For someone who’s thinking of learning the piano or the keyboard choosing their very first beginner keyboard can often be a daunting process.
Because they have no experience playing before and all the technical jargon may be way over their head and they have no idea which is the most suitable keyboard to get.
However, choosing the correct beginner’s keyboard plays a huge role in making or breaking the learning process.
For a beginner as a keyboardist and a music teacher with more than 25 years of experience, I will be cutting through all the marketing hype and the advertising fluff as well as the technical jargon to bring you ten points that I believe you should know is important in choosing your first beginner keyboard as well as why it is important.
So make sure you pay close attention to every point in this article to avoid making the very expensive mistake of getting the wrong or the inappropriate keyboard as your first keyboard.
Also at the end of this article I will shortlist three keyboards that I think will be more suitable for beginners and I will also be giving you my opinion as to which of the three I prefer.
So let’s look at some of the most important things a beginner should look before buying your first keyboard.
Touch Sensitive Keys
The very first thing you should look out for in a beginner keyboard is touch-sensitive keys. You want to make sure the keys react to your velocity that how hard or how soft you’re pressing the keys should affect the timbre and the volume of the instruments that you’re playing.
If you look at the real-life piano the harder you hit a key or you hit it very softly you are able to get the expressiveness from an instrument. And if you are talking about keyboard with different sounds like a saxophone and a flute as well as organ sounds in there you want to make sure that you are able to learn to express the little nuances in those instruments. Therefore, touch-sensitive keys is my number one priority when choosing a beginner keyboard
Weighted Full Sized Keys
The second feature you should be looking out for in a beginner first keyboard is full-size keys which must be weighted that is because you want to make sure that you are learning and practicing on an instrument where you can apply and get used to the size and weight of the keys. If you have been playing with little mini-sized keys or a little toy-like keyboards that is because you will not be able to translate those skills to a regular-sized keyboard or acoustic pianos.
The third feature you should be looking out for in a beginner’s keyboard is a very decent piano sound. Obviously a beginner’s keyboard is usually a lot more affordable and you cannot expect extremely ultra-realistic piano sounds. But it has to be fairly decent that is because we cannot deny the fact that most people who learn the keyboard will inevitably start off learning with the piano sound first. And having a good set of piano sounds to play and learn and practice on is absolutely invaluable.
The fourth feature you want to have on your beginner’s keyboard is that it has a socket and eject for inserting a damper or sustain pedal.
That is because the sustain pedal is critical in how you control the piano sound on that keyboard. On a real piano, you will have a sustain pedal that are used most often. And you want to make sure you acquire those skills using the beginner keyboard that you have. If a keyboard doesn’t have a damper or sustain input jack, but only has a panel sustain button I would suggest and I would advise that you skip that keyboard because it is just gonna be an expensive toy.
Fifth feature has very much to do with the fact that a learner is gonna spend a lot of time practicing on their keyboard. And as learner you want to make sure that you are not disturbing your housemates, your family because you are learning and you are not gonna be very good initially. And therefore having headphone jacks is extremely important on a beginner keyboard because you want to make sure that you’re practicing in your own space and that you are able to practice even when someone in your home is watching the TV, for example. You can actually practice in your own space without disturbing anyone and that will give you the confidence to get better faster in no time.
The sixth feature is how user-friendly and how intuitive it is to access all the features and functions of the keyboard. To a beginner there will be some students and I have students like this right who are just starting out they’re just beginning and they’re only learning the ABCs but money is not a problem. They say please get me the very best keyboard you have out there. And the problem is that if I were to get them in very advanced keyboard like the Casio CTX 5000 or the Yamaha genos the problem is that for a beginner you are just going to be drowning in all those features and functions and that’s just gonna discourage you and demotivate you from learning and practicing and getting better at your skill.
The 7 feature which is critical in a beginner keyboard is an easy to set and easy to use metronome. From the beginning of learning to play music you want to make sure that you can play in time. You can keep the time because that is the pulse of the music and the pulse of the music is what keeps the music alive. And the pulse of the music is the heartbeat of the music and you want to make sure you can follow the correct tempo of the music and therefore, having a good metronome that is very easy to set up very easy to dial is a must. As well as having a metronome which rings a bell on the first beat really useful in helping a beginner get really good in playing very quickly and for
The eighth feature to have in a keyboard is a nice to have thing a little addition to having a metronome. Metronome can be boring sometimes you just go think you know that’s kind of boring. If you have a keyboard which has a myriad of different rhythms as a timer option in there and you will be able to understand different kind of genres of music like the bossa nova beats, the Latin beats, the EDM beats, the walks of swing, and the student can understand and appreciate as well as learned groove of the different rhythms from different world cultures and different genres of music. In my opinion rhythms like this is even better than a metronome because it helps the student to keep in time while teaching them and inculcating them the natural groove of different kinds of music.
Acoustic Instrumental Sounds
The ninth feature I look out for in a beginners keyboard is a keyboard that has a good set of pretty realistic acoustic instrument sounds. The advantage of having the different kinds of sounds in a keyboard is that a student starts to understand the new music. Ones between us – pronto saxophone, a tenor saxophone, a baritone saxophone, for example, they all have different ranges and different timbre qualities. The harmonica, for example, the flute and lots more. And as the student becomes better at what they are playing then they are able to use the different instruments and learn to create the different nuances and the playability and the techniques of an actual acoustic instrument player and that’s how they become better very quickly.
A Beginner Keyboard Must Be Affordable
The tenth and final feature I look out for in a beginners keyboard is that it has to be as affordable as possible while containing all these features. The thing is that the quit rate among people who learn music especially keyboard is pretty high because you are talking about having to use both hands coordinating with the rhythm, understanding chords, and all this kind of different stuffs that are going on at the same time. So very often a lot of students do not understand that just listening and enjoying music is quite different from trying to play it. There is a certain degree of effort and skill and commitment required to try and learn an instrument. And very often if they buy a too expensive instrument and they quit they are gonna lose a massive sum of money and they are just gonna feel the hot pain so I always suggest that a beginner keyboard has to be very affordable while fulfilling these ten items that I have listed for you.
And of course, part of this affordability has also got to do with the resale value of the keyboard usually a keyboard that is affordable yet containing all this feature very often retains its value very well because those who know what you’re looking for will be looking out for keyboards like this.
Can Be Powered By Batteries
So that was the 10 feature but here is a bonus feature for you. If you have a beginner keyboard a small compact lightweight even battery-operated is much preffered. The advantage of that is that you can always keep it close to you. You can have it in your bedroom next to you because remember you want to be practicing it often and having it in your sight in your view and having it staring at you as much as possible when you are in your room right. That creates the ability and the desire to sit down and practice. So, the other advantage of having a very slim compact as well as battery-operated carrying around instrument is that the student can carry it around and have it part of your lifestyle, in little parties at the beach by the pool you know just make music and have fun having music as part of your regular life.
Which Pianos Are Good For Beginners To Start Learning Piano
With all this being said there are actually three models that I’ve shortlisted that which meets these requirements. So from Roland we have the Roland Go Piano 88. From Casio we have the Casio CTX 700 and the Casio PX 160 and from Yamaha we have the PSR E363 out of this three keyboards I personally do not like the Roland ix20 because it is pretty much a rebranded China made keyboard and it doesn’t carry a lot of the Roland DNA that Rollin is famous for.
I would rather that a student a beginner spend the money on a Casio CTX 700 or 800 and the Yamaha PSR E363. So you would do well with either one of this keyboard but if you prefer more acoustic sounding voices the Yamaha PSR E363 is more suitable and also in my own personal experience using this keyboard the Yamaha PSR E363 is a little bit more user-friendly than the Casio CTX 700 and 800. However the Casio CTX 700 and 800 can be found at a very competitive price in certain markets and you know if you don’t want to spend too much I have no issues if you go with the Casio CTX 700 or 800 you’ve got yourself a very good beginner keyboard that you can enjoy for quite a few years before you need to upgrade.
I hope you guys found this information useful, keep making great music.