April 09, 2015
How to Choose a Beginner Keyboard for Your Child
If your child is interested in learning to play the piano, the best thing you can do for them is to get them a beginner keyboard. For most people, a ”real” piano is prohibitively expensive and large. Keyboards are more practical, especially for children who don’t know how to play yet. Because there are so many different options for people who are looking for a beginner keyboard, it’s important to know what to look out for and what you can ignore. Fortunately, beginner keyboards have come a long way in recent years.
Advantages of Beginner Keyboards
Real pianos are very large and expensive. Not everybody has the money or space to purchase and store a piano. Even if they do, it would be foolish to purchase a real piano before a child, or even an adult, has shown a real commitment to learning and playing the instrument. Fortunately, this is where beginner keyboards come in. Keyboards have come a long way. They’re now able to produce a sound that’s extremely close to the one produced by a piano. One of the nice things about keyboards when compared to pianos, aside from the significantly lower cost and space requirements, is that keyboards don’t need to be tuned. They provide children with the opportunity to learn to play and read music without forcing the parent to incur the high cost and responsibility of maintenance.
Tips for Choosing a Beginner Keyboard
If your child wants to be able to play a real piano someday, then it’s important that the keyboard they learn on is full size. By this, we mean that the keyboard should have 88 keys and seven octaves that are all the same size as a piano. This is important because it’ll help your child learn the correct finger spacing and scale of the instrument. Using a full-size keyboard will also enable your child to adjust to other pianos and keyboards in the future.
If you’re considering purchasing a synthesizer for your child to learn on, there are some important aspects to consider. The main one is that synthesizers range from simple to incredibly sophisticated. The sophisticated ones can be distracting and confusing for beginners and children which could prove to be counterproductive. The more features the synthesizer has, the warier you should be when you’re purchasing for a beginner.
Additionally, try to find a keyboard with weighted keys. Keyboards on the cheaper end usually don’t have this feature, so the keys won’t spring back up the way they would on a real piano. Weighted keys will help your child build strength in their fingers and proper technique which will allow them to adjust to a real piano. Quality keyboards will also have touch sensitive keys which will respond in volume according to how hard they’re pressed. Touch sensitive keys are found primarily in higher-end keyboards.
When selecting a beginner keyboard for a child, there are some other things to watch out for. Try to find a keyboard that comes with an adjustable stand. If it’s more cost-effective to purchase one separately, make sure that you do so. When your child is learning, you’ll want them to be comfortable so they’ll be able to absorb their lessons and practice without distraction.
Tips for Buying Secondhand
If you’d prefer to purchase a beginner keyboard secondhand, paying attention to the size, condition, and quality of the keys should be your primary concern. You can always purchase a decent adjustable stand separately. Remember to ignore keyboards with a bunch of extra and unnecessary bells and whistles. In the event that you believe you’ve found a quality secondhand keyboard, make sure every key works. Don’t just try out a couple of them and make the purchase.
Involve Your Child in the Purchase
One way to help get a child excited to learn a new instrument is to involve them in the purchasing process. Bring your child to the music store, let them see and try out a couple of different keyboards. Their comfort, interest, and enthusiasm will be crucial to maintaining their ongoing commitment to learning and playing the instrument, so take every opportunity to encourage them. With that said, depending on the child’s age, they may not fully understand or appreciate the quality differences between keyboards or comprehend the importance of the cost. Explaining to the best of your ability what makes a good keyboard is the first lesson they will receive. Over time, as they learn to play, the understanding that you helped to develop when you took them to the music store will be the foundation of their relationship to their instrument. So, if your child has an interest in learning, don’t just give it to them as a gift- involve them in the whole process.
Solicit Expert Advice
The final tip for choosing a beginner keyboard for your child is to consult with an expert. The best person to be an expert in this situation is usually your child’s music teacher. It’s important that your child is set up with a good teacher and lessons before purchasing the instrument. Talk to your child’s teacher about which keyboards they’d recommend. Your child’s teacher may also have the inside scoop on where to find the best instrument or how to save as much as possible. If you haven’t yet chosen a music teacher for your child, read our guide on finding the right person for the job.
Choosing a beginner keyboard for your child may seem like an overwhelming task, but if you know what to look for, involve your child, and find the right teacher, you’ll have your child playing in no time.