sales person.” There are many, many great people in piano sales. (Those great people would not take exception to you bringing a piano technician or your favorite piano teacher.)

Interested in signing up for lessons? Contact Julia for more info!

4 thoughts on “Piano or Keyboard?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: