As discussed in the previous article How to Buy a Piano – the First Question it is important to know why you are considering the purchase of a piano in the first place. Some points to consider are:
• Is the piano for yourself or someone else?
• Will the piano be primarily used as an instrument or as decor?
• Will the piano be the focus of your music or used for other musical needs?
If you are buying a piano for yourself the decisions will be more personal and perhaps somewhat easier – or maybe not (sometimes buying for oneself can be the most arduous experience). If this is for a spouse, by all means they should be intimately involved in the buying process. You may have decided your children need to take lessons and so some sort of piano at home is required. In such a situation it can be tempting to make a purchase in a unilateral fashion, but we would caution against that.
If someone else will be playing, it is critical to take into account a number of factors such as their level of experience, their commitment and the degree of their ability to contribute to the decision. Are they beginners, returning to the piano after some years, needing a better instrument than they now have, etc.?
A beginner piano may be different from one for a pianist whose level of playing demands something with more to offer. That is not to say you can get away with just anything however. A common mistake is to settle for something cheap at first, expecting to get a better instrument later if or when the student proves himself. This can backfire – a poor instrument can hinder an aspiring player, preventing them from progressing as well as they could or even leading to discontinuing their efforts altogether.
As strange as it may sound to someone dedicated to the piano as an instrument for personal playing enjoyment, performance and so on, the reality is that some people see it more as an essential element of furnishing a room or even a prized possession for display. That is not meant to be a criticism, just a simple truth.
For those less concerned about the capabilities of the piano as an instrument, naturally you can make your selection based more on aesthetics. And let’s be honest, that will be important to many of us even when we also care deeply about how well it plays. The appearance of the piano certainly affects our overall perception and enjoyment of the instrument. All other things being equal, we likely will better appreciate a nice looking piano than an eyesore.
For many the piano is a vital instrument, not because one is a pianist but for what it provides as a tool for other musical endeavors. Regardless of one’s primary instrument, if one wants to compose music, the piano is often the instrument of choice. And singers, of course, use the piano for accompaniment. The required quality of the piano in these cases will vary depending on a variety of factors. Naturally the better the piano the more productive and enjoyable one’s work can be.
So once you have considered why you plan to buy a piano, who it’s for and the intended purpose, you are a step closer to intelligently thinking about other factors important to the decision. Things such as brand, model, new or used, where to shop, to name a few.