2 articles Articles posted in Learning

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.

A whole new Supermum: The Academic Mother

hands-woman-legs-laptopIt is expected in today’s society, that a mother be able to juggle both family life and career. Yet, the realities of having children still pose difficulties when it comes to returning to work. Whether it’s to continue academic studies, or to start afresh on a whole new career: finding that balance to fulfil both roles can be daunting.

But, it is possible.

The archaic notion that a woman’s role is in the kitchen is gone. More women now are the main bread earners in their family, and are able – with some support – to balance their roles as both mother and worker. It may not be as perfect as the glossy, high quality Instagram photographs of “super-mums” show, but with the help of improving technology, it is now more feasible than ever. Not only get to a degree after childbirth, but to study for a better career that will earn a more comfortable living for the family.
So, how is it done?

Time management. Motherhood will already demand this, so creating a routine that incorporates study time and time with your children is a must.
Work out schedules that will be realistic and time conserving.
Enlist support, not only from family and friends, but also from your study advisor; and embrace any resources offered by your university or college.
Even simple things like getting up an hour earlier, doing your studying while your children do their homework, or doing extra studying while your child sleeps, can all make a big difference.

Also, embrace technology. It has never been easier to sign up for – as well as to acquire – an online university degree. By now, most large and well-known universities offer certain courses online, some even for free! But it might be a good idea to check universities that offer the possibility to study online full-time, like NC IUL for example. Besides the ease and convenience of applying and enrolling, you are offered many different and diverse areas of study to choose from.

Online courses provide greater flexibility: you can work at your own pace from the comfort of your own home, opening up a new range of choices for the new mum looking to keep informed and develop a career while away from work, or making a complete career change. This flexibility does not mean an easier pathway to a desired career. Most online courses will require the same amount of coursework as classroom courses; but you will be able to do so at your own schedule.

Make up a designated computer space for online study that will have the same effect as a campus classroom. This can be anything from your dining room to the campus library: the key is to have an area that is yours for studying alone with no distractions for that set time. Take advantage of supporting resources offered by the online course, and keep in touch with fellow students and lecturers with social media to help with your studies.

Above all else, know your limit. Make sure to schedule downtime, from both studying and your children. If you don’t, you risk a breakdown; and both your studying and your family will suffer.
It will be hard work, and there will be stressful times; but the rewards will be worth the efforts.