Piano Or Keyboard?

Investing your hard earned money in piano lessons for yourself or your child is a significant outlay of cash, time, and effort. There are many ways to maximize your investment and the benefits of music study. The instrument that the student practices on is a key element that will determine the amount of success (or failure) that the student will have as they embark upon their musical journey.
A real, acoustic piano is the best choice for a piano student. You can rent an instrument for a ‘trial period’, I suggest 6 months of lessons, to see if the student enjoys their lessons, is making good progress, and wants to continue. After 6 months if all is well, it would be worth it to buy a piano. There are new and used models available at local music stores (Long & McQuade, Tom Lee, etc.) and also plenty of secondhand instruments on sale at Craiglist or E-Bay, or any classified section of your local newspaper. Acoustic pianos need yearly maintenance.
A touch sensitive electric keyboard with weighted keys is also a perfectly fine alternative, especially for a beginner player. Electric pianos generally are less expensive and require almost no maintenance. Look for an instrument with on-board speakers. Keyboards can be rented or bought from your local music store, and the staff there will be happy to show you several different models and help you find the one that best suits your needs. Less is more – you don’t need a lot of other fancy sounds or recording capacity, a few piano sounds will be more than adequate. Some popular brands are Roland, Korg, Kurzweil, Yamaha, and Kawai. Casio also has a good entry level model. It’s very important to get a keyboard that has all 88 keys, (so it’s the same size as an acoustic piano) and is touch sensitive, with weighed keys. This will ensure the keyboard has the same feel (or very nearly) as a real piano, which will allow the student to switch back and forth from keyboard to piano with ease – they will have to play on instruments other than their own for recitals and exams.