The piano a keyboard instrument that produces sound by striking strings with hammers is one of the most popular instruments kids can learn to play. It is characterized by its large range and ability to play chords freely which makes it a good starting place for anyone interested in playing music.
If your kid is showing some interest in learning an additional skill, it’s time to support their interest with the right training and grooming. There are some best resources to learn keyboard.
Which One to Choose – Piano or Keyboard
Before moving on to the best resources to learn keyboard, let’s understand the difference between the two instruments – piano and keyboard.
A piano is an acoustic instrument with weighted keys whereas a keyboard is an electric instrument (requiring a power source) with unweighted (lighter) keys than a piano.
Following are the basic differences between the two instruments:
- Sound: Sound options vary depending on if you choose a piano versus a keyboard. The piano is an acoustic instrument, meaning its sound is produced and amplified physically. In comparison, keyboards are electronic instruments with a variety of volume options and often can produce sounds like piano, horns, strings, organs, synthesizers, and more. Since they’re electronic, often require amplification to produce sound, although some models come with speakers built-in. Unlike pianos, keyboards can be made loud or quiet by using their volume knob.
- Touch and Feel: Piano keys are heavier and carry behind them the weight of the hammers. Playing piano may feel more organic, as the pressure applied affects the dynamics of the piece. Keyboard keys are significantly lighter than piano keys, which may make them easier for a beginner, especially a young child who hasn’t yet built up the finger strength to be effective on a larger instrument.
- Longevity and Maintenance: Like a musical Galapagos Tortoise, pianos can last hundreds of years, if they are properly maintained. Maintenace on such instruments is no small feat, as they must be kept safe from damp and mold, restrung occasionally, and repaired as time goes by. Moreover, self-servicing of the instrument is a major part of maintenance which may not be possible for beginners. Digital keyboards can also last for years. While cheaper models may malfunction within a few years, some mid-level to higher-level models may last decades and still play just fine. These keyboards are also going to take significantly less maintenance than a full-size piano. Without keys to tune and hammers to maintain, it is a simple matter of keeping it clean, dry, and not overloading your electric outlets.
- Weight: Pianos are heavy. The smallest one averages 180 – 225 kg, while the larger grand pianos can weigh as much as 500 kg. It makes the piano practically non-portable, especially if they have to go upstairs. Keyboards, by contrast, are usually lightweight enough to be carried by a single person. The setup is simple and they are portable enough to be transported by car from one place to another.
- Functionality: When it comes to functionality, the keyboard has the piano beat in terms of flexibility. Pianos make one sound. They make it in a range of dynamics and notes, but it’s still one general sound. Keyboards, on the other hand, have the ability to have their sound altered and changed to fit all manner of musical needs. They are great for in-home studios that require unique sounds and the ability to plug directly into mixing software.
- Where to buy: Both pianos and keyboards can usually be purchased online or at your local music store. Because of their large size and weight, pianos often need to be moved by professionals for a fee. Since they’re smaller and lighter, keyboards tend to be less expensive to ship, or can be carried out of the store without the need of a professional team.
- Price: Price is the most obvious difference between keyboard and piano. Traditional pianos can range up to the price of a luxury car. They are an investment, not a frivolity. They may be far outside the budgets of beginners or those unsure how long they will stick with this new hobby. Digital keyboards can start out very reasonable, though higher-end models can be as much as a small upright piano.
How to Learn
Following are the four options to learn piano/keyboard (or any other musical instrument):
- Self Teaching option that uses neither technology nor an instructor: Self-Teaching, Do-It-Yourself Methods
- Following standard piano teaching curriculum
- Studying music theory and applying what you learn on the keyboard
- Playing by ear
- Traditional Methods
- The Traditional way guided by an instructor: Taking private lessons with an independent instructor
- Taking private lessons through a piano education center
- The Technological option utilizing technology without an instructor:
- Enrolling in standardized online courses
- Following videos and tutorials
- Utilizing software and apps
- A Hybrid that pairs an instructor and technology together
- Taking private lessons online
Best Resources to Learn Keyboard Online
Ready to dive in? Be sure to get a set of keys in front of you and check out the best resources to learn keyboard online. If you’re new to this instrument, these free online piano/keyboard lessons will be a great place to get started.
1. Piano Lessons
PianoLessons.com is a legacy library of online piano lessons created by the experts at Pianote. This website is a great way to build your foundation and get started on the piano for free.
The website combines guided online tutorials with instructional YouTube videos from its teachers to get you started. If you’re just getting started on your journey, then Piano Lessons is the ideal place to begin.
Next on the list of best resources to learn keyboard is Pianu offers online piano lessons, but its free catalog of song tutorials should get you playing along with your favorite popular songs in no time. It also provides an easy visual aid for translating the keys, and the time you have to press them, into transcribed music. There’s also a free-to-access Fundamentals course, which guides you through the early stages of piano playing.
Skoove is a music learning platform that offers interactive online piano lessons. Skoove operates through any web browser and delivers a library of interactive, expertly designed lessons – controlled via connecting a keyboard or e-piano to one’s computer.
One of the reasons being in the list of best resources to learn keyboard is that Skoove can operate in an acoustic mode so you can use your own keyboard or piano, and the software will listen out for your playing. If you don’t have the instrument yourself, you can use the Skoove virtual keyboard instead.
TakeLessons connects students with private instructors. You can choose to teach lessons wherever you like, including online (via video chat) or traveling to student locations.
Each class is taught live, so there are no pre-recorded sessions. With its two-way streaming service, you can play along with others in the class and get feedback on your performance. TakeLessons offers classes in three categories: Basics, Technique, and Performance making it one of the best resources to learn keyboard for all age categories.
While you can join these live group learning sessions, TakeLessons has courses for a wide range of subjects outside of piano playing too. The free account grants you access to a limited number of sessions and courses.
5. Piano For All
Piano for all is specially designed to take complete beginners to an intermediate level faster than any other method. The Piano for All program allows you to achieve your piano playing goal without wasting time, effort, or money. The best part is anyone of any age can benefit from this program. With Piano for All, you will be able to play your favorite songs within months of using their program.
6. Zebra Keys
ZebraKeys.com is a free resource for learning the piano. It includes dozens of songs with sheet music, ear trainers, note and keyboard trainers, plus links to other websites where you can find further resources.
The great thing about Zebra Keys is that it’s free. You can browse all of the tools and information without even having to sign up, making it a quick and easy way to find basic information. In particular, the blank sheet music might come in useful for beginners who wish to print off and write on documents.
The ear and note trainers might be more useful, however. The tools available here help you in speeding up your notation reading or heightening your scale, chord, or interval ear making it one of the best resources to learn keyboard.
7. Hoffmann Academy
If you’re looking for a kid-friendly online piano method that teaches piano in a fun way, you may just want to check out Hoffman Academy.
This is a video lesson-based course that aims to “empower learners with the knowledge and techniques they need to become true musicians.”
Based on principles such as “ear before eye” and “experience before explanation”, the Hoffman Method’s goal is to produce well-rounded musicians that really understand music. The lessons are accessed through the website, so any device with a web browser and screen big enough to comfortably view the lessons will work.
Another nice thing about this method is that since it’s video-based, there is no need to have a digital piano or deal with cables. The program will work with whatever piano or keyboard you have, though it’s always best to learn on an 88-key, weighted digital piano or an acoustic piano.
8. Playground Sessions
Playground Sessions co-creator and music legend Quincy Jones says that the goal of his course is “to make learning piano as much fun as playing.”
Playground Sessions focuses on teaching people how to play the piano. The company develops an at-home piano learning application that combines interactive expert videos with learning science and artificial intelligence.
The course is based on the idea that those who love listening to music are already familiar with musical concepts – they just don’t know it. Therefore, it uses popular songs to demonstrate principles in a way that is easy to understand and enjoyable.
Piano Learning Apps
Apart from online courses, there are a few good Piano learning apps in the list of best resources to learn keyboard that can be used by beginners to start learning the instrument. Some of the most popular are:
One of the newest of these best resources to learn keyboard is called Flowkey. It’s an app that you download to your PC, iPad, or phone, that teaches you how to play songs on the piano. It contains numerous featured songs, in any category you could think of; classical, pop, R+B, even jazz, and video game music.
Flowkey is mainly aimed at beginners. However, there are lots and lots of advanced pieces of music for those who want to play them but aren’t yet able to read music well enough.
2. Simply Piano
Simply Piano is a fast and fun way to learn piano, from beginner to pro. Works with any piano or keyboard. Chosen as one of Google Play’s Best Apps of 2019. It has tons of fun songs like Imagine, Chandelier, All Of Me, Counting Stars, and La La Land, also J.S. Bach and includes courses for different musical tastes and playing levels.
It helps to learn the basics step-by-step from reading sheet music to playing with both hands and is suitable for all ages, no previous knowledge is required to learn piano.
3. Piano Marvel
Piano Marvel is a comprehensive piano learning software that teaches people of all ages to play the piano faster. This motivational program provides instant feedback on your playing, video tutorials and performances, and tons of lessons. You can practice music theory, sight-reading, ear training, and rhythm making it to find a position in the list of best resources to learn keyboard.
To facilitate song learning, it splits each piece into sections, and you progress to the next part after mastering the previous one in Prepare Mode. You can choose from 1,000 songs, though they are mostly Classical. They offer their first level for free, and then you pay a low monthly cost to access all of the content.
How To Choose a Right Keyboard
After going through the list of best resources to learn keyboard, let’s discuss a few tips for choosing a piano keyboard for beginners
- Make sure the keyboard is full size: As long as an acoustic piano with 88 keys and 7 octaves. The keys should also be the same size as a real piano. These two points are really important for learning the correct finger spacing and scale of the instrument. It means that they’ll be able to adjust to other pianos and keyboards that the player might need to play elsewhere in the future.
- Synthesizer: A synthesizer offers more options with different effects and can reproduce the sounds of many other instruments. There is a wide choice available from reasonable starter ones to the more sophisticated versions great for budding composers when used with computer programs. However, all these extra features can be both confusing and distracting for a young beginner. So are not essential for a beginner’s keyboard.
- Adjustable Stand: Make sure your keyboard comes with an adjustable stand. You might need to purchase one separately. You can then use any chair or stool that fits comfortably for the pupil’s hands to be at the same level as the keyboard.
- Weighted Keys: Choose a keyboard with weighted keys. This means that you need to press them down but they spring back up like a real piano. Cheaper keyboards don’t usually have this feature. Learning to play on weighted keys builds finger strength and technique and means you can always adjust easily to a real piano.
- Touch Sensitive Keys: Touch-sensitive keys mean that they respond in volume according to how hard or softly you play them. This facility is usually only available on higher-end keyboards. While it’s very convenient it’s quite different from an acoustic piano, which might cause problems later on. So this is something to watch out for. Most digital pianos should have an option to turn it off if they do come with it.
Conclusion: Learning to play an instrument like piano/keyboard as a child is a great experience and a lifelong journey that many will never travel. The relationship that develops over the years will have a profound influence on their entire life. The piano is one of the most versatile instruments you can learn, not least because it gives you a strong footing in musical theory. These best resources to learn keyboard above are a great place to get started learning piano online and that too is within budget.