There are a lot of great reasons for learning to play piano on an electric keyboard. Cost, portability, size, extended practice hours and compact space are just a few. You also open yourself up to an large range of sound options and capabilities. A regular piano keyboard sits at a height of about 179″ so it is best to adjust the stand of your electric piano as closely as possible to that height.
The thing I like most, learning to play piano while living with other people, is the ability to use headphones. Maybe it’s performance anxiety, but when I’m learning new things and experimenting with ideas I express myself less freely when other’s are listening. Under the headphones, they just hear the click, click, click of the keys, which can be an annoying sound all by itself most people are able to get used to it or just tune it out.
The journey to becoming good to great can have moments of cacophony, jarring, discordant sounds and dissonance. A lot of it is best unheard by an audience. While your family and roommates may be intensely proud of your determination to stay at it, they will probably appreciate just hearing the soft clicking of the keys while they imagine wonderful sounds being produced. When you want to be heard, you can easily take the headset off and plug into and amp or, if your piano has them, use the built-in speakers.
Working under a headset while learning to play piano also lets you play into the night without disturbing neighbors or to get up before dawn or, as I’ve been known to do, get up in the middle of the night when a musical thought strikes and go play around with it. If your living space is small, there is another advantage to learning piano on an electric keyboard. A piano takes a bit of space and some real muscle to get it in place.
The other instrument I regularly play is the flute. I love the portability of it. It’s easy to take on a plane to far off places and though I often like to play with amplification and effects pedals, I can be in the middle of nowhere with just my flute and play to my heart’s content. The piano, on the other hand is cumbersome. Can’t really take my big upright down to the local pub. I wonder if all piano players are just a bit jealous of guitarists for their ability to show up at the beach or in the mountains ready to play. At least an electric keyboard gives you some portability. The new pianos are so much lighter in weight as are the newer amplifiers. In this age, a keyboard player can enjoy some degree of portability with an electric piano.
You may be well-advised to stay away from the transpose button. It’s really cheating and can become a bad habit. I guess there are times when it might be a lifesaver in a performance situation, but it’s best to know your keys and be able to play in all of them. There are only twelve, after all.