For many families on a tight budget, learning the piano has traditionally lacked affordability. The cost of weekly lessons may have been manageable; however, the purchase of a piano prevented many eager and interested students from achieving the dream of “Tickling the Ivories.”
Today, the days of surrendering that dream for a less expensive music alternative are over. Technology has produced new, more affordable options to help keep your budget intact and your dreams alive. Electronic Keyboards have come a long way since the days of Herbie Hancock. Modern keyboards have been designed to play and sound just like a baby grand with a fraction of the cost. Weighted keys give musicians the piano experience while many models offer technology upgrades that will synthesize with computers and I-pads. Digital keyboards have the capability for musicians to have a piano and mini-recording studio at their fingertips at a reasonable price. Weighted keyboards range in price from the low $300’s and up depending on brand and features. The important thing to remember when exploring the market is to look for a full, eighty-eight weighted keys digital piano. Recording features such as a USB port and microphone/headphone jack are nice upgrades too. The headphone option allows students to practice and not be heard by others (Oh what my parents would have done for this technology!) Additionally, most digital pianos are portable and lightweight making this a viable option for many families. Another great benefit is that digital pianos do not require annual tuning. Check your local music stores and online retailers for specific models and features that fall within your budget, and if a purchase protection plan is offered, it would be well worth the few extra dollars to cover the piano.
If you are still not sold on going digital, there are many ways you can obtain that traditional piano with little cost. Social media allows us to reach out to others when we have a need. Facebook or Tweet your need for a piano and see what comes your way. There is also a website called “Adopt-A-Piano” where people post “free” pianos. It doesn’t get any better than “free,” but before you commit check the cost of moving the piano as well as the piano tuning. Before you know it, you could easily be spending beyond your budget. Craig’s list and other local marketing ads may help you locate the piano for you as well, but once again, know your cost before you purchase. You can even check your area for a piano expert and have the instrument inspected to see what may be needed. So you have your piano, now what? Invest in the best teacher that you can find in your local area and watch musical dreams come to life!
Elizabeth C. teaches music theory and piano lessons in Brick, NJ. She is a state-certified teacher with extensive experience working with children of all ages, including individuals with special needs.