Everyone needs his/her own instrument for home practice.
There are two basic options: digital and acoustic.
Digital pianos and keyboards have the advantage that they are cheaper, lightweight, and don’t need to be maintained or tuned. The volume can be turned up and down, and one can practice with headphones, if desired (although it is not recommended). As a home practice instrument, digital pianos can be very useful.
Most digital pianos and keyboards today are touch-sensitive (they vary the volume in response to the speed of the key). Most digital pianos have weighted keys, which simulate the feel of keys on real pianos. Except for absolute beginners, weighted keys are a must. They develop the finger musculature necessary for piano playing. Another useful feature is to record what is being played. This allows students to record themselves and to hear right away what they played, accompany themselves, etc.
Digital pianos we recommend:
· Yamaha P-series- full size 88 weighted, touch sensitive keys, no frills digital piano.
· Yamaha Arius YDP-141, full size, 88 weighted, touch sensitive keys-$1450. Top of the line digital piano. Excellent.
Keyboard without weighted keys. These are entry level, acceptable keyboards for beginners:
· Yamaha GPT 320- 61 touch sensitive keys -$159 (Best Buy)
Make sure the keyboard or digital piano comes with its own stand, bench, note stand and pedal.
Acoustic pianos: here the choices are even wider. There are many excellent new and used pianos to choose from. For new pianos we recommend visiting the Steinway Gallery of Coral Gables and considering their offer. Besides three brands of high quality pianos, they also have a rental program at 69$/month. When buying a used piano, one should always consult a piano technician before comitting to the purchase. After the piano has been vetted by the piano technician and brought home, a tuning (and sometimes more maintenance work) will be required. If you are looking for a used piano or a piano technician in your area, please call us and we can assist you in locating one.
Please remember to bring along the folder with class notes and musical score and the students copy of the Brain-Based Piano Method.
Everyone can miss a lesson once in a while. If the schedule allows it, we can make up the class on another day of the week. Even if this is not possible, missing one lesson should not cause the student to fall behind. The assignments from one class can easily produce practice material for one extra week.
Just like learning any new skill (reading, writing, math, sports, etc.) so does learning to play the piano require regular practice. The practice sessions should not be longer than the length of time the student can concentrate. For young children (pre-school age) this may mean ten or fifteen minutes at a time.
Older students can concentrate for longer periods at a time. Most people can not maintain the high focus required from this activity for longer than 30 or 40 minutes at a time. Advanced students preparing a more elaborate program should therefore split their practice sessions into 30-40 minutes long segments.
You can assist your child in many ways. Just like the child needs a quiet place and time for school homework, he/she also needs a quiet place and time for practicing the piano. Besides that, a parent can assist a child with the piano assignment in many ways, which can be explained during the piano lesson. A parent does not need to know how to play the piano or read notes in order to help the child in the learning process.