Learning to play the piano can be a joy and a great way to exercise both your brain and creativity. However, regular practice is necessary to learn any new skill, including the piano. 

Would you like to learn how to play the piano, but don’t own one? Is it possible to learn how to play without a piano? 

The answer is yes—you can learn how to play the piano, without owning one. You don’t need a piano. Let’s take a look at some alternative options to learn piano if you don’t have access to one or own a piano. 

Use a Keyboard

An electronic keyboard is a great way to learn how to play piano. In fact, the keyboard and piano share many similarities, making it easy to transfer from the piano to the keyboard for practice. Here are several similarities between the keyboard and a piano: 


This describes how the keys respond when touched and pushed down. The piano is an acoustic instrument and has more “action.” The keys will feel “heavier,” too. The keyboard, on the other hand, is a digital instrument. On keyboards, the keys are made of plastic and may have a lighter feel. If you’re looking for a good keyboard that is more like playing the piano, then choose a keyboard with weighted keys. However, if you find a keyboard with light keys, this will work. When transferring to a real piano, remember to push the keys harder than you do on the keyboard. 

Key Arrangement

You’ll find the key arrangements are the same on both instruments. Your hand and finger movements will also be the same. Pianos all have the same key width; however, there are variations to keys on the keyboard. Some offer keys with the very same width as the piano, while others will have slightly more narrow keys. This small difference shouldn’t be too difficult to master when switching between the keyboard and the piano. 


Describes the number of keys on an instrument. The standard piano has 88 keys. Many keyboards also have 88 keys; however, some have less than this number. You’ll find that keyboards come in a wide variety in the number of keys they provide. This will vary between brands and models. Experts recommend that you look for a keyboard with at least 72 keys in order to play most piano compositions. 


When it comes to cost, keyboards are usually more affordable than pianos. Pianos vary in cost, also, but can be very expensive. It depends on the design, materials, and the manufacturer. It is possible to find a good used piano that’s more reasonably priced. By comparison, it’s easy to find a good keyboard for under $100 USD. However, models do vary, especially when it comes to the features they offer. 


The sounds produced by a piano are different than a keyboard. The piano is an acoustic instrument, where the keyboard is an electronic instrument. It may have various volume settings, and produce other sounds such as horns, synthesizers and more. A keyboard may need an amplifier to produce sound; however, some do have speakers built-in. 

Size and portability

Pianos are large and heavy; it’s usually necessary to hire a professional moving team to move a piano. Pianos may also require a lot of room. On the other hand, keyboards are usually light and easy to move. It’s also possible to store then when not in use and they’ll easily fit into most rooms quite comfortably. 


Both instruments do require some level of maintenance. For instance, both need to be kept clean and in good condition. Pianos also require tuning, which can be expensive. Tuning may be required after changes in humidity, temperature or even when a season changes. Other than being kept clean, a keyboard doesn’t require any maintenance, unless it needs to be repaired.  

Features to Look for in a Keyboard

As noted earlier, you’ll want to find a keyboard that has at least 72 keys. Some piano teachers may have a preference when it comes to preferring their students’ keyboards to have weighted keys. You may find the keyboard description includes the term “dynamic play” if it offers weighted keys.

In addition, you’ll want a stand for the keyboard such as X-frame or a Z-frame. Z-frames tend to be sturdier, while X-frames are cheaper. Another feature that could be helpful is a keyboard with a pedal. A good choice is to use a sustain pedal, which imitates the vibration/sustain of a piano pedal. 

Headphones may also prove useful, especially if you live in an apartment or others in the household don’t enjoy listening to practice sessions on the keyboard. 

Rent or Buy a Keyboard

If you have a tight budget and can’t afford to buy a keyboard, then shop around for a keyboard to rent. On the other hand, it is possible to find used keyboards at greatly reduced prices. You may even be able to find a great free keyboard on a site such as Craigslist. 


If you’d like to learn to play but don’t have access to a piano, a keyboard is a great substitute. With the proper structure and lessons combined with the right course, you’ll be playing in no time!

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