With the coronavirus pandemic that shook the world in 2020, many Americans found themselves looking for new hobbies while they spent more time than usual at home. Learning to play the piano was one particularly popular hobby that people decided to embark on during this time.

Playing the piano is a wonderful way to reduce stress and retreat from the pressures of daily life. Music lessons in general can also improve emotional release, improve communication skills, decrease anxiety, and offer a long list of benefits for your brain.

Are you thinking about taking piano lessons or is your child interested in learning to play an instrument? If so, you’re probably wondering about the differences between a piano vs a keyboard.

Let’s take a look at what you need to know to help you make an informed decision about whether you want to play the acoustic or electronic version of this beautiful instrument.

Piano Vs Keyboard: Action

One of the main considerations you should take into account when deciding between a piano or keyboard is the “action.” The action describes the responsiveness of the keys when they are pushed down.

Pianos are acoustic instruments, so they have a physical playing mechanism known as the ‘action’. When you play piano, there is a weighted feel to the keys. However, there are keyboards available that have weighted keys to offer a similar feel to playing the piano.

Key Arrangement

You will find an identical key arrangement on both a keyboard and a piano. The finger movements and hand movements you make will also be identical between these two instruments.

You might find that some keyboards have slightly narrower keys than pianos. However, it is not a big enough difference that a student should have any trouble switching between the two when they are learning to play.


A standard piano has 88 keys. Many keyboards have 88 keys as well, however, some of them have less. If you are purchasing a digital piano, you will want to consider whether or not it has the full range of a standard piano.

If you are going to buy a keyboard when you are learning to play, you will want a model that has at least 72 keys if not more. Otherwise, you will be very limited in which piano compositions you can play.


If you are buying a piano or keyboard new, keyboards will almost always be more affordable. Depending on the material, the manufacturer, and the design of a piano, they can be quite expensive. However, you can often find secondhand pianos that are much less expensive.

You can generally find some keyboards that are less than $300, though you can easily spend more than that for more features. If your child is trying to decide whether or not they want to play, you might consider renting a keyboard or a piano at first.


There is definitely a difference between the sound of pianos and keyboards. The sound of a piano is produced and amplified physically, as it is an acoustic instrument. Keyboards, on the other hand, are electronic instruments that will have a variety of volume options and sometimes require amplification in order to create sound.

With keyboards, there are typically a number of different instrument options for the type of sound produced. This might include piano, strings, horns, synthesizers, organs, and more. One benefit of keyboards is that you can often plug headphones in to them, so you can practice without disturbing or distracting other people in the household.

Portability and Size

Pianos are notoriously large and heavy objects. When it comes time to move them, you typically have to hire a team of professionals.

In contrast to this, many keyboards are portable and light. They are much smaller and not nearly as heavy, making it easy for one person to move them around. You can typically tuck them away with ease, and they are great for traveling musicians.


Whether you end up getting a piano or a keyboard, you always want to keep your instrument in good condition. This means giving them a proper cleaning on a regular basis.

Acoustic pianos need to be kept in tune, as they can fall out of tune due to factors like humidity, temperature, the passage of time and seasonal changes. People commonly hire a professional to tune their pianos, so you’ll want to consider this cost on top of the initial purchase price.


You can typically buy both pianos and keyboards at a local music store or online. Pianos, however, are heavy and large so that you will usually need to hire professionals in order to move them. Keyboards are much lighter, so they can easily be shipped or carried out of the store by one person.

At some stores, you have the option of renting instruments. This can be a good place to start if you aren’t positive that you or your child will stick with piano lessons or keyboard lessons in the long run.

Is It Time For You to Start Taking Piano Lessons?

Learning to play the piano is a wonderful activity for people of all ages. One of the best ways to learn is by taking a one on one piano lesson with an experienced teacher. If you are still feeling unsure about the piano vs keyboard debate, a professional piano teacher will be able to help guide you towards the right decision for you.

At MACSA, we have a highly trained, talented, and diverse group of teachers who are passionate about sharing the gift of music with their students. You’ll have the option to take online lessons or to learn in-person using one of our grand pianos in a professional lesson studio.

Are you interested in piano lessons? If so, fill out our form today and we’ll get back to you within 24-48 hours.