I never wanted a Clavinova when I was beginning piano lessons. In fact, I started playing the piano when I was 8 on a pretty little upright that my parents bought for my older brother. After a few years we graduated to a baby grand. Thus began our family joke that our boat, new car, grand vacation and anything else we could imagine sat in that special corner of our living room in the form of a dark brown, wood grained baby grand piano.[su_spacer]
Our baby grand sat through hours of practice as my brother and I fought over who would use her. We tipped our upright Kimball on its side (kids, don’t try this at home!), rolled it into our living room where I played the orchestral accompaniment badly as my brother played Rachmaninoff’s 2nd concerto. I practiced cantatas for church choir, hymn arrangements for church offerings, and classical music, in that order, on our piano.[su_spacer]
Eventually through my private lessons in college, I learned how to control the action on a baby grand, which is easier than an upright due to the help of gravity. More pedaling options also helped with pieces I played for recitals. My brother learned how to tune pianos, so ours was always in tune! So, pretty much, I was completely spoiled when it came to practicing the piano!
Eleven years later
My husband and I now live in England, and while we have an awesome house that is large enough to suit the need of our family of 6, we do not have room for a baby grand piano. We have had a few uprights over the years, but even they were quite large and difficult to tune.[su_spacer]
Despite needing to have some work done on our upright, a few years ago I started teaching my children how to play the piano. They learned their first hymns, and I was so excited about letting them play in church. So, we practiced on the church piano, and something terrible happened. My kids were so used to our broken piano, they couldn’t cope with playing a normal piano! Oh NO! I wasn’t sure what to do, but we halted practice right away on the broken piano and started looking into getting another.[su_spacer]
I searched online and found one 20 minutes from our house that was supposedly in good condition, so my husband and I drove to the house to check it out. I saw down and started playing. Yikes! If you can’t identify the piece you are playing, that’s a bad sign! So, feeling rather disappointed, we left.[su_spacer]
Piano to Clavinova
I kept my eye on e-bay, and spoke to the local music shop about trading in another instrument until I finally started looking into electric pianos. I have never, and I mean NEVER enjoyed playing any keyboard or electric piano. I thought they sounded funny, the pedals didn’t work, there was no control, and the list went on and on.[su_spacer]
But, in the interest of finding something for our children to learn on, I started looking at electric pianos. As I searched, I realised that recording options had improved in the past few years. This would mean I could record parts for my small church choir without background noise. (Yeah, with my 4 kids, a dog and 2 cats it’s rarely quiet around here!) Friends told me that the earphones for practising would be amazing. (They were right.) So, I searched a few online and found one that looked pretty good. We bought it, and it is now sitting in our cosy dining room/school room/fireplace room/music room as I write.[su_spacer]
So, now we get to the final verdict. Do I love my Clavinova? You betcha I do, and I do not regret buying my little beauty one. little. bit. Here’s why:[su_spacer]
- I can record my songs directly from my Clavinova to my laptop. I should write a tutorial about how to do this, but that’s for another day. Meanwhile, I have recorded and uploaded songs to my youtube channel. (Subscribe to get new songs sent directly to your e-mail.)
- My kids can practice while we homeschool in the same room. The pianist doesn’t bother the (cough) scholar, and visa versa. Yay! Happy mom. I must interject that sometimes I make them take the earphones off so I can hear if they’re practicing right. I know, I should let them work it out, right?
- I can practice while my kids are in bed. I can turn the volume up and play away for as long and as late as I want. Beautiful.
- My Clavinova is always in tune. My kids are small, and their ears are sensitive. I want them learning to hear songs the way they are meant to sound, in tune. Yes, you can achieve this with an acoustic piano, but the one we had kept slipping. (Sorry piano tuners, I know it’s your livelihood!)
- I can record songs and play them later. My kids love this. I don’t know why, but they are my biggest fans, asking, “Mommy, is that the one YOU wrote”? They’re so sweet!
- There is a volume button. Did I mention there was a volume button? There is. And it’s sweet when it’s turned down after I’ve heard Old Macdonald had a Car 5,432 times in a week. ‘Nuff said.
- The action is really quite good. Compared to many uprights, the action (weight of the keys) is similar to a real piano.
So, now that I’ve told you my history with pianos, and a little bit about real life for our family now, You’ve probably guessed that despite the fact that I never wanted a Clavinova, I do love mine now. I’m glad we bought her, and I hope she’s with us for a very long time.
Now it’s your turn. Do you have an opinion or preference regarding electric pianos? Please tell us in the comment section below: