You need an instrument before starting. A piano is perfect if it's in tune, but an electronic keyboard may be more suited to your needs. There are pros and cons to both. Whatever you choose, please allow enough room in your home for your child to sit on the piano bench at an arm's length distance.
If you are going to buy a piano, budget in the maintenance cost to have it tuned after moving, and then tuned once a year.
Check the product specifications before you buy an electronic keyboard. If you can't find a product's specifications, I can help you. These are the minimum requirements for a suitable keyboard setup:
You want a bench that is comfortable, so a well-padded bench is preferred. You will be sitting on that bench a lot while practicing. Parents of growing children may want to consider an adjustable bench. Parents of very young children will need a foot stool -- like the kind you use to help them reach the bathroom sink.
I use the Faber Piano Adventures curriculum published by Hal Leonard. There are a few required books you need to acquire before your 1st lesson (approx. $30-$40). Click here to read more.
Although you can get by with a metronome, the audio supports are what make the Piano Adventures curriculum so much fun! They cost a little extra ($5-$10 per level or songbook), but it's great to be able to "play along with the band." There is a fabulous app for iPhones/iPads that enables you to adjust the speed of the accompaniment playback. Android users can use the CDs. Click here to read more.
There's always more sheet music (single songs or whole books) a pianist could buy. I've been doing it for the past 40 years and my parents did it for me for over a decade before that. Piano Adventures offers delightful songbooks of different genres at all levels. Some, not all, have audio supports. So, if you like playing with the music accompaniments, be sure to check the free iOS app after you download it or the Complete Catalog for CDs (starting on p. 82) to see which books have music accompaniments available.
Tempo and rhythm are the foundation of music, so a metronome is essential. There are numerous metronome apps for iOS and android devices ($1 and up). Almost every electronic keyboard has a metronome built in. You can download your keyboard's manual from the manufacturer's web site, and search for the keyword "metronome" to learn how to use it.
For piano players with no smart phone, a mechanical (wind-up) metronome is good, but delicate. Don't drop it or bend the pendulum. There are stand-alone an electronic metronomes, too. A word of caution about inexpensive electronic metronomes that require batteries. That's a hungry, insatiable metronome. A cream-of-the-crop electronic metronome these days is the Boss DB-90 Dr. Beat which is expensive, but has an AC adapter (PSA-series ) as well as lots of other features.
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