Product Type: Yamaha keyboards and synthesizers
Newest Review: ... looking at other digital pianos and saw that Yamaha had brought out a new range of Clavinova; the 400 series, specifically the 430, 440,... more
MY LIVING ROOM IS ALIVE WITH THE SOUND OF MUSIC
Member Name: lak11
Date: 05/03/11, updated on 10/07/12 (625 review reads)
Advantages: Good sound, Volume control, headphone socket, Feels good to play looks good.
Disadvantages: None for me.
I'm not musical but I wish I was. I think that being musical, or having learnt to play an instrument, is a wonderful talent, or skill. I think some people are instinctively musical. My eldest daughter could play a simple tune on a toy piano at a very young age; certainly before she could read, and has gone on to teach herself the basics of playing several musical instruments. My other three children I would say are fairly musical, but the skill of playing an instrument had to be taught to them, and then they advanced to varying stages of skill. But one thing they all have in common is that they can read music, and play a song on the piano as well as one or two other instruments. Now, to learn piano to a basic level one doesn't need to be musical but must be given the opportunity and encouragement to learn, and possess some staying power. And with playing an instrument, like anything, the more effort you put in the more adept you will become.
I wish I had learnt, but where I lived as a child it was not usual to have music lessons. It wouldn't have been thought of. Many people of my parents, and more so their parents, generation, could play the piano, but this was usually by ear, and self-taught. I suppose in the days before television it was a useful talent to be able to play a tune. Pianos were often heard in pubs those days, I have been told.
When my eldest daughter, then aged seven, came out of school, excitedly telling me that she thought she might be one of two children in her year chosen to learn violin, I was surprised. She told me all the children showing an interest had all been tested by clapping and humming a tune. She thought she had managed well. My standard response was always 'wait and see'. Well, she was right, she had passed the test and so subsidised violin lessons were offered by the music school, whereby a qualified teacher would visit her school once a week to teach a few children violin. Hopefully they would progress to take graded exams.
I was very pleased as I believe any learning opportunity should be seized, and I also thought that this might provide the chance to play publicly. As I had always been a reticent type, I wanted my children to be able to get up in front of an audience and be able to speak, sing, act, or play an instrument.
My daughter went on to each herself the basic of the recorder, as well as continuing for several years with the violin, until during secondary school switching to viola. Having access to the music room she managed to pick up the basics of piano. Soon she asked if she could also learn piano. Her name was put on the list and soon a place became available.
~THE NECESSITY OF A PIANO/KEYBOARD~
Now, one of the provisos of learning the piano in school is that you have to declare that you have at least a keyboard in the home, preferably of five octaves or more. We started by using her gran's (five octave) keyboard, until that Christmas when we purchased a lovely Yamaha touch sensitive keyboard. Touch sensitive keys are preferable when learning piano as they have the similar feel and effect as a 'real' piano has and so the practice is better, She loved piano and the keyboard was in use on most days.
The other proviso is that the child practises and shows commitment.
When my parents gave us some money to spend on some things for the home, my husband and I both thought that it would be a good idea to buy a much upgraded piano for my daughter and her younger siblings to play piano on. By this time my second child had begun piano lessons. He didn't take to it as much as his sister, but went on to learn guitar at secondary school. The lessons weren't wasted; they taught him the basics of reading music, and he still, at the age of twenty- seven, enjoys 'tickling the ivories.'
~OUR YDP 121 ELECTRONIC PIANO~
I did a lot of research before making the purchase of our first electronic piano. After all, I was a stay at home mum with my husband's income having to support us all. We didn't want to waste this monetary gift, but felt this was a good investment for our children's future. We decided on the Yamaha YDP 121 electronic piano. This purchase was made in around 2002.
I found this model on many internet sites. I went onto the Musicland website to look for the price. It was more expensive in Musicland than on some of the internet sites but, as I was familiar with this store, I rang and spoke to the manager who said that he would match the price that I had quoted. I paid just under £700 for the YDP121.
At this time, the new piano seemed a luxury item. After using a portable keyboard on a stand, for my children, this was a sheer delight to play. I would say that this type of instrument is a good entry level digital piano, with many good functions to enhance the pleasure of playing. All of my children had a good few years playing this. Eventually a couple of the keys didn't work properly and we decided that we would like to upgrade again.
~OUR CLAVINOVA CVP-303~
I took a while to decide on which piano to buy. I did my usual internet research and also paid a few visits to Musicland, asking many questions of the knowledgeable sales staff. By this time, my eldest was living away from home, but my two youngest were both having school piano lessons. So I wanted a digital piano which both could practice on, as well as one that their two older siblings could play when the mood took them.
I knew that as this piano had to be situated in the through lounge it could well be often competing with the television. For this reason I thought we needed something that had the facility for headphones. I also wanted something that didn't look too out of place with the rest of the furniture. I prefer light woods, such as beech and light oak, so although not a perfect match, I felt that the cherry colour, offered in some Clavinova models, would blend in quite well.
As for technical specifications we trusted Musicland, who had advised that the CVP family of digital pianos would take my children to grade eight and beyond, if they so wished. It seemed as if the CVP-303 would best suit us; it had a good sound and all features necessary for many years, as well as some interesting extras.
I knew that I wanted the piano to have foot pedals, to be have full sized touch sensitive keys and to have a full complement of them; that being 88. In effect, what I wanted was a digital piano that felt and sounded like a good quality 'real' piano. Well when looking, touching and listening to the CVP-303 I felt that this fulfilled everything on my wish list but had the added bonus of functions not available on a normal piano such as a microphone slot, recording and playback facilities, memory card slot, and more, which for today's technically minded youngsters might make it even more inviting to master. I thought the recording facility would be useful for GCSE and A level music. I t also has a screen on the underside of the lid on which musical scores can be displayed. Music could be purchased from the Yamaha website and downloaded.
I am not sure of the exact price because I paid for the clavinova CVP-303 as we traded in the older YDP 121 model and I'm not sure of the price obtained. I know I had to pay £1.538.90. I believe we got a good deal on the old piano and that the new Clavinova must have cost around £1,800.
As I wanted the piano in the cherry shade it had to be ordered in. This didn't take long and when it arrived at Musicland I was advised to either come into the store to pay the full price agreed on or to pay by card over the telephone. As I would be in the area I paid in the store and arranged a suitable delivery date. This was included in the price as was the matching Yamaha piano bench. I asked if headphones could be 'thrown in' and they were! Nice digital ones too!
The Clavinova was soon delivered by two men who set it up in my living room, after removing the older piano. They gave instructions on maintenance. As I had already had the YDP I knew that this should be dusted and no polish used. If needed, glass cleaner could be used with a soft cloth.
Now the trouble with school music lessons, in my area anyway, is that they only take place during term time, are quite often cancelled and they are only of fifteen minutes duration in primary school and of about twenty in senior schools. They do provide a good introduction to an instrument and are a great idea. Added to the negatives is the fact that they can prove disruptive to the class as the child is called from the class and has to leave during the lesson and then return while the lesson is still taking place. Of course this can interrupt the class and the instrumentalist's learning. Sometimes the lessons can be arranged during breaks but this isn't often possible. Because of this, and my children both having exams coming up, I was pleased to find a young lady willing to come round to my house and supplement the lessons, at a reasonable price, once a week. This young lady was grade eight on piano and came from a musical family. They had a piano in their home and so she was interested to try the new Clavinova. And she thought it felt pretty much like a 'real' piano and a good one at that.
My youngest two children both feel that the Yamaha Clavinova helped them with their music GCSE and my daughter with her music GCE A/S level. They both used it for their compositions. My son, who is at university studying to be a primary school teacher, still loves this instrument, and usually when he returns home during university holidays, he goes straight to the piano and plays (after the obligatory hugs, that is!)He says he misses playing it so, when on a school placement, he will play a piano if the opportunity arises. Although he hasn't taken advanced grades, he does feel that learning to play has given him an additional and very useful skill as a future primary school teacher.
When we first bought this piano my youngest daughter tried to teach me the basics of piano playing. She was very proud when I managed 'Yankee Doodle!' My husband too has tried but I feel we sadly lack commitment of the youth of today!
But what I really appreciate in respect of the clavinova is the fact that it provides us, as a family, with an opportunity to be entertained. The television and computer can have a rest while we listen. My son loves to play from the many musical theatre piano books my daughter owns while she sings to his accompaniment. Or, he will play some tunes from books such as Pink Floyd, The Beatles, R.E.M. Cat Stevens, to name a few.
When he isn't available my youngest daughter plays backing tracks, so that she can sing while the microphone is slotted into the clavinova, and the sound comes through the piano's integral speakers. This does away with the need to also have an amp in the living room.
There is also a microphone setting whereby one can play chords which give a harmonic effect.
I am pleased that my children had the opportunity to learn piano, moreover, I am glad that we, as a family, purchased the Clavinova CVP-303. I think it is a lovely instrument which made them more likely to be enticed to practice. But I will say that although this has so many functions and specifications we haven't really found many of them that necessary. I think we appreciate more the graded hammer effect keys, the look, feel and sound of this piano, rather than its technical abilities. If my eldest daughter was at home and had more access to it then she may have made more sense of the manual and would have had full use for the recording side of the clavinova. But that said it has provided and still does many hours of pleasure for my children as pianists and myself and my husband as their proud and receptive audience.
~A FEW (OF MANY) FEATURES)~
This clavinova has too many features to list, I feel, but here is a small selection for your information.
Width 1,432mm (56-1/2") Width
Height 885mm (34-7/8") Height
Depth 614mm (24-1/4") Depth
Weight 70kg (154lbs., 5oz.) Weight
Keys 88 graded hammer
Touch Sensitivity Hard2/Hard1/Normal/Soft1/Soft2
Number of Pedals 3
Functions Volume, Sustain, Sostenuto, Soft, Glide, Song Play/Pause, Style Start/Stop, etc.
Score Display Function
Lyrics Display Function
Number of Polyphony (Max.) 96
Number of Preset Songs 120
Internet Direct Connection ( IDC )
*For more details of Yamaha's current range of clavinovas please visit www.yamaha.co.uk
Summary: A lovely instrument for my family to enjoy.