Category Archives: Buyer’s Guides

Why You Shouldn’t Buy Your Child a Portable Keyboard for Christmas

Do not buy a portable keyboardI’ve seen it time and time again – cautious, yet well-meaning, parents purchasing portable keyboards to see if their student is going to “stick with” piano lessons.  …and I can understand why.  Pianos (and piano lessons) are expensive.  Nobody wants to invest thousands of dollars into a fleeting fancy.  Most parents are willing to support their child’s musical hobby as long as they have some indication that their child seriously wants to play.

That is where most parents go wrong.

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Top 5 Bluetooth APPS for Your Digital Piano

Best Bluetooth Apps for Digital PianosIn 2009, Apple informed that World that – no matter what we want to do – “There’s an app for that.”  …and never has that slogan rang more true than today.  It would seem that nearly every business has its own app.  Almost every product has it’s own accompanying software.  Kids can even scan their Happy Meal toys and incorporate them into custom-made software.  There’s an app for everything!

Especially since Bluetooth technology has simplified and stabilized the connections between devices, the trick now is to find the BEST app for your particular… APPlication.

Here’s a list of the Top FIVE Bluetooth Apps for your Digital Piano:

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The Perfect Church Piano

A Church PianoIf you’ve been following our blog, you’ve probably noticed that this topic comes up from time to time.  …and while I’ve tried to recommend a number of digital instruments over the years, some of you have brought it to my attention that I’ve never discussed an ideal acoustic piano for your church.  As usual, different folks have different opinions, but I’ve been a worship leader for almost 15 years and I’ve been in the piano business for even longer than that.  Hopefully, my combined experience will help you cut through the sales hype and find the perfect worship piano for your church.

As always, please feel free to comment below if you have any thoughts or questions.  I take the time to respond to everyone.

God bless!

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The Ultimate Worship Keyboard or Digital Piano

worship keyboard

In January of 2011, I wrote a blog called “Finding the Ultimate Worship Keyboard” hoping that my experience as both a worship leader and a professional piano consultant would help other Music Ministers better navigate the confusing waters of piano (and keyboard) retail.  To my surprise, that blog quickly exploded into the most read – and one of the most commented upon – blogs in Gist history.  Now, over six years later, new technologies and considerations have given me reason to revisit this topic and (perhaps) expand upon it.  As always, it is my sincere hope that my experiences will help you find the worship tool that best fits your needs and those of your ministry.  I am sure some folks will disagree with my conclusions, but (God willing) the meat of these discussions will nourish all of us!  Thank you for reading and God bless!

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Faber and Alfred Supplemental Materials Top the List at Gist

As a music educator for over 17 years, including running my own piano studio, I have often been up to my shoulders in music books. But, until recently, I never realized how many options there were for supplemental piano materials (outside of traditional method books).

We recently conducted a Materials Questionnaire among our piano teachers, both local and in-house, and were quite surprised at the results. This was especially true when it came to supplemental piano books and supplemental series.

One of the supplemental series that was highly rated – and is a personal favorite of mine – is Alfred’s Famous and Fun Collection. For each level, the series contains genres like pop, rock, classics, Christmas music, Jewish songs, and duets.

These colorful books give students a little extra enthusiasm to practice. Many of the books include songs that students have previously heard and the arrangements are entertaining and easy to learn. As an added bonus, the duet parts fit well with each piece and are fun to play. These books work nicely for both young students and adults.

Another popular supplemental series for both young students and adults is the Faber Pre-Time through Big-Time collection. Like the Famous and Fun books, the Faber series also includes books focused on pop, favorites, classics, jazz and blues, rock, hymns, Christmas music, and ragtime/marches.

These books are delightful as supplemental materials, especially if a student is already playing in the Faber Piano Adventures series. The books include a wide variety of songs with simple and enjoyable arrangements. For more variety, Faber also has the Faber Studio Collection which includes pieces from all the genres for each level.

Are you interested in more traditional supplemental material? A few classical books that topped the list were Hanon, Melodious Masterpieces, Classics for the Developing Pianist, Journey Through the Classics, specific composers like Bach and Debussy, and specific compositions such as sonatinas and inventions.

Whatever your supplemental materials preference, there is lots to choose from. And remember, if we don’t have it in the store, we can order it for you. You can also go to Gist’s website and Order Piano Takeout.

Best of luck in your material exploration!