6 Tips for New Piano Students on a Tight Budget
The piano is one of the most versatile musical instruments. With its highest pitch range, it allows you to play all kinds of music, from classical to jazz standards, from soft ballads to hard rock! However, it is not a cheap instrument for you to buy. It is big, therefore it takes a lot of space and it may not be convenient if you live in a small apartment.
In any case, all of these obstacles shouldn’t stop you from signing up for piano lessons if that’s what you dream of! So here we give you a few tips that can be useful for piano lovers who aren’t sure they should invest in an actual piano.
Try with a keyboard first
In a previous article, we already recommended low-budget keyboards which are ideal for young children. You can use any keyboard for your first couple of lessons, so if you already have one of these keyboards at home you don’t need to rush into the music store. Models such as the Joy 61-Key Standard Keyboard Kit, RockJam 61-Key Electronic Keyboard, or the Yamaha Ypt260 61-Key Portable Keyboard, are appropriate not only for teens but for adults as well.
However, keep in mind actual pianos have 88 keys, and all of these inexpensive keyboards only have 61, so they are limited if you want to become a pianist and not only have fun playing some songs. In any case, these instruments are perfect for trial lessons and for learning the scales and chords while you search for your piano.
Moving from a keyboard to a piano
Of course, investing in a great electronic keyboard means fewer bucks than buying a real piano. This is the best solution for you if you live in a small place and there is no way a real piano could fit. Plus, they are portable, so you can carry them along with you for rehearsals and concerts. The digital experience they provide is as close as you can get, as long as you make sure the keyboard you buy is a full size (remember than an acoustic piano has 88 keys and 7 octaves), and that the keys are weighted, and not simply touch-sensitive. You won’t find this feature on cheaper keyboards but it is the only way you’ll learn how a real piano feels when you press down their keys.
Is it worth transporting it?
So you have inherited a piano from a great-aunt who passed on. The problem is she used to live in another state. Before you decide to move the piano, you should make sure it is worth it: moving a piano can be expensive, and later you’ll have to tune it. Are you sure it is in great condition? Some pianos are too old and cannot be moved from one place to another without being wrecked. Some have stayed out of tune for so long that they won’t sound properly ever again. For strictly musical reasons, purchasing a used piano nearby that you can go check for yourself may be a better choice than moving a really old piano from across the country, even if it has family values.
Try renting instead
If you cannot afford a piano or a great keyboard right now, or if you are uncertain you –or your child- are willing to commit on the long term, renting an instrument may be the best choice. After all, it takes a while for the student to get comfortable with the instrument. Young children or teens may feel they love music, but still discover they want to change their instrument after a few months of practice. Sure, you can always sell a used instrument, but chances are you’ll end up getting less than what you paid for, losing money that way.
Renting a piano or a great keyboard offers you the chance to try and see if you really love this instrument and if it worth investing in buying one.
If you won’t set for an electric keyboard and you want to buy an actual piano, you should be willing to spend several thousand dollars. While you may find a decent digital piano from $200-$500, you may end up paying from $1000 -3000 for any low-to-mid upright acoustic piano. For example, here you can find examples of acoustic upright pianos for a little over $1000, but you should always get advice from an expert before investing in such an instrument.
Grand pianos are more expensive and take a lot of space, so if you are reading this article we assume they are not what you are looking for right now.
Piano lessons rates
Last but not least, if you are on a budget, you should take into account the lesson rates. The average national rate goes from $50 to $60 an hour, but it varies depending on many conditions. Some recommendations for finding a low-rate piano teacher who is still a great professional:
- Choose someone young. A teacher who has just graduated may take beginner students for lower rates to gain experience. Plus, if this is the first time you or your children are going to play the piano, you don’t need a specialized master with a ton of degrees, just someone friendly and easy-going who is willing to guide you through your first lessons.
- Opt for group lessons. If you have more than one child, you can probably sign them up together for these first lessons. The teacher won’t charge you as much as if you paid for two individual lessons.
- Commit for a long time. Teachers charge less if you pay several lessons in advance, the opposite of paying for each individual lesson.
- Online lessons are the way to go! Besides taking them in the comfort of your home, staying safe inside, teachers usually charge less for online lessons because they save commuting time and money, plus they can accommodate more students in their schedule.