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Instruments for Teaching and Practice

Acoustic and electric keyboards both have merit and are both totally acceptable for piano lessons and practice, with a few guidelines as listed below.  If possible, voice students should have a goal of learning basic piano for better music reading skills, therefore, I recommend a keyboard of your choice for voice students as well.

If the student will be using an acoustic piano, please be certain it is tuned and in good condition.  A piano should be tuned at least once per year.  A well tuned piano makes it possible to develop strong listening skills for all students, and for a singer, is absolutely necessary for developing good ear training and pitch recognition.  Please let me know if you need a recommendation for a piano tuner or want information on buying a new or used piano.

Voice students who opt for an electric keyboard should make sure that the practice space is dedicated to and conducive to use of the instrument and that the instrument and chair/stool sits at an optimal playing height for the student's use.  A 61-key keyboard is acceptable for voice students,however, please consider a larger keyboard when possible.  See below for additional suggestions for keyboards.  Give me a call if you have questions.

Piano students who opt for an electric keyboard should look for one that has all of the following requirements:

  •  Weighted keys (to get the feel of an acoustic piano).
  • Touch sensitive keys (to produce softer or louder sounds based on how much strength is used to play the key).
  • Between 76 and 88 keys.
  • A foot pedal attachment.
  •  A stable support system, or a table or cabinet at the optimal playing height for the student, with a space for the foot pedal which is easily reached by the student.  The optimal keyboard is one that resembles a small piano, built with side supports and a matching bench. (A portable "X" brace is not stable enough for supporting the keyboard.)
  • A bench or stool that is stable and at the optimal height for the student.  In the case of young students, adjustments may need to be made to get them to the correct position for playing.  Pillows can work wonders for height challenges!  We can work on that together.

One advantage of an electric keyboard is the ability to use a headset for practice.  However, the student should not do all of the practicing using the headset because a parent needs to monitor part of the practice time.  In addition, if there is an interest in ultimately doing any music writing, the electric keyboard can be connected to the computer for use with appropriate music writing software.  Plus, an electric keyboard never needs tuning.  Keyboards can be bought online or in a retail store, however, it would be best to check with me prior to purchase to get the best instrument available in your price range.

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