Tickling the Ivories

Piano (1/3)Well; it decided to call it quits. It wasn’t even that old, mind you. That is the problem with technology; it might be handy, but it sure is delicate. It doesn’t matter if you’re especially careful or not; one good electronic surge and your device will call it quits. This, it seems, is what happened to our practically new keyboard. Rrrrr….

We are very adamant our children should learn to play piano. I don’t necessarily intend for our kiddos to be professionals or anything, but playing an instrument is good for the mind and encourages the arts. So, it looked like some research needed to be done.

At first, I thought we were just looking to invest in another keyboard. They’re little, they fit in the closet, and they come with all sorts of neat features. My husband, however, had other ideas. He thought we needed the real deal; a piano.

After weeks of searching online, we finally found one we liked and was a good price. Unfortunately, someone snatched it up just moments before we could. Luckily, another one came along quite quickly and we jumped at the opportunity.

Piano (2/3)

Now… we have an early twentieth century, upright, mahogany piano sitting in our front room. It’s big, but it’s beautiful. Surprisingly, it didn’t cost all that much (we bought it from a gentleman looking to get rid of it) and it sounds lovely. Sure, it needs a little tuning, but that’s to be expected.

Why the real deal instead of another keyboard? Several reasons really. I think my guy likes the look of a real piano, first off. There is something nice about this instrument dominating its space. I also think he was just tired of replacing poorly made electronic gadgets put together in a rush.

While I was a little nervous at first, I have to say I like it! Before, my kids had to pull their keyboard out of the closet to practice daily. (I couldn’t see putting that technological machine out on display.) Now, they are free to practice any time they like; they stop frequently and play a few songs. It’s quite nice.

Don’t get me wrong. Keyboards are nice too! They have recording capabilities and sound diversity pianos don’t have. If you buy a really snazzy one, like our first one, it will even have built-in melodies and a note identifier. Keyboards are pretty handy.

Piano (3/3)My man and I are enjoying the learning experiences we’re being exposed to. Instead of paying a professional to tune our piano, we’re learning how to do it ourselves! We’re discovering new ways to clean, restore, and replace parts, when the time comes. There is so much to learn and all of it fascinating.

I certainly didn’t see this curve ball coming, especially not mid-learning year, but it is a welcome change.  Now, if only things would stop falling apart.

Which do you prefer; the real deal or the electronic keyboard?

“Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.” – Psalm 100:1

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16 thoughts on “Tickling the Ivories

  1. I’m in love! We had an 1894 upright grand (looks VERY similar to that one) in MD. It had one too many moves though and bit the dust. The tone resonating from that old wood was second-to-none. I love technology for modern sounds, but there’s something so addicting about those older instruments that survived history. Love it!

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  2. Grace uses a keyboard for practice. At this point, she’s highly motivated to learn to play and practices for 5 or 6 hours a day (by her choice…we certainly don’t require that). With that amount of time being spent with it, I have to admit, the fact that she can use ear buds with the keyboard, or just take it to her room, is nice. 😉 The only thing I worry about is the limitation of keys…her keyboard doesn’t have as many keys as a piano, and I wonder if that holding her back??? The only time she has accesss to an actual piano is at her piano class every two weeks. 😦

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    • The keyboard IS limiting, in my experience. Yes; you can adjust the range (at least our keyboard could), but you cannot play several at once. Those who came to visit, who were used to pianos, were very frustrated trying to use our little board.

      Keyboards have their plus sides too, but we are enjoying this very much!

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  3. The real deal!!! Electronic just doesn’t compare to the feel of a real piano keyboard. It doesn’t have the same action as the hammer hitting the strings. While technology has come a long way in creating a similar sound, the trained ear will always hear the difference. I sold my piano a few months ago. One day, when we’re moved and my girls are a little older, we’ll invest in another piano and I’ll teach them to play.

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    • That is a good point! One of our daughters mentioned as much. She finds the feel of the piano much different from the keyboard. It forces her to slow down a little on the piano and be more careful about her finger placement. The sound is also much richer on the piano. 🙂

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  4. Thanks for the input! I’ve been tossing around the two options in my head because I want to start some of the kids on lessons some time this year. I thought keyboard seemed the more convenient storage option, but you make a good point about the presence of a piano in a room that invites someone to play it.

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  5. I have a piano sitting in the study that dates back to the early 1900’s. It’s been on my to-do list to restore it for months now and just never happens. Good on you for taking the plunge and learning about how to do it yourself! You’ll have to post some tips so that I can find the inspiration to start on my own project!

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  6. As a professional musician, I feel qualified to hold forth on this subject. Electronic keyboards are never to be used for developing pianists! They simply do not have the “action” and weight of a real piano. If you should happen to be gifted with a talented child – they could be permanently damaged from poor practicing on a “fake board,” as we call it. Most piano teachers in my sphere require the parents to sign a statement verifying that they have an actual piano for the child to practice on.

    Another thing I would like to add, is that not all pianos are built the same. Some modern pianos do not even have solid wood sounding boards anymore – they are resin!

    Older pianos will invariably need work – anything from restringing, retying, to refelting, to reconciling. Expect to invest several hundred dollars. But they are worth it because of the solid, old growth sounding boards. A good piano tuner is worth his weight in gold.

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  7. Hands down, a real piano! I too have an early 1900’s upright. My grandmother got it used when she was 12, and it has always been a part of my life. I love the sound and the vintage look. Keyboards have their place, but give me the old beauty any day! 🙂

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