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No, I don't think most piano students "need" a baby grand. When I made my comment about it, I was being a little bit facetious. It would be a wonderful dream world if all kids could play on one though, wouldn't it? I would say that if you can afford it and have the space, why not? Otherwise, perhaps trade for a new studio upright at some point. I would say if a student wants to pursue a career in music, a baby grand would be a great thing to have, but even then it's not a "necessity"--maybe at the college level? Unfortunately, the expense of baby grands means that most people will never be able to afford one. I'm not sure I'll ever have one.
 

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She said the action and muscular feedback were completely different from that of a keyboard.
I agree. While I am personally trying to teach myself on a keyboard, I see it as far from ideal.

Just the way the keys depress is notably different.
 

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In choosing a teacher, observe some lessons first and consider your decision thoroughly. As one of my teacher-trainers was fond of saying, "Any idiot can teach and intermediate violinist, but it takes an expert to teach a beginner." Go with the best teacher of beginners that you can afford. It pays off hugely.
We're just now realizing this about ballet as well. Not that dd's teacher was an idiot
, but the very basics of technique were not well taught this year.

I'm a pianist, and I agree completely that even the best keyboard cannot adequately replicate a good piano. However, if it's the best you can get for now, it's O.K., but try to get a real piano, or have at least weekly access to a real piano as soon as possible.

One of my childhood piano teachers, also a life-long family friend, recommends Yamaha uprights if you can't get a baby grand. She's an amazing pianist, and taught for decades, and it's the kind she owned herself. I lucked into a baby grand - given to us by my husband's family - but I still remember the touch and sound of my teacher's Yamaha, and frankly, I think the touch and action were superior to my baby grand - and though the sound isn't as rich as a baby grand, it was surprisingly full for an upright. A different teacher - in my pre-pro days (never did get all the way to pro
), had a Steinway. Ahhhh, now that's a piano... (dreaming).

Laura
 

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We just bought a Steinway (upright grand) on eBay for $700! A piano technician picked it up from a high school music practice room. The condition was mint -- not much interest in piano, I guess. The exterior was where the artistry is displayed...the entire piano was covered in graffiti. We're having it refinished back to its original state. The soundboard was impeccable, and the hammers were all replaced. It is a wonderful piano! Last week a church was selling their Steinway upright on eBay -- it sold for $616!

As for my violin comment -- I think my opinion came off too strong. I do believe that a child should start on the best violin that can be afforded--to a point. My dh is asked at least once a month to listen to students trying new violins. Each time, the parent or student is convinced that if they had a more expensive violin they would sound "cleaner" or have a "warmer tone" etc, etc. And each time, it really just comes down to practice.

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I'm a Suzuki violin teacher and I would not teach a student on a violin of that quality. I insist the instrument have decent quality tone, proper perlon-core A, D and G strings and a properly and expertly-fitted bridge and soundpost.
And comments that sound like a student won't be accepted to a studio because of their violin feel discriminatory to me. A Suzuki student doesn't use much more than an A and E string for quite some time. However, a parent new to violin will rarely have a good ear for a high quality violin. It's like asking a first time wine-taster what she thinks of Franzia versus a good Bordeaux. Perhaps that comment was just worded poorly, but I would hate to think that children are being turned away because the the quality of their violin.
 

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Originally Posted by Kim
And comments that sound like a student won't be accepted to a studio because of their violin feel discriminatory to me. A Suzuki student doesn't use much more than an A and E string for quite some time. However, a parent new to violin will rarely have a good ear for a high quality violin. It's like asking a first time wine-taster what she thinks of Franzia versus a good Bordeaux. Perhaps that comment was just worded poorly, but I would hate to think that children are being turned away because the the quality of their violin.
:LOL If you knew my teaching studio, you wouldn't be concerned about students being turned away. I have two students that I taught for free this year in order that they could afford to buy decent instruments, and another who is playing one of my instruments, rent-free. As I said earlier I do not think that students should buy an instrument without the help of a teacher (especially in terms of sizing, but also in terms of quality). My students do not show up for their first lesson with an instrument, so they'd never be sent away for having the wrong type.

It might also be worth pointing out that to learn good intonation skills, to for example play third finger on the A-string in tune (the note D), one needs to hear the sympathetic resonance from the D-string. Poor-quality instruments with poor-quality strings do not have this resonance. Sure, Suzuki students might not play on the D-string for a few months (mine start quite early, actually) but they need clear resonance from that string from the very start.

When my kids started soccer they needed to have appropriate equipment. If they didn't have it, it wouldn't be considered discrimination to say "sorry, you need to get a navy blue T-shirt, some shin-guards and cleats to be part of this." The same is true of violin. To participate and learn you have to have appropriate equipment: equipment which will ensure safety, freedom from injury and the possibility of success. I will go to the ends of the earth to ensure that an enthusiastic potential violin student gets the necessary equipment.

Miranda
 

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Thank you for that post, Miranda.
I was misunderstanding some of your posts and most likely would not have any of those concerns if we had this conversation in person rather than on a message board.

Classical music has been (and still is, appears, and/or feels) somewhat classist. I really do appreciate teachers like you who generously donate time and energy to share music with our young people.

No hard feelings?
 

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Originally Posted by umbrella
I was just surprised that someone can be sure of a violin's quality based on the price.
Hmmm, is that my post you're referring to? I clearly prefaced my comments with:

"There's no way for me to be sure that this particular instrument has a terrible quality sound without hearing it, but .... "

Miranda
 

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Originally Posted by Kim
Classical music has been (and still is, appears, and/or feels) somewhat classist. ....

No hard feelings?

No, of course, no hard feelings. I agree with classical music having classist tendencies. Even though I live in an amazing, tolerant, relatively poor, creative area where classical music crosses all socio-economic boundaries, there are still echoes of that classism that surface from time to time. For instance, at our recent end-of-year performance party, the father of one of my students, a self-described "ATV kinda guy", came up to me and said "we're so lucky to live in a town where kids like J [his son] can learn stuff that's normally just for doctors' kids."

Well, thanks, I guess. But "normally just for doctors' kids"?? Ouch, I think. I mean, dh and I are two of the three local doctors. How was I supposed to respond to that? :LOL

Miranda
 
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