An acoustic piano is always preferable when taking piano lessons. A good piano will allow the student to fully appreciate the tone colour produced by the strings inside the cabinet. Important sensitivity and touch is developed through playing on a good upright or grand piano.
My preferred supplier of acoustic pianos is White and Sentance based in Sleaford, Lincolnshire. Their personal service and advice will help you choose the correct instrument for your needs whether to purchase or rent.
From their website:
We are one of the few remaining traditional piano shops in the East Midlands, and are proud to have been trading as a family business since 1867. We specialise entirely in acoustic pianos, which we sell (both new and used), rent, tune and restore at our showroom and workshop in a tastefully converted Victorian Baptist Chapel in Sleaford, Lincolnshire.
Whether you are new to the world of pianos or a more experienced player, either looking to purchase for the first time, trade up, or restore an existing instrument, our expertise passed from craftsman to apprentice over 5 generations is at your disposal, with helpful, unbiased and professional advice always available.
Please visit White and Sentance to find out more and for contact details.
However, sometimes space and budget do not allow an acoustic piano to be purchased and so a digital piano can be a sensible substitute. A good digital piano is often much better than a cheap acoustic. They can be purchased from local and online suppliers.
I am often asked to recommend a digital piano. Depending on your budget there are some good models which I can recommend. Yamaha generally produce, in my view, the best sounding digital pianos for the price.
Yamaha's Arius YDP162 (£719) has perhaps one of the best sounds and touch of the sub £1000 digital pianos. It is part of Yamaha's budget range and produces a decent sound and would suit a beginner to intermediate player.
Yamaha's Clavinova series is a step up for the Arius range with more features and more realist touch and escapement action. The CLP535 (£1219) and the CLP545 (£1589) are both excellent pianos with slightly differing features. The following video from epianos.co.uk explains the differences to help you make an informed decision.
epianos.co.uk have also produced a comparison video between the CLP525 (£939) and CLP535 which is also worth watching. The CLP525 does not have the escapement action making it not as close to an acoustic piano and so as someone progresses, a different model, or acoustic piano, would need to be bought.
Any piano from the CLP535 upwards would take the pianist quite happily up to a high standard with little compromise in touch and sound. The two cheaper models I recommend are good models and would certainly suffice for a few years, but would probably have to be upgraded at some point.
There are indeed other makes and models such as Roland, Kawai and Casio. These companies all produce decent instruments, with Casio very much being in the budget range for quality. However, I have little experience with them and so would not like to recommend an instrument I am unfamiliar with.