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What are the most important things to consider when choosing a new piano? That’s what this blog post is going to be about.

So here’s what to look for when choosing a new piano.

Play the darn thing!

Many of the things that will determine whether you love or hate a piano will depend on your own personal preference, which is why my #1 Tip is to actually PLAY the piano you are thinking of buying.

Buying online is great and can save you money, but buying a piano without playing it first is super risky. You want to make sure you absolutely LOVE how it plays and sounds. That will motivate you to play more.

So if you’re in a music store trying out a digital piano or keyboard, turn up the volume! If you’re shy, ask someone for headphones — most stores will gladly give you some.

Turn the volume up to the level that you think you would have at home. That will give you a sense of the true sound.

How does it feel?

Another super important consideration in how to choose a piano is the ‘feel’ of the keys. Do they feel cheap? Too plasticy? Most people keep their pianos for years (even decades), so you want to make sure it feels nice to play. Try a few different ones out, and see what you prefer (within your budget of course).

Part of the feel also comes down to touch sensitivity. I cannot recommend this enough. Some cheaper model keyboards do NOT have touch sensitivity. Avoid these if you can!

Touch sensitivity simply means that when you play the key softly, the sound is quiet. If you play it hard, it’s loud. Without touch sensitivity, you won’t be able to develop your dynamics and control, and you’ll be really limited in what you’ll be able to play.

Do numbers really matter?

How many keys is best? A full-size piano has 88 keys, and I would definitely recommend trying to get an 88-key piano or keyboard if you can. 88-key digital instruments almost always feature weighted keys as well, which means the keys ‘feel’ like they would on an acoustic piano.

In my opinion, the absolute minimum number of keys you should settle for is 61. Anything less than that will really limit your repertoire.

Money, money, money

Of course, all of the above considerations come down to money. What can you afford? I can’t say too much about this because everyone is different and has different budgets.

The one piece of advice on how to choose a piano I have is to remember that buying a piano is a big purchase. If you do it right, you’ll be able to keep the instrument for your entire life (or most of it). So I would really think hard about what you can afford, and treat it as an investment.

If you do, you’ll have a beautiful instrument that will give you years and years of joy.

Lisa Witt

Lisa Witt has been teaching piano for 18 years and in that time has helped hundreds of students learn to play the songs they love. Lisa received classical piano training through the Royal Conservatory of Music, but she has since embraced popular music and playing by ear in order to accompany herself and others.