If you are signing up for piano lessons, you are going to need a piano or keyboard.

So what should you get? That’s a good question. In a nutshell, you should buy the one that “talks to you” that fits your budget.

Several years ago my husband was in Soho, New York with a friend. They stopped into Rudy’s Guitar Shop for some strings. The store was empty except for a single person at the other end of the store playing an acoustic guitar. The salesperson waiting on them said, “Do you know who that is?” It was Dion of Dion and the Belmonts! (a 50’s group that sang, “Run Around Sue” “The Wanderer” and many other hits). They went back to talk to him and he turned out to be a really nice guy. He told them that he had bought a guitar a few years earlier and it “had several songs in it.” They were there just begging to be played. He said he chose a guitar that “talked to him”. That is what I want you to feel when you choose your keyboard.

Let’s start with the basics. There are two kinds of pianos available: Acoustic and Electric. There are pro’s and con’s for both, but most professionals would agree that it is difficult if not impossible to replicate the sounds of an acoustic piano. The answer is that you should get a piano that “talks” to you. Play everything and find the instrument that looks, sounds and feels right!

The second big question is what is your budget?

Here is a guideline.

Beginner pianos - $100-$400
These pianos will typically come with self-contained speakers, ideally they will come with 88 keys, though some have 76 or 61 keys. The keys are not likely to be weighted. 88 weighted keys is the ideal, but you can get started without them.

Intermediate pianos - $400-$800
At this price you will get 88 weighted keys, you most likely will not get self-contained speakers, and the piano will have many more voicing’s then the beginner choices. Another important thing to remember if you plan to play gigs is the weight of the piano. Would you feel comfortable transporting and setting up this piano on a regular basis?

Professional stage pianos - $1,000 plus
At this level you get the works! These pianos are built for professionals that want all kinds of sounds and voicing’s. You will know when you need one of these dream machines!

I went to my local Sam Ash store recently and just played a few pianos, nothing scientific, I just went down the line and played what they had. Here are some very basic thoughts on some keyboards I played:

Yamaha PSR E263 119 - 61 keys, may not get right feel, has rhythms, $119. has self contained speakers needs cords and pedal.

Yamaha PSR E363 - $179 - Feels much better

Casio Privia PX 760 - Feels good $699 comes with stand and 3 pedals, no bench, has speakers. Recently, I have noticed that many people are using this model.

Yamaha 45 $400, has 88 weighted keys and sounds good!

Needs pedal.

Some common accessories: case $130, pedal $28, stand $50, bench $50.

Whatever you choose, together you and me will make perfect harmony!