Pianology

How technology can assist an amateur or professional classical pianist?

The task at hand right now is to discuss the advantages of practicing on a digital piano. Nothing said here is meant to imply that digital pianos are “better” than acoustic pianos. They both have advantages and disadvantages. Beyond the essentials of quality sound and playability, digital pianos provide many unique benefits that are simply not possible with their traditional acoustic counterparts:

  1. Quiet practice with headphones.

Most digital pianos let you plug in and monitor the sound with headphones, which can benefit both the learner and the people they live with. Headphones can block outside noise and other distractions, leaving you free to concentrate on private practice without bothering others. In addition, convenient features such as twin headphone jacks found in some models allow a student and teacher to listen together in high detail, making it easy to spot mistakes.

  1. Digital pianos don’t require maintenance.

This is nice because it’s hard keeping a piano in perfect condition all the time. Even though it’s pretty sensitive about tuning every 3-4 months, there are times when a piano is noticeably out of tune and has issues with the action or voicing, etc. Even though when you have a climate control system installed in the piano, notice an obvious difference in touch and tone depending on the weather. Also, there are always notes here and there that go out of whack with more usage.

These maintenance issues can be quite distracting while practicing.All pianists have to live with this, and it goes with the territory. In fact, the ability to brush off a piano’s imperfections is something that any performing pianist absolutely has to develop. You never know when you are going to have to make the most of less-than-ideal performing conditions. However, when trying to learn or perfect a piece, there will be nothing positive about having to push through a couple of weeks of practice with a broken note. When playing a digital, it always feels and sounds even and stays in tune. The predictability and uniformity make it easier to stay focused on what your doing instead of having your mind go off on a tangent about needing to call in the technician or feeling distracted and annoyed by some issue.

  1. Develop your sense of rhythm
    Timing is essential to playing the piano well, and it’s often a big issue when you’re beginning to play. Because the learning process involves the development of muscle memory and mental cognition, there is a tendency to slow down or speed up a piece depending on the level of difficulty. Metronomes, which help develop your rhythmic and timekeeping skills by providing a steady reference to play against, have been around for a long time. However, a digital piano offers the great convenience of having a metronome built in and ready to go, with simple controls to adjust the tempo and beat. This makes it easy to slow pieces down to learn and master them, and to tackle complex time signatures and other advanced concepts. Many Roland pianos also include more sophisticated rhythm functions that provide the experience of playing with a drummer or a complete ensemble.

 

  1. Record and listen to your performance…
    Recording your performance helps you analyze exactly what’s going on in your playing so you can recognize your strengths and weaknesses. The built-in recording features found in some digital pianos allow you to playback, pick out, and perfect any problems, nipping bad habits in the bud before they become ingrained. Listening back to a recording can resolve issues with timing and melody, and if you have a good musical memory but struggle to read music, you can learn a piece by ear and study the music while listening back to your recording.

    Depending on the digital piano model, you can do many things with a recording you capture, including transferring your performance to a computer for sharing, editing, and printing it out as a score—the written piece of music also known as sheet music—so others can read and play it too. An onboard recording is also useful if you’re interested in composition, as you can quickly record ideas as they come to you.

    5. Digital pianos have more sounds…
    Digital pianos are often equipped with a huge variety of sounds beyond the acoustic piano, such as electric pianos from the ’70s and ’80s, strings, harpsichord, and church and electronic organs. Some also have a guitar, bass, and synthesizer sounds for even more versatility. It’s great to be able to learn Scarlatti pieces using a convincing harpsichord sound, and a change in tone can inspire you and help recapture the passion if those fingering drills are becoming tiresome. Younger children also love experimenting and mixing sounds to make learning more exciting.

 

In conclusion, the digital piano can be an invaluable tool. 20 years ago, you would never have thought this was possible. The headphones help to concentrate and focus. The recording feature gives wonderful feedback and a great way to practice the hands independently. The varied sounds keep you away from getting too complacent and comfortable. It has a great dynamic range and a very responsive touch which together make it possible to play expressively and make interpretive decisions. The weight of the action makes practicing technically demanding passages effectively. Even though it’s not a piano, what you accomplish by practicing on it, trying to get the most out of it that it can give, really carries over when you switch to the acoustic grand. It’s astonishing.