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How do I Choose the Best Music Keyboard?

Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari

The best music keyboard will vary according to your needs, budget, and playing ability. Some keyboard models feature a full 88 keys, while others are smaller, and some keyboards have a variety of features to modify the sound output of the instrument, while others are basic keyboards with synthesized piano sounds only. Remember that full-sized keyboards will be much larger and heavier than compact models, meaning moving the unit may be more difficult. If you will be playing professionally or are an advanced player, a full-sized 88 key music keyboard will be necessary.

Smaller music keyboard models may come in 61-key or 76-key varieties. These models will be lighter and more compact, but you will be limited in what songs you can play. Such keyboards are great for a buyer who is interested in saving space and who will be playing as a hobby only.

Some keyboards have a full 88 keys, while others are smaller.
Some keyboards have a full 88 keys, while others are smaller.

Full-sized keyboards also often feature weighted keys, which means the keys will feel more like those of an actual full-sized piano. The keys for lower notes will feel heavier than those of the higher notes, just like the feel of a full sized acoustic piano. Most full sized keyboards will also be touch-sensitive, which means the harder you press the keys, the louder the sound will be. This feature, again, mimics the sound and playability of a full-sized acoustic piano in an attempt to make the playing experience as similar as possible.

Once you have chosen what size keyboard you need, it is time to examine the features of the instrument. Some models will feature basic accessories such as a metronome, while others may feature more advanced accessories such as recording capabilities, pitch control, multiple playing sounds, and so on. The best music keyboard models will feature a bright, easy-to-read display with controls that are easy to use and menus that are simple to navigate. This will make using the added features much easier and more accessible for practical use during songs.

So many keyboard players use their instrument in conjunction with external synthesizers and accessories that keyboards now feature a variety of inputs and outputs. Be sure these inputs and outputs suit your needs; some inputs and outputs will allow you to hook the keyboard up to a computer or synthesizer, and others may allow you to hook up to external speakers or P.A. systems. Carefully examine the connectivity options and decide which ones you need.

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Discussion Comments


I had a musical keyboard as a teenager, and I had so much fun with it. It was a medium-sized keyboard, and it had a variety of beats that it could play.

I loved experimenting with different rhythms. I would get one going and then choose a sound for the keys. Then, I would write little songs to the beat.

My keyboard even let me record my creations. I could play them back and store them in its memory. That was how my songwriting career began.

Today, I use a full-size keyboard and computer programs to record my music. I will always remember that it all started with that little keyboard, though.


@orangey03 – The keyboard your aunt gave you probably was intended as a musical toy for children. Those small ones have just the very basic functions and are not meant to be truly piano-like.

Most small music keyboards for sale are geared toward young kids. They will have maybe ten or twenty different sounds on them, which usually include some sort of horns, bells, and synthesizer sounds.

These provide great fun for kids who have never had the opportunity to play on a piano before. They are also great for kids who enjoy playing with different sounds.


I always had a problem with music keyboard keys. I grew up playing the piano, and when my aunt got me a small keyboard for Christmas one year, I guess I expected more out of it.

The keys were so lightweight that my fingers slipped around on them at times. With a real piano, I had no trouble holding my fingers in place, but this one seemed more like a toy than an instrument.

I'm sure I would feel differently about a keyboard with weighted keys. I just don't see the point of getting one while I have a real piano in my house.


I had been playing a real piano for years when I decided to get a keyboard. I wanted a full-size one that would sound a lot like the real thing.

One of my concerns while shopping for one was finding one with a sustain pedal. I had become accustomed to using this pedal on the piano to hold out my notes and develop a beautiful hum, and I wanted to have this feature on my keyboard, as well.

I found one that had a pedal that could be plugged into the keyboard. It works just like a piano pedal, though it doesn't hold the sound out for quite as long. It offers just enough sustain for me to play the same songs I did on the piano and get that same sound.

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    • Some keyboards have a full 88 keys, while others are smaller.
      By: NorGal
      Some keyboards have a full 88 keys, while others are smaller.