Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Details about the keyboard…

I’ve had a couple of questions on our new keyboard and realized I should share a little of how we came to make this choice.

I’m going to be lazy and copy/paste what I answered on facebook!

I'm not a pro! Never took lessons myself so I'm a newbie with these things. One thing I did know for sure is that I've seen kids who take lessons on typical keyboards, who aren't used to the feel of real piano keys, they have a hard time switching over if they try to play on a real piano. Piano keys are weighted and how the key is pressed and held matters a lot. So, I wanted a digital piano, rather than just a digital keyboard, but it had to be able to go through the APO system! Plus, I didn't want to invest in a top of the line model in case we decide, in a couple years, that we'd much rather rent a piano every few years and this one would end up taking up space in storage (We couldn't find rentals here! So counting on that at every post might be a bad idea!), and well, even though I didn’t want to spring for the top model, I really did not want a cheapo one that sounded like crap and wasn't inspiring to play on!

But what do I know??? I Googled… a lot…

Yamaha and Casio seemed to be some of the best digital pianos for home use. On Amazon, the reviews on the available Yamahas gave me the most positive impression.

This is the one we got: Yamaha YPG535   It sounds good, the key touch is slightly lighter than a piano, but only slightly, and the kids can't be lazy... they have to press the keys properly to make the proper sound. My only 'gripe' is, for playing, you have to turn the volume up (1/2 to 3/4 of the dial, approximately) for 'normal' piano volume, but when my daughter starts playing with the programmed music of the digital keyboard, the volume must be turned down or it's too loud! The digital display is big (for a keyboard) and tilted a little toward the player better than some I've seen. It came with a sustainer pedal, power supply, and (not shown in the Amazon ad) a music stand that fits on top. The bench I found separately Bench with storage.  We just got it, so I can't give a great review, but it came very well packed, was easy to put together, and so far, we like the piano and the bench.

Here are other models that I really liked. I read in a couple of places though that while these were very nice, for home use the older models were just fine, another reason (besides worry about shipping something expensive through the mail!) to not go for the newest and shiniest.

Yamaha DGX-630

Yamaha DGX640W

Yamaha YPG635

If you can go to a music store and test drive a few models though, it would be worth it. Amazon might have better deals, maybe, but you'd get to see before buying. The ones we saw locally were insanely expensive. At least 1000JD ($1500) for the good models and 400JD to 500JD for small digital keyboards, and I didn't see anything I really wanted, so I was shopping 'blind' on the web. I'm happy with what we got though.


Daniela Swider said...

Thank you Connie! I appreciate you sharing your rationale. I am thinking along the same lines. While I would like to think that my daughter (or the baby one day) will fall in love with the piano and go on to become a world class pianist, realistically speaking, that's not very likely. That said, I would like to expose them to it and see how they takes to it. I don't think buying a full-size piano makes sense for us with the crazy FS lifestyle and because we don't know if it's something the kid(s) will stick with but I do want something that sounds good. After watching your videos, I like the way yours sounds, though I have to say, I am not a pro either and never played the piano myself (even though I wanted to).

Connie said...

Daniela - You're welcome! I'm excited as we start this new learning adventure, and pleased that the kids are truly enjoying it too. I'm thinking I need to sit down and follow along with their lesson book.

Shannon said...

I have a basic no digital display yamaha digital piano. We have been very pleased with it! Good luck if you do follow along in the book kids fingers are just more nimble than adults. I could do one hand at a time but when I tried to put them together it just didn't work.

Connie said...

Shannon - I used to play the guitar quite well, so I'm hoping that will help. If I had to learn to read music AND use both hand at the same time, I'd probably sprain something ;D

Anonymous said...

Hi Connie,
Interesting theme for me. As expats with a child that started the piano, we were worried. In Cairo we found a teacher (brilliant) and a 90 year old (gorgeous) upright (delivered to the 5th floor with no lift). Germany was a 'whole other story'. After much debate we went for a Clavinova. She can play with head phones and feels like the keys are similar weights to the baby grand she plays with her teacher. And it is easily tranportable. Oddly, she has been playing all her music with the organ sound lately... LOL