The piano has the ability to excite, move and inspire; whether you’re playing Chopin’s Scherzos or the intro to Clocks by Coldplay. The only obstacles are learning how to play in the first place, and then practising enough to play well. Enlisting a qualified piano teacher gives you the best start for establishing good techniques and avoiding bad habits, while the innovative features found on digital pianos can help make learning more fun and enjoyable.
A digital piano is designed to accurately simulate an acoustic piano. Instead of hammers and strings, there are strategically-positioned speakers which produce a convincing and organic piano sound. Weighted keys recreate the feel of an acoustic keyboard for a realistic playing experience, while the ability to change the sounds ensures that learning is varied and interesting – and some digital pianos let you create your own sounds to suit your taste.
1. Practise in peace with headphones
Most digital pianos let you plug in headphones, which can benefit both the learner and the people they live with. As well as avoiding distraction, headphones can block noise nuisance leaving you free to concentrate on private practise. Twin headphone sockets allow student and teacher to listen closely, spotting mistakes more accurately.
2. Use a click to develop your sense of rhythm
Timing is essential to playing the piano well; it’s often an issue for beginners as they are still developing muscle and mental memory, and may need to slow down or speed up depending on the level of difficulty. Metronomes help develop your rhythmic and timekeeping skills and you can flick between settings and tempos on the inbuilt metronome, slow pieces down to learn and master them, or even tackle time signatures which are more advanced.
3. Record and listen to your own performance
Recording your performance helps analyse exactly what’s going on in your playing so you can recognise your strengths and weaknesses. The record features on digital pianos allow you to play back, perfect and pick out any problems, nipping bad habits in the bud before they become ingrained. Listening back to a recording can resolve issues with timing and melody, and if you have a good musical memory but struggle to read music, you can learn a piece by ear and study the music while listening back to your recording.
A digital piano allows you to transfer your performance to a computer, edit it and print out a score – the written piece of music also known as sheet music – so others can read and play it too. This is also useful if you’re interested in composition as you can quickly record ideas as they come to you.
4. Play with different sounds to keep practice interesting
Digital pianos are often equipped with a huge variety of sounds – five to 10 types of piano, electric pianos from the 70s and 80s, strings, harpsichord, church and electronic organs – some even have synth sounds for even greater versatility. It’s great to be able to learn Scarlatti pieces using a convincing harpsichord sound; a change in tone can inspire you and help recapture the passion if those fingering drills are becoming tiresome. Younger children also love experimenting and mixing sounds to make learning more exciting.
5 . Use APPs to improve your playing ability
Take advantage of any apps that can help liven up practise and improve your playing. Apps for sight-reading skills ask the pianist to identify written notes, Flashcard-style apps help with understanding music theory while aural training apps develop abilities such as listening for particular scales or intervals.
A tablet device is particularly useful here as it allows quick access to electronically stored sheet music. When linked to your digital piano, some apps display a piece of music and listen to you play, before moving to the next page when you reach the last bar. Kids apps include fun games to learn a song, play together or freestyle to make practising a pleasure rather than a chore.
6 . Setting time aside to practice
It’s always difficult learning something new so it’s crucial to put in dedicated time and effort. Just 20 minutes piano practise a few days a week can help develop your skills and techniques. And if you’re struggling with motivation, playing with others and even making mistakes together is a great way to stay motivated. Digital pianos are packed with features that maximise your practise time, so you get more done in a shorter space of time.
Taking the next step
Learning the piano involves dedication and discipline but master it and the rewards are endless. A digital piano can offer a variety of sounds, useful practise features to help you improve and integration with the latest apps, all without the worry of ongoing tuning and maintenance costs.
Why choose a digital piano?
- Maintenance free: a digital piano doesn’t use hammers and strings to produce sound so there’s no tuning required
- Headphone support: practise any time of day, perfect your performance and keep the neighbours happy!
- Touch and sound quality: apeakers are strategically positioned to recreate an acoustic piano sound
- Record and editing your playing: a useful way to analyse your performance
- Inbuilt metronome: helps develop rhythmic ability
- App integration: apps can help develop ability and performance skills, keep you motivated and make learning fun for kids