There is the ongoing debate whether new students need to have acoustic piano or not. Of course there is no doubt that students must have a instrument to practice everyday for success with piano lessons. Learning instrument relys on muscle memory, and these muscle memory fundamentals are learned through constant and daily repetition.
For acoustic piano vs digital piano, If your family has a space and have a budget for an acoustic piano, I encourage you to purchase the acoustic piano. If a beginning student has access to a quality acoustic piano, they will have the opportunity to develop better musicianship from the very first stage. Pianistic technique uses their arm weight and finger strength to play the piano as an expressive instrument cannot be achieved with digital piano. There are limitations for learning all aspect of playing piano even though one has the nicest digital piano.
Although if you’re not ready to invest acoustic piano for your child who is going to take her/his first year of piano lessons, I would recommend to purchase 88 weighted keys digital piano to start. You don’t need to purchase an expensive digital piano. Prepare to make an investment to get an real acoustic piano in future. I highly encourage to purchase acoustic piano after one year of piano study.
Here are my suggestions for acoustic piano and digital piano.
There are good brands such as Yamaha, Kawai, Boston, and Schimmel. Many piano stores also offer affordable acoustic piano rental programs. You could also have a luck to find the good used piano at craigslist or estate sale. If you plan to purchase or rent a used instrument, be sure it is in tune and the keys are in good working order.
Here are some lists of piano store.
2. Digital Piano
I recently purchased Yamaha P71 for my mission trip and was quite amazed by the sound and touch quality with this budget. Here is link for Yamaha on Amazon. You could choose starter bundle which has an adjustable stand but this deluxe bundle one looks more sturdy. Unless you plan to move your piano often, I recommend deluxe bundle.
I am also fond of the Casio Privia series.
Many digital instruments can also be connected to a computer with a midi cable and used with all kinds of educational and music production software so our older students who get interested about composing and arranging it’s functional for enriching their piano study.
A beginning student can get a good start on learning the piano with one of these instruments.