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Music is amazing.
There are so many fantastic lessons a child can learn from music, whether it’s the importance of practice and consistency, finding their own creative voice and expression, the value of experimentation or otherwise.
I have no doubt that you want to start your child off on the right foot.
So, what keyboard should you purchase for your child?
Here’s more details on the best keyboards for kids aged 1 to 15.
Best Keyboards For 1 Year Olds
Even babies love the sound of music.
Although they may be more fascinated by the prospect of making noise versus making music, you can at least get them accustomed to fiddling with a toy resembling a real instrument.
And, some babies even learn to follow along with the clever play-along modes featured on some toys. It’s amazing to watch.
So, let’s look at the best keyboards for one-year-olds.
Ohuhu Multi-Function Keyboard, Xylophone, Drum Set
This keyboard comes with 18 learn-along songs (10 classical and eight nursery rhymes) and multiple sound effects (xylophone, guitar, trumpet and piano).
It also doubles as an educational tool thanks to the colors, numbers and animals and comes with a whack-a-mole game, three kinds of drum beat modes and more.
With this toy, your little one can get an early start in music and we all know how important music is to a child’s development. Sadly, the education system doesn’t prioritize it as much anymore.
The Ohuhu is affordable and versatile – the perfect toy to keep your child occupied for longer stretches of time.
Baby Einstein Discover & Play Piano Musical Toy
It doesn’t get much simpler than this.
The Baby Einstein musical toy introduces instruments, numbers and animals to your baby. Good things can come in small packages.
The soft cloth piano keys respond easily to touch, and the volume control is powered by 3AA batteries.
In Instrument mode, it’s possible to produce drum, violin and horn sounds. In Numbers mode, your child can learn numbers one through five in English, Spanish and French.
And, in Animal Discovery mode, your baby can listen to meows, woofs and quacks.
Additionally, the lights respond to the rhythm of the melodies.
Simple and affordable, the Baby Einstein is sure to please.
Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Silly Sounds Light-Up Piano
The Fisher-Price piano features four modes – piano notes, quacks, moos and song learning mode. Each mode can be accessed using the slider.
The numbered keys activate the various lights, songs and sounds. The toy comes with a carrying handle and is also quite durable.
Some parents have found the eight keys to be an advantage, as many toy pianos feature fewer. Eight isn’t too few or too many – it’s just right.
The Fisher-Price is great for little ones aged six to 36 months and is highly rated by customers.
Best Keyboards For 2 To 4 Year Olds
Two- to four-year-olds can sometimes handle toy keyboards with a little more sophistication, especially those who’ve already played with more rudimentary toys for a year or two.
There’s no reason to rush into full-on instruments just yet. It’s important for kids to have fun as they are learning, and simplistic keyboards allow them to explore and discover all on their own.
So, here are some of the best keyboards for kids aged two, three and four.
VTech Record And Learn KidiStudio
The VTech Record and Learn KidiStudio keyboard is feature rich to say the least.
It allows kids to record and playback their own music. It comes with a real microphone and voice changer. It includes a variety of fun sounds, like drums, whammy bar and scratch disc.
It also features 40+ songs and sound effects and the lights teach children how to play jazz, techno and rock and roll.
The karaoke toy also teaches tempo, rhythm and melody.
For active kids, this is a great toy and is sure to keep them busy for hours. Reportedly, some of the sounds are a bit annoying though – adults be forewarned.
The VTech is another versatile, highly rated product.
Best Choice Products 37-Key Kids Electronic Musical Instrument Piano Toy Keyboard
Available in blue and pink, the Best Choice Products keyboard is another multi-function toy.
The 37-key keyboard lights up as you play and comes with a working microphone and stool. It features eight sounds, including piano, violin, music box and trumpet.
It includes five drum sounds and eight rhythm patterns, including slow rock, rock, disco, blues, samba and more. It also includes four animal sound buttons including cat, dog, frog and bird.
Kids can even record and playback their own creations.
Reviews are a little mixed, but overall, good. Some have mentioned issues with the stand or stool, depending on the child.
The Best Choice Products toy could be just the ticket. Have a look.
Amy & Benton Multifunctional Electronic Toy Piano With Microphone
The plastic-made Amy & Benton toy piano comes with 24 keys, eight percussion instruments, four musical instruments, four accompaniment styles, four rhythm lights, three guide modes, 22 demo songs, “play & record” mode, karaoke and LED lights.
This is a fun and elegant looking toy keyboard even adults can enjoy. There’s so much you can do with it.
Overall, the Amy & Benton is a highly rated product and is sure to produce hours of fun for your toddler.
Top Keyboards For 5 To 7 Year Olds
Children aged five to seven may do just fine with some of the keyboards already mentioned. But generally, they are ready for more.
At this stage, it’s perfectly fine to buy mini keyboards that resemble real, full-sized instruments. Of course, it’s still good to look for features that make playing fun and interactive.
And, if your child is fast becoming a little Mozart, they’ll enjoy playing with more robust instruments.
Here are some of the best keyboards for kids aged five, six and seven.
Casio SA-46 46-Key Portable Keyboard
The Casio SA-46 features 32 mini keys, eight-note polyphony (up to eight notes can be played simultaneously), 50 play along tracks, five drum pads and a headphone output.
It also features 100 timbres and 50 rhythms as well as a piano and organ sound.
This is the perfect practice tool and is accommodating of smaller hands. Perfect for experimentation and discovery.
Reviews are almost all positive for the Casio.
aPerfectLife Kids Piano, 32 Keys Multifunction Electronic Kids Keyboard With Microphone
The aPerfectLife kids piano comes with 32 keys, 22 demo songs, eight rhythms, eight tones, four percussion sounds, four samba sounds, tempo and volume control, record & playback, sustain & vibrato, chord control, automotive sleep and more.
The 22 demos include plenty of familiar songs like “Fleece”, “Happy Birthday”, “Song of Joy”, “Go Home”, “Bee”, “Joy to the World”, “Clementine”, “The Song of an Abundant” and more.
The eight tones are made up of piano, organ, violin, trumpet, mandolin, bell, music box and guitar.
The eight rhythms are slow rock, rock, new age, disco, march, waltz, samba and blues and the four percussion sounds are bass drum, snare drum, hi-hat and cymbal.
This keyboard is a practice machine with a lot of great features. It’s affordable too. Customers say the sounds are decent at best and some have had issues with the microphone.
But overall, the aPerfecLife keyboard is a solid choice.
eMedia My Piano Starter Pack EK05103
The eMedia My Piano Starter Pack comes with an interactive My Piano CD-ROM and bonus DVD and full-motion videos that teach kids various songs and techniques.
It comes with 49 keys, speakers, USB cable, animated keyboard, digital recorder, metronome and over 100 software-based lessons.
This keyboard is for your little Beethoven who’s showing promise as a keyboardist, piano player or musician in general.
It’s a fun and easy-to-use keyboard that’s great for beginners. It could be a little overwhelming for children just getting started, mind you.
Most customers seem satisfied with their purchase of this eMedia product.
Best Keyboards For 8 To 13 Year Olds
Kids eight and up with a little bit of experience might be ready for more. Their hands are also growing.
Keyboards listed in the previous section may work just as well for them depending on their development, but if you think your child might be ready to graduate to 61 keys, these keyboards are worth a look.
Here are some of the best keyboards for eight- to 13-year-olds.
RockJam 561 61-Key Electronic Keyboard Piano SuperKit With Stand, Stool, Headphones & Power Supply
The RockJam electronic keyboard is a full-size, 61-key keyboard with standard key size and LCD screen, record and playback, 100 sounds, 100 rhythms and 50 demo songs.
The LCD display shows which keys to press when playing demo songs as well as what pace you should be playing at.
It also comes with high-quality headphones (although they’re not noise cancelling), a durable and padded stool, an adjustable keyboard stand, and power supply.
It includes one month’s free membership to the Simply Piano app (for iOS and Android) as well as two months’ worth of face to face lessons.
This RockJam offering is a super kit indeed. Customer reviews seem to indicate that it’s not the sturdiest kit available, but aside from that it has good reviews.
Hamzer 61-Key Portable Electronic Keyboard Piano With Stand, Stool, Headphones & Microphone
A direct competitor to the RockJam 561, the slightly more affordable Hamzer keyboard offers much of the same great functionality.
It comes with built-in speakers with 255 timbers, 255 rhythms, 61 keyboard percussions, 24 demo songs, stereo outputs and headphone jack.
The 61 standard sized keys offer a traditional and authentic feel and even comes with transparent stickers for marking notes – a great learning tool.
The Hamzer also gives you the ability to select chord timbre, program/edit rhythm and the use of effects like vibrato, sustain and ensemble. It has rhythm sync, fill-in, tempo adjustment and master volume control too.
The microphone allows you to record and playback and the stand and stool are easy to set up.
This is a great keyboard for kids and has great reviews. If the RockJam doesn’t capture your imagination, the Hamzer might.
Yamaha PSR-E263 61-Key Portable Keyboard
If you’re looking for a more simplistic option, the Yamaha PRS-E263 might be just what your child needs.
It comes with 61 full-sized keys, aux line input that allows you to connect any device with a headphone output, tone generating technology and AWM stereo sampling.
It also features a library of 400 instrument voices, 130 auto accompaniment styles, duo mode for playing with a partner and onboard lessons.
It’s important to note that the power supply is sold separately, but it can be purchased as a bundle.
Most reviewers feel this is a good beginner keyboard but have pointed out minor issues like a lack of touch sensitivity.
But overall, the Yamaha is another worthy contender on this list.
Best Keyboards For 14 To 15 Year Olds
Although not grownups yet, children 14 and up are starting to become little adults and could even be quite comfortable on proper, full-sized keyboards.
That doesn’t mean kids in this age range are ready to be adults. They’re still finding themselves, and they still want to have fun – lots of fun. They’re still developing too.
But as far as keyboards go, they might be ready for more. If not, you can always start them off on a mini keyboard instead.
Anyway, let’s look at a few 61-key keyboards that have a little more to offer.
Yamaha EZ-220 61-Lighted Key Portable Keyboard Package With Headphones, Stand And Power Supply
The Yamaha EZ-220 premium bundle includes the 61-key keyboard, Samson HP30 closed-back stereo headphones, World Tour PA-130 power supply and World Tour SXKS keyboard stand – basically everything you need to get started.
The keys are touch-sensitive, lighted keys. It comes with a transpose function, 392 high-quality instrument voices, 100 accompaniment styles, 100 built-in songs and one demo song.
It also comes with a fingering guide, Yamaha Education Suite and EZ-220 Page Turner app for iPad. It allows for a maximum of 32 polyphony.
The Yamaha is certainly comparable to the RockJam and Hamzer keyboards mentioned earlier, though it does carry a higher price tag, presumably because of its slightly higher quality.
Customers say the keyboard is great while the extras leave something to be desired. You may choose to buy separate headphones and stand.
Another great learning tool, the Yamaha might just be what your 14- or 15-year-old needs to grow as a musician.
Alesis Melody 61 MkII – 61-Key Portable Keyboard With Built-In Speakers, Headphones, Microphone, Piano Stand, Music Rest And Stool
Another all-in-one bundle, the Alesis Melody 61 MkII is affordable and highly rated.
It comes with 61 responsive piano style keys, built-in speakers, 300 built-in tones with layer and split modes and one touch song mode with 300 built-in rhythms.
It gives you the ability to play along with 40 demo songs or even create our own, and of course with all the necessary accessories including a stand, bench, headphones, music rest, power adapter and microphone.
It’s a good keyboard, but the sounds, reportedly, aren’t the best.
Still, the Alesis could be great for your young, aspiring pianist.
RIF6 61 Key Electric Keyboard With Over Ear Headphones, Music Stand, Digital LCD Display, Teaching Modes And Adjustable Stool
The RIF6 keyboard comes with 61 full size keys, 300 tones, 300 rhythms, 50 demo songs and optional percussion and drum sound kit.
It also features over ear headphones to eliminate sound leak, keyboard stand and padded piano stool. The teaching function helps you practice your chords and learn popular songs.
The recording feature allows you to record yourself so that you can hear yourself play and improve upon your performance.
There are no negative reviews for the RIF6, which is certainly saying something. Worth a look.
What Should I Look For In A Keyboard For My Child?
We’ve covered a wide range of toy pianos and keyboards for developing children. That being the case, there are no catch-all solutions.
It’s important to choose an instrument based on your child’s age, experience, hand size and motivation level.
Tone and playability might be major factors for more experienced musicians, but it doesn’t matter as much for younger, beginner players. So, we won’t be exploring those criteria in detail here.
Further, you don’t need a large budget to purchase a starter keyboard, so that probably won’t be a major deciding factor for you either. We’ll leave that to you.
With that in mind, here are some things worth thinking about.
Your Child’s Age
We’ve highlighted numerous keyboards for children of different ages and skill levels.
Parents should always be mindful of purchasing tools that are suited to the job.
It’s easy to get overzealous about our kids and it’s usually coming from a good place of wanting to set them up for success.
But maybe they won’t become the next John Legend. And, you need to be okay with that, because you don’t want to force it upon them.
Maybe they’ll find that playing an instrument relaxes them and they’ll play in their spare time. Maybe what they learn on piano will help them in other areas of life or even their careers.
Playing keyboard doesn’t need to lead to a career in music and it can still benefit a child’s life.
It’s best not to have too many expectations going in. If your child loves playing piano, you can encourage that. If they don’t enjoy it, you can help them find something else. Be supportive regardless.
This is coming from a music teacher of over a decade, so I hope you take this to heart.
Now, here’s some practical advice.
Best to stick to the simple, rudimentary toy pianos introduced in this guide.
Children aged 12 and up are generally ready for a standard beginner keyboard, although that is not always the case.
If you aren’t sure yet, you can always start your pre-teen or even teen off on a mini keyboard, like the Casio SA-46, and if they show interest, you can upgrade to something more robust later.
And, don’t forget about the in between options for kids aged five to 13. These can be immensely valuable depending on your child’s growth and development.
At any level, fun should be a priority. After all, music is supposed to be fun. Don’t make it a chore. Keep it enjoyable.
The good news is that – as you can see from the above – there are keyboards suited to children of any age and many of them come with lessons that can help your child learn all on their own. How convenient!
Your Child’s Experience Level
I can only talk in hypotheticals here, but I’m mindful that a variety of scenarios exist.
You may have a child who’s been playing various iterations of keyboards or pianos from the age of five and now has five years of experience behind them.
Or, you might be looking to buy a keyboard for a 13-year-old who’s just getting started.
The point is that you probably wouldn’t give a 13-year-old a toy piano, and you wouldn’t give a five-year-old a full-size 61-key keyboard.
There are always exceptions, of course, and it’s important to be mindful of that.
But your child’s experience level could certainly be a factor, to the extent that you might get an experienced 10-year-old a 61-key keyboard early, because they’re showing a lot of promise and they love music.
Generally, at this level, keyboards aren’t a huge investment, so that shouldn’t be too much of a factor. But I understand that you don’t necessarily want to put money into something that hardly gets used.
That’s why, again, a mini keyboard can be a great compromise. Maybe not a catch-all solution but close. Even children with small hands can have a lot of fun with them.
Anybody can learn on a mini keyboard – even an adult. You can test things out, see how it feels and whether you enjoy it, and if not, move on without having lost much.
And, let’s be realistic here too.
If your 15-year-old has been playing for 10 years and is taking lessons, playing at recitals and even performing, it might be time to get them something better than a $200 keyboard.
Someone like that is probably going to be playing piano for a long time to come and may even go to music school. Maybe not, but they will appreciate a better-quality instrument, nonetheless.
Be flexible. Again, we want to be supportive of our children and their talents and passions.
Your Child’s Hand Size
Everybody develops at a different rate and there’s nothing wrong with that. Some people have small hands well into adulthood.
I admit that I don’t have the biggest hands in the world, even though I’m 6’2” tall. I don’t have small hands, but they certainly aren’t big.
This doesn’t mean that your child can’t learn to play on a full-size piano. Not at all. Anybody who has the determination or passion to learn can pick up an instrument and become great at it.
Hand size is rarely if ever an obstacle that can’t be overcome in some way, shape or form.
But it’s important that you don’t get too ambitious in this regard.
“They will grow into it”, is a statement often thrown around by parents.
That may be true, but it’s still a good idea to get an instrument that’s suited to your child right now.
If you want your child to (eventually) learn songs, chords, bass lines and not just melodies, they will need to work on their technique on a keyboard that’s easy for them to play.
That’s why so many toy pianos and keyboards exist in the beginner market. They serve different needs.
Your Child’s Motivation Level
This probably won’t be much of a factor for younger children. Everything is new to them and they are only just beginning to discover how the world works.
They will spend hours on anything that intrigues and fascinates them. I remember playing with my toy penguin slide endlessly as a kid.
If your child is motivated to learn and they’re showing stick-to-itiveness, then don’t be afraid to upgrade over time. A better keyboard can help them advance quicker.
If your 10-year-old isn’t showing a lot of motivation but likes to play the keyboard here and there, you don’t need to rush to the store for their next keyboard yet.
Again, since everyone develops differently, your child may show more interest later. They may not. Either way, you can still support them on their journey.
Never forget that music is supposed to be fun. It shouldn’t be a chore. I already said that, but it bears repeating.
When a child enjoys something, they are more likely to keep at it. And, if they keep at it, they will get better at it.
The bottom line here is that you should be prepared to spend more on a child that likes piano and wants to keep going with it.
You can save your money if that’s not the case but again, things may change down the line.
How Important Is The Quality Of The Keyboard For Kids?
Since we’re talking about beginner instruments or toy pianos, the answer is “not that much”.
If the keyboard is responsive, easy to play and produces a decent sound, in many cases it should more than suffice. This is especially the case for younger children.
It’s a little different for a young one who’s quickly developing into a skilled musician.
Now, this certainly won’t come without practice, consistency and dedication. But a child is like a sponge, capable of absorbing a lot of information and developing new techniques quickly.
For a child like that, especially one exceeding the age of 12, the importance of a quality instrument increases.
When you’re still new to an instrument, you can’t tell the difference between a cheaper instrument and a quality instrument.
But over time, with experience, you notice.
A child who’s been putting a lot of practice in over the course of several years is sure to hit a bit of a plateau with cheaper keyboards.
Even they may not be able to express it, but they may not be sure where to take things from where they are to the next level.
You’ll certainly want to gauge many of the points already raised, such as their experience and motivation level.
But if you get the sense that your child wants to keep playing and advancing, the quality of instrument matters.
Better quality instruments offer two major advantages – better feel and better sound.
An instrument with better-quality, responsive keys can help your young player articulate and perform better.
Likewise, better sounds are more inspiring. Cheaper keyboards can be decent, and I’ve played a few myself, but if the instrument doesn’t naturally sound good, it can kill motivation.
Now, when taking the leap from a $200 instrument to an $800 instrument, for example, your child may not feel at home with it at first.
It’s only natural. Where a $200 keyboard might simulate the feel and sound of a real instrument, a $800 digital piano is bound to be more realistic in its construction. It will sound and feel more like a real piano.
That takes some getting used to.
So, the essence of it is that sound doesn’t matter that much to kids who just want to have fun.
It’s a different matter entirely if they are loving music and are becoming an accomplished musician all their own.
Can A Child Really Learn To Play Piano Or Keyboard All On Their Own?
I admit that this can be a can of worms.
Most if not all products mentioned here are educational in nature, meaning they have built-in lessons, play along features, demo songs and/or practice modes.
Using these as a guide, your child can certainly achieve a level of proficiency on the instrument.
You might be worried that a child will end up relying too heavily on rote memorization or muscle memory instead of developing important skills like sight-reading.
But in my experience, playing an instrument is more muscle memory than just about anything else.
It’s about repeating a phrase, a melody, a riff, a chord or other skills and techniques until you’ve got them under your fingers.
Again, as I’ve already said, a child is like a sponge, capable of taking in a lot of information and learning new techniques relatively quickly.
So, I don’t think there’s any major danger in that sense. But this is where things can get a little tricky.
If a child has spent all their time memorizing how to play something, when they eventually start taking lessons, they will need to develop another new skill – reading sheet music.
This will be entirely new to them. And, their teacher will certainly assist them in the process, but some kids may find this a little frustrating.
With a lot of support and encouragement, however, they can overcome this hurdle.
Another aspect of learning with a teacher is proper posture and technique.
Let’s say, for example, your child has been playing keyboard for seven years. That can amount to a lot of experience if they’ve been playing consistently.
In some cases, your child’s technique might be fine, and the teacher won’t have to correct them.
In some cases, some minor adjustments might be more than enough.
But in other cases, with the help of a teacher, your child may end up having to relearn proper technique. Again, that can be frustrating, especially for a kid who’s been playing a certain way for a long time.
It’s worth learning proper technique. But unlearning bad habits can be a longer process.
Maybe you’re not thinking that far ahead, or maybe your child has no aspirations of pursuing music as a career, a part-time job or even as a hobby. That’s okay, too. There’s no way to see that far ahead.
So, there are no easy answers here but if a child’s motivation level is high, then they’ll have no problem pushing through a few obstacles.
And, their experience will certainly be an asset as they engage in lessons, recitals, performances and so on.
To an extent, technique isn’t everything. Someone with “bad habits” can still go on to become an amazing self-taught instrumentalist. This is rare but not unheard of.
A child can learn on their own, to a point. But if they want to play with an orchestra, play professionally or otherwise, they may encounter certain challenges that need to be overcome later.
Top Keyboards For Children, Final Notes
Good on you for wanting to give your child an education in music, even if it’s just a rudimentary one.
As I mentioned earlier, music used to be a significant part of a child’s education. But arts programs are either being trimmed or cut entirely from school curriculums.
If you aren’t proactive about supplying your child with the opportunity to learn, they may never have the chance to engage in the art of making music.
Start them early and see what happens. They might just blossom into a great little musician.