What kind of piano?
You will need a suitable instrument on which you can practise.
So what are the options?
Option 1. An acoustic piano. Normally this would just be called 'a piano' but I'm calling it 'acoustic piano' here to distinguish it from a digital piano. By acoustic piano, I'm meaning a real piano, with strings, a soundboard, hammers etc. There are two types of acoustic piano: grand or upright. The pictures below show both types.
Option 2. A digital (or electronic) piano.
So which option is better?
An acoustic piano will provide a more rewarding playing experience, and its action will be much more conducive to developing good piano technique. So an acoustic piano is the ideal choice. A well-chosen digital piano would also be suitable, though, and will offer certain advantages. eg. practice on headphones is possible. Also, a digital piano takes up less space and is lighter in weight.
Some students will start with a digital piano and later upgrade to an acoustic piano.
This Steinway would do nicely!
Blüthner upright piano
For many of us, an upright piano is a more realistic option.
A quality upright is an excellent choice, actually. Many world class pianists have learnt to play on an upright piano.
I quite often see some amazing bargains in the used upright piano market. This option need not be a costly one.
A well-chosen digital piano is perfectly suited to the earlier stages of learning piano.
There are a large number of digital pianos on the market. Many are fine, but there are some models that should be avoided because their poor keyboard response will encourage poor technique and unmusical playing.
Just about any digital piano offers the ability to plug in a set of headphones, allowing you to practise without disturbing anyone! Some have recording options and are nice pieces of furniture, too. The most important considerations are the sound and the keyboard action/response. There are many used bargains to be had. I'm always happy to offer advice and help you find the right instrument...
Yamaha digital piano
Each of the major manufacturers has its good and poor models. And it's not always the more expensive ones that are better, actually.
I hope to compile a list of recommended digital pianos as well as of the models to avoid. Until I do, please ask me about a particular model you're considering.
Renting a piano can be a convenient option. Both acoustic pianos and digital pianos are available to rent. Sometimes, options to buy later are available.
See my resources page for companies who provide a rental service.
What NOT to get!
It's impossible to develop any piano technique on a keyboard with unweighted keys or 'mini-keys'.
The two keyboards below are examples of what NOT to get.
You should also avoid music retailers 'own brand' models (Gear4Music, Chase etc.). In my experience, these are always poor quality.
I may occasionally bend the rules just a little. If you have a keyboard that's not really suitable but would like to learn some basics on that for a short time, as a temporary arrangement, that's ok by me. But please keep in mind that it will soon become necessary to obtain a more suitable instrument.