As a piano instructor, I meet many potential students and parents who are very interested in lessons for their family, but won’t sign up because they don’t have a piano or keyboard, or are concerned about piano prices. Don’t let this keep you from investing in music education! There are plenty of ways to get a great keyboard in your home.
1. Ask a trusted real estate agent.
This may sound strange, but real estate agents know a lot of people, close to where you live, who are moving and may be in desperate need of getting rid of a keyboard or a piano. The desperate need also often means opportunities to find lower piano prices!
2. Join www.Ebates.com, then shop online.
When you join Ebates and then shop online, you get cash back sent to your address in a quarterly check. Let’s say you find a great keyboard at Best Buy on sale for $300. The best idea is to go home, sign into Ebates.com, go to Best Buy’s website, and find that same keyboard online. If Ebates is offering 8% cash back that day, that means you’ll get $24 back!
3. Shop flea markets and antique shops.
My very first piano was given to me by my parents 20 years ago. They had found one at an old, but reputable antique store in a nearby town for $500. My parents were not certain that I’d stick with piano or keep it forever, but now, 20 years later, not only does the same piano sit in my parlor, but I’m teaching my daughter to play it as well. It’s still in great shape, even through several moves along the East coast.
4. Finance through a piano dealer.
If only a piano will do, then you’ll most likely have to finance one. Luckily, it’s not unlike financing a car. Check out piano shops in your area, as there are often in-house finance deals with pretty decent terms. You can expect a credit check and a 10% to 20% down payment with the piano serving as the collateral.
5. Finance through your bank or credit union.
Banks often offer the best finance terms and conditions. You could take out a home equity line of credit or a small personal loan. Rates will be fairly low for existing customers and will typically be fixed, so you won’t get any surprises like you might with a consumer credit card.
6. Inquire at a local music school.
Visit the front desk of your local performing arts center or small music store. Often, they’re given contact information from teachers and students who are ready to be piano- or keyboard-free. You could even try asking your kids’ school band, orchestra, or choir teacher!
If you’re in the market for a piano, then be sure to inspect the instrument inside and out, just as you would a car. Make sure there are no cracks or splits on the interior and that every key is easily played and sounds clear, not wobbly.
Most families need only a full-sized keyboard, without any of the bells and whistles, for their needs. Pianos are a beautiful investment, but one that is also made of expanding and contracting wood. This means annual or bi-annual tuning and regular maintenance. For some, like semi-professionals and advanced students, there is no substitute for one. But for most, especially those of us who perform and need to carry our keys around town, a keyboard is key!
Photo by Louise Lemettais