Frequently I am asked by students and parents whether they should purchase an acoustic piano or a digital one – “which is best?” they will ask. There is no single answer to this question. The answer will differ with each student. The “best” option will depend upon the pianist. The factors that need to be considered when deciding on which route to go are budget, space/design, neighbours and purpose. Let me take each in turn:
1. budget – with the vast advances in technology over the last decade, I think it is fair to say that you can obtain more for your money if you opt for the digital path as opposed to the traditional acoustic piano. If you have say up to £2,000 to invest in your instrument, I would therefore recommend digital.
2. space/design – the digitals tend to be smaller than the acoustics (unless you take a shine to a digital grand of course!) so can more easily fit into the area you have dedicated for your instrument. In terms of style and design, certain digital pianos may have the edge here. This does of course depend on what you consider to be stylish.
3. neighbours – the advantage of having a digital piano is that you can choose whether to share your practise with others or keep it entirely private by wearing headphones. You will need to consider your circumstances here. I quite enjoy filling the house with the sound of my piano playing!
4. purpose – are you purchasing an instrument solely for learning the piano, or are you also interested in having other “voices”? Many digital pianos allow you to alter the sound between various options, including for example harpsichord and organ.
The best advice I can give is consider your circumstances and shop around; the answer will come to you. It is an exciting time when choosing an instrument. Enjoy it.