Is it ok to learn piano on a keyboard or digital piano?

A lot of times parents of students and adult learners wonder if it's ok to start taking lessons using a keyboard or a digital piano.  The short answer is, yes!  It's ok to start learning on a keyboard or a digital piano.  There a just a few factors to take into consideration when picking out an instrument that will make a world of difference in the student's experience.  


The most important thing is to look for a weighted action keyboard.  

  • hat is a weighted action keyboard, you might ask?  A weighted action keyboard mimics the behavior and feel of an acoustic piano. 
  • The weighted keys, like their analog counterpart, are responsive to different levels of pressure, so if someone hits the key hard, they will get a corresponding loud sound, and vice versa, they will get a softer sound if they use less pressure in their key stroke.
  • Without the weighted action, the player will only get one dynamic range because there is only one level of pressure that can be applied to the key.  This is not good!  So look for a weighted action keyboard.
  • Finally, a properly weighted keyboard will encourage the correct development of the muscles needed to play piano with proper technique.  If a keyboard doesn't respond the way an acoustic piano would, the player is going to develop bad techniques that are hard to shake. 

The next important thing to consider is the size of the keyboard.

  • So the reason people might opt to go the keyboard or digital piano route is because of the size available in their space.  While upright pianos take up less space than a beautiful baby grand, there is still a substantial footprint. 
  • For smaller spaces, a digital piano or keyboard might be the best way to go to accommodate a small space.  But don't go too small, and you'll defeat the purpose of the benefits from learning the instrument in general, and even more so, cancel out the fact that you found a weighted action keyboard!
  • If possible, look for a full sized keyboard, meaning a full 88 keys!  This will give you or your student a sense of the whole range of sounds available that can be played.  Generally, smaller keyboards tend to be cheaper and they will most likely not have a weighted action, which if you remember from above, is probably the most important thing to consider!

Next steps would be to look around for your keyboard.  You can find great choices online through Amazon, or your local music store will have rental options for digital pianos.  Eventually you may want to upgrade to an acoustic piano, and your local music store will have rental and purchase options that will fit any budget!