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Q: Do I need a piano/Keyboard when I start? If so, do you have any recommendations in buying piano?

Yes. Firstly, It is highly encourage to have a piano or keyboard at home. Whilst, it may not matter for the first few lessons as I could teach a student to be able to play pieces at their level even during the 1st lesson. It is very important to practice and review at home or students may find themselves forgetting what they have learned and it is almost impossible to make good progress for any intermediate to advanced student. Unfortunately, piano learning is a journey and having a piano to practice at home will make a massive difference.

As for piano or Keyboard recommendations, there are various options depending on your budge level, minimum duration and commitment on piano learning and the size of your rooms. I will list some general advise below but feel free to contact me. I will always be happy to give suggestions based on your circumstance.

Keyboard features recommendation:

- 88 keys (full size piano)

- ask for 'weighted' keyboard as these will be better for finger technique development. However they will always be softer and inferior than any acoustic piano.

- Brands to explore: Yamaha, Casio, Roland, Korg, Nord.

Advise: buy if you are low on budget or not quite sure how long you will learn piano (less than 4 years), With electric keyboard, often new models come out and parts for repair will not be available after around 5 years. They have a shorter life-span than acoustic piano. Also, the main problem with practicing on keyboards is it doesn't practice the same level of 'touch' and hence dynamic control as compared to acoustic piano especially for intermediate to advanced student. Whilst, keyboards are not the best practicing instrument, it can be an awesome tool for advanced or professional players to play own once they have developed the proper hand technique and 'touch' as they have cool effects to play with.

Acoustic piano:

- The larger the soundboard the better the piano if same brand. This is the height in upright piano and the width in grand piano

- The number of pedals: some older pianos have 2. Most pianos have 3 pedals. 3 pedals would be better but it is not an important feature if you are just a beginner.

- Brands to explore: Yamaha, Kawaii (best for quality against value if you can afford). smaller brand can still be in most cases be a better instrument to practice on than any keyboard.

*If you are thinking of learning piano for 8-10 years or more. If you have a good budget, and want the best long term best for value piano for piano learning, I would recommend Yamaha upright or Kawaii upright. These piano last for 10 years in 'great quality' without much degrading and can last 30 years in 'ok' condition even by the most conservative estimate especially if they are made in Japan.

Premium brand: Steinway, Bosendorfer, Shigeru kawai. I only mention them because they have the best sounds but they are insanely expensive and therefore not suitable for most. To be honest, even for people practicing even at a grade 8 level, a Yamaha acoustic upright is sufficient. These are 'luxury' pianos and are definitely not a 'necessity' to become a great piano player.

Other General advice:

- Always try out piano/keyboards in piano store in person and see what sound you like the most.

- Every brand and model is different. Even the same piano, especially acoustic, can sound very different with the same model and brand.

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