Making the decision to introduce your children to music can be one of the greatest joys you can experience. It’s amazing to see little ones get into new forms of art, and music is something that everyone can enjoy.
But there are a ton of keyboards out there, and with so many options, how can you possibly know how to get the right one for your child? It can be an overwhelming decision, which is why we crafted this article just for you.
In fact, when it comes to a beginner keyboard for kids, you should look for a couple of different things. First, it should look fun and not overly complicated. Second, it should be able to assist your child in learning about the notes and melodies, sort of like a teacher.
So in this article, I’ve going to recommend you five great keyboards that would be great options for a child to use and learn from. I’ll also go into quite a lot of depth as to how I arrived at my decision, as well.
And below, please be sure to check out our interactive table, which includes some of our favorite beginner keyboards that are aimed at kids.
|Casio PX-S1100||192-note polyphony; 18 built-in tones|
|Yamaha P-45||64 Note Polyphony|
|Yamaha NP12||Uses Six AA Batteries|
|Yamaha P-515||40 Voices, 18 Drum/FX Kits, 480 XG Voices|
|Yamaha NP32||Graded Soft Touch (GST) Keyboard|
|Casio CDP-S350||700 built-in tones|
|Korg LP-380 U||Now features USB Audio/MIDI|
|Yamaha DGX 670||601 Voices, 29 Drums, SFX Kits|
And now, let’s get started by talking about a First Act keyboard.
5. First Act MI071
The First Act MI071 is a great low budget keyboard for kids. It’s light with durable plastic, and it can take a bit of a beating. A normal piano has 88 keys, and while this one only has 54, most kid’s songs only require around ten notes with both hands, so this is not a problem.
The sounds are actually pretty good, considering this is a very cheap electric keyboard. It has a pretty nice piano sound to it, and while it doesn’t really change based on how hard you press the keys, this is something that becomes more important later on in musical lessons.
One thing I love about this keyboard is that there are drum sounds you can play along to. Kids love playing real songs, and this keyboard allows you to practice playing along with other musicians without the loudness of a real drum set. It also comes with some fun, albeit kind of cheesy demo songs, where you can listen to the full songs in order to get inspired, or even play along to it. One cool feature is that you can record simple things and play them back. This can be really wonderful for inspiring kids to write their own songs. However, this keyboard doesn’t do much in the way of actually teaching.
Because it’s a cheaper keyboard, it doesn’t have much in the learning department, compared to something like the Yamaha PSR-E253, which comes with the Yamaha educational suite. You’d probably need a lesson book as an accompaniment to it. But because there are several different fun sounds to choose from, and the fact that it looks likes a really cool keyboard but is still simple makes it a great first introduction into playing the piano, especially if your kid is little and you’re not looking to spend hundreds, simply because you’re not sure if they will like it.
Out of 5 stars, I’d give it a 3, only because the features are still somewhat limited. But you get what you pay for, and for the money it’s still good.
Before we move on, take a look at some of the best-selling keyboards currently on available online:
|1) Yamaha P-45|
|2) Casio PX-360|
|3) Alesis Recital Pro|
|4) Casio CDP-S350|
|5) Casio PXS-1100|
4. Huntington KB54
With the same amount of keys but with a lot more sounds and drum options, you could pick up the KB54 for your kid. The demos sound much better than the First Act’s, while there are also over 100 sounds to choose from.
Some of these sounds aren’t very good, but the piano still sounds really nice overall. The speakers are a little louder than the ones on the First Act too, so if you’re looking for something that you can hear much more clearly, this one is worth it.
There’s a neat little screen that I like, that displays all of the information you need to know about the demo, drum beat, or voice you’ve selected. It indicates tempo as well, which you can change by scrolling through a button that allows you to change it 6 BPM at a time, so your child can practice playing at different speeds.
Now, there’s also a really fun demo guide button that allows you to play along with the demo without messing up. This can be a great way to feel like you’re doing really well, as the keyboard can inspire kids who need some extra encouragement.
This keyboard also has a recording function, which of course allows you to hear back anything you play. Simply press record, start playing, and then after you’re done, press the button for playback, and it automatically plays it back for you without any gaps. It’s a great feature and it’s a lot of fun. I also like the chord mode, which isn’t really doable on the First Act. It allows you to play a chord with only one finger, and you can do this while playing along to a drumbeat, so it’s like playing with a real band. Of course, the sound quality is far from professional, but it’s not bad at all for a $60 keyboard.
Because of the extra features, this keyboard is a little better than the First Act in my opinion. It’s definitely a solid 3.5 out of 5 stars, and is great for kids.
- You can read our review of the Huntington KB61 right here.
3. Alesis Melody 61
This 61 key keyboard designed for beginners is actually a bundle. It comes with headphones for private practice, a stand, a sheet music rest, a bench, a microphone, and a power adapter.
One thing I love about the Melody 61 is that the keys are really light. For kids, pushing down heavy, weighted keys isn’t fun, and their fingers will get tired. But with the light keys, it makes everything just a little bit easier.
Now, there are some songs you can learn on this keyboard. There are ten of them, and you can use the screen to follow along with the songs. There’s a record feature, which is pretty easy to understand, although I don’t know if kids under five years old would get it.
Still, really little ones would have plenty of fun enjoying one of the 200 sounds to choose from, including pianos, synths, drums, and more. These sounds are better than the Huntington’s, mainly because the reverb is brighter and isn’t as dull sounding. All of the sounds are very clean.
You can record into the keyboard with the microphone practice your singing, so this can be a great bundle simply because it’s multipurpose. You’ll also save money because you won’t have to buy a bench or headphone or even a stand. It all comes in the package.
With some other keyboards, like the Yamaha PSR-E253, whose learning function is admittedly a little clearer, you can buy these extras, but it costs more money. For this price, a bundle like this is a really great value.
It’s not too heavy either, at just under seven pounds. Moving it around to play in different rooms or playing for the grandparents in the kitchen won’t be too difficult. When it’s late at night and you need to sleep, getting the kid to use the headphones to mute the speakers can be a real benefit as well.
This keyboard takes six AA batteries, but I would recommend that you simply plug it into the wall. This will make it easier, and you won’t have to worry about getting new batteries for it all of the time. Of course, if you need to take it with you on the road, then the battery option is an excellent addition.
This is definitely a wonderful practice keyboard, and could definitely be used even while taking lessons from a professional piano teacher. The sounds are really great and all of the accessories included make it a nice deal.
My only complaint is that the learning function isn’t the most ideal for kids. But if they’re taking lessons and practicing from a book, that’s no problem. 4 out of 5 stars.
2. Yamaha PSR-E253
I had a tough time deciding which would be ranked at the second slot in this review—the Alesis Melody 61 or the Yamaha PSR-E253. Ultimately I decided that this keyboard is the better investment for your kid, and let me explain in detail why I feel this way.
Yamaha has a really great learning suite. There are four things you can learn while playing along to one of the many different educational songs. First, you can practice timing, meaning that you can practice playing the note at the proper time within the song.
Next, you can practice listening, in which you can copy the patterns demonstrated by the keyboard.
Third, you can practice waiting in order to learn how to slow down and learn when not to play, which is equally important in music.
Lastly, you can learn about all of the different chords using the chord dictionary. The keyboard will play a chord for you, highlighting the keys that are part of the chord. Then you can simply play the chord one note at a time, and it will congratulate you when you’ve successfully done it. This kind of interactive learning is nearly as good as having an actual teacher there. Of course, the screen is a little small and sometimes it’s hard to see what’s going on on it, but most of the time it’s not a problem.
If you’re a beginner and would like to learn how to play chords, please click here.
The sounds are really great. In case you didn’t know, Yamaha is famous for their grand piano sounds, and the ones on this keyboard are quite nice. In fact, there are electric piano sounds, guitars, organs, and synthesizer samples to select from.
There are more than enough rhythms to play along to, as well, and they sound almost like real musicians, unlike the more simple rhythms on the KB54 and the First Act. There are almost double the amount of sounds compared to the Melody 61, so if you want your child to have a little more variety, they’ll get it with this keyboard.
This keyboard has an input for headphones as well, but it does not come with them. You can get some cheap ones online to go with the PSR-E253. Unfortunately there’s not as much of a bundle, but you can purchase the other accessories separately.
One feature I really love is the portable grand button. Sometimes kids can get lost in the interface of keyboards and they can get stuck on a drum sound and not figure out how to get back to it. Simply press the portable grand button and you’re back to the default sound.
Overall, the learning function is better than the last three keyboards, there are more sounds to choose from, the keys feel pretty nice for a beginner keyboard, and the overall quality is just a little higher.
I’d give the PSR-E253 a 4.3 out of 5 stars for kids’ keyboards.
- You can read our review of the Yamaha PSR-E253 here.
1) Rock Jam 54
I think it’s really important for kids to be able to learn in a fun way. That’s why I liked the PSR-E253 a lot for kids. But once you see the RockJam 54-key portable electronic keyboard, you’ll see why it’s a clear winner.
It’s all about the learning, and that’s what this guy does best. Piano Maestro is one of the best kids’ music learning programs available. It’s integrated with the keyboard, but rather than using it on the keyboard itself, you can actually download it as an app for your iPad or tablet.
This is great, because as we all know, kids love using tablets whenever possible. You can simply place the tablet on the sheet music stand and play along, getting star grades based on how you did. The app itself is great, it’s full of bright colors and fun characters that help you learn all of the basics, including playing several songs. The RockJam comes with 30 free songs so you can get started with more than enough songs to choose from.
The keyboard itself not only feels great, but it’s light enough for kids to play and the buttons are really easy to press and explore. The LCD screen is backlit, which really helps you see what’s going on. It’s a blue light, which is a little easier on the eyes than a yellow one, but that’s just my opinion.
There aren’t as many sounds on the RockJam. There are 100, which is still a solid amount, and I think a lot of kids like to stick to the piano sounds when they’re learning anyway. And this keyboard is really all about the learning, but it does also encourage performance. You can record your own melodies and also play along to drum beats.
But the main thing for me is the integration with the app. It just helps kids learn, and I think some kids really respond well to the tablet screen, and this is a great way to get them learning and playing. This is also a bundle as well, so it comes with a stand, music rest, headphones, and a bench. It does not come with a microphone, however, which is one way the Melody 61 has an advantage.
If you want the kids to learn, but you don’t want to get lessons, this is really the way to go, especially if you have access to a tablet. If you don’t plan on using the app, I’d say go with the PSR-E253. But because it’s such a great interface with a powerful learning tool, it’s a great buy for any kid. 4.7 out of 5 stars. The RockJam also averaged pretty high reviews by commenters on this blog post.
So depending on your budget, you could get any one of these keyboards. The more you spend, the more you’ll get out of the product. And it also depends on how old your child is. If they’re really little, maybe spending less money will be more beneficial, and going with something like the First Act or the Huntington would be a better option. I’d say for kids seven years old and older, any of the latter three would be a better fit, and they’d get more use and knowledge out of it.
So in review, my top five are:
5. First Act MI071
4. Huntington KB54 54-Key
3. Alesis Melody 61
2. Yamaha PSR-E253
1. RockJam 54-Key
Getting a keyboard for your kid is a lot of fun, and it’s a great way to inspire creativity and maybe even help them discover something they love. Fortunately there are plenty of keyboards for kids that don’t cost more than $200, and there are even some good ones for $100. My ultimate pick is the RockJam, but truly any of them will be great options, depending on your budget.
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