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Learning how to play the piano is a rewarding experience for students of all ages. Children can begin lessons starting at an early age and it is an excellent first instrument. It is also a great option for adults who want to experience the fun and engagement of learning something new, but have no previous experience. Musika’s network of teachers work with students of all ages and experience levels to help them accomplish their musical goals.
The piano is one of the most versatile instruments as it is both a melodic and harmonic percussive instrument, employing all aspects of music to make sound. It is played by depressing the keys on the keyboard with one or both hands. When the keys are pressed, padded hammers strike strings within the body of the instrument to produce a warm tone. With the advent of modern technology, the electric keyboard was developed to mimic the sound and feel of an acoustic piano. Students can learn to play piano on an electric keyboard, a traditional acoustic piano, or alternate between the two since they are in essence the same instrument.
The piano was pre-dated by similar keyed instruments like the clavichord and the harpsichord, which were widely used by musicians during the 17th century. As the repertoire for keyed instruments grew, so did the need for an instrument that could produce more dynamic sounds than the quiet clavichord or the louder but uncontrollable sounds of the harpsichord. The piano developed from this need for an expressive instrument and by the mid 19th century the piano as we know it today was fully realized. Since then, it has been a staple of classical, jazz, popular, and experimental music, due in no small part to its versatile qualities.
Our earliest recommended starting age for piano is four, although exceptions can certainly be made for a younger student who is capable of placing their fingers correctly on the individual keys and who has enough strength in their hands and wrists to push the keys down comfortably. Because most teachers start out by showing students how to read music and how to associate those written notes with the keyboard, young students also should have begun learning to count and to read. No matter what the student’s age, learning how to play the piano is an excellent introduction to the fundamentals of music, including music theory and basic composition techniques.
The most economical option for students interested in learning piano is to purchase an electric keyboard. A standard acoustic piano has 88 keys, but electric keyboards come in many smaller variations. We generally recommend an electric keyboard with at least 66 keys to allow for a wide tonal range. Another component we highly recommend is to purchase an electric keyboard with “weighted” keys, meaning they mimic the feel of an acoustic piano when pressed. Any local music shop can be of further assistance in picking the right instrument. Acoustic pianos are more expensive, but they are frequently viewed as an investment by dedicated students and musicians alike.
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