This is a fantastic digital piano. I searched the web and came across a site that had a lot of digital piano reviews and the PX780 was his top pick for pianos around $1k. I bought the Casio based on the reviews of other Casio digital pianos and the site I found. This was going out on a limb because the "safe" pick is Yamaha and Roland. The site said Casio had been improving their keyboards and dollar-for-dollar the Casio was a better deal. The Casio Privia PX780 was bought for teaching my two daughters. I had played many years ago for over five years on an upright acoustic piano. Whenever I visit my mother I play a little on the piano so I still remember the feel and sound of a real acoustic piano.
The Casio has an excellent feel. The keys don't feel like plastic, they feel like real keys. They are touch sensitive and feel like a real piano to me. I'm sure if you play on a real acoustic grand pianos you can tell a difference, but you're saving a lot of money, space and gaining features with this piano. I'm somewhat critical when it comes to audio systems and the Casio's piano sounds are great! It sounds like a real piano. The additional tones (I believe 250 total) are a nice add-on as well. The different tones won't help them play any better but it will help keep them interested. In addition the Piano has USB/MIDI connectivity, recording ability, etc. For pianos at and under $1,000 I don't think we could have done any better.
When it comes to learning, we're going to try self-teaching for the first year. I had a friend that worked at a music store and when people asked about taking guitar lessons he said you can take lessons the first year by using youtube. For the piano we tried a little youtube, bought Synthesia, PianoForAll, eMedia Piano and Keyboard Method and several piano books. We've only had them for a week so here is our thoughts so far:
- Youtube has a lot of piano lessons and my girls tried that first. They were learning from it and making decent progress. Then I showed them Synthesia and they haven't gone back to YouTube yet.
- Synthesia is by far the most fun and easiest way to learn a song. You select a song and it shows the notes falling down on the keys on the screen (it can show the sheet music as well). When connected to your digital piano you have to press the falling key note for the song to progress and you can hear the notes through the keyboard as well. It works on the Mac, Ipad or PC, which we bought the IPad and PC version. For the IPad you need the Ipad Camera Connection kit which has a IPad to USB connector. I believe you can tweak the PC version a little more than the IPad, but it looks just like the IPad version and in all truth I haven't used the PC version that much because it is much easier to put an IPad on the piano than a laptop PC. Synthesia features about 150 songs (simplified versions of classic songs) but you can find midi files on the web and load them to Synthesia. The downside to Synthesia is it will not teach you to how play the piano but it will teach you how to play a song. By that I mean it won't teach students how to read sheet music, we're the note middle C is, how to make the C chord. Still a great tool to learn how to play a song that in a fun way.
- eMedia Piano and Keyboard was a challenge to get working at first. I have a Windows 8 machine with no luck getting it to work, it kept reporting "Director Player Error". I contacted eMedia and tried their advice with no luck. I installed Virtual Box and Windows XP and it would play but not connect to the keyboard, but watching eMedia via VirtualBox was rough. I then tried my daughters Win7 Machine. There were no errors and the videos played well but I can't get it to connect to the keyboard. eMedia has a 30 day return policy but I decided to keep it anyway. The videos seemed good enough to keep the software, they provide a classical music training showing how to hold your fingers, read sheet music, etc.
- PianoForAll is another software package for learning Piano with a slightly different bent. This is not the classical piano lessons of reading music, etc. Instead it's focus is on how to make music via the piano. For instance, he shows how to make a C chord and use the root note (the lowest key of the chord) and playing that with your left hand. You repeat the C chord several times and then add the root note. The author then in the book tells you what popular songs incorporate this style of music. He even has an analysis of Barry Manilow's music. The course is composed of books in PDF form which callout a video, which he has on the disk in a movie format (.mov). My daughter watched the first video, tried it and was quite pleased that she was making music. Not a beginners book but once you can start to read notes a great resource to add to your collection.