Best Electronic Keyboard For Beginners
The best electronic keyboard for beginners is most likely an inexpensive one. Determine the child's interest level before you buy. Based on experience, we suggest you get a simple model, no bells and whistles, for around $75 to $100.
Don't get fooled by a salesman who wants to upsell you more features, none of which your child will need. The best electronic keyboard for beginners is one that does the job of interesting your child in the piano. Don't expect more.
What Features Do You Need?
First, get standard width keys, not "mini" keys. A standard piano key is 3/4 inch wide, Many cheaper models, $20 to $75, have "mini" keys. This saves the manufacturer a lot of plastic, but it does nothing for your child. Even the youngest child can span normal width keys. And you will find these cheaper, smaller models have a horrible sound, sort of like a giant, nasal doorbell.
You Need At Least 40 Keys
The standard number of keys on an electronic keyboard varies widely. You want about 46 or 48 keys. If the piano has less than 40 keys, it may be a "mini" model. Even though beginning songs may only utilize the middle of the keys, a few dozen at most, you need about 40 keys at least to play piano games and start exploring theory.
Brands To Look At
There are three main brands to examine: Roland, Yamaha and Casio. Within these three brands, the most important factor is price. For example, Roland may make a 25 key keyboard for $39. But it will most likely have "mini" keys, and a horrible sound.
A better strategy is to examine these three brands and select a model around $100. A model like this will not cost too much, and will allow you to get a better instrument if the child shows real interest.
Features You Don't Need
Salesmen will always try to sell you "weighted keys," a feature that they say makes the instrument "more like a real piano." Kids don't need weighted keys. It's hard enough to get them interested, and the subtle touch factor is not going to seal the deal. Another feature is "velocity sensitivity." This means that you can vary the volume by how you press the key.
Kids are never aware of "velocity sensitivity." They don't need it. It is hard enough to hit the right keys, much less hit them in a certain way. Recording and Auto Play are two features that are utterly useless to a child. They are fun to explore, but they are not worth the expense. All you need is 40+ keys and a realistic piano sound. That's about $99.
You Get It Home, Now What?
Most beginner electronic keyboards include a "songbook" to go with it. But there's a problem. Yamaha, for example, includes a songbook with all models. But the book is written by someone who assumes you can read music. The songs include many black keys, which are mystifying to a child. You're going to need a better starting platform in order for your child to enjoy their piano experience. We suggest you number the keys with removable stickers, as in the drawing below.
Numbers are immediately understandable to a child. Kids get a happy start right away. Try a few songs on the online piano below and you will see how easy it is to get started.