Are you looking to learn to play the piano, but wanting to test the waters before you fully jump in? Don’t let the fear of not having a real piano deter you from taking the steps needed to begin learning. This takes us to the question, can you learn to play the piano on a keyboard?
It is my opinion that you can learn to play on a keyboard. There are some piano instructors who won’t teach you or your child until you have a digital piano. A digital piano is basically just a nicer keyboard that has weighted keys. With this being said, you can now get digital pianos for only about $100 more than a keyboard. If you can swing it, it will definitely be a wise investment that grows with you.
Note* Digital pianos and keyboards are different. A digital pianos main focus is to closely emulate acoustic pianos in the feel and the sound. Keyboards start off at a cheaper price and typically come in different sizes and have more sounds packed into them.
Don’t Be Discouraged
Learning on a non-weighted key keyboard is not the end of the world. When I first began taking lessons 20 years ago, I used an old Casio keyboard. I would argue that the keyboard doesn’t matter as much as your determination to learn.
If you’re driven and want to practice, you will get to where you want to be eventually. Maybe having a digital piano would speed things up a little bit, however, in the beginning, it doesn’t matter.
I recommend checking out my guide on key signatures, bass clef, and treble clef here. I think it is a great learning source for beginners.
Lessons For Beginning Piano Students
Most lessons for the first year or so are a lot of fundamentals and theory. If you just get a cheap keyboard to test the waters you will be more than fine. The important thing is to just make sure you’re getting your assignments done.
If you are able to complete your assignments and start to develop an understanding of the piano and music theory, you will really start to further your game. You will typically start off just playing with one hand at a time and then you will slowly introduce playing with both hands.
Another fun instrument that you can use in the beginning is a melodica. These are easy to play since the keys are super easy to press down. Check out my guide on melodicas here. I break down my favorites in full detail.
Now, the main reason why some instructors recommend at least having a digital piano rather than a keyboard is for the keys. The keys are typically weighted and the sound engines are built to emulate pianos closely. If you are on a budget, I recommend checking out this guide where I break down digital pianos for beginners.
Practice Until Your Instructor Recommends An Upgrade
I practiced for about two years before I got an upgrade and went to an acoustic piano. Now, when you take lessons, you will typically be practicing on a real piano. I feel like in the beginning, this is enough to start building your finger dexterity.
If you are new to the piano, I recommend getting a metronome for practice. These are vital for pianists in the beginning.
When you start to learn classical songs or jazz music, you may want to try and upgrade out of 61 keys and go to 88 keys. You will want to be able to cover most of the keyboard in classical and jazz pieces and being limited will get old fast. Also, if you’re to the point where you are learning these styles of music, I believe you’re due for an upgrade.
Getting through your basic repertoire is what’s important. Once you have finished a couple of the level 1 and level 2 piano books, you will probably start to dive into classical or jazz, depending on which you prefer.
If you are wondering what kind of books you should have, check out this article on the best piano books for beginners. I talk about which books you should have and why in this post.
Working With What You Have
If you are truly determined to become a great pianist, I believe you really can make that happen. It all comes down to putting in the work. It doesn’t matter what tools you have, it matters what you choose to do with them. You could have the best instructor in the world and still have little progress if you’re not wanting to learn.
Have the right mindset and put effort into learning and it will come.
If you don’t currently have a sustain pedal for your keyboard, I recommend checking out my guide to them here. I find them to be very important for beginners.
If you only have a keyboard, use this as positive energy. Think to yourself, “hey if I keep this up and I keep progressing, I’m going to get an upgrade.” When you make that upgrade, it is the sweetest feeling in the world.
Do you have any experience when it comes to playing on keyboards? What was your experience with learning the piano? Let me know in the comment section below!