How to Choose Best Musical Keyboard for Kids

Introducing your kid to music is certainly an excellent idea and choosing the keyboard for an instrument is the best choice. However, if you have been trying to figure out the type of item that would delight your kid, would give him or her a sense of achievement and will not disrupt the comfort of your home, you surely know that the selection of the best item to buy is far from being easy. In what follows, we would like to help you with a few aspects and factors to take into consideration while browsing pianos and keyboards and with a few product recommendations as well.

Keyboard or Piano

This is actually the very first question to make up your mind about. Pianos used to be considered the best in terms of sound quality, but with today’s advanced technologies, musical keyboards are able to deliver sound that is just as clear and crispy. Pianos also come with some notable disadvantages such as high price and bulkiness – features that are eliminated with keyboards. If you are looking for an instrument that your kid can use to find out whether he or she likes playing piano music, buying a musical keyboard is probably the best solution – it is affordable, small, lightweight, easy to move one room to the other and versatile, perfect for making the initial learning period not only efficient, but also great fun. And one more benefit of keyboards: most of them can be played using headphones, so the initial odd sounds that your kid gets out of the instrument will not disturb the rest of the family.

What to Look for in A Keyboard

Here are a few of the most important features to look for when evaluating musical keyboards:

  • Number of keys – instruments vary in size and in the number of keys as well. Standard pianos have 88 keys, and that is the number of keys you should get for advanced players, but smaller items that feature a smaller number of keys can be just perfect for a kid just about to start learning the piano
  • Maximum polyphony – the term refers to the number of notes the instrument is able to produce at the same time. Look for at least 8-note polyphony for beginners, but for an advanced player, get an instrument that provides at least 32-note polyphony
  • Integrated songs, sounds and tones – musical keyboards can help beginners a lot by showing them how to play certain songs key by key. Most units also offer variety by giving the player the choice of switching between piano, organ and other instrument sounds.

Should you Get Your Kids Lessons When Starting Out?

In the past, learning to hit the right keys maintaining the right position and to read music was impossible without a teacher. However, nowadays there are so many great online resources, such as complete courses, tutorials and other types of instructional materials, that, with a little discipline, your kids can learn to play the instrument in an easy and enjoyable way.

Our Favorite Keyboards

Here are our top picks that can make a very good choice for children:

Casio SA76 44 Mini

This super-small, lightweight, battery-operated, and portable keyboard is just perfect for beginners. The SA76 features 44 keys and 8-note polyphony for great sound that will motivate beginner players to continue practicing. The small unit comes with 10 integrated songs, 50 different rhythms and 100 different tones to make playing great fun, while the integrated audio jack allows players to play for themselves until they feel comfortable showing their skills to an audience.

Yamaha YPG-235 76-Key Portable

This unit is larger and more complex than the previous one, being suitable not only for beginner players, but also for piano masters or for those who want to compose music. The 76 keys that the keyboard comprises are touch sensitive, thus giving the player the perfect feeling of playing a grand piano – amazing sound included. The keyboard comes with an educational suit with lessons for each hand, a 6-track recorder, stereo sound and lots of other great digital features that makes learning very entertaining.

Yamaha PSRE253 61-Key Portable Keyboard

This 61-key unit comes with 32-note polyphony and a huge database that includes over 750 voices, over 200 different tempos and more than two dozen integrated songs, all of them providing great help for beginner players. The Grand button allows you to switch instantly to the grand piano mode, which replicates the sound that only sophisticated pianos can deliver.

The keyboard comes with great compatibility features as well – the provided USB port allows you to hook the keyboard to a computer for even more functionality and you can also connect your headphones, a mixer or even to another keyboard. The unit runs on battery, but you can purchase an adapter for it and operate it using a current outlet if you find that solution more comfortable.

Choose any of the above keyboards and you are guaranteed your child will love practicing on it!

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Yamaha YPT 240 Detailed Review

One of Yamaha’s entry level models and also a keyboard that makes the most of the creative design and solid engineering background that has made the manufacturer so appreciated across the world, the Yamaha YPT 240 is a versatile yet affordable keyboard that delivers sound of the highest clarity and crispiness. Most importantly, provides plenty of functionality to make learning to play the queen of all instruments in an efficient, yet fun way. The unit is highly appreciated by advanced players as well – the ample set of features guarantees that you will always find something to try and to learn, whatever your level of playing skills.

General Features that Make the Yamaha YPT 240 so Great

The unit is classified as a portable digital keyboard and it is indeed surprisingly small when you first look at it. Finished in durable and high-quality black plastic, with the interface located in the middle where it is easy to reach, this 61-key unit is less than a meter long (945 mm) and it weighs only about 4 kg. The custom LCD display is easy to read and is surrounded by easy to use and comfortably sized function buttons. Sound quality is guaranteed by the two speakers, 12 cm each and the two amplifiers, each of them of 2.5W, placed on the two opposite ends of the keyboard.

The unit runs either on batteries (six batteries size AA) or on current from a power outlet supplied via the AC adapter. It also comes with great connectivity features – it has a USB outlet and a jack for headphones as well (especially useful for shy players who want to hone on their playing skills before playing their favorite tunes in front of an audience or for those who don’t want to disturb others in the house or in the room).

More Pros that Make the Unit Stand Out

This small, but complex unit comes with lots of other pros as well:

  • The YPT 240 is very easy to use, fitted with straightforward functions that even complete beginners can figure out within a few seconds from first opening the box
  • It comes with a huge tone and accompaniment bank that allow the player to create a background of various instrument to create the perfect illusion of playing with a band
  • It spans 5 octaves when the basic settings are on, but the unit’s interface offers the possibility of adding even more using the provided settings
  • The keyboard delivers 385 perfect, natural sound voices
  • The 32-note polyphony makes the keyboard suitable not only for beginners, but also for advanced players who want to play complicated pieces and require the best sound
  • The provided Master EQ system allows for tailoring the output sound to the actual situation and location the listening takes place
  • The Ultra Wide Stereo Technology guarantees great stereo sound in any environment
  • The keyboard incorporates Yamaha’s great Education Suite that teaches the user about every aspect of playing the piano correctly. The integrated songs can be played at the speed that suits the player’s skill level and there are lots of other setting options that make playing the same song over and over again more fun than you could ever imagine
  • The YPT 240 comes with 102 preset songs and 100 preset styles,
  • It also has an integrated metronome and the tempo range can be set between 32-280.

Any Cons?

The small construction of the YPT 240 is the result not only of the great, ergonomic and economical design, but also of the fact that it comprises 61 keys (by comparison, grand pianos have a standard of 88 keys and there are many digital keyboards that come with 76 keys). Our article on the number of keys a piano has goes in to a littile more details about the keys options you have. While this feature may be perceived as a con by a master pianist, it is actually a blessing for beginners who are just trying to figure out which key is which.

An aspect frequently mentioned by users as a con is the fact that the  package the Yamaha YPT 240 comes in includes nothing but the keyboard itself. If you want to use the YPT 240 with a stand, you will need to purchase the stand separately and the same goes for the batteries, the AC adapter and the headphones as well. If you consider the great price tag, though, you will see that the unit is more than affordable, even after you add the price of the stand and of the other components to the price of the keyboard.

Conclusion

Whether you are beginner piano player, currently in the process of figuring out the instrument or you are an advanced player, the Yamaha YPT 240 will not let you down. Perfect sound quality, lots of features and great learning aids – this is what you get with this versatile, small, portable keyboard that allows you to not only play at home, but also  take your instrument with you to parties or even on holidays.

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