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Digital Piano: How to Choose the Right One

As you may have seen on my Instagram and Facebook stories today, we’re partnering with Casio Music UK to test out one of their learners keyboards. We’re so excited about the collaboration as I think Burrito Baby will benefit so much from music lessons. With that in mind, I wanted to share with you some information from Casio about how to make sure you’re buying the right digital piano for your kids.

DIGITAL PIANO

With children now back in the swing of things at school, a lot of parents may be considering extra-curricular activities their children can take up to aid their learning and development outside of the classroom. Playing a musical instrument offers a whole host of benefits for young people and allows them to express themselves in their own unique way.

Digital pianos are a wonderful resource for kids of all ages and all kinds of disciplines. They make learning and performing much easier but still offer the satisfaction of playing on a beautiful expressive musical instrument. However, finding the right digital piano can be confusing and time-intensive. Casio, one of the world’s most renowned producers of premium, digital hybrid pianos, is here to help with the five questions parents should be asking when purchasing a digital piano for their child – from piano teacher, ABRSM music examiner and digital piano expert Chris Stanbury.

  1. HOW MUCH DO I NEED TO SPEND?

A good beginner’s digital piano should cost between £300 to £400. For this, you’ll get a great quality instrument that’ll support your child’s learning for a number of years. Avoid anything cheaper than this from online sellers as these don’t tend to last and offer a poor quality sound. It’s important to invest in something that’s satisfying to play as it will maintain your child’s interest.

  1. WHAT FEATURES SHOULD I LOOK FOR?

Digital pianos can have various features but the one thing you must check is that it has 88 weighted keys. This is something all pianos have and it is essential for developing the correct playing technique. The keys also need to be touch sensitive, which means that they are the same as a traditional piano. The harder you hit the keys, the louder it will sound, the softer you play the key, the note will have less volume. This feature is very important.

  1. IS A DIGITAL PIANO BETTER THAN AN ACOUSTIC PIANO? 

A good, acoustic (traditional) piano usually costs £1,000 or more. Pianos that are offered free on marketplace or auction sites are rarely in good condition and should be avoided. Acoustic pianos also need maintaining: the strings inside must be tuned at least twice a year at a cost of about £80 a time.

You get much more for your money with digital pianos. They take up a lot less space and don’t need tuning. Plus, you can plug in headphones for silent practice, which is perfect for busy households!

  1. WHAT OTHER FUNCTIONS DO YOU GET WITH DIGITAL PIANOS?

A great benefit of a digital piano is that if your kids love their gadgets, they’ll really enjoy connecting a digital piano to their phone, tablet or computer. This makes learning a lot more fun as they can take part in interactive lessons and play along to backing music.

Casio provides a free music learning app with all their digital pianos, called Chordana, and there’s free lessons too from Dr Chris himself on the Casio Music UK YouTube channel; so anyone can start playing right away. All owners also have access to the Casio Music Academy too, which also includes music lessons exclusively for Casio piano users

  1. WHAT DIGITAL PIANO WOULD YOU RECOMMEND FOR A BEGINNER?

My personal favourite is the Casio CDP-S90. It’s light, very compact and has a great sound. It’s also important to mention that it comes with a proper piano stand included (worth £88). This means the piano is at the correct playing height, which is important for developing good posture and finger skills.

Homeschooling and its Advantages

Some of you may know that since the pandemic started, we’ve been homeschooling both kids on a full-time basis. Sausage was realy unhappy at her school so it was an easy decision, and while BB is adamant that she’s going back to her school as soon as it’s safe to do so, for now, she’s attending Crammond College! Although homeschooling can be hard work (especially when Husband and I also both work from home) there have been a numbe rof advantages that we’ve noticed, so I thought I’d share some of them here, in case it’s something you’re considering:

Cheaper Holidays

Going on holiday isn’t something we’re ready for yet as we’re still pretty much living in lockdown conditions, but once we feel it’s safe, we’ll be able to take holidays during term time, which is SO MUCH cheaper! We’ve also said we’d love to buy a new motorhome when we can afford it, which means we’ll be able to pack all of us, including Maureen, up and go away whenever we feel like it, which sounds blissful to me.

Write Your Own Timetable

You don’t need to follow the national curriculum if you don’t want to. You definitely don’t need to follow a school day. This means you can be led by your child, which means more efficient learning. If your child is particularly interested in something after seeing a film or reading a book, you can learn about that, which will lead into lots of other things. If your child is more receptive from 3pm to 6pm, that’s when you can target lessons.

Individuality

If there’s one thing that can be said for my daughters its that they tend to plough their own furrow and avoid trends. BB has currently got one side of her head shaved and Sausage has had dip dyes in pink, blue and purple in recent years, none of which would be allowed at their respective schools. Wearing a uniform and following appearance rules doesn’t allow for individuality whereas they can look exactly how they want in homeschool.

Curriculum

While there are obvious parts of the curriculum which we will stick to, such as maths and science, there are certain parts of the National Curriculum which we feel are largely redundant (or severely lacking). The beauty of homeschooling is that we can pick our own curriculum, which means leaving out the parts we don’t find useful and including things that get left out at mainstream schools.

Emotional Wellbeing

Research into how homeschoolers turn out as adults was conducted by Dr. Ray in 2003. He found that 5,000 out of a group of 7,300 adults had been homeschooled for more than 7 years. They were much more active in community and social life than their public school counterparts. A much higher number also went on to higher education and they also scored higher on the happiness scale. In 1999, Stanford University accepted twice as many homeschoolers compared to publicly and privately educated students.