The affordable digital piano for home and live use
Buying a digital piano usually involves compromises: pick a more affordable piano, and the sound isn’t up to scratch or key features are absent. Choose a more sophisticated model, and it can be heavy and difficult to transport, as well as being expensive.
The Roland FP-50 is a digital piano that’s playable, portable and affordable. You get the authentic tone and touch of an acoustic grand piano, plus a large selection of versatile sounds for performing in a variety of situations. This entry-level FP piano is designed to be played every day, with a host of features to make your piano practice more rewarding. Sound, touch and style combine to create an affordable piano that rivals high-end instruments costing many times more. So here are four reasons why the FP-50 is equally at home on stage, or, um…at home
1. Style, feel and authentic sound for playing piano at home
The keyboard is the business end of the piano – it’s where you spend all your time, so that keyboard had better be comfortable. The FP-50’s is called the ‘Ivory Feel-G keyboard with Escapement’, which replicates the appearance, texture, and moisture absorbing properties of real ivory. If you’re an experienced player, you’ll appreciate the authentic feel of the keyboard; if you’re a beginner, you’ll be starting in the right place.
Next there’s the sound. The FP-50’s piano sounds are among Roland’s finest, using a technology called SuperNATURAL Piano to power the onboard grand piano sounds. SuperNATURAL is only found on Roland pianos and the FP-50 reacts quickly to your touch over the entire length of the keyboard and the transition of notes from soft to hard is smooth, responsive and realistic – no matter how quickly you play. The ‘decay’ of each note (how long it takes to fade to silence after being played) is also consistent with that of a real grand piano, so the character of the tone changes authentically, as it decays.
2. Easy to carry, hard to beat
The FP-50 is easy to carry, weighing just 15kg. It sounds much bigger than it looks, as in addition to the premium acoustic pianos, it’s brimming with a large selection of inspired stage-ready sounds, including SuperNATURAL-based classic EPs, smoky organ tones, emotive strings, modern synths, and more. Stereo outputs let you connect to an external amplification system, while the built-in speakers help you monitor your performance while on stage. The intelligent rhythm feature gives you control of an entire onboard backing band for solo performing, with automatic accompaniment that follows whatever you play on the keyboard.
3. Helping you become a better piano player
The FP-50 was designed to be played every day and includes several ways to help you practice. You can turn off the built-in speakers and play privately using headphones, allowing you to practice day or night without disturbing family members or neighbours. The on-board Rhythm accompaniments can help you develop your timing and groove, and the wide selection of on-board music styles help expand your versatility. The optional USB memory also lets you play along with your favourite songs saved as WAV audio files, but here’s the clever bit: you can change the key and adjust the speed of the audio, and even reduce the sound of pre-recorded vocals so you can sing over the top. Best of all, you can record your performances back to USB memory as audio data, useful for composing or self-evaluation. SMF songs can be played from USB memory as well.
4. Connect with free Air Performer app – no cables needed either
The FP-50 works with Roland Wireless Connect and the free Air Performer app, and you can play along with your favourite songs in your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch through the FP-50’s sound system. Roland Wireless Connect is simple to set up and use, providing convenient, cable-free communication with Apple iOS devices via Roland’s optional WNA1100-RL Wireless USB Adapter.
Available in black or white, this compact and stylish digital piano also includes a built-in speaker system, so it’s always ready to go wherever you want to play.
FP-50 in brief
Six Benefits of Learning on a Digital Piano
The piano has the ability to excite, move and inspire; whether you’re playing Chopin’s Scherzos or the intro to Clocks by Coldplay. The only obstacles are learning how to play in the first place, and then practising enough to play well. Enlisting a qualified piano teacher gives you the best start for establishing good techniques and avoiding bad habits, while the innovative features found on digital pianos can help make learning more fun and enjoyable.
A digital piano is designed to accurately simulate an acoustic piano. Instead of hammers and strings, there are strategically-positioned speakers which produce a convincing and organic piano sound. Weighted keys recreate the feel of an acoustic keyboard for a realistic playing experience, while the ability to change the sounds ensures that learning is varied and interesting – and some digital pianos let you create your own sounds to suit your taste.
1. Practise in peace with headphones
Most digital pianos let you plug in headphones, which can benefit both the learner and the people they live with. As well as avoiding distraction, headphones can block noise nuisance leaving you free to concentrate on private practise. Twin headphone sockets allow student and teacher to listen closely, spotting mistakes more accurately.
2. Use a click to develop your sense of rhythm
Timing is essential to playing the piano well; it’s often an issue for beginners as they are still developing muscle and mental memory, and may need to slow down or speed up depending on the level of difficulty. Metronomes help develop your rhythmic and timekeeping skills and you can flick between settings and tempos on the inbuilt metronome, slow pieces down to learn and master them, or even tackle time signatures which are more advanced.
3. Record and listen to your own performance
Recording your performance helps analyse exactly what’s going on in your playing so you can recognise your strengths and weaknesses. The record features on digital pianos allow you to play back, perfect and pick out any problems, nipping bad habits in the bud before they become ingrained. Listening back to a recording can resolve issues with timing and melody, and if you have a good musical memory but struggle to read music, you can learn a piece by ear and study the music while listening back to your recording.
A digital piano allows you to transfer your performance to a computer, edit it and print out a score – the written piece of music also known as sheet music – so others can read and play it too. This is also useful if you’re interested in composition as you can quickly record ideas as they come to you.
4. Play with different sounds to keep practice interesting
Digital pianos are often equipped with a huge variety of sounds – five to 10 types of piano, electric pianos from the 70s and 80s, strings, harpsichord, church and electronic organs – some even have synth sounds for even greater versatility. It’s great to be able to learn Scarlatti pieces using a convincing harpsichord sound; a change in tone can inspire you and help recapture the passion if those fingering drills are becoming tiresome. Younger children also love experimenting and mixing sounds to make learning more exciting.
5 . Use APPs to improve your playing ability
Take advantage of any apps that can help liven up practise and improve your playing. Apps for sight-reading skills ask the pianist to identify written notes, Flashcard-style apps help with understanding music theory while aural training apps develop abilities such as listening for particular scales or intervals.
A tablet device is particularly useful here as it allows quick access to electronically stored sheet music. When linked to your digital piano, some apps display a piece of music and listen to you play, before moving to the next page when you reach the last bar. Kids apps include fun games to learn a song, play together or freestyle to make practising a pleasure rather than a chore.
6 . Setting time aside to practice
It’s always difficult learning something new so it’s crucial to put in dedicated time and effort. Just 20 minutes piano practise a few days a week can help develop your skills and techniques. And if you’re struggling with motivation, playing with others and even making mistakes together is a great way to stay motivated. Digital pianos are packed with features that maximise your practise time, so you get more done in a shorter space of time.
Taking the next step
Learning the piano involves dedication and discipline but master it and the rewards are endless. A digital piano can offer a variety of sounds, useful practise features to help you improve and integration with the latest apps, all without the worry of ongoing tuning and maintenance costs.
Why choose a digital piano?