Electronic Piano Keyboards
I was once asked by my daughter ‘why a keyboard with 88 keys is better than a 76 key keyboard, or doesn’t it matter?’ A 76 key keyboard will usually suffice, but budgets & features might dictate otherwise. So here goes;
So you’ve decided to enroll your child into piano lessons and now you need to invest in the instrument. Most people begin their search looking at traditional upright pianos and quickly come to some shocking conclusions. These things are freaking expensive, obscenely heavy and large enough that you will be required to give up your man cave to create a piano room. Are you ready for that much commitment? Let’s face it, the novelty of piano lessons will wear off quickly. Most kids will hate practicing and want to quit within a year. There is a better solution – electronic keyboards, keyboard pianos or digital pianos, different names but same idea.
Electronic keyboards are ideal for the beginner piano student, but are also used by professional musicians. You won’t find many rock bands hauling a grand piano across the country anymore. Electric keyboards are smaller, lighter, portable and you can find some decent entry level products at a much more reasonable price than a traditional upright. They also will never require a piano tuner! You will also find it much easier to resell and it won’t take an army of your buddies and a crane to move it.
Why A 76 Key Keyboard
Once you begin your search for a keyboard, you will be faced with a plethora of options, so which options do you really need? First of all, realize that you are searching for a musical instrument, not a toy. One of the first things you’ll notice is a wide range in the number of keys: 36, 56, 61, 76, 88 – what do you need? A standard piano is 88 keys. You can find some decent products at 61 or above, but anything less than that should be classified in the toy category.
Does your child need an 88 key piano to play “Twinkle Twinkle”? Probably not, but if you hope for them to progress as a pianist, a full size keyboard is your best bet. A full 88 key unit will cost you a little bit more, but there may be almost no price difference between a 76 and an 88. 76 keys doesn’t seem like much less, but that is a range of only 9.5 octaves rather than the full 11 octaves of an 88 key board.
Keyboard Piano 88 Keys
Make sure the piano you buy has touch sensitive keys. When you press the keys of a traditional piano, the harder you press, the louder the sound. As you continue to hold the key, the note fades. There is also more resistance to the keys of a standard piano providing more “feel” to your playing. Touch sensitive electronic pianos mimic this effect for a more natural playing experience. Cheap keyboards produce the same sound regardless of how hard you press, will sustain the sound for as long as you hold the key and have almost no resistance to pressure. This gives them a toy-like, plasticy feel when playing.
Surely it must cost a bundle for these features! Not so Kimosabe. Sure you could spend a few thousand on a Roland or Korg but unless you plan on taking you band on tour, they would probably be overkill. Costco sells 88 key touch sensitive Casio and Yamaha pianos with a bench, stand and damper pedals for $449.00 and $499.00.
88-Key Beginner Digital Piano
There are entry level products, but are certainly not toys. One example is the Alesis Recital 88-Key Beginner Digital Piano. They also have lots of cool functions, sounds, auto-chording, built in songs and can record your playing. You can add an amp, or my preference – headphones.
I personally owned the Casio Privia model and put my daughter through six years of lessons on it (yes she eventually quit). We had fun though.