Can I Learn Piano on a Keyboard?
This might feel like a stupid question, but the truth is that when starting to learn how to play piano, there are no stupid questions. Everyone starts with a very basic knowledge level, and though they look similar, there are plenty of people wondering “can I learn piano on a keyboard?”.
In this article, we’re answering this query and exploring the differences (and similarities) of a piano and a keyboard. Can a keyboard be the first step in a journey to becoming a pianist? Can I learn piano on a keyboard?
They’re not exactly the same thing, but beginners will be pleased to know that you can learn much of the technique and hand positions needed by playing on a keyboard. Pianos and keyboards follow the same pattern, with the same notes repeating in the same order along the keyboard. This is why it doesn’t matter if you are playing a 25-key keyboard or a full-sized, 88-key piano, the notes repeat in the same order.
Maybe you learned to play “Happy Birthday” or “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” as a child. Any piano or keyboard you play it on should trigger the same notes. The tone and feel might be different, but the notes remain the same.
Piano vs. Digital Piano vs. Keyboard – Can I Learn Piano on a Keyboard?
What are the differences between these types of instruments? The piano is obviously the original. This isn’t digital and doesn’t require any amplification.
A digital piano is designed to replicate the feel of a piano. They often have features to try and mimic the feel and playability of a digital piano, weighted keys and a hammer action make it feel just like playing an acoustic piano. Some even have synthetic ebony and ivory keys.
A keyboard is a lot less likely to have weighted keys. The keys may also be different in size and feel to the digital piano. It isn’t the main function to feel or sound like a piano, even though the way the notes are laid out is exactly the same.
Keyboards tend to have a lot more tones and added features and functions like USB control, recording and playback or even sound effects and drum kits. Mimicking a piano is not the top priority.
So, what’s the difference? Is it viable to learn how to play piano on a keyboard?
The main difference is the way the keys feel and the way the tone of the keyboard may be different from a piano. Learning chord shapes and melodies is exactly the same. If you choose to learn how to play piano on a keyboard and then eventually graduate to an acoustic or digital piano, there will be an adjustment period while you adapt to the hammer action or touch-sensitivity.
Is There a Disadvantage to Learning on Keyboard?
If you plan to stick with keyboards in the future rather than move on to playing a piano then there is no significant downside to learning on a keyboard. Actually, it can be helpful to do so, rather than adjust to the action of a piano.
So, can I learn piano on a keyboard? If you do want to change to a piano at some stage, a keyboard is fine to learn the basics on. You can get the fundamentals pegged before you move on to piano, at which point, a little bit of an adjustment should be enough to get used to piano.
Don’t get bogged down in the details. If a keyboard is what you have available, it’s a great way to get started. Plenty of great pianists started out with portable keyboards.