A whopping 21 million Americans play the piano. And now, you or someone in your family, wants to join their ranks.

That’s why you’re searching for the first piano for your home. But you’re weighing your options: perhaps you’re considering buying your first electronic keyboard instead?

Both of these options will suit the music lover in your family, but which one’s the perfect fit? Here are five tips to help you decide.

1. What is Your Budget?

The first consideration in buying an instrument will likely be your budget. It’s no secret that pianos can be expensive.  That being said – Read On! Because there are great deals out there if you know where to look!

The type of piano matters a lot.  Acoustic Grand Pianos come in various sizes and price levels.

An acoustic piano—the upright one you’re picturing in your mind —will cost you thousands of dollars. Most come with price tags of $4,000 or more.

Now, you still have options if your heart is set on purchasing a piano. There are digital pianos, which cost anywhere from $500 to $4,000. They come with a close-to-acoustic feel and sound that’s almost as good.

And then, there are keyboards. If you opt for a keyboard, you will see the smallest dent in your bank account. Most cost less than $100, which makes them the budget-friendliest option.

So, before you start shopping, know how much you can spend on your new instrument. Perhaps you can narrow down your options based on how much you’re willing to spend.

2. Measure Your Space — Will You Need to Move Your Piano or Keyboard Often?

As beautiful as an acoustic piano will look, it’s not a viable option for every home’s layout. That’s because, well, a piano is a big piece of furniture—you might not have the space for one.

However, keyboards and electric pianos tend to be more compact. That’s especially true of the keyboard, which you can easily carry around and play. Let’s say you want to jam with a friend—you can bring your keyboard along, but you probably wouldn’t wheel your acoustic piano around with you.

Even if your heart’s set on a bona fide acoustic piano, look at your abode with a critical eye. Will it fit? If not, you may want to choose a digital version for the sake of space and storage.

And, on that note, if you plan on moving any time soon, you may want to wait to invest in an acoustic piano. They are fragile and tough to move on your own. Digital pianos are also tough to move, while keyboards make for a simple grab-and-go situation.

3. If You Buy an Electronic Piano or Keyboard – Be Sure You Get These Features

The good thing about selecting a traditional piano as your first set of keys is that you’ll get all of the features you need to learn to play properly. So, you get all of the keys, and they’ll be weighted. You’ll have the pedals beneath your feet, too.

Unfortunately, you don’t always get these features with keyboards. The cheapest options, for instance, won’t come with weighted keys. But if you’re learning piano, you’ll want this feature—it ensures that keys spring back up when you press them, as they would on a real piano.

On top of that, weighted keys help you build finger strength and dexterity, which you’ll need if you do eventually switch over to an acoustic instrument.

So, you’ll want to invest in a first keyboard that has weighted keys. An adjustable stand is a good idea, too, so it can grow with you or the child who’s playing it. And, if it’s in the budget, invest in pedals to connect to your keyboard so you can get used to using them as you would on a traditional piano.

4. Will Your Piano or Keyboard Be Played in a Location That Needs Silence?

If you sign up for piano lessons, you’ll need to practice to improve your skills. You won’t be able to quietly pluck the keys, either—your acoustic piano will be loud, no matter how good you are at playing it.

Now, this isn’t a big deal if you have a large enough space or house cohabitants who support your instrumental pursuits. But, say, if you live in an apartment, for example, you may be conscious of how much noise the piano would make. Or, if you only have time to play once the kids are in bed, you may worry that your music could wake up the whole house.

In that case, a keyboard or digital piano might suit you better. You can adjust the volume on these modern devices. And you can pop in a pair of headphones so that you’re the only one hearing you practice.

5. Should I Buy a New or Used Piano or Keyboard?

Finally, keep in mind why you’re searching for a new instrument in the first place. You want to play music and reap the many benefits of doing so.

If your main focus is creating beautiful music, well, then there’s no question — you should pick a piano over a keyboard. The sound quality can’t be matched, and the feel of playing a piano is better than that of a keyboard.

That’s not to say that you can’t get high-quality sound and feel from a keyboard. But if you are serious about your music, then the traditional piano is always the way to go.

Buy Your First Piano or Keyboard

We hope these tips have helped you decide which instrument suits you best. Will you be investing in your first piano, or will you start with your first keyboard?

Either way, you can’t go wrong—you’re giving yourself or someone you love the gift of music. And you can make that present even better by learning how to play the piano from a great teacher.

We can help you with that at MACSA – Music Arts Center of San Antonio, Inc. If you’re interested in lessons, click here to fill out our contact form. Someone will check in with you within 48 hours and, together, we’ll embark on your musical journey—whether it be on the piano or the keyboard.