• Buyers Guides, For Parents, Piano, Purchasing an Instrument 22.04.2009 Comments Off on Keyboard & Digital Piano Buyer’s Guide

    As a beginner or someone who is shopping for their very first digital piano or keyboard, there are four main categories from which to choose.

    $30-80 Keyboard for Kids

    Usually less than 61 keys and NOT touch sensitive. Touch sensitivity means that the harder you press the key the louder the sound of that note. Only children under the age of 7 should consider these keyboards as they are an inexpensive way to see if your child is really interested in sticking with piano lessons for more than a couple months. If you feel pretty sure your child will be taking lessons for longer, don’t even consider one of these.

    $80-$200 Portable Keyboard

    In this price range you will generally find Casio and Yamaha brands are the best quality and value. Most of these have 61 full-sized plastic keys. This is the minimum that you really want.  Make sure to get a “touch-sensitive” model.  Touch sensitivity means that the harder you press the key the louder the sound of that note.  This is the most important thing to look for.  It is how a real piano works.

    Many of the keyboards in this range have lots of extra sounds and beats built in.  These can be fun but are not necessary to learn to play.  In fact you might choose to get the simplest keyboard so that you aren’t temped to waist time instead of practicing.  Practice is the only thing that will make you a better player! Make sure you like the “Piano” sound that the keyboard has to offer.  That is the sound that you will spend most of your time listening to.

    $350-$700 Digital Piano (Our Top Recommendation for Beginners)

    For around $450 or so you can get what many teachers believe to be the best value in terms of playability and sound. Again Casio and Yamaha rule the roost.  We have had excellent luck with the Casio PX series or the CDP-100 keyboards.  Here is a link to Guitar Center where you can shop around for them. www.guitarcenter.com We have many of these at our school and absolutely love them!  They feel great, are very small in total size and sound really nice.  88 full-sized weighted keys give these the feel and range of a real acoustic piano.

    $700 and up!  Digital Piano.

    There are so many options available in this price range and you can spend thousands on the state of the art models that literally play themselves but what fun is that?  In all seriousness, the extra high end features are not necessary to learn the instrument.  After you have played for a while and decide you want to score a symphony you can always upgrade to one of these beauty’s that have every sound in the orchestra, band, concert hall and more!

    Please call us at 425-485-8310 if you have any other questions about purchasing a keyboard or digital piano for yourself or your child.

    4/4 School of Music, LLC
    Seattle | Kirkland | Lynnwood | Everett | Bothell | Redmond | Renton Wa.

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  • For Parents, Voice 21.04.2009 Comments Off on Singing Lessons for Children

    Children under the age of ten should take piano and voice lessons together. We call this “Music for Kids.” These lessons include learning the basics of piano and singing as well as rhythm, reading notes, etc. and are a lot of fun!

    Since children under the age of ten tend to have very short attention spans, these private lessons are 30 minutes in length. Each lesson is broken down into many five to ten minute segments and each segment focuses on a variety of songs, fun exercises and games designed to prepare your child for more advanced voice lessons when they are a little older.

    Serious voice lessons (Like an older child or adult would take) can damage the young and fragile vocal tissues. You don’t want them to push too hard or sing too high. They can learn a tremendous amount about hearing the proper pitch (ear training) and the other items that I mentioned above though and give the child a huge head start for when they move into more serious voice lessons around the age of 10.

    Additionally, our voice teachers added the following…

    Not only can you do damage if you push the child to hard, but her voice will change immeasurably in the next few years. Any work on the tone or range of a voice at that young of an age is susceptible to change and irregularities. Of course, singing fun songs and learning basic musician and performance skills will put her way ahead of the curve, and make it easier to sing later on. 🙂

    Combining piano with voice and general music study is really beneficial for building strong, engaged musicians. Most students I have worked with seem more interested the more diverse their material is – I would encourage students to see this as a really positive thing – it gives them a big head start no matter what direction they head in music later in life. But I would also add that if they are going to be learning some piano, they will need to practice outside of lessons to get the most out of the experience.

    Please call us at 425-485-8310 if you have any other questions about voice lessons for yourself or your child.

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