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With that out of the way, on to the post.
Every day, people flood my email inbox with all sorts of questions about playing piano, my 21-day course and everything in between. One of the most common things they ask me is what I recommend as the best beginner keyboard.
Technically, I already have a piano buying guide out there. But I still hear a lot from people who want to really focus on their keyboard for beginner options. That’s why I decided to do a new video and blog post on exactly what I recommend. I hope you find this information helpful if you’re not sure what the best beginner keyboard is for you!
Old and New Favorites
Once upon a time (okay, 15 years ago) I had an Alesis QS8.2 keyboard. It served me well and held up for years. I have a lot of great memories playing my favorite songs on it, but I’m ready to acquire a new favorite. Let’s take a look at the brand new Alesis Recital that I unboxed in this video:
The Alesis Recital is a full sized keyboard with 88 keys. That means the person playing it can get the full range of octaves that you’d expect even on an acoustic piano.
Could you start out with something smaller? Sure, as long as you have 49+ keys. But getting started with a full set will make you more comfortable with the instrument as a whole.
One thing I noticed right away when taking this keyboard out is how light it was. My old Alesis was definitely a bit clunkier. The Alesis Recital is a more streamlined compromise between function and portability.
A big reason this model is so light is that the keys are semi-weighted. If you’re a beginner, this is a great feature. The keys don’t feel too drastically different from an acoustic piano when you press them. I’d say they feel 70-80% as “real” as fully-weighted keys, but at a drastically lower price.
Getting Set Up
This Alesis Recital came with a power supply cord, a music stand and some user guide-type booklets. What’s the number one additional item that you really will need if you want to play piano with my approach? A sustain pedal. It really helps add dynamics to your sound. (I already had this one, so I didn’t need to purchase one with this new keyboard.)
What else do I recommend you consider when getting set up? Unless you want to place your keyboard on furniture you already have, you’ll need a keyboard stand.
Speaking of standing, did you notice how I stood at the keyboard in my video? I really prefer standing up when I play, so I don’t need a bench. But if you’d rather have the option of sitting down at your keyboard, you’ll need a bench.
If you want to buy your keyboard with all of those items already included, take a look at the entire package here. If not, just make sure you at least have a sustain pedal in addition to the keyboard. And don’t forget your power supply. The best beginner keyboard in the world won’t do much good if you can’t plug it in.
Giving the Best Beginner Keyboard a Spin
Of course, the all-important part of testing this new keyboard was playing it!
As soon as I started playing, I could tell that the keys have a good, substantial feel to them. Did they feel exactly up to the standard of an acoustic piano? Of course not, because they are semi-weighted. But as I often tell my students, it’s better to start out with something reasonably good and budget-friendly.
In most cases, you should avoid investing in a super-expensive instrument if you’re not even sure you’re going to stick with it. If you’re envisioning a beautiful baby grand piano in your living room, or are on the fence about what type of keyboard to buy, here’s what I suggest:
Learn a bit on a more run-of-the-mill instrument first. You can always reward yourself later with something a bit more luxe. Of course, the faster you begin, the faster you can reward yourself. Make sure you check out my free 5-day workbook to get started!
As you probably can tell, I am all about keeping things as simple and streamlined as possible. So it’s fitting that the Alesis Recital follows the same philosophy.
The important features are there, but you won’t find a ridiculous number of buttons and settings. Let’s be honest – who really ever uses those except to fool around? With my approach, you can play real songs of your choice, rather than just fiddle with a bunch of switches and goof off.
All it really took for me to get started on my new keyboard was to plug it in, add my sustain pedal, and turn the power on. And that’s just the way I like it: a lot of bang for your buck, all in one simple, super-convenient setup!
The Best Beginner Keyboard