You need three things to start taking keyboard, synthesizer, or piano lessons. The first two involve the actual keys. It's recommended that you choose something with a full-sized key. There are some keyboards out there that use a mini or mid size-key, but these will not train you correctly for the proper hand and finger positions. If you're not sure, a full-sized key is just slightly shorter than a dollar bill. The second thing that is critical is that the keys be touch sensitive. In other words, the harder you push, the louder it plays. This is important to learn early on. Last, but not least, make sure you get a pedal. The pedal causes the note or notes to sustain (play longer) and is an essential part of playing the piano. The good news is that you can get all of the above in a keyboard from companies like Yamaha for less than $200. Want a full 88-key portable digital piano with weighted keys for under $500? Come on in. Let us show you the newest in keyboards.

Now to the synthesizer. When you enter the world of electronic keyboards, sooner or later you'll run across the word “synthesizer.” A synth is simply a keyboard that has the electronics which allow you to actually create a sound from scratch, or to substantially modify sounds. These are used heavily in the movie industry for sound effects or to simulate actual sounds. Yamaha and Korg are leading manufacturers of a wide range of synthesizers.


Tip of the Month: Most new keyboards will easily interact with a computer. There is software available that ranges from games that say “Hit middle C to shoot the duck” all the way up to having the ability to compose a symphony using a single keyboard.