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I've been trying to learn piano by myself for a while, and I've seen many people say that I won't be able to learn the piano properly if I don't have weighted keys. And I can't buy another keyboard. Can I learn piano using a non-weighted keyboard?

  • you won't be able to buy a weighted keyboard EVERRR ? – Stephen Hazel Apr 4 '17 at 23:20
  • What style are you learning? Have you already learned all the basics like scales and chords in all keys, playing in contrary motion, etc? – Michael Curtis Apr 6 '17 at 20:22
  • @Michael Curtis I am learning Western Classical. And yes, I'm a Beginner-Intermediate Player. I know a few pieces like Prelude in C (The Well Tempered Clavier) by Bach, and know how to read music (although slow at it). – Krisha Jain Apr 7 '17 at 11:51
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Strictly speaking, no, you can't. However, it will get you a fair way into what the black and white bits do: you'll be able to play tunes, chords, harmony, and learn to play in different keys, just like piano, all of which will set you up for when a piano comes along. You may even be able to use a sustain pedal, rather like a proper piano.

What you won't be able to do is get the feel of the proper weighted keys, which is all part of the expression side of piano playing. But, using an organ type keyboard will get you maybe 75% of the way there. You may or may not pick up bad habits on the way, and certainly your playing technique won't be good for real piano playing, depending on how good (or bad) your keys actually are. There's more to be gained than lost, so go for it!

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Practising using piano sounds on an unweighted keyboard is, in a manner, the worst of two worlds: it can only prepare you very sketchingly (and that's assuming that the non-weighted keys are at least velocity-sensitive) for the graded attack of a piano, and piano sounds are useless for practising the legato control necessary for playing organ, harmonium and other continous-sounding instruments convincingly.

You'll play piano like an organ player and organ like a piano player. Which is better than playing piano like a violin player, granted.

For example, your trills are likely to suck badly when you sit down at either an organ or a piano for real.

So if you are not going to be able to afford a piano anyway, what is your interest in the instrument based on?

  • Welcome to Music Stack Exchange. Your answers and questions here are always welcome, especially when focused and cogent, as yours is. I voted your answer down one mark, however, because you assumed several things in your answer that the OP never mentioned. The question was strictly about piano. No mention of organ or any other kind of keyboard. Also, your final sentence seems to me to be a bit condescending. Nevertheless, welcome to the forum and have fun here. it's entertaining as well as informative. – L3B Apr 4 '17 at 16:45
  • The mention of an organ is relevant, because I think a keyboard without weighted keys does not qualify as 'just a bad piano', it's something else: something in between a piano and an organ. It can still be used to make music and if you enjoy playing it, you should. That goes without saying. However, if your intention is to learn the piano, non-weighted keys are not ideal. I upvoted this answer for highlighting that. – Marcks Thomas Apr 5 '17 at 10:59
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Yes, you can "learn piano" using non-weighted keys; HOWEVER, your fingers will not develop the strength needed to perform smoothly and with good dynamic control.

It depends partly on what kind of music you are going to be playing the most of, down the road. If classical, you won't be able to progress very far beyond just the rudimentary pieces. Jazz, ditto. But if your goal is to be a member of a stage band, you may be OK, depending on the complexity of the music you try to play.

In my more than fifty years of piano teaching I have known several students (out of hundreds) who were able to achieve excellent technique while playing primarily on non-weighted keys, but it's rare. I always recommended that my students practice on weighted keys if at all possible, but, as in your case, it wasn't always possible.

Good luck, and don't give up. With motivation to learn, you will.

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