How to avoid the 5 most common & costly mistakes people make when choosing a keyboard or digital piano
Mistake 1: Buying the wrong instrument for the purpose
Perhaps the biggest mistake I see people make is that they fail to buy an instrument suited to its purpose. This is particularly true when they are buying a keyboard for their children.
There are numerous keyboards on the market that are really only designed to be used as a toy, rather than as a musical instrument.
And these are absolutely fine if you have a very young child (under school age), and your intention is purely to buy them a toy.
But if your child is older, and is going to be having music lessons, then it is extremely important that you buy a keyboard (or digital piano) that is going to be appropriate for them for a number of years.
You certainly don’t want to have to upgrade the keyboard after 12 months because it no longer fits the bill.
Mistake No 2: Not understanding the features and functions of an instrument
People learn to play for too many reasons to list here, and whatever the case may be for you, make sure you take the time to understand how the instrument you choose can best suit your purpose.
There are keyboards, digital pianos and Clavinovas on the market today which have a mind-boggling range of features and functions.
While they are all designed to be played just like a piano, they also have a vast range of different musical instrument sounds and voices, rhythmic accompaniments and pre-recorded music (which actually means you don’t even have to sit at the keyboard to play at all — and this suits some people very nicely!).
Some can be used to compose and record your own music.
Many Yamaha keyboards now have Internet Direct Connect (IDC), and you can use them to download music straight from the web.
Others can be plugged into a screen, which displays the musical notes or lyrics of the songs you are playing, and they have karaoke features which can alter your voice, so that even the worst singer in the world can sing along to their favorite tunes and sound fabulous.
The important thing is that you know what the features and functions of a particular instrument are, and whether or not they are things that you need for your own purposes.
Mistake No 3: Not considering Yamaha's Education Suite for beginners
Yamaha keyboards are equipped with a feature called the ‘Yamaha Education Suite’, which is exceptionally good for learners.
If you are buying a keyboard for a child or beginner, you may want to buy one with this feature. It actually teaches you how to play the keyboard with its various keyboard lessons.
And Yamaha's guide lamp is also extremely useful for beginners. With this feature the keys light up as you play, indicating where you should place your fingers. Most people don’t consider this when they are choosing a keyboard.
Mistake No 4: Underestimating 'Polyphony' and sound quality
But different types of keyboards have different types of sound qualities, and it is important to choose a sound that appeals to you. On this issue, Polyphony is another important feature.
Polyphony simply refers to how many notes you can play together simultaneously. If you are playing more complex pieces, the more polyphony the better. Your choices include 16 or less, 32, 64, 98-128 and 128 and over.
Mistake No 5: Not understanding what "Touch Response" is
Touch response, or touch sensitivity, means that the notes sound louder when you press harder.
If you turn the touch response off, then the notes will play at the same volume, no matter how hard you press the keys.
The keys feel exactly the same as any electronic keyboard, so it's a very light action.
I personally would not consider buying a keyboard without touch response. With touch response, your keyboard will feel and sound more like a traditional acoustic piano.
You will often hear reference to the term “weighted keys”, but it is important to understand that this is an entirely different feature to touch sensitivity.
Weighted keys feel more like the keys on a standard piano while you are playing them.