Unless you have the room for a piano and a relatively good budget I would always opt for a very good keyboard instead. Should you wish to rent or buy a new or second hand piano then Knightsbridge Pianos have many in their display room to try out – this is based in Bagleys Lane in Fulham. They also sell piano stools as well as digital pianos.
The Piano Tuner who I use is Richard Hayden Smith who is very professional and well priced. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or tel: 07796 265816. He’s also an excellent jazz pianist.
The more you spend the better sound you get and the touch becomes more like the weighted keys of a piano. With all beginners I would suggest either borrowing a good keyboard or renting one first until you know you or your child will continue their passion for playing.
You will also need a stand for some keyboards and the facility to plug in a sustain pedal (and earphones). Also, sitting on a piano stool (that can be raised/lowered) is important so you sit at the correct height so your forearms and wrists are held parallel to the keyboard.
All keyboard prices below are from ABC Music who have now sadly moved to Esher in Surrey.
Please note full sized keyboards have 88 notes.
Yamaha NP31 – This has 6 octaves, 76 notes ( so not full size). Price: £229
I would only advise buying this keyboard if your budget is small and looking at a short term investment only. The keys are touch sensitive so you can play with dynamics. It has the facility to plug in a pedal and earphones.
Yamaha P45 – This is a full size keyboard (88 notes) Price: £349
It has weighted keys like a piano, touch sensitive so good for dynamics. Although bulkier, it is still portable. It has the facility to plug in a sustain pedal and headphones. This is a much better long term investment especially for pianists aiming to prepare for piano examinations.
ABC Music also stock second hand and new digital Yamaha pianos. Second hand models start at roughly £500 and new £659.
I would not advise buying a second hand old Clavinova. Many have very light weight keys and they are extremely bulky and heavy to move.
Please check all the above information with ABC Music and always try out a keyboard before buying.
I have also been informed by another piano teacher that Gear4Music is a good website offering one particularly well priced, good quality, full sized “Stage Piano” with touch sensitive, weighted keys similar to a Yamaha.
Gear4Music have advised me that this is an entry-level piano and closest to the Yamaha NP-range. However, the key action is a little more realistic than the Yahama NP-range as the latter have been described as being a bit ‘springy’ in their touch. The Gear4music ones are more wooden-feeling, and a little more realistic. The sample quality and speaker quality on the Yamaha is a little superior, however.
If you click on the link above you will see full details of this keyboard. Sadly, they only sell on line as they do not have any shops so I have unable to try this piano out.
Local keyboard/piano and sheet music shops
Kensington Chimes 9 Harrington Road, South Kensington SW7 3ES
They have a good range of piano books and sheet music.
Ritz Music 88 Sheen Road, Richmond TW9 1UF Tel: 020 8332 1488
They recently moved from Putney sadly. Their range of piano books/sheet music is not huge but they will happily order music for you. Their Putney shop was small so I imagine this new shop is similar so they will not have keyboards on display. They will always order a keyboard in for you though.
Yahama Music London 152-160 Wardour Street, London, W1F 8YA
Piano Tuition Books & sheet music
This is the notebook I use from Year 2 upwards (or for younger children who wish for more repertoire to learn each week as more space to write in)
For younger children (Reception to Yr 2) I would advise buying this smaller notebook as it has notes to colour in when your child practises which is available to order on line from the above link or Amazon. It also has the music stave at the bottom of each page giving the teacher the option to write in new or revised notes each week.
ABRSM have also published a Practice Notebook for older children and adults preparing for examinations. It is filled with useful hints and advice on practising. It also has top tips from professional musicians and for preparing for exams.
These are usually available to order or buy from the above piano shops. Or look on Ebay or Gumtree. Your local Streetlife or Preloved is also a great website where people offer things for free or very low prices that they no longer use. ABC Music sell a range of different piano stools too.
Step for young pupils
Precious Little One sell this Safety Wooden Step online.
This keeps a young child’s posture correct while sitting at the piano which I highly recommend if you or your child’s feet do not reach the floor – I use this step both at school and at home. Sadly, plastic steps don’t work as they are not the right heights.