What type of piano do I need?

One of the questions I often get asked as a piano teacher is what type of piano do you need to start learning. Firstly both acoustic and electric piano’s are equally suitable so if you don’t have the room for a larger acoustic piano then electric would be the best option. One thing you might want to consider is that electric pianos never go out of tune, so if you do opt for an acoustic piano you should have it tuned every year.

If you decide to opt for an electric piano I would always recommend a full length piano, and by that I mean that it has 88 keys in total. You can get smaller length pianos which may be suitable at first however you’ll find this a real hinderance when you start playing pieces that require a bigger range. Also you must ensure the electric piano you buy has ‘weighted keys’ as this functionality adds a small amount of resistance to the keys which replicates the feel of an acoustic piano. Holmes Music (in Faringdon Road, Swindon) stock a range of electric pianos to suit a range of budgets.

Acoustic pianos vary considerably in size from acoustic upright to grand pianos and generally tend to be more expensive than electronic pianos if bought new so you may want to opt for a second hand piano to begin with. If you are considering buying an acoustic piano I would strongly recommend going to a piano showroom and trying a few out. The Piano Gallery in Faringdon is our most local showroom (11 miles north of Swindon) which sell a range of new and used pianos to suit a range of budgets.

>>Read more about music shops in Swindon

Music Shops in Swindon

As local piano teacher based in Swindon I think it is always good to support our local music shops and explore what they have to offer. There is only a handful of independently ran music shops in Swindon which sell a range of products from Piano sheet music to both acoustic and digital/electric pianos.

Holmes Music

Holmes music is based in Swindon town centre not far from Swindon railway station and the Brunel shopping arcade. They offer a wide range of printed music including the ABRSM piano books and also sell a selection digital piano’s.

Holmes Music, 21-23 Farringdon Road, Swindon, Wiltshire, SN1 5AR

holmes music in swindon
Holmes Music in Swindon

Brian Taylor Music

Brian Taylor Music is based in Royal Wootton Bassett not far out of Swindon. They offer a wide range of printed piano music, lessons books and musical gifts.

Brian Taylor Music, 151 High Street, Royal Wootton Bassett, Wilts, SN4 7AB

brian taylor music in royal wootton bassett
Brian Taylor Music in Royal Wootton Bassett

The Piano Gallery

The Piano Gallery is a Piano showroom based in Faringdon near Swindon. They sell all types of piano from acoustic upright. grand piano, electric and beginners pianos.

The Piano Gallery, 13-15 London Street, Faringdon, OXON, SN7 7AE 

piano gallery in faringdon
Piano Gallery in Faringdon

Piano Grade 8 – Exam Information

For your grade 8 piano exam you will tested on your performance of three pieces, scales and arpeggios, sight-reading, and additional aural tests.

You will be marked out of a total scoring of 150. To pass you will need to achieve 100 marks, for a merit 120 and 130 to pass with a Distinction.

The 150 marks are divided as follows:

  • Piece A – 30 marks
  • Piece B – 30 marks
  • Piece C – 30 marks
  • Scales and arpeggios – 21 marks
  • Sight-reading – 21 marks
  • Aural tests – 18 marks

Piano exams for grade 8 are held at the local ABRSM exam centre in Swindon.

View further details and current syllabus at ABRSM website

Piano Grade 7 – Exam Information

For your grade 7 piano exam you will tested on your performance of three pieces, scales and arpeggios, sight-reading, and additional aural tests.

You will be marked out of a total scoring of 150. To pass you will need to achieve 100 marks, for a merit 120 and 130 to pass with a Distinction.

The 150 marks are divided as follows:

  • Piece A – 30 marks
  • Piece B – 30 marks
  • Piece C – 30 marks
  • Scales and arpeggios – 21 marks
  • Sight-reading – 21 marks
  • Aural tests – 18 marks

Piano exams for grade 7 are held at the local ABRSM exam centre in Swindon.

View further details and current syllabus at ABRSM website

Piano Grade 6 – Exam Information

For your grade 6 piano exam you will tested on your performance of three pieces, scales and arpeggios, sight-reading, and additional aural tests.

You will be marked out of a total scoring of 150. To pass you will need to achieve 100 marks, for a merit 120 and 130 to pass with a Distinction.

The 150 marks are divided as follows:

  • Piece A – 30 marks
  • Piece B – 30 marks
  • Piece C – 30 marks
  • Scales and arpeggios – 21 marks
  • Sight-reading – 21 marks
  • Aural tests – 18 marks

Piano exams for grade 6 are held at the local ABRSM exam centre in Swindon.

View further details and current syllabus at ABRSM website

Piano Grade 5 – Exam Information

For your grade 5 piano exam you will tested on your performance of three pieces, scales and arpeggios, sight-reading, and additional aural tests.

You will be marked out of a total scoring of 150. To pass you will need to achieve 100 marks, for a merit 120 and 130 to pass with a Distinction.

The 150 marks are divided as follows:

  • Piece A – 30 marks
  • Piece B – 30 marks
  • Piece C – 30 marks
  • Scales and arpeggios – 21 marks
  • Sight-reading – 21 marks
  • Aural tests – 18 marks

Piano exams for grade 5 are held at the local ABRSM exam centre in Swindon.

View further details and current syllabus at ABRSM website

Piano Grade 4 – Exam Information

For your grade 4 piano exam you will tested on your performance of three pieces, scales and arpeggios, sight-reading, and additional aural tests.

You will be marked out of a total scoring of 150. To pass you will need to achieve 100 marks, for a merit 120 and 130 to pass with a Distinction.

The 150 marks are divided as follows:

  • Piece A – 30 marks
  • Piece B – 30 marks
  • Piece C – 30 marks
  • Scales and arpeggios – 21 marks
  • Sight-reading – 21 marks
  • Aural tests – 18 marks

Piano exams for grade 4 are held at the local ABRSM exam centre in Swindon.

View further details and current syllabus at ABRSM website

Piano Grade 3 – Exam Information

For your grade 3 piano exam you will tested on your performance of three pieces, scales and arpeggios, sight-reading, and additional aural tests.

You will be marked out of a total scoring of 150. To pass you will need to achieve 100 marks, for a merit 120 and 130 to pass with a Distinction.

The 150 marks are divided as follows:

  • Piece A – 30 marks
  • Piece B – 30 marks
  • Piece C – 30 marks
  • Scales and arpeggios – 21 marks
  • Sight-reading – 21 marks
  • Aural tests – 18 marks

Piano exams for grade 3 are held at the local ABRSM exam centre in Swindon.

View further details and current syllabus at ABRSM website

Piano Grade 2 – Exam Information

For your grade 2 piano exam you will tested on your performance of three pieces, scales, arpeggios and broken chords, sight-reading, and additional aural tests.

You will be marked out of a total scoring of 150. To pass you will need to achieve 100 marks, for a merit 120 and 130 to pass with a Distinction.

The 150 marks are divided as follows:

  • Piece A – 30 marks
  • Piece B – 30 marks
  • Piece C – 30 marks
  • Scales, arpeggios and broken chords – 21 marks
  • Sight-reading – 21 marks
  • Aural tests – 18 marks

Piano exams for grade 2 are held at the local ABRSM exam centre in Swindon.

View further details and current syllabus at ABRSM website

Piano Grade 1 – Exam Information

For your grade 1 piano exam you will tested on your performance of three pieces, scales and broken chords, sight-reading, and additional aural tests.

You will be marked out of a total scoring of 150. To pass you will need to achieve 100 marks, for a merit 120 and 130 to pass with a Distinction.

The 150 marks are divided as follows:

  • Piece A – 30 marks
  • Piece B – 30 marks
  • Piece C – 30 marks
  • Scales and broken chords – 21 marks
  • Sight-reading – 21 marks
  • Aural tests – 18 marks

Piano exams for grade 1 are held at the local ABRSM exam centre in Swindon.

View further details and current syllabus at ABRSM website