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Keyboard vs. Piano

Should piano teachers only teach on a real piano or is a good quality keyboard an option?

A good keyboard is a fantastic alternative to allow access to piano instruction for students who cannot practice on a real piano. This is a widely accepted practice in the profession and I never discourage the purchase of a keyboard if it creates a new piano student. It is a great option for parents who are not ready to commit to the expense of a real piano and its necessary upkeep or simply do not have the financial resources to do so.

I understand that it is a little more controversial to consider whether a teacher should be teaching on a keyboard instead of a piano. I personally believe it is perfectly fine to teach on a good keyboard (weighted keys, all three pedals, and in a case) if that is all the teacher can afford. I am a piano pedagogy teacher and counsel my students about starting private studios after graduation. For many of them, they will be moving out of their parents' homes and establishing their private studio at the same time. Most of the time, they need to start teaching to generate an income before they can invest in purchasing a piano. In that case, I believe it is absolutely fine to start teaching on a good keyboard, save a predetermined percentage of income in a designated savings account, and use the money to purchase a piano as soon as possible.

Once a piano is purchased, the keyboard can function as a second instrument to be used during the lesson for teacher demonstration or duets. The enhanced functions such as the rhythm settings or non-piano sounds can be used in fun activities during private lessons or during group classes. In fact, having two instruments, whether two pianos or piano/keyboard, open up new options for group class activities. One last use for a keyboard is its increased functionality compared to a real piano during online lessons. If you are interested in technology, keyboards can be connected to your computer and used for input into many programs that enhance the online experience for you and your students. In fact, the top sight-reading programs on the market require a keyboard for input.

I believe that a good teacher can teach in most any situation as long as the teacher and student have a functioning instrument, whether it be a keyboard or a real piano.


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