Top 5 Starter Keyboards

Looking for a new keyboard? Apostolic Praise School of Music has got you covered! There are SO many options out there. What should I go with? Well, that depends on what you are using it for. Let’s look at a few things.

1. WHO ARE YOU PURCHASING IT FOR AND THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU NEED

If you are purchasing it for a small child (that may possibly destroy it) then you will be fine with just a 61 key keyboard. However, if you are purchasing it for a teenager or adult or anyone above the age of let’s say 8 years old (or that is responsible with what you give them), then you need an 88 key keyboard. Trust me on this. You are going to NEED those extra keys. Promise.

This is the MOST important thing.

2. FULL WEIGHT / SEMI WEIGHT VS CHEAPER QUALITY PLASTIC KEYS

Second, the keyboard should have FULL WEIGHT or SEMI-WEIGHT action keys. With these, the keys themselves are much better quality (versus just being flimsy plastic) and will last much longer and they are way less likely to be broken. Full and semi-weight keys are generally one solid piece. On cheap keyboards you can put your finger under the key itself (meaning they can be pulled off or broken pretty easily).

3. YOU NEED A PIANO STAND

Sure you could use a table but it’s awkward. The best thing is to buy an adjustable stand that can be raised or lowered as needed (depending on the height of the person playing it or if they prefer to play standing up or sitting down).

This Pro Series keyboard stand on Amazon is good quality in my experience (so it doesn’t fall down or shake while you are playing or during service LOL).

4. YOU NEED A SUSTAIN PEDAL

It is a necessity – not a luxury. It is part of the instrument. It doesn’t matter how good you are. If you try to play a worship song without one, you will NOT sound good. This is especially frustrating for beginners who sometimes already feel like they do not sound good!

You will also still need to buy a sustain pedal (I personally use this M-audio sustain pedal from Amazon) which is only around $25.00).

You can buy an even cheaper one like this Yamaha sustain pedal from Amazon (which I personally used for YEARS – probably like 10 years – before it finally broke) for around $15.

Most economical 61 key starter keyboard (around $70ish)

RockJam Compact 61 Key Keyboard with Sheet Music Stand, Power Supply – Buy on Amazon here

This may be the MOST economical NEW keyboard option out there.  I would recommend this only for complete beginners who are VERY young OR for people on a very strict budget.  It only has 61 keys.  It does not have full-weight or even semi-weight action keys which is super important in my opinion (and the keys will last much longer and are less likely to be broken if they are full or semi-weight).   You will also still need to buy a sustain pedal (I personally use the M-audio sustain pedal from Amazon) for around $25.00) although you can buy an even cheaper one like this Yamaha sustain pedal on Amazon (which I personally used for YEARS – probably like 10 years – before it finally broke) for around $15.

This keyboard does NOT come with a stand.  You can buy a basic keyboard stand which in my experience is good quality (so it doesn’t fall during service LOL).  I personally use one like this Pro Series one from Amazon

Best 61 Key Keyboard for Kids (around $100ish)

Alesis Melody 61 Key Keyboard Piano for Beginners with Speakers, Stand, Bench, Headphones, Microphone, Sheet Music Stand and 300 Sound – Buy on Amazon here

This is one of my favorite choices for a keyboard for kids under the age of about 7.  It is inexpensive so if they don’t really like piano (or they damage it) then you haven’t invested much.

Also, it comes with HEADPHONES – trust me you will really love this.

AND it has 300 different sounds that the kids can play around with.  Might seem like a worthless thing but most of church music is going to multiple instruments (we call them layers) and AUX keys (which is the second or third keyboard that plays different sounds that you might see at different churches or conferences).

Playing around with the different sounds will help your prodigy learn to distinguish between sounds such as “brass” or “strings” or “electric piano” versus “acoustic piano”.  Fun for now, but actually a very useful thing to learn.

Finally, it also comes with a stand and a bench (some keyboards you have to buy these items separately).

AND it has a cool microphone so they can use the keyboard as an amplifier to sing along with their favorite songs.

Best Semi-Weight 88 Key Keyboard (around $200ish)

Alesis Recital – 88 Key Digital Piano Keyboard with Semi Weighted Keys, 2x20W Speakers, 5 Voices, Split, Layer and Lesson Mode, FX – Buy on Amazon here

If I were going to buy a good starter piano and wanted to only spend around $200ish this is what I would go with.  It has 88 keys which is THE most important thing.  It does not have full-weight keys which is best but it does at least have semi-weighted keys so it will give you a pretty good “real piano” feel which is something you want from day one playing.  The keys are also much sturdier and less likely to break over time than the cheap plastic ones you will find on cheaper quality keyboards.

You will also still need to buy a sustain pedal (I personally use the M-audio sustain pedal from Amazon) for around $25.00) although you can buy an even cheaper one like this Yamaha sustain pedal from Amazon (which I personally used for YEARS – probably like 10 years – before it finally broke) for around $15.

Best Full Weight 88 Key Keyboard (around $300ish)

Alesis Recital Pro – 88 Key Digital Piano Keyboard with Hammer Action Weighted Keys, 2x20W Speakers, 12 Voices, Record and Lesson Mode, FX and Display – Buy on Amazon here

This is THE best (and cheapest) keyboard that has BOTH 88 keys and has full-weight keys (which is super important).  You can plug headphones into (like virtually every keyboard) and this is the keyboard I would buy if I were starting and just wanted to get something inexpensive that feels and sounds like a REAL keyboard.

Remember, full-weight action keys are extremely important because it gives you the “feel” of a real piano which is something you want from day one playing.  The keys are also much sturdier and less likely to break over time than the cheap plastic ones you will find on cheaper quality keyboards.

You will also still need to buy a sustain pedal (I personally use the M-audio sustain pedal from Amazon) for around $25.00) although you can buy an even cheaper one like this Yamaha sustain pedal on Amazon (which I personally used for YEARS – probably like 10 years – before it finally broke) for around $15.

Also this keyboard does NOT come with a stand.  You can buy a basic keyboard stand like this Pro Series from Amazon which in my experience is good quality (so it doesn’t fall during service LOL).

Great At Home Practice or Children’s Church or Home Missions Church Keyboard (88 keys and around $500)

YAMAHA P71 88-Key Weighted Action Digital Piano with Sustain Pedal and Power Supply – Buy on Amazon here

This is a great “at-home practice” keyboard or “children’s church” keyboard or possibly “small home missions church” keyboard.

The most important thing when looking for a good practice piano is that it has all 88 keys.  Please don’t get anything less.  You will need those extra keys.  I promise.

The SECOND most important thing is to get something that has what are called full-weight action keys.  This is extremely important because it gives you the “feel” of a real piano which is something you want from day one playing.  The keys are also much sturdier and less likely to break over time than the cheap plastic ones you will find on cheaper quality keyboards.

The THIRD most important thing is having a sustain pedal (you can just use the basic one that comes with it or upgrade to the sustain pedal I personally use – the M-audio sustain pedal from Amazon – for around $25.00).  This keyboard has all three and is one of my most recommended choices for a keyboard.  This is ALSO a Yamaha keyboard and they tend to last a very long time (even with how violently we church musicians sometimes play – LOL).

One thing this keyboard does NOT come with is a stand.  You can pay extra and get the stand that comes with it (which I would recommend if you are using this with smaller children) OR if you are an adult, you can buy a basic keyboard stand.  Just make sure it’s good quality so it doesn’t fall during service.  I use one like this Pro Series from Amazon personally.

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God bless you and your playing!

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