Embarking on a journey of learning how to play the piano can be incredibly rewarding as well as challenging.

Having music as part of your life can bring many benefits to your mental health because you can use an instrument as a distraction, as a stress reliever, a way to find peace, to concentrate, or even to be creative.

However, learning to play the piano (or any other instrument) will take time and effort from the student. It is not like you will walk up to a room with a piano and start playing a Mozart piece flawlessly.

There are a couple of things you need to consider before you start learning. For instance, you need to see if you want to have online lessons, hire a private tutor, or enroll in a music academy.

If you choose to hire a private tutor (which you can do right here on Superprof) you need to figure out what type of piano you want to learn. And finally, you need to see if you have space in your room, house, or apartment to fit a modern-sized piano. If there's no space to fit it, you can always find a tutor who already has a piano and hold the lessons in their place.

The types of pianos are the grand piano, console piano, studio piano, upright piano, and digital piano. If you want to learn what are the differences between an upright piano and a digital piano, or what is the purpose of a grand piano, continue reading and find out!

Keep in mind that different brands are offering the same types of pianos, like Steinway or Kawai.

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 Acoustic Piano: The old school piano

Keep in mind that acoustic music is music that solely or primarily uses instruments that produce sound through acoustic means, as opposed to electric or electronic means.

Girl practicing how to play a song in the piano
No musical genius learned about the instrument overnight because becoming good at something takes time and you'll need to practice if you want to play the piano in a musical, a concert, or for a large crowd. Photo by Jonathan Chng on Unsplash

The acoustic piano is the old-school type of piano. These pianos are usually made of hammers and strings and are built with a wooden exterior. The mechanism consists of pressing a key and then the hammer moves and strikes the strings, causing them to vibrate and produce the sound.

When choosing a piano —or any instrument— one of the most important things to consider is the sounds the instrument produces. As many musicians probably already know, any acoustic instrument produces a better sound quality compared to electric or digital.

However, this does not mean that one is better than the other, it just refers to the quality of the music and the type of music you'd like to play.

In the acoustic piano, when the hammer strikes a string, it generates a sound that has a warmer tone. With an acoustic instrument, you have better control over the articulation and expression of the musical notes.

If you are at the beginner level, learn which are the easiest pieces you can learn on the piano or continue reading and learn about the two types of acoustic pianos, the grand piano, and the upright piano.

Keep in mind that a private tutor will be prepared to give you music sheets and songs that are at your skill level. If you're interested in hiring or changing your piano tutor, you can start searching for one right here on Superprof. 

Grand Piano: Dynamic and rich sounds

The grand piano is probably the fanciest looking piano of all the different types of pianos there are. People tend to have these popular types of pianos displayed in the main room of a house and they are usually left with the top part (the lid) opened to show the strings and hammers.

The strings and soundboard of the grand piano are in a horizontal position and the hammer strikes each string to create a note or key, swings up, and then back down to its original position.

Grand pianos are commonly known for creating a faster key repetition and the best sound projection compared to vertical pianos. And that is why it gets its "grand" name.

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Alice
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Hélio
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Alice
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John
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Upright Piano: Great for students at a beginner level

A baby learning to play the piano
Even a baby will learn how to play a concert if the right size of piano is bought for them, learning to play this instrument is about practice and patience, not capacity. Photo by Paige Cody on Unsplash

The upright piano is usually 48 or more inches tall. People tend to choose this type of piano over the grand piano because the upright usually won't take up as much space, it produces a similar sound, and it is usually cheaper.

The upright piano is also a great piano for students at the beginner level because of the reasons we mentioned above.

Continue reading if you wish to learn how to teach yourself how to play the piano.

Spinet and Console Pianos: Two distinct vertical piano variations

The spinet and console pianos are two types of vertical pianos. Vertical pianos appeared as a market demand because people were demanding smaller and more compact pianos. The grand piano is beautiful and creates beautiful sounds but the majority of the population couldn't fit a grand piano in their homes.

The spinet piano is between 35 to 40 inches tall and is characterized by having the mechanism of the hammers located below the keys.

On the other hand, the console piano is a bigger size compared to the spinet piano, it is between 40 and 44 inches tall. This instrument has the hammers on top of the keys but each hammer is smaller compared to other pianos and each string stretches downward.

Studio Piano: The standard classroom piano

Learning to play the piano in a music institution
You can find a piano private tutor right here on Superprof and start your piano lessons playing an electric, large, grand, or modern piano. Photo by Mehmet Turgut Kirkgoz on Unsplash

This piano is typically 45 or 47 inches tall and they are a popular type amongst churches and schools. It is known as the "school choir" piano because it was built for institutional use.

The studio piano is known for being one step up from the console piano, and this refers not only to the size. When it comes to instruments, smaller pieces have smaller action parts while bigger instruments have bigger or full action parts.

Keep in mind that the action enables control of the keys and subsequent expression of tone. Studio pianos have slightly longer keys compared to console pianos.  This is reflected in the overall expression of the instrument.

Since these pianos are bigger in size (which means a bigger hammer, bigger soundboard, and bigger keyboard) it makes sense that they are used in schools and choirs since they make the perfect instrument to be used by many different people.

If you are interested in learning more about the origins of the instrument, continue reading about the history of the piano in the United States.

Digital Piano: The versatile modern option

Before you learn about the digital piano learn about the best places online to learn piano. Although, we recommend you put your efforts into finding a great tutor, and what better place to help you with your search than Superprof?

Digital pianos come in a variety of sizes and models, from upright to grand designs. Learning how to use a digital piano will give the lessons other purpose and objective. With a digital piano, you will be able to learn the latest hits of your favorite artists, especially if they play electronic music.

Piano lessons in a digital piano
If you have a digital piano at home you might as well take your lessons on that piano instead of purchasing a new one and avoid spending money and occupying up space in your home. Photo by Fitsum Admasu on Unsplash

Digital pianos mimic the sound of an acoustic piano, which means that is not the original sound but it was built to make the same sounds with the help of technology. This, however, does not mean one has better quality than the other. In other words, when it comes to mechanisms, a high-end digital piano could sound better than a low-end acoustic piano.

Some people prefer the digital piano better than a grand or upright piano because it requires less maintenance. The wooden exterior of the acoustic piano makes it more delicate and in bigger need of attention. The strings also need more attention because they are made of steel which makes them more delicate.

Another difference in maintenance is that the acoustic needs to be kept in tune and you should do tuning maintenance once or twice a year with the help of a professional.

The digital piano is more versatile compared to others. With a digital piano, you can produce the sound of many other instruments by adding digital files with different sounds. You can also record a full-length song, control the volume better, and even take advantage of the fact that it is a portable piano.

Finally, another big difference between these two pianos is that the digital has fewer or doesn't even come with pedals. An acoustic piano can have up to three pedals whereas a digital piano will have a maximum of one pedal if any.

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