Getting Started


So, you’re interested. Where do you start?

First, listen to the music that you’ll be playing. Know it very well in your head before starting to learn it on the piano.

These are the first two pieces, (actually, piece and a half) also on the “Why Suzuki” page:

Before starting lessons, you will also want to have a piano, or at least a keyboard, to practice on. The people at Charlottesville Piano really want you to have a piano, and they will make you an offer you can’t refuse. First of all, if you tell them you’re a student of mine, you’ll get a discount. Then, if later the piano doesn’t take and ends up sitting there and not getting used, and you want to sell it, they will sell it for you. Of course, they have to charge a commission, but this is still very helpful. If the piano really does take, and you or your child is deserving of an upgrade, they will trade it in at full value. I strongly encourage anyone to take advantage of this fantastic offer.

Sometimes I am asked if an electronic keyboard is acceptable. The short answer is yes, in my opinion, if and only if it is touch-sensitive and has weighted keys. Touch-sensitive just means that the harder you hit a note, the louder it sounds. You can tell very easily if it has weighted keys by lifting it – is it extremely easy for anyone, even a kid, to lift and move, or is it doable, but easier with two people? If it is extremely easy to lift and carry, it does not have weighted keys. You can also tell by the price. If you’re buying a new keyboard for around $100, it does not have weighted keys. An acceptable keyboard costs about $600-$700 new. I recommend looking around on ebay or craigslist for a used one. It should cost about half what it would new, and you can sell it for around the same price later if you so choose.

While a touch-sensitive, weighted-key keyboard is acceptable to me, it must be pointed out that there is no substitute for the real thing. This is especially true with regards to tonality, which is so much the focus of Suzuki at the beginning. So a piano is far preferable in order to reap the full benefits of Suzuki as a beginner. However, keyboards they have their advantages – portability, low-maintenance (they don’t need tuning), and you can put on headphones and practice without bothering others.

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