When Should I Buy a Grand Piano?
Updated: Oct 26, 2020
When you study music, you are making an investment in yourself - emotionally and spiritually. To get the most out of this investment, a quality instrument is paramount.
For piano students and thereby piano families, the purchase of a grand piano is a major event. It requires a commitment from all members of the family, and as such, represents an heirloom that family members can enjoy and partake in for decades.
The author generally considers a grand piano to be 6ft or larger. While I don’t rule out that there are quality uprights and baby grands in circulation, it is my contention that the serious music student should consider a Grand.
Here are some reasons as to why a grand piano is desirable:
Orchestral Scope: Composers from Beethoven through the early decades of the Romantic Era were in continual search for a keyboard instrument which could rival the sonority and range of an orchestra. This required a larger instrument with a sturdier/firmer action. Even on modern instruments, the difference in tonal capacity of Grands vs. Uprights is immediately recognizable. As such, much of their music was written with the larger instrument in mind.
Touch: The action weighting on a grand is slightly heavier than an upright and is an important part in the overall strengthening of the 5 primary muscle groups of the hand involved in upper level pianism. The more demanding the music gets, the more athleticism required on the part of the pianist. When negotiating the great Romantic Era warhorses, or the sonatas of the 20th century, over forcing a piano with less capacity can lead to serious injury. To put it another way, when you want to win the Indy 500, you don’t drive a Lada!
Easy Adaptability: recitals, exams, masterclasses, contests and concert settings are commonplace for piano students nowadays. While no two pianos are completely alike, it is MUCH easier for students to adapt in the aforementioned settings (which almost always feature a concert grand 7 feet and above) if their home instrument is a grand.
Recording: For a variety of reasons, students need to be proficient in the art of recording. An excellent grand piano is an invaluable tool towards producing home recordings, exam videos, and contest audition applications. From the adjudicators perspective, it makes a difference.
Particularly if you are at the point where you are considering pursuing upper level music studies (RCME grade 8 and above), now might be the right time to think about investing in a grand piano.
There are many reputable dealers and brands available and we are happy to make suggestions and referrals through personal messages (see our Contact page for more information).
Note: be careful when purchasing used or reconditioned pianos. If the reconditioning has been done by a reputable master, and there are a few out there, then it can be an outstanding investment.