Learning to play a musical instrument is a noble pastime indeed. All great Musicians were beginners at some time and put in an enormous amount of effort to get to where they are today.
You may not be striving to join the professional ranks, but learning to play any instrument is challenging but rewarding. If the keyboard/piano is your instrument of choice, there are no end of books, lessons, and YouTube guides to get you started on the journey to becoming a proficient player. What are the benefits of learning the keyboard?
When you are fully focused on several things at once, it improves concentration and sharpens the mind. When learning the keyboard you need to think about tempo, pitch, rhythm, and notes simultaneously which gives your brain a great workout. It also teaches you how to persevere, as there are many complex elements to learning the keyboard.
If you have a favorite song you’d love to play, it increases motivation and encourages you to practice consistently. In addition, it helps improve memory capacity. As the brain is stimulated more it becomes larger and more active and you will naturally find it easier to retain information in all aspects of life.
Playing the piano helps you become a better listener and get in touch with emotions. When you are creating music, it is emotive, and you can’t help but be stirred by it increasing emotional intelligence and improving connections with others.
There really is a plethora of reasons to learn the keyboard, so let’s look at the practical side and consider some of the best keyboards and the best midi controllers on the market, especially for beginners.
With a MIDI keyboard, you can create beats, trigger samples and write melodic parts.
These keyboards may look like normal keyboards but they are anything but. MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) was used to connect multiple external hardware boxes, however, it has expanded and allows you to send information from the controller right to the computer.
Without further ado below are the Best MIDI Keyboards For Beginners.
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On the top end of the price scale, this digital keyboard is foldable and lightweight and is easy to transport if needed. It comes equipped with a carry case and rechargeable battery.
It is full size with 88 keys that are semi-weighted and benefits from a 1.1 piano key ratio, meaning it’s easy to master the right-hand position and feels similar to a full-size piano in terms of key weight.
The keyboard has built-in stereo quality speakers and although digital, it provides an authentic piano sound. The sound quality is second to none and with a sound line that produces three-dimensional, full yet delicate sound, it’s perfect for use with headphones for a fully absorbing experience.
As a fully digital product, you are able to connect to a PC and other devices through a USB lead and it is also Bluetooth enabled. It’s fully functional with various apps that have been created for beginner learners.
The product has many features that include 128 tones and rhythms, as well as demos and additional recording options. The keys can be made into 44 for extra players. All in all a fantastic product for beginners and more advanced players alike.
Reviews are predominantly positive for this keyboard, with some saying the stand isn’t the best features and is slightly inadequate.
- Lightweight and portable
- Fully digital
- Split key option
- Works with major DAW’s
- Stand not that sturdy
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A cheaper option than the previous offering, this keyboard is ideal for beginners, with 61 piano keys and several teaching modes. Furthermore, it has 40 demo songs, 300 rhythms, and a whopping 500 different tones. The integrated speakers offer rich yet simple sound overall.
The keyboard shows the status of each function that is used at any given time and offers feedback when in teaching mode.
With a multitude of rotary knobs, this multi-functional keyboard benefits from an interface that has several modes such as audio, pedal, and midi and can easily be connected to an MP3, earphones, or microphone.
There is no need to buy an additional microphone because it’s included in this package along with a bench and stand. All in all, you get a lot for your money with this keyboard.
- Teaching modes
- Multi functional
- Beginner freindly controller keyboard
- Nice feeling buttons
- Only 61 keys (so can’t be split)
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Excellent for those who do not music theory all that well. This midi keyboard is a budget option and ideal for those who just want to dip their toes into the water of keyboard playing. Perfect for small children to create some simple tunes.
If you looking for your first MIDI keyboard, I would recommend this one, especially given the low learning curve. It really does have all the features that a beginner needs.
The keyboard is compact and easy to transport. It has 32 mini keys with several functions such as Octave, pitch, transpose, and modulation. In addition, it has a USB connector and can be used on Apple or Windows devices.
The keyboard also features pitch and modulation wheels, transpose buttons, octave up/down buttons, and a volume slider.
Reviews are mixed but many comments it’s good for the price with a smooth and clear sound.
- Multi use
- Beginner freindly transport controls
- Doesn’t feature as much software as other controllers
- Not full-size keys
- No drum pads or faders
- As a mini controller, it will have smaller keys than normal.
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A solid choice, the Rockjam is a great mid-priced keyboard. It offers 2 ways of powering, either via mains or batteries (included). It has 61 full-size keys that help produce a piano feel and sound.
Perhaps the best feature of the Rockjam is the display panel. The touchscreen shows feedback whilst playing and has a teaching mode to fully support your learning. With 200 tones and rhythms and 30 demo songs, it’s the perfect tool for beginner players.
The playback and record function allows you to capture your music and build layers for improvement. It can fully integrate with digital audio via a cable, included in the package. Making music has never been this easy.
Included in the offer is a comfortable seat that’s foldable and light. In addition, it contains a strong keyboard stand that is fully adjustable and ideal for all heights.
Reviews are mixed for this product, most agree it’s a fantastic starter keyboard, with some comments on durability and extra costs of some teaching functions.
- Touchscreen LED display
- 2 power options
- Extras included
- Not as durable as some
- Extra costs
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For the lovers of pink out there, this dazzling little keyboard is a treat to the eyes as well as a super machine. It offers 61 mini-size keys that are unweighted and ideal for little fingers. In addition, it offers plenty of different sounds such as 30 demos, 350 rhythms, 350 timbres as well as vibrato, percussion, and customizable sounds.
The Vangoa comes equipped with instructions, teaching modes, playback, and recording as well as a microphone and headphone jack.
The keyboard can be powered by mains or batteries and is small enough to carry around if needed.
Reviews are mixed, but most agree it is a very good starter keyboard for children.
- 2 power sources
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The ONE keyboard is an all-singing, all-dancing machine. With 61 keys it also benefits from LED lighting that lights up and helps you follow simple songs. In addition, it has powerful integrated speakers and 128 note polyphony along with recording and midi output.
The keyboard is ideal for learning and has a free app that contains professional lessons and videos to follow, as well as lots of interactive games and sheet music to use. It’s easy to learn a song quickly, or there is a gaming mode that’s fun and interactive.
The keyboard offers 128 different instrument sounds that can be accessed via the mobile app that is compatible with most smart devices. Furthermore, it comes complete with drum sounds, folk, percussion sets, timbres and GM2 tones.
Reviews are mixed for this product, but most agree it’s a great way to learn without investing in expensive lessons.
- LED lighting
- Lessons and games included
- Compatible with Smart devices
- No weighted keys
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This simple but effective midi keyboard is tiny and weighs less than 2lbs. Super easy to carry around, it also benefits from full-size keys. In addition, the aluminum frame means it’s built to last.
The keyboard simply plugs into any PC or smart device and is ready to go. A great portable option that enables you to play wherever and whenever you feel like it.
Reviews are positive for this keyboard, with emphasis on the power and sound it contains for a small machine.
- Small and transportable
- Compatible with smart devices
- Not many extras
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Another tiny model with a few more features than the previous option. The Donner DMK offers a super-thin appearance and 25 midi keys. The keys are velocity-sensitive which means it’s ideal for music production, beat making and visual synthesizer control.
The air touch bar allows you to an octave up and down which controls the range and pitch, giving creative expression and control.
There are 25 synth-action keys and back lit pads to create authentic-sounding drum beats. It’s powered via a USB bus.
The keyboard works well with extra equipment for music production. There are transport buttons that allow you to easily control your music session. Furthermore, there are 4 memory options that can be used for recalling preset preferences, along with 4 knobs and sliders compatible with music software.
This product comes with fantastic reviews with a focus on value for money and the ease of making fantastic music.
- Velocity sensitive keys
- Air touch bar
- Compatible with music software
- No weighted keys
It can be confusing knowing where to start when searching for your first keyboard, so we’ve put together this guide to make the process a little easier.
There are so many concepts that one needs to grapple with when dealing with choosing a MIDI keyboard such as Faders, knobs, more or less keys, buttons, Addictive Keys, drum pads, modulation, pitch wheels, a navigation screen, and additional features.
It is also important to understand whether you are using a home studio or not
Important to note that this buyer’s guide includes the best midi keyboard controllers.
First things first, prices vary a lot for keyboards, and more expensive doesn’t necessarily mean better quality, so be sure to do your research and read as many reviews as possible to inform your choice.
It may also be worth trying to understand which type of DAW you want to use as this can influence the type of keyboard and keyboard controller that you choose to use. My personal favorite is Ableton Live and FL studio. But to avoid information overload just focus on something simple.
If you would like to get a feel for some decent keyboard controllers for FL studio, then please refer to the following link.
The keyboard action refers to how the keys feel when they are played. Most beginners may not have anything to compare with, but those who have learned or played on a traditional piano will understand the difference.
How many keys you need and use will depend on what you want to do.
Keys that are unweighted mean that they are easier to push down and are ideal for children’s little fingers or for those that have joint problems but still enjoy playing.
On the other hand, weighted keys will feel more like a traditional piano keyboard and may be the preference for some. If you’re unsure, you could locate a music shop and try out both kinds to identify which you find more comfortable.
Most midi keyboard controllers contain what is known as synth-action keys which are designed using plastic and a spring.
In the world of modern technology, you can expect keyboards to be compatible with most smart devices for full functionality. Although at the beginning of your learning journey this may not be hugely important, it will eliminate upgrade needs later on.
MIDI or musician instrument digital interface is fairly common but will differ slightly in what it provides. In electronics, this allows the different programmed virtual instruments to communicate with one another via internal signals; this is a great feature once you become proficient and want to start making some serious music.
A large part of learning is being able to identify mistakes and correct them. With a recording feature, you can listen back to the music you create to help make improvements — it also helps when you decide to start making individual compositions.
Drum pads can help you lay down drums easily and trigger samples when creating your beats.
As most drum pads tend to be velocity-sensitive, they can be played with lots of freedom.
Storage/ Input/ Output
Some keyboards offer storage options, but most storage comes from downloadable software or micro USB cards, so you would need to purchase these separately.
It’s important to choose a keyboard with the right output as this allows the use of extra hardware such as amps, speakers, and microphones.
Output: Here we are primarily referring to the USB port that you can connect to your PC. Though there are other MIDI DIN outputs that allow you to plug into other external hardware such as Stereo Keyboard amplifiers and synthesizers.
Budget will be one of the main factors to consider when acquiring a midi keyboard and midi controller. It is important to decide what you want and what you want to use it for. This will help you save money and get the best deal for your money. Midi keyboard and Midi keyboard controllers range from $100 and $500. So you can shell out quite a bit of money and it is important to choose well.
Sound And Size
Sound is predominantly the most important feature of a keyboard. most MIDI Keyboards do not have speakers. The best keyboards are those that can produce the same quality sound as a traditional piano.
The word polyphony refers to how many sounds a keyboard can produce at one time, and you may see it used in product descriptions.
The size of keyboards varies greatly. If you want the full works then you can buy full-sized keyboards with weighted keys which will give you a more traditional piano experience, however, they are often limited and have fewer options in terms of electronic music production that are a feature of lighter unweighted options.
You can find many all-in-one options on the market that include accessories you’ll need as a beginner, however, if not you’ll have to purchase them separately. Equipment such as stands for the keyboard and sheet music can be found in any good music shop.
However, as a beginner, I believe that you should focus on getting a starter midi keyboard to begin the journey of music production. Fortunately, beginner midi keyboards are inexpensive.
All else equal more controls and keys are better for a controller. Key types are very important for keyboard feel.
Those beginning their journey in music production may search for VSTS and free Digital audio workstations (DAW). It would be advisable for you to get a controller that includes both of these.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I Purchase A Workstation Or Arranger Or Synthesizer Keyboard?
This will largely depend on your individual budget. Workstations are more pricey and come with an integrated computer for those that move onto composition and advanced playing. They can be programmed to play composed music automatically and are often used by professionals.
They contain weighted keys so if you think you may continue onto an advanced keyboard playing a workstation keyboard is a good investment.
An arranger keyboard is a great option if you want auto-accompaniment, but only once you’ve mastered how to play at a basic level it’s not the best choice for a complete beginner.
A synthesizer is a great choice for beginners. It’s electronic and produces varying sounds from different musical instruments. They are usually small and portable, and great if you’re interested in playing in a band or with other musicians. It’s important to pick the right one, as there is a huge range in terms of quality with electronic keyboards.
Will I Need An Amplifier ?
As a beginner, you will not need to purchase a separate amplifier. The sounds produced by a keyboard will be suitable in the beginning stages of learning. However, as you get more proficient you may want to invest in a good quality amplifier for an all-inclusive experience, especially if performing publicly.
Do The Number Of Keys Really Matter?
Yes, the number of keys does matter. Typically, a keyboard will come with 66, 72 or 88 keys. As a beginner, you won’t need more than 66 keys, and at an advanced level, 72 is ample. However, 88 is ideal if you want to move on to playing a real piano once you’re proficient.
Many keyboards have fewer than the standard 66 such as synthesizers, especially those that are primarily used for organ music. In a professional setup, keys can be shifted up and down to be played in specific ranges.
It is exciting to start a new hobby and if music is a big part of your life then you’ll enjoy the challenge. This guide should help you make an informed choice of which keyboard to purchase to help you start on your learning journey.
If you are not, particularly into midi keyboards then perhaps midi controllers might be worth considering or pursuing.