What kind of instrument should I buy?

One of the questions families ask is, “What kind of instrument should I purchase my kid?” I hope the following information helps.

Acoustic vs. Electronic Keyboard

Acoustic pianos will give the best results. It will make the best sound production, and allow the student to develop better technique from the beginning. The Piano Technicians Guild has a wonderful article about more than I can say here, comparing acoustic and electronic pianos.

Electronic Keyboard Requirements

Electronic keyboards have come a long way in the past twenty years — even the last five years! It is amazing to me to go into Senseney music and play around on the new electronic keyboards. Some specific models have definitely improved in sound and in the way they play. If you do decide to purchase a keyboard, I would be happy to help you find one that meets the following requirements so that your child can have a quality instrument to practice on. Baseline budget will be around $1,000 and can go up from there.

  • 88 keys
  • Weighted keys
    • The keyboard keys have weight to them, to make them feel more like an acoustic piano that has an action
  • Touch sensitive
    • When you press the key slowly, it will play quietly. Likewise, if you play the key quickly it will be loud
  • Sound decay
    • If you play a note and leave the key pressed, the sound should continue and not die away immediately. Compare it to an acoustic piano where the sound slowly dies away.┬áThis is one of my pet peeves, as many electronic keyboards have a very fast sound decay.
  • Pedal and matching bench


The first thing each family must decide is their budget.

When establishing a budget, keep in mind there will be the following costs incurred.

  • Evaluation Fee by Registered Piano Technician.
    • Pianos have more than 12,000 parts. It is hard to know the quality of an instrument unless it is evaluated by a registered piano technician. Ann Fell, based out of Winfield, Kansas is who I use.
  • Moving Fee
    • Please consider having a piano moving company move your piano. They will have the proper equipment to handle the heavy investment!
  • Purchase Price of Piano

Here is a wonderful document with Tips for Buying a Piano, created from the Piano Technician Guild.