There are many and varied reasons to play the piano. It is a beautiful instrument with a beautiful look and a beautiful sound. It can be a soloist's instrument or a group instrument. There are many careers that require piano skills. The list goes on and on.

One quality that the piano and not many other instruments share is that you can play more than one note at a time - it is polyphonic! Thus, unlike instruments like the flute or violin, you can play exciting pieces with harmonies even when playing alone, also it means your voice is left free to sing along to whatever you’re playing. Unlike the violin, any notes that sound out of tune can not be blamed on the performer, each note will always sound in tune, regardless of your skill level.

The piano is also a staple of family sing-along - whether you are singing Christmas carols or playing some favourite movie tunes. The very design of the piano lends itself to groups of people gathered around, singing along. This is one of the most social of activities.


There are a wide range of opportunities if you are a piano player. You can travel on a cruise ship, earn money playing for weddings in churches or enjoy the social life of a band. You can teach others through a college or from your own home and accompany vocalists, choirs, violinists, and others as they perform for competition or for an audience - the possibilities are endless.

Here are a few examples where you can hear wide variety of roles of the piano in action…

Lang Lang - Lizst Piano Concerto

Jools Holland and Jamie Cullum Duet

Beethoven Violin and Piano Sonata

Pirates of the Caribbean Piano Solo

FUN FACT: Although the piano contains around 230 strings, it is considered a percussion instrument due to the hammer mechanism that produces the sound. It lives in the same family as drums and xylophones.

Get Started


When starting the piano in an ideal world is it best to learn on an acoustic piano. If this is not a financially viable option the next best option is to learn on a weighted or semi-weighted stage piano. There are also electronic keyboards which are not the most ideal solution due to the keys not being weighted, however it is still a popular due to the lower price point. If you are interested in purchasing an acoustic piano we recommend that you purchase a new one. The reason for this is if a used piano has been in a damp environment and/or has dropped in pitch (of a tone or greater) it is possible to restore the piano back to concert pitch, however it is extremely likely that the piano will drop back to its previous pitch after a few months. If you then have to have it re tuned back to concert pitch every few months the attractiveness of a cheaper second hand piano soon becomes much more expensive than purchasing a new one in the first place...

Yamaha Electric Keyboards are a great first keyboard that has all the key features you need to start playing immediately. It has a 61 standard-size keys with more than 360 instrument voices (including grand pianos, strings, brass, guitars, saxophones etc.) and around 100 accompaniment styles. These features help make the learning process fun and exciting. When purchasing an electric keyboard it is important that it has at least 61 keys so that you have a range wide enough to play (ideally a full length keyboard at 88 keys).

Whilst Stage Pianos are slightly more expensive than the electric keyboards, we recommend them for beginners as they have semi-weighted or weighted keys like a piano and thus is important from a technique aspect. Stage pianos tend to have fewer effects and instrument sounds than electric keyboards as they are designed to be a 'digital version' of a piano with higher quality sounds and ‘weighted keys’.

Yamaha NP31 Stage Piano is the ideal solution for anyone who needs a compact, stylish and portable piano-style keyboard with superb sound quality and great features. This instrument creates a realistic piano sound together with a semi-weighted keys and a selection of instrument voices.
If you purchase an electric keyboard or stage piano you will most likely need a keyboard stand. We recommend the Hercules Keyboard stand as it is high quality, very good value and really easy to use.

Digital Pianos

A digital piano is designed to accurately serve as an alternative to a traditional piano, both in the way it feels to play and in the sound produced. Compared to acoustic pianos, digital pianos are generally less expensive and have no strings so do not require tuning/maintenance.

The Roland RP301 Digital Piano is a very high quality digital piano featuring a fully weighted keys and an expressive and authentic sound, blurring the line between digital and acoustic. It is ideal for beginners and intermediate players and has an onboard metronome, recorder, and 'twin piano' feature (designed for side-by-side lessons or performances with a teacher or duet partner) make learning efficient and fun. The Roland RP301 is available in both Rosewood and Satin Black finishes depending on your preference.

Acoustic Pianos

Here we have recommended a variety of digital pianos for different financial and social needs, traditional acoustic options are available from specialist piano stores. If you require any further advice or information, it is advisable to speak to a specialist before you purchase your new instrument. If you live in or around the South Wales area, Coach House Pianos are a reliable supplier of a wide variety of acoustic and digital pianos.

Beginner Books

Here are the best selling piano tutor books for beginners:

Me and My Piano Part 1 is one of the most popular piano tutor series for the complete beginner by Fanny Waterman and Marion Harewood. It takes you step by step through basic piano technique, initially with separate hands and then introduces very easy pieces with both hands playing at the same time. The pieces in part 1 cover rhymes and songs introducing characters such as the Sammy Squirrel, the Ostrich and the Old Man with a beard! Me and My Piano also has lots of puzzles and games in part 1 to make the theory side really exciting! Once you have finished part 1 you can move onto the next fun book in the Me and My Piano series!

Piano Time Book 1 is part of the best-selling Piano Time series for young beginners. Piano Time 1 is a great book to get if you want to start playing as it takes you from the complete beginning through a wide array of pieces is various styles and has full colour illustrations! Piano Time 1 covers the following key areas: sharps, and flats, easy scales and keys, symbols and dynamics. Once you have completed book 1 you can move onto the next book in the series!

Chester's Easiest Piano Course Book 1 is a comprehensive and completely up-to-date course written by Carol Barratt, specially written for today's youngest beginner. The three books of this course are carefully paced to match both the progress of the young pianist, and satifsy the demands of the professional Teacher. The full-colour illustrations, on every page, emphasise the information being taught, and bring new life to learning to play the piano. The bright and humerous pictures brighten up the pages to make learning the piano fun and bring new life to learning to play the piano. The innovative ways of teaching mean that you will always remember the information taught.

John Thompson's Piano Course Book 1 is a comprehensive step-by-step course specifically designed to suit the needs of all children beginning the piano. Includes: characters and illustrations writing exercises sight reading drills review work accompaniments and more. This first piano book is colourful, easy to follow and includes teachers accompaniments. The book is primarily aimed at children so includes some well known nursery rhymes to play and cartoon charaters to guide you through. There is also a John Thompsons Piano Course Book 1 with CD edition available which includes lots of back tracks to play along to which is really fun!

The Piano Note Finder is an excellent resource for any beginner to refer to. Simply open it up and put it along the top of your piano/keyboard keys - it shows you where all of the notes (all 88 notes) are on the piano/keyboard along with where each note is on a musical stave.

Finding a Piano Teacher

It is highly recommended when starting an instrument to employ a qualified teacher to make the learning process interesting and fun. Teachers can be found across the UK at schools, local music services and musicteachers.co.uk or if you live in our locality please do not hesitate to contact us for details of suitable teachers.

Music Centres - playing in orchestras & ensembles

Music centres are set up in many towns to give students an opportunity to meet like-minded people whilst putting their playing into practice. The centres often have a wide variety of ensembles which you can join if you wish. It provides great opportunities to perform in concert situations across the UK and even sometimes Europe. Here is a list of Music Centres/Services in the UK.

This resource was written by:

Sarah Hayward

Sarah Hayward Bmus (hons), MA

Sarah is a sprightly coloratura soprano and active violin and viola player who enjoys interacting with other musicians and teaching her students. Sarah is part of DS Music’s Education Outreach & Marketing Team and is passionate about the expansion and Educational Outreach of the company in order to help give everyone the opportunity to access music. Be the change you wish to see in the world. Music has the power to change people so help me use it to change the world!! :)

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