A question I get from many of my beginning students' parents is : We don't have a piano.  Do we need one to start lessons?

Yes.  Practice makes perfect, right?  Well, that's not actually true because nobody's perfect.  Practice makes BETTER!

Here are some guidelines when you are looking to buy a keyboard or piano to start lessons:
  • 1. Buy a piano if you can. A used one, in decent condition, will do. It doesn't matter what brand.  I have a no-name brand piano that I love.  Just play a few pianos and see what you like.  Does it sound nice?  Does it feel nice to play (even though you may not know how to play a song yet)?  Is it difficult to press down on the keys?  Is it too easy to press down on the keys for you?  Are all the keys working and in good condition? What about the pedals?  Are they working?  Are they difficult to press down?  And, the biggie, is it in your price range?
  • If a piano is out of your price range, here are some guidelines for keyboards:
    • Does it have weighted keys?  This means that if you press down the key hard, the sound will be loud.  If you press lightly, the sound will be soft.  This is number one important.
    • Does it have standard sized keys?  This means that the keys are the same size in length as a regular piano.  Some keyboards have shortened keys.  This is number two important.
    • Does the keyboard have 88 keys?  Pianos do.  If it doesn't, that's okay, but not the best.  You can still get a good keyboard with 61 keys, but you'll need to upgrade later once you get more advanced.
    • Make sure the keyboard has a damper pedal, a stand, and an attachment to hold a music book or sheet music. 
    • My favorite keyboard, and it comes with a bench, a stand, ear phones, and a pedal, is the Yamaha YPG-535 and it runs about $600 on Amazon.  Free delivery with Prime!  But if this price is still too steep, there are some great Casio keyboards that meet the above requirements that start at about $300.