How to Pick the Best Keyboard for Beginners

How to Pick the Best Keyboard for Beginners

Choosing the right keyboard as a beginner is crucial for mastering the art of piano playing. The type of keyboard you start with can greatly influence your learning pace, comfort, and overall enjoyment of music. Whether you are a parent looking into musical instruments for your child, or an adult embarking on your own musical journey, finding the right keyboard is essential.

Why is Choosing the Right Keyboard Important?

  • Impact on Learning: The features of a keyboard, such as key action and touch sensitivity, can significantly affect how effectively you learn the basic skills of piano playing.
  • Comfort: Ergonomically designed keyboards can enhance playing comfort and prevent strain, which is especially important for beginners who practice for extended periods.
  • Musical Enjoyment: A good keyboard offers quality sound and a variety of tones to keep the learning process enjoyable and engaging, which is crucial in maintaining motivation over time.

This guide aims to simplify your decision-making process by explaining different types of keyboards, highlighting key features that matter for beginners, and providing tips on choosing the best model for your needs. By selecting the appropriate keyboard, you can ensure a delightful and fulfilling musical experience that fosters sustained learning and passion for music.

Targeted for:

  • Young Beginners: Find the best starter keyboards with features that accommodate small hands and promote easy learning.
  • Teenage and Adult Learners: Choose keyboards that offer extensive features, from sound variety to recording capabilities, to complement evolving musical techniques.
  • Parents: Make an informed choice with a focus on long-term usability and adaptability for growing children.

By incorporating these elements, we ensure the text is keyword-rich, aligns with what potential readers are searching for (like "best starter keyboards," "keyboard for beginners," and "how to choose a keyboard for learning piano"), and addresses specific concerns that improve search relevance. This approach not only helps in ranking the page better on Google but also in meeting the user's needs more effectively.


Understanding Keyboard Types

Digital Keyboards:

  • Digital Keyboards are electronic and come with various features that are beneficial for beginners. They require less maintenance and can be used with headphones, making them ideal for apartment living.

Digital Keyboard Varieties:

  • Synthesizers: Focus on producing unique sounds and are used more for creating music than learning.
  • Workstations: Are like synthesizers but with more capabilities, suitable for music production.
  • MIDI Controllers: Do not generate sound by themselves and need to be connected to a computer.
  • Portable Keyboards: These are the most common for beginners and usually have built-in speakers, a variety of sounds, and light-weight designs.

Key Features to Consider

Number of Keys: Choosing the right number of keys on a keyboard depends on the user’s musical aspirations and space constraints:

61 Keys: Most beginner keyboards have 61 keys, which is ample for learning basic songs and exercises. These keyboards are compact, making them ideal for small spaces, and are usually the most affordable option. They provide enough keys to play a wide variety of music and are particularly suitable for younger children whose music pieces often don’t require more extensive ranges.

76 Keys: Keyboards with 76 keys offer a greater range that allows for playing more complex pieces. These models are excellent for intermediate players who have outgrown the 61-key layout but aren’t ready to invest in a full 88-key keyboard. They strike a good balance between functionality and portability.

88 Keys: A full-sized keyboard has 88 keys and mirrors an acoustic piano. This number of keys is ideal for serious students who aim to transition to or also practice on acoustic pianos. These keyboards allow for a fully immersive experience and are necessary for playing advanced classical pieces that utilize the full range of the piano.

Touch Sensitivity:

Weighted and Semi-Weighted Keys: Weighted keys mimic the resistance of an acoustic piano's keys, providing a real-piano feel. This feature is crucial for building proper finger strength and technique. Semi-weighted keys offer a middle ground, having a lighter touch than weighted but more resistance than unweighted, suitable for those who find weighted keys too heavy.

Velocity Sensitivity: This allows the keyboard to respond to the speed with which the keys are pressed, changing the volume and tone accordingly. Velocity-sensitive keys are essential for expressive playing and dynamics, helping beginners understand and practice the nuances of soft and loud playing.

Sound Quality:

Sampling Technology: Look for keyboards that utilize advanced sampling technology, as this makes the sounds produced more realistic. High-quality samples enhance the playing experience and make practice sessions more rewarding and enjoyable.

Built-in Speakers: The quality of built-in speakers can significantly affect how the output sounds. Good speakers will deliver clearer, more resonant sound, providing a better approximation of a true piano experience.


32-Note Polyphony: This is the minimum you should look for in a beginner keyboard. It allows you to play up to 32 notes at once, sufficient for most beginner pieces.

64 or 128-Note Polyphony: As skills improve, a higher polyphony count can accommodate the increased complexity of the pieces being played. Keyboards with 64 or 128-note polyphony are capable of handling more advanced compositions where multiple notes and sounds are layered.


Additional Features


Stands: A good stand not only supports the keyboard securely but also places it at the correct height for comfortable playing.

X-Style Stands: These are the most popular type of keyboard stand due to their portability and adjustability. They can be quickly folded down for storage or transport, which is ideal for musicians on the go. However, they might not offer the same stability and fixed height as more robust stands.

Furniture-Style Stands: These stands are heavier, designed to be stationary, and often match the décor of home furniture. They provide a stable setup which is less likely to wobble, making them better for intensive playing. Furniture-style stands often come with or match specific models of keyboards and may include additional compartments for sheet music and other accessories.

Double-Braced Stands: An alternative to X-style, these stands have two rows of tubing for added stability. They are an excellent choice for heavier keyboards and for players who exert more force when they play.

Choosing the right stand will depend on your personal needs, such as the weight of the keyboard, the available space, and whether or not you plan to move the keyboard often.

Pedals: Pedals extend the capabilities of a keyboard by sustaining notes or softening the sound.

Sustain Pedal: The most essential pedal for beginners, it allows notes to ring out longer after your fingers leave the keys. This pedal is crucial for pieces that require notes to be held longer than the natural sound duration of the key strike.

Soft Pedal: This pedal, when engaged, reduces the volume and slightly changes the timbre of the notes played. It's more commonly used in advanced playing but can be beneficial for beginners playing in shared spaces.

Three-Pedal Unit: Advanced keyboards and digital pianos might include a three-pedal unit, mimicking an acoustic piano with sustain, soft, and sostenuto pedals (the latter sustains selected notes while other notes remain unaffected).

For beginners, a sustain pedal is usually sufficient and is critical for practicing most piano pieces, as it helps in learning the proper pedal timing and effects that are fundamental in more advanced pieces.

Music Books: Music books are essential for beginners as they provide structured learning and practice materials.

Investing in a good selection of music books can accelerate learning by providing clear instructions and graded pieces that match the player’s developing skills. They also serve as a valuable resource for practice routines and can be used alongside lessons with a teacher. Risko Music sells a wide variety of music books, including those written by owner, Mike Risko, himself.

Where to Buy and What to Avoid

Where to Buy:

When it comes to purchasing your first keyboard, where you buy it can be as important as the keyboard itself. Choosing the right retailer can provide you with a wealth of resources and support, from knowledgeable staff to comprehensive selections that cater to beginners.

Risko Music – Your Go-To for Keyboards:

In-Store in Ossining: Visiting our store in Ossining allows you to get a feel for different keyboards before making a purchase. We have a wide variety of models specifically suited for beginners, and our friendly, experienced staff are always on hand to answer any questions you might have. They can assist you in choosing a keyboard that best fits your needs and budget, ensuring you make an informed decision with confidence.

Our Store: 144-146 Croton Avenue, Ossining NY 1056
*We are easily accessible by train from NYC, by Beeline Bus, by Ferry from Haverstraw and by Taxi.

Online at If visiting in person isn’t an option, our comprehensive online store,, offers the same wide variety of keyboards. You can browse at your convenience and find extensive product descriptions and reviews to help guide your choice. Our customer service team is readily available to help with any queries, from technical specifications to advice on selecting the right model for your learning style.

Benefits of Buying from Risko Music:

Expert Advice: Whether you shop online or in-store, our staff are passionate about music and committed to helping you find the perfect keyboard. They can explain product features in detail, from key sensitivity to polyphony options, and how these impact your playing experience.

Wide Selection: We carry an extensive range of keyboards from top brands tailored for beginners to advanced musicians. This selection ensures that you can find a keyboard that not only meets your current needs but also grows with you as your skills develop.



Choosing the right keyboard is the first step in your musical journey. By considering the types of keyboards available, the essential features, and where to buy them, you can make an informed decision that balances cost with quality. Remember, the best keyboard for you is one that will meet your needs as you grow as a musician.


Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the best brand of keyboard for beginners?
Brands like Yamaha offer great beginner models that balance cost and features effectively. View Risko Music's Keyboard Inventory

Q: How much should I spend on my first keyboard?
Deciding on a budget for your first keyboard is an important step that can affect your learning experience and enjoyment. The cost of beginner keyboards can vary significantly based on the features, brand, and type of keyboard you choose. Here’s how to determine the best budget for you:

Understanding Keyboard Pricing

Keyboards come in a wide range of prices, typically influenced by:

  • Number of Keys: More keys typically mean a higher price. An 88-key keyboard will generally be more expensive than a 61-key keyboard.
  • Touch Sensitivity and Key Action: Keyboards with weighted keys and advanced touch sensitivity features cost more but are worth the investment for a more realistic playing experience.
  • Sound Quality and Polyphony: Higher sound quality and more polyphony (the number of simultaneous notes the keyboard can play) increase the price but also significantly enhance playability.
  • Extra Features: Built-in lessons, recording capabilities, USB/MIDI connectivity, and other digital features can also add to the cost.

Factors Influencing Your Budget

  • Personal Commitment: How serious are you about learning the piano? If you are highly motivated and plan to play extensively, consider investing in a mid-range to high-end model.
  • Future Needs: Consider a keyboard that you can grow into as your skills develop. It might be more cost-effective in the long run to invest in a slightly more expensive keyboard now rather than needing to upgrade too soon.
  • Age of the Player: For young children, a basic entry-level keyboard is often sufficient to start. Their needs will change as they grow, and investing a lot initially might not be necessary.
  • Access to Additional Equipment: If you already have access to a sustain pedal, bench, or other accessories, you might be able to allocate more of your budget towards the keyboard itself.

Q: Can I learn piano on a keyboard?
Absolutely! Many keyboards come with weighted keys that mimic the feel of an acoustic piano, suitable for learning.

Q: What should I do if I outgrow my beginner keyboard?
Talk to our experts at Risko Music.

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