Do I have to have a piano

You do need something to practice on. Without this no progress is made.

A touch sensitive keyboard can be a start but adequate for up to one year. It does not have the same touch or sound as the following options. Better still is a weighted key digital piano and of course, the very best choice is the acoustic piano.

How much does a piano cost? What is the difference between a normal and digital piano

This depends on how much you want to pay!

A good digital piano does not take up as much room as an acoustic (normal) piano and does not need tuning. Digital pianos can be bought for $800-$1,000 up to $2,500. They have weighted keys similar to that of a normal piano and the AMEB (Uni) will examine students on them up to Grade 4 piano exam.

The acoustic piano is the instrument with the best sound and touch. If a student is looking at continuing on with learning or a parent is wanting to have an instrument that will last for 100yrs then the acousitic piano is the way to go. Yamaha make excellent pianos that come highly recommended. Families cannot often afford to buy a good new piano, so the suggestion is made to purchase a good second-hand piano. These cost around $4,000 - a little more or less.

There are new pianos advertised for under $3,000. They look lovely and the wood is shiny. BUT would you buy new car for $3,000? Would it be good quality? No. It is the same with pianos. It is much better to pay the same money on a quality instrument that is 25 years old. Good quality new pianos begin at about $10,000.

What is the best age to start a child learning the piano
Six to eight years are ideal. Children have learnt to read at least basic words/sentences and at school , they have had experience with concentrating for an allotted time.
I am 50 yrs old and have never learnt anything about music. Is it really possible for me to learn to play the piano
Yes, of course. You are never to old to learn anything. Perhaps you won't be as supple as a child but you would be aware of this. There are various methods to teach adults, including the easier chord methods that have you playing music quite quickly.
Can parents sit in on the lessons of their children

Learning for children should involve three people: the child, the teacher and the parent. If the parent knows what needs to be done at home, they can help their child follow through with it.

Some children are obviously inhibited when a parent is in the room. When this is noticed, it may be suggested that the parent sit in on every second or third lesson only.

How often should I expect my child to practice the piano

Although practice every day would be any teacher's hope, this is not always possible due to other activities and family life.

If good practice is done on at least FIVE days a week, this should still give good results. Make a rule: If you miss one day of practice, then you have to fit piano practice in on the next day. Don't let two days go in a row with no practice.

How long should a student spend at the piano each practice

The answer is simple: Until some improvement has been noticed. Repeating a line or small section of music over four or five times is much better than playing from beginning to the end of a piece.

The human brain needs repetition to master new tasks. With this in mind, a set time of say, 30 minutes, may end up being boring or very unproductive if a child is just 'filling in' the allotted time.

Generally, beginner students need to be at the piano for about 20 minutes each practice time.. As the student progresses to higher levels, then this time increases accordingly...up to an hour or more

Are external piano exams are a good thing

Most teachers find that students who strive to complete an exam level are much more motivated to work on music that is a little above their comfort zone. It is by doing this, that students improve and make good progress.

Many students find the challenge of an exam extremely satisfying and achieve their best work because of the exams.However, many students, particularly adults, do not want to take part in exam work...this is also OK and can be discussed with the teacher.