Piano for grade 5 and above

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Piano for grade 5 and above

Post by mustardtree6 »

My DD is now preparing for her grade 5 and it is now time to ditch the beginner's piano and start looking for a replacement piano that might take her up to grade 8. She has got mainly merits, so not going to be a concert pianist but quite likely to end up playing in bands. We have a budget of around £3,000 and based in the South West. We thought that the Yamaha B1/B3 (ex-demo) or the Kawai 15E might be suitable. She thought that the Yamaha were crisper and the Kawai more softer. What are your thoughts on these pianos? or we better off with a second hand one such as a Kemble Cambridge 10 (1996) or Kemble Windsor 118 (2002). Our DD really liked the Kawai K300 but it is way above our budget. We didn't try the Kemble because initially we were just looking at new ones. Any thoughts? Thank you for your advice.
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Colin Nicholson
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Re: Piano for grade 5 and above

Post by Colin Nicholson »

Hi there...

I have discovered during my piano teaching career (over 30 years) that when pupils practise at home on their old "beginner" piano (usually over-damped), then suddenly switch to my K5 Kawai during lessons, their progress is only very marginal, and generally speaking they get a good pass or merit in piano exams. Transferring key touch weight and using a finely regulated sustain pedal (with new dampers) is a challenge, not only for the poor student, but for me to teach, and try to improve their melody projection / range of dynamics etc.... A few of them have now up-graded to a better piano, and the results each week are astounding.... we now see high merits & distinctions!
Exams of course are not everything, it's mainly the enjoyment. My "upgraded" pupils have now discovered that the ABRSM exam piano is very similar in style/ touch/ tone/ key weight to my piano.... but more importantly, now to their own newer piano.... so I can now teach them properly, and they think & listen at the right level.... making their home practise virtually the same as the lesson.... have a think about it!?

All the pianos you mention sound fine - perhaps go for the newer versions, but best to forget the piano name/ model numbers, lose the "tech" .... and purely rely on your DD? (dear daughter perhaps?) to choose exclusively by trying out many different pianos and allowing her to choose the piano (ahem not the parents!)
You have a healthy budget, so plenty to choose from.
My choice would be Kawai, but that is just personal taste.
Yamaha pianos are good, some more harsh/ bright sounding in the treble, and Kawai seem to have a better "voice"
Mrs Jones down the road might have a black polyester finish to her piano, and often we keep up with the Jones' !

Also a suggestion to ask your piano teacher to come with you and help choose.
If you choose a piano about 15 - 20 years old, always have the hammers checked over for wear.

(Appendix: 11th Oct):

I received this today from the ABRSM.... it's their newsletter posted regularly.
You might like to hear the real Diploma exam being played and marked by the Chief Examiner.
http://gb.abrsm.org/en/about-abrsm/news ... sEslJpvcbZ_

There is of course, no such thing as a "Grade 5+ piano" .... it's either a good working instrument or not.
The student here plays some Bach, Haydn and Debussy.... but I also noticed various unusual moments in his performances.... i.e. pedal overlapping / uneven finger work.... and the examiner has picked up on it. The Examiner also mentions that the student may not be used to playing on a top notch piano, and this reflects in his performance.
This is advanced stuff though, but it clearly outlines what I said initially and having a good piano to learn on from the start is the building blocks to a solid performance for all grades - even grade 1.

Hope that helps

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Colin Nicholson Dip. Mus. CMIT CLCM PTLLS
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Re: Piano for grade 5 and above

Post by vernon »

Always let the pianist decide whether she's 10 or twenty. She is going to play the piano, not the teacher,not mum not the tuner,not the salesman.
Keep your hand on the wallet and turn her loose on what you can reasonably afford.
Don't let the teacher have her finger in the pie!
Our mission in life is to tune customers--not pianos.

Any fool can make a piano-- it needs a tuner to put the music in it

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