Learning your first musical instrument is a truly worthwhile endeavour and a piano remains a popular choice for many parents and kids. However, with so much choice out there it can be difficult to know which model is most appropriate for your child. There is a huge amount of variation in the sizes, shapes as well as the more technical aspects such as the range of keys and whether you should select an acoustic or electric piano.
The reason pianos remain a popular choice as a first instrument used to begin music training is due to the ease of playing them. Let’s face it; it doesn’t get simpler than pressing a key and hearing music does it? Pianos sound great from the start, unlike other instruments such as the violin or the flute that requires a high level of skill to produce a good sound.
Common Kids Piano Questions
Ultimately a kids piano is a complex piece of equipment, so it’s important you’re equipped with the correct knowledge to choose the right one to ensure your child is eased into the learning process and has a fun time, which is the bottom line after all is said and done.
Should You Get a Full Size Piano for your Kid?
A full size piano or a piano that has a full set of keys is typically defined as an acoustic or digital piano with 88 notes. This is usually recommended by music teachers, as although at first your child will only be learning a few notes, in which case a small keyboard will suffice, over time your child will ultimately play a wider range of notes. Therefore, if you select a keyboard with fewer keys than 88 your child will eventually reach a stumbling block in their learning.
Should You Get a Piano with Weighted Keys?
If you have ever played on a lightweight, portable keyboard and an acoustic, grand piano, you should know that they are extremely different to the touch. Acoustic pianos often require more force and respond differently than portable keyboards. The fully-weighted keys found in acoustic pianos are commonly referred to as being touch sensitive, which can be observed in the sound, for example a sharper sound would be experienced if the finger pressure is increased.
The reason for this is due to the materials used and the mechanism by which they operate. For instance, an acoustic piano key is commonly attached to a hammer, which lifts when pressed and hits a string in order to create a specific note or sound. This is in contrast to portable keyboards that are typically electrical and have digital sensors that are simply turned on when triggered to do so by the touch of the key. Traditionally these have often been less touch-sensitive than acoustic models and therefore do not tend to have the same range.
Ultimately, there isn’t very much difference between the two when playing since digital hammer on technology has made it difficult to distinguish between digital and acoustic models.
Should Young Children Get Private Lessons?
It’s only natural for parents to consider what age is most appropriate to get piano lessons for their kids. After all, it has long been established that playing music helps to develop a wide range of important skills including self-discipline, hand-eye coordination and intelligence. Truly, there is no ideal age, since all children are different and so develop at different rates and in different ways.
Rather than an exact age, it is perhaps more helpful to take into account their development instead. For instance, physical dexterity is vital for learning how to play the piano, therefore, ask your child if they can hold their hands up and then move each finger independently. This quick test is a good way to see if they are ready to learn how to pick out different tunes with multiple fingers, since the use of a single finger is probably not a good idea.
A good ballpark figure for learning is above the age of six, since this is the age when they can begin to follow instructions from a tutor and have a good level of finger control. It’s important never to be the pushy parent, be patient with them and encourage them as much as possible.
Our Top Picks
Melissa & Doug Learn-To-Play Piano
This vibrant little piano is the perfect introduction to learning piano for toddlers and kids under the age of 5 years of age. With a curved edge wooden design it is perfectly safe for toddler use and at 11.5 inches in height it’s the perfect size for little people.
This learn to play piano features 21 keys, which is the perfect number for beginners and neither to daunting or too large for them to be out of arms reach. More experienced players are able to follow the color-coded songbook to learn some family classics.
The color-coded songbook is a great accompanying tool to get your child to learn different tones, notes and sounds. The keys are coded with green, red, purple and orange, making it easy for young visual-learners to develop those foundation skills to become a proficient player.
RockJam Electronic Keyboard SuperKit
This electronic keyboard by RockJam is ideal for kids who want to learn how to play and practice their skills in style and comfort. The complete kit includes stand, chair, a handy learning app and headphones- ideal for playing without having to disturb others.
This electronic keyboard has 61 keys in total, which is an ideal number for the beginner. The weight of this model is just under 20 pounds, making it extremely lightweight ideal for transportation and portability. The keyboard spans 35 inches in width and although it isn’t too large, it may be too big for children under 6 years of age.
The quality of this keyboard is very good considering the price, making it a good option for parents on a budget, or those who don’t want to take too much of a risk if they’re unsure on their kids level of commitment.
The RockJam stands out from other models on the market since it comes with a matching padded stool, meaning there’s no need to make any extra purchases or use any of your home furniture.
The LCD screen is very clear and can be read with ease when in teaching mode. The RocKJam boats a collection of over 100 songs, 100 rhythms, and demos of at least 50 making this piano remain fresh and exciting to use. The app that accompanies this keyboard is downloadable via the piano maestro, you simply need to register and create a new account. After this, it is very straight forward to operate, you just need to go to keyboard settings and follow the instructions.
Yamaha YPT255 Keyboard Pack
Yamaha is an iconic brand with a solid reputation for producing high quality and innovative musical instruments. This musical keyboard weighs just 21 pounds making it portable and easy to store. This keyboard can be used by both new learners and intermediate players, although kids under the age of 7 would probably find it difficult to get a grasp of some of the more technical features. It also includes the Yamaha Education Suite to help beginners learn to play songs from start to finish.
Yamaha have a very unique way of teaching to play they keyboard and this model features a 9 step lesson function that helps users grasp playing with the right hand, then the left and finally both hands together. A score is then given after each performance, which helps young learners improve and understand where their weak points may be.
Similar to other children’s keyboards and pianos we’ve discussed, the Yamaha YPT255 pack comes with a handy fold-up stand for convenient use and storage, as well as a pair of Samson HP30 Headphones for disturbance free learning.
The ONE Smart Piano
The ONE Smart piano brings together the old and the new with the classic feel of traditional wood styling and the latest modern innovative features.
This is a mid-range piano and compared with the smaller models and ones that utilise a fold-up metal frame has a considerable amount of weight to it. At 117 pounds it isn’t as easy to transport as other models and does require more space to accommodate it, however, this is to be expected for such a high quality build. This ONE Smart piano is more advanced and has a high graded hammer action, 3 foot operated pedals and is designed to be a upright piano for the modern home.
Even though the traditional styling may be quite deceiving, the reality is that it does have a lot of impressive modern features to make learning piano fun and easy. For instance, this piano can easily be used with tablets and is equipped with a USB MINI for computer use and can be used a range of systems including iOS and Android. This allows you to download and work with a wide range of learning games and music sheets that can assist learning and make playing a better experience for the modern kid.
Altogether, this digital piano includes 128 tones and can create 64 different notes. This digital piano is perfect for the learner player as the private instructor built into the software can be downloaded with iOS or Android, helping to support learning and save money you would spend on a real music teacher.