While acoustic pianos have remained more or less the same over the years, digital pianos have evolved significantly and are now a viable alternative, even for players who are particular about the feel of their keyboard. Digital pianos offer many advantages over their acoustic counterparts; they are light and portable, and quite affordable compared to acoustic pianos. They don't require tuning, can be played with headphones and often have great built in features such as a metronome, different sounds and the ability to record one's self. For these reasons, we are seeing an increasing number of students using digital pianos for their piano lessons in Toronto. If you're looking for a digital piano but are not quite sure which one is right for you, check out our guide to the best digital pianos in 2022.
Before we get into it, I'd also like to define what hammer action keys and touch sensitivity are since the terms will come up several times throughout this article. A keyboard with hammer action replicates the feel of an acoustic piano. Low notes will feel heavier than high notes, creating a more authentic playing experience. Touch sensitivity refers to the ability to play loud and soft by adjusting the player's touch, not just with the volume control. This feature is recommended since playing with dynamics (using different volume levels) is an important tool in every musician's arsenal. It's important for young pianists to learn about dynamics and develop the ability to control their volume early on. There are many great and affordable options for digital pianos for beginners. We encourage you to shop around and find the best one for you but strongly suggest that you choose one with 88 hammer action keys and touch sensitivity! If you're looking for online piano lessons or piano lessons in Toronto, Greater Toronto Music School can set you up with the perfect instructor.
1. Yamaha P-45
The P-45 has 88 hammer action keys, touch sensitivity and 10 built in sounds making it an excellent choice for beginners. It has a headphone jack, sustain pedal jack, 64-note polyphony (64 notes can sound at once), and transposing capabilities. Our main criticism with the P-45 is the quiet speakers and lack of recording capabilities, but with a price tag of $729.99 CAD, it's the only keyboard in its range with all of these features and the most affordable digital piano by Yamaha. It's also compact and light so it's easy to transport and won't take up much space in your home. If you do plan to travel with your instrument, we strongly encourage you to invest in a protective case to avoid damaging your instrument during travel.
2. Roland RP102
Like the P-45, the RP102 also features 88 hammer action keys with touch sensitivity. What sets this digital piano apart is the many built-in practice features. You can connect your smartphone or tablet to the Roland RP102 via bluetooth to take advantage of Roland's free app, Piano Partner 2, that will allow players to view sheet music, use backing tracks and access several other features. Unfortunately, many of the features that make this such a great choice are only available with the app so some users may be limited. Like the P-45, the speakers are not fantastic. The RP102 comes with a stylish furniture stand that will be a beautiful to your home. Priced at $1649.99 CAD, it is significantly more expensive than the P-45 but still provides great value.
3. Casio CDP-S100
The CDPS-100 is a wonderful choice for those on a budget. It features 88 hammer action keys and 10 built in sounds. Some users have complained that the quality of the built in sounds is not great but for beginners, they are more than adequate. Its light weight and compact, making it easy to carry with you. It can also operate on batteries so you can play it anywhere! Like the Roland RP102, Casio offers a free app for IOS and Android that makes many educational features available to users. Many students at Greater Toronto Music School opt for this model because it also includes a sleek furniture stand, bench, music stand attachment and damper pedal. With a price tag of $529.99 CAD, the Casio CDP-S100 offers the best value of any digital piano on this list and is an excellent choice for any beginner.
Some other fantastic digital pianos that you can consider if none of the above meet your criteria include the Roland FP-10, Alesis Recital Pro, Alesis Prestige Artist and the Kawai KDP120. You can shop around online or go into your local musical instrument retailer to test out several models and see which works best for you or your child.
When choosing the appropriate digital piano for you or your child you should make sure that the instrument has 88 hammer action keys, touch sensitivity and is an appropriate size for your space. Some of our students like to travel to their cottage for extended periods of time. If you anticipate going away and wanting to bring your instrument with you, make sure that you opt for something light weight and compact to make transporting it easier. Also be sure to look for a protective case so your instrument is damaged while you travel. If the CDP-S100 is out of your price range, consider shopping around on Kijiji, Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace. There are often great deals on used equipment that will allow you to get even better value than buying used. If you decide to go this route, make sure that you are able to test out all the keys to make sure that they are all working properly.
If you are seeking additional information about the digital pianos that we listed in this article or any other instruments that you come across on your search, do not hesitate to drop us a line. We are always available and happy to help and answer any questions you may have. Also, if you or your child is interested in piano lessons in Toronto or online piano lessons, Greater Toronto Music School has a wonderful faculty and can provide you with the perfect piano teacher.