Very few people are constantly happy – those that are have usually worked at achieving such a state for years. It’s not easy, but everyone has the ability to greatly increase their happiness levels.
For me, playing the piano was what really helped me to take control of my personal happiness. It might be fitness, video games, singing, dancing, or any number of other activities for you. But for me, it was the piano.
I wasn’t going to write about this extensively, but I’ve actually talked to a few good friends who have seen similar mood lifts due solely to playing the piano. I recently had another friend ask me where to start – jumping headfirst into the world of piano playing is no easy feat.
So, I figured I’d write up a short detail of where to get started with pianos (specifically digital pianos, as they’re more accessible to the everyday person). If it can help even one other person achieve greater personal happiness and mental acuity, then I’ve done my job and I’m happy to have this post featured on my personal blog.
Piano synthesizer, portable piano, weighted keyboard, personal electronic piano – the digital piano comes with many names. Whatever you choose to call it, it is all the same. It is an electronic instrument with piano type keys, designed mostly to emulate the sound of a piano, electronically or digitally. Piano synthesizers will have some extra bells and whistles such as a synthesized sound mimicking a string ensemble. Other features that can come part of the package include MIDI implementation, features to aid in composing and learning, and of course volume knobs to control sound levels. Some can even give the distinct sound only a grand piano can give.
As with any electronic item, digital pianos come in different quality levels. By quality, it is meant by the quality of the sound it produces. Most digital pianos contain pre-recorded sample of sound, which is stored in memory. A real piano of high quality is recorded in a studio, using state of the art equipment. This is then stored in the memory of the digital piano, in a process called “sampling”. Next up is the sustain pedal. In a real piano, it is designed to take the dampers off the string when pressed, which gives the piano the amazing resonance. Digital pianos made today can duplicate that effect. However, only the high-end ones are capable of it. The bottom line is that it is virtually impossible to duplicate the complex sounds of an acoustic piano. But the ease of transportation and much lower cost of a digital piano easily offsets any lack in perfect sound. While some brands are well known for producing high quality electric pianos, it’s always best to do your own product research, especially because many electric pianos can cost you a pretty penny. I personally used The Boxtiger Music when buying my piano. It’s run by a long-time pianos player, and he seems to know what’s what when it comes to selecting a good digital piano.
There four basic types of digital pianos. Portable, grand, stage and upright pianos. Portable digital pianos, as the name suggests are portable. Therefore, on the physical side of things, the piano will be light weight as well as smaller. Portable pianos are popular with amateur musicians as well as professional musicians who do a lot of traveling. Grand digital pianos are the rarest of them all. Designed to emulate a grand piano, they are generally much more expensive and larger in size. Only a handful of companies manufactures them, making them hard to find. But if you must have the sound of a grand piano, but don’t want to get a real one, then a digital grand piano is a way to go.
Stage pianos are basically a better portable piano, but without the speakers. The reason for no inbuilt speakers is because it is assumed that separate speakers with amplifiers will be used. However, they do retain the portability factor of portable digital pianos. It is designed with the professional musician in mind. Last but least there are the upright types. These are made to look like smaller acoustic pianos. They will even come with wooden keys. In fact, going by looks, it is impossible to tell the difference from a traditional wooden acoustic piano. Therefore, the price will also be higher compared to the rest, except the grand pianos. The long and short of it is that there is a digital piano made for any occasion. Unless you have ears like a pro musician, a digital piano will sound just as great.