This is a question I have heard quite a lot. Yes, you do.
The follow-up is usually involving electric keyboards. A neighbor, cousin, etc has given or loaned a keyboard and since piano lessons is a new quest, can we start on that? Yes – however here are some pitfalls.
A keyboard is an electronic instrument. It has lots of fun buttons and believe me when I tell you that to a kid, it is a toy. Your student will practice for a few minutes and then press the button with the pre-recorded song and pretend to be playing it. This is funny the first time and maybe even the fifth time, but it will get old. Their next step will be exploring all the exciting instrumentation. OK. That is cool and adds variety, but soon they will discover the setting for bombs bursting in air. So if you have a keyboard, you will need to set some limits.
A benefit of a keyboard is that you can move it anywhere. Well, actually, this begins as a “pro” and ends up as a huge “con”. You start off at your kitchen table which is exciting and new but end up in your child’s bedroom or the basement so no one is “bothered” by the practicing. This is a giant problem. Kids like you to hear them play. You don’t need to stand next to them, but they need to hear you say, “That’s pretty” “Try again. It’s getting better.” or even “Is that what you are supposed to be playing this week?” If you decide on a keyboard, keep it in listening range.
That said, try to find a piano. There is a wide range in size and cost and you can even rent. Even if you have a top of the line keyboard, it does not sound and feel like a piano. A piano forces you to develop finger and hand strength and develop touch. It has a pedal that can vary beyond on and off. A piano tone changes with your personal touch. It is a beautiful acoustic instrument made of wood and strings. It inspires and allows you to be expressive. It grows with you. It gets my vote every time.
Maintenance? Well here is the real truth –
Piano – You must get your piano tuned at least once a year, but twice is better. This can be a little expensive. If you outgrow it or decide to get rid of it; you can trade it in for a better model or sell it. You might even end up passing it down to your grandchildren.
Keyboard – It is electronic. If it breaks (and it will), just throw it away.
If you are looking to purchase, rent, rebuild or tune your piano, my choice is to contact Paul Haller of Haller Piano. Paul is knowledgeable, trustworthy and reliable. http://hallerpiano.com