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Tips for Choosing Your First Piano

by | Apr 2, 2019 | Education

It’s impossible to become a good pianist without an instrument to practice on at home, but it can be overwhelming to make the purchase! Maybe you feel like the cost will be way out of your budget, or you just don’t have the space in your home for a piano, or maybe you just have no idea what to buy. Don’t worry! I can help you. Below are some options and some information to help you decide what’s best for you, your home, and your family.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Do I really need a piano or can I get away without one for awhile?

A: Anyone who is going to take piano lessons absolutely needs a piano to practice on. Music is a language and needs to be practiced daily in order to be internalized. Piano is a very technical skill that just can’t be developed properly without a good amount of time spent daily for many, many years! So it’s really not worth it to invest in piano lessons unless you’re ready to spend a little bit on a practice instrument.

Q: Is this going to break my budget?

A: No, it definitely doesn’t have to! There are more expensive options, which I’ll list below, but there are inexpensive options as well. Also, sometimes a decent piano can be found very cheap or even free. You just have to pay for the move.

Q: Should I buy a piano or a keyboard?

A: I recommend a piano because no matter how high-quality a keyboard is, they just can’t mimic the sound and feel of real strings and hammers. A keyboard is a good option if you just don’t have the space for a real piano (although look up the measurements — a piano might not take up as much space as you think), or if you just want your child to try lessons for 6 months to a year before making a bigger purchasing decision.


Most Popular – Yamaha P-125

This is the keyboard I use in my studio, and it’s what I most highly recommend. I’ve found eBay to have the best price for this keyboard, and I’ve included a link to an entire bundle including a stand, bench, etc. (if this link isn’t working for you, let me know and I’ll send you a new one).

Yamaha P-125 Bundle

Cheaper – Alesis Recital

For its price, this keyboard is a great instrument. If you go with this one, plan to upgrade in 6 months to a year, but it’s a good choice if you want to try piano out for a few months before committing to a bigger purchase.

Alesis Recital

Another great choice – Yamaha P71

I discovered this one recently and found out this piano is pretty much exactly the same as Yamaha’s P45, but the P45 costs at least $50 more. Somehow Amazon got Yamaha to give them a great deal on this piano! It’s an Amazon exclusive for a great price, and you can find it here:

Yamaha P71

More expensive – Yamaha Clavinova

Clavinovas can be found in price ranges between $1,000 to $10,000 or more depending on the model. They’re great digital pianos, and the more you spend the better technology you’re going to get. If you’re considering a Clavinova, you can reach out to me to ask for advice — but if you’re really serious I would get in touch with a Clavinova expert so they can really explain all the different features to you!

Yamaha Clavinova


Upright Piano

You might be able to find a decent upright piano on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace for free or very cheap. I don’t recommend getting a used piano (or any piano) without asking an expert for advice. There is a LOT of junk out there, some so bad it might be better to have nothing at all!

My dad is a piano tuner/technician and he’s happy to offer his opinion and expertise if you’re serious about finding a piano. If you see some pianos online that you think might work for you, send him the links and he’ll give you some great advice. You can visit his website allegropianoworks.com to get in touch with him.

Grand Piano

This is truly the king of instruments. If you have the money and the space, and your child is really showing musical promise, you may want to look into purchasing.

I own two (pictured below): a Steinway from the 1920’s which I keep in our studio in Concord, and a Baldwin from the 1950’s which I play on at home. Both of these instruments inspire me to practice every day because they do exactly what I want them to, and they sound absolutely gorgeous. Can you tell I love my pianos??

I really love older pianos. I’ve found that they have a lot of character and pianos were made really well back in the day. You can also potentially spend a lot less money on an older piano. 

Pianos can be expensive and often overpriced, so shop around and make sure you do your research before buying!

My #1 most recommended app for beginners:

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