Q. Do I need an Instrument to have Instrumental lessons?
A. Yes. If you want to learn how to play. Learning music does require 'cerebral' learning, but it also requires physical training and that can't happen without an instrument. However, music is not like learning maths or english, which are purely cerebral activities and don't require physical practice.
Unless you are experienced in string instruments and the needs of the player it is advisable not to buy from Gumtree, Ebay, Cash Convertors etc. Non-specific general Music Shops do stock some string instruments, but the staff are not trained to fit the instrument to a young player, and there is limited follow-up service and frequently instruments have not been set-up professionally.
A. Piano lays a solid foundation for further study on any other instrument. Both hands are used simultaneously which enhances cross-patterning, spatial awareness, and fine motor skill development.
The Piano uses both the treble and bass clefs which are used for a wide variety of instruments. Therefore learning to read piano music provides a solid basis for reading the music of other instruments.
When playing the piano, the pianist plays both the melody and accompaniment, and this can be done in either hand, and balanced within one hand; so the pianist develops an understanding of how melodic, harmonic and rhythmic structures combine to create music.
Q. Should I buy a Piano or a Digital Keyboard? Is a small cheap keyboard OK?
A. You should buy either a traditional piano or an 88 key weighted digital keyboard/piano. Buying an unweighted keyboard with less than 88 keys is extremely limiting and will not develop technical strength. Often the keys are smaller than on a traditional piano/weighted keyboard, and so students will have difficulty moving to an actual piano.
If buying a piano privately or from a non-music shop - please have it checked by a professional piano tuner to ensure the instrument is capable of being tuned to concert pitch, and that all keys and pedals function properly. An old piano in poor condition is an inappropriate instrument for a student.