It is ideal to have an acoustic piano when taking piano lessons; however, sometimes this is not immediately feasible. I often receive the question of what keyboard is the best for a beginning piano student.
Let’s take a look at a few options for digital pianos, and also talk about what to avoid when buying an electric piano.
Before you choose a specific keyboard, remember – you also need accessories!
Posture is extremely important for playing piano in order to avoid life-long injury and poor technique. When you begin piano lessons, you will now say goodbye to the days of laying on your stomach playing on the floor, or sitting a keyboard on your lap. These habits are both really bad and dangerous for you.
To help with posture + technique, you will need a keyboard PLUS these accessories:
- Keyboard Stand
- Piano bench or adjustable keyboard bench
- music stand on keyboard
The ideal digital keyboard for piano lessons has 88 “fully weighted” keys.
Music instrument retailers will try to talk you up on many features on a keyboard. You do not need to buy a fancy keyboard that costs thousands of dollars!
I believe simple is best.
I am very partial to the Yamaha and Casio brands of keyboards, but there are many other great brands out there as well. I recommend avoiding Williams brand and Suzuki brands.
Brand new keyboards
Can’t afford a new one? Not a problem! Look for a used keyboard!
If those are a bit out of your price range, I also recommend taking a peek at craigslist, offer up or even Facebook marketplace. You can often find older models of digital keyboards for relatively cheap there. I usually expand my search range out to Orange county. If you find a used digital keyboard and need help deciding whether or not it is a worthwhile good deal, I can take a peek at the listing for you.
Less Desirable but works: 61 or 76 key semi-weighted (touch sensitive) keys
If you have a young child and want to start with something more durable, I don’t mind starting on a smaller keyboards at all, as long as it is not a toy!
The only issue with smaller keyboards is that for most students, after about one year of lessons, you will need to upgrade to a full keyboard. So, we can make it work, but it’s not ideal!
Casio recently released a new series called the casiotone which aren’t bad for very beginners: click here to view the casiotone options
Make sure to buy a stand and a seat as well – their marketing makes it seem like it’s ok to play on your bed or on a tabletop, but that is actually not ok!
I do like these because they are durable, portable (some models have a handle!) and have a built in speaker.
Yamaha also has a small model keyboard called the “piaggero” series that would work as well. They have 76 keys instead of 61. Click here to view piaggero series
Keyboards that are unacceptable for piano lessons
Toy pianos are FUN! Unfortunately, anything you buy at a toy store or see ads for on youtube is generally not going to be good for piano lessons. Avoid products that look like the following:
Where to buy your keyboard?
If you prefer to buy a new instrument locally, you can check out Sam Ash (in Westminster) or Guitar Center (Cerritos or head to Fountain Valley to save a little on sales tax!).
Online, Sweetwater is probably the best deal, but you can also take a look at Amazon!