Piano v. Keyboard: Advice from an Experienced Piano Instructor

Holiday Music Gifts

by Angie Mack Reilly (c) 12/10/16

For those of you who want to give the gift of a musical instrument this holiday season, but aren’t sure what to get, this is for you!

I often get asked what I recommend as far as instruments.  Here you go…..


I get asked all of the time, “do we have to get a real piano if we start lessons?”  Most piano teachers who teach classically recommend that their students have a real piano.   A piano is more formal.  If you have a piano in your home, keep it!  But don’t forget to have it professionally tuned at least once a year.  For piano tuning in Ozaukee County,  I recommend RAY LAST

Holiday Music Gifts
Planning on Putting a Keyboard Under the Tree?

The Ideal Learning Space Should Be in a Comfortable and Enjoyable Setting

My philosophy on pianos is slightly different.  Having a piano is a wonderful thing to have, but I find that some children can find a piano to be boring and too formal to sit at ESPECIALLY if they are being forced to rehearse.    The ideal learning space should be in a comfortable and enjoyable setting.  This is the first thing to consider.

Children Learn When They Experiment Musically

My philosophy is that the NUMBER ONE GOAL is for the child TO ENJOY playing music.  Playing an instrument is a “leisure” activity.  Let learning be “leisurely”.  Most children experimenting with sounds on a keyboard, in addition to their piano lesson material, can learn quite a lot.   Children learn when they experiment musically.   Because of that, I say that a keyboard is just fine for a child beginner.  In fact, I believe that every child should have a musical instrument in their room or play space regardless of whether they are taking piano lessons or not.  And some families can’t afford a new piano and others may not have the “room” or the time to have one hauled.


Practicing Should Be Initiated by the Child

Another thing to consider is that children who have attention issues need more stimulation than most.  For that reason, I am also more apt to recommend a keyboard with all of the different sounds, lights, drum beats and whistles.  Let learning be fun!!! Practicing should be initiated by the child.  

Parents who are constantly “harping”, “Go practice your piano!” are doing more harm than good.  They are treating practicing piano like a chore, doing homework or punishment.

STOP!!!  Don’t kill their creative spirit!


Let Playing the Piano Be “Leisurely”…..Especially in the Beginning

The kids pick up on that tone.  If they see playing the piano as “work” and not “leisure”, they run the risk of eventually quitting, never to return to playing again.  Soooooooooo many parents that I talk to had a bad experience with an overly strict piano teacher or parents when they were a child.  And quite honestly, many are angry to this day that they gave up on piano…..all because it wasn’t enjoyable.  What a tragedy!  To cut off a child’s enjoyment and rob them of an experience meant to last a lifetime.

You Are Never Too Old to Learn

I will also say that my oldest “piano student” was a man in his 80s who was also a WWII pilot, Harvard Business School graduate, president of a bank and Wisconsin legislator.  He knew that the secret to growing old while staying “young” is to keep learning new skills. And that is what he did until the day he died.

All of you “adults” out there who love music but hated learning piano as a child……..come to me!  haha  Honest.  I don’t care how old you are or how much you forgot.  If there is still something inside of you that would like to play again, let’s try again.  But with a different approach.  Yes.  I love teaching “adult piano”.  And what about your elderly parents? Don’t forget how wonderful learning “the piano” is for their memory, coordination and enjoyment.  Some of my favorite students have been elderly students.  Honest!

Music Should Be Viewed as Therapeutic

If not, something is wrong.  Playing music can ease anxiety, stimulate new brain cell growth, lower blood pressure, release serotonin into the brain, help with memory and focus, help with loneliness and depression, boost confidence, be a creative outlet and sooooooo much more!

I AM NOW ACCEPTING NEW STUDENTS for the January through April semester.  Contact me now if you are thinking of putting a keyboard under the tree or would like to see that beautiful piano in your home dusted off and used again.

Email angie@ozaukeetalent.com 

ONE MONTH FREE LESSONS!  Mention this article for one month of free piano lessons with a year commitment contract.  (Billing would be monthly).  Good for January through December 2017.



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Published by ozaukeetalent

One lesson. One song. One event at a time. Ozaukee Talent is a training and networking facility for people of all ages wanting to advance in the arts. Ozaukee Talent was founded by longtime arts leader Angie Mack in 2016. Ozaukee Talent provides private music and acting lessons, contracted event marketing, contracted arts project management, consulting, arts public speaking and performing, hosts musical events, workshops and classes in the arts. Contact: Ozaukee Talent 1701 11th Ave. Grafton WI 53024 angie@ozaukeetalent.com 262.309.4112 Follow @ozaukeetalent on Instagram and Facebook. Tax deductible donations for Ozaukee Talent through Create Wisconsin, Inc. Venmo: @ozaukeetalent PayPal: angie@ozaukeetalent.com

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