older person playing piano

What kind of piano should I use for lessons?

Maybe you’ve signed up for lessons through Piano In A Flash, or maybe you’re still debating if lessons are the right move for you. One of the most popular questions we hear from our students is: “What kind of piano do I need to have for lessons?”

We’re here to help with that. Thankfully, you don’t need to have any specific piano for lessons with me– as long as the piano or keyboard makes sound, we’re off to a great start! There’s lots of different pros and cons to each type of piano, but at the end of the day, it’s about the focus on playing the styles you are interested in, and not so much about the piano they use.

There are very few piano requirements for these courses. I’ve outlined them below, so we are all on the same page:

  1. At Least 5 Octaves (around 60 keys)
  2. “Weighted” or “Hammer” Action
  3. Standard Width Keys

In this post, we’ll walk you through the different kinds of pianos so you know exactly what you should get for lessons, but first, here’s an “at-a-glance” chart for your convenience:

Grand Piano        Upright Piano       Digital Piano     Electronic Keyboard 
Cost $6K – $150K $500 – $9K $500 – $6K $100 – $1K
Easy to move no no somewhat yes
Required Space     (5′ – 8′ x 5′) 5′ x 3′ – 4′ 4 1/2′ x 2′ – 3′ Sizes Vary
Headphones no no yes yes
Tuning yes yes no no
Electricity no no yes yes

Upright pianos

Upright pianos are found in homes around the world, usually in a living room or an office. These pianos are usually 48 to 52 inches tall, and provide a great piano sound without taking up too much space. All upright pianos are full-size, meaning they have all 88 keys.

Upright pianos are great for practice and performance– try searching online for piano stores near you. The sales team should be able to help you find the perfect piano to cater to your preferences.

If you want my opinion, I’m partial to digital pianos. While upright pianos can have a beautiful sound, digital pianos never need to be tuned, the sound qualities typically surpass those of your typical upright piano, and you can use headphones while practicing if need be. I’ve included a few more notes about digital pianos in the next section.

Digital pianos

Digital pianos come in a variety of sizes, ranging from small, 66-key pianos to full-size 88 keys with countless bells and whistles included. These pianos give the musician more variety with the sounds and beats they can create, but don’t harness the true feel and sound of an acoustic piano. I do recommend having a full-size keyboard for lessons, as most other pianos you’ll play on will also have 88 keys. Almost all digital pianos will have sounds to play with; however, 95% of the time you’ll be using the basic piano sound. I can promise you something right now: I will never ask you to change your sound settings to a tuba or drumset for a song I teach.

Digital pianos are great for recording songs too, so if you want to share your talents with family or friends living far away, a digital piano may be the best option. 

Digital pianos can be found at traditional piano retailers as well as (at least a few less expensive models) stores like Walmart, Target or larger general music stores near you (we love supporting small businesses!).

Grand Pianos

Ah, the magnificent grand piano– you’ve probably seen these at your church, reception halls, or maybe in the lobby of a hospital or hotel. Grand pianos are rather large (as the name suggests), usually have a sleek black or dark wood finish, and the sound is magnificent, both with the top propped open or closed.

Grand pianos probably are not the best choice for your home, just based on the pure size of them, but they are most certainly every pianist’s dream! You can also find these available for purchase at local piano shops.

Any piano purchase, whether digital or acoustic, will be an investment– make sure you invest in a piano that fits your wants and needs, and will keep you playing for years to come. And remember– it’s not so much what type of piano you get. It’s all about how dedicated you are to deciding to join the ranks of happy music makers playing piano in the styles that we teach! Now, you can go find your perfect piano!

Do you already have a piano, but aren’t sure about lessons? Click the button below to watch a free webinar with Scott Houston for more information on Piano In A Flash.

1 Comment
  • Luis Zayas
    Posted at 17:00h, 30 May

    60 Keys? total of Black and Whites???