Adult Piano Lessons: First Things First
When you decide that you want to take Adult Piano Lessons, be sure that you know what you need to succeed…
Yes, for you to succeed at Adult Piano Lessons, you will need to have daily access to a piano. An acoustic piano is preferred (I’ll explain why in a bit) but an electronic keyboard is acceptable.
Electronic keyboards come in all sorts of shapes and sizes and have mostly replaced the piano as a “starter” instrument for beginning Adult Piano Lessons. Electronic Keyboards for Piano Lessons should have 88-keys like a standard piano keyboard. The keys should be full sized just like on a piano.
The number and variety of instrument sounds on the electronic keyboard are really not a factor in terms of Adult Piano Lessons. The variety of sounds is fun to play with but you should be sure that your electronic keyboard has a realistic piano sound(s), harpsichord and, possibly organ sounds. That’s really it. If the choice is between a large variety of sounds and and a few really good sounds like the three listed above, go with the really good sounds.
Where real, old-fashioned acoustic pianos have it all over electronic keyboards is in the very important area of piano action which affects the instrument’s “touch”.
Piano action is the term used for the mechanism that works between the piano keys and the piano strings. Every time a key is pressed down a complex series of wooden pieces, springs, hammer etc. (the “action”) are needed to transfer that energy to strike the string and make the sound.
If you have never looked in side an acoustic piano, lift the lid and take a peek. You’ll be amazed. It is a mechanical marvel.
The piano action mechanism gives each acoustic piano its unique feel or touch.
Simply put, “touch” is a way that piano players describe how a piano/keyboard feels to play.
Most non-piano players will logically think that the easiest or softest touch is the best choice. But this is not so.
Experienced piano players like to feel a little resistance when they play. It gives them more control of the sound.
I have two electronic keyboards. One was relatively inexpensive and it has a very light touch. I find it difficult if not painful to play that instrument for more than an hour or so. My other, high-end keyboard has a touch that is very similar to that of a real piano. I can play that one for hours without any pain.
In better electronic keyboards with more-piano like touch, the keys are often referred to as being weighted or the user will have options such as: “Hard”, “Medium” or “Soft”. More expensive keyboards like mine actually have some kind of physical mechanism in place to mimic the traditional piano’s action or feel.
What all of this discussion of “touch” means for a beginning piano student: some resistance in playing a note on the piano is actually a good thing, a very good thing! This resistance will help strengthen those young finger muscles.
To me that piano “touch” is the biggest benefit of a real piano. You and your family will have to weigh this major benefit against the cost of the instrument and the fact that acoustic pianos need to be tuned about twice a year.
Playing for Your Family and Friends
Looking back on my own musical development, I think that one of the key ingredients that got me where I am today was the practice that my Dad started of having me play for him and my Mother after church every Sunday morning.
This performance experience was priceless in my development as a musician. It gave my week of practice a focus as I knew that my Mom and Dad would be listening to me on Sunday. Of course, they where listening to me all week while I practiced but playing for them on Sunday felt special, more like giving a recital or concert.
So, I would strongly recommend that you start this tradition shortly after you start your piano lessons. Set aside a regular time every week that works for you and play through some songs for someone.
This should start right away after just a lesson or two. Initially, the performance may last just a couple of minutes. That’s okay!
The sooner that you start doing this, the more natural it will become for you. It can become a family tradition that every one will long cherish.