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The piano is one of the easiest — and most fun — instruments you can pick up. But if you’re a beginner who’s learning to read music for the first time, you might not be completely ready to commit to a full-sized instrument just yet (or have the space for one either). Enter the keyboard piano, a lighter alternative that can help you learn to play like your favorite composer or artist in no time.
What Are the Best Keyboard Pianos for Beginners?
Whether you’re learning new chords, how to read sheet music, or trying to play your favorite song from the radio, you can get by without a ton of buttons or unnecessary effects — a simple setup and a power source are all you’ll really need to start playing some tunes or scales. Here are a few features and accessories we think are the most important to think about when looking for the best keyboard for beginners.
Number of Keys: Keyboards come in different sizes, each with a different number of keys. In general, the most popular keyboards and digital pianos come with 49, 61, 73 or a full 88 keys, like a real piano. As a beginner, you should be able to learn the basics with fewer keys, but we like starting with more keys so your instrument can grow with you as you progress in your playing. That way, you can play everything, no matter which octave it’s in.
Weight and Portability: Our favorite keyboards and digital pianos have weighted keys, which mimic the feel of playing the actual piano. Those keyboard pianos will likely feel a little heavier than options that don’t have weighted keys. Whichever option you choose, keep in mind how much you’ll be moving your keyboard and how much you’ll need to carry it with you.
Cover: If you’re planning to commute with your keyboard, a keyboard cover can help protect your instrument from scratches and any damage that might occur, whether it’s sitting in the back of your car on the way to a lesson or a show, or you just want to keep it safe from spills at home. Some models come with covers, but you may need to purchase one on your own.
Music Holder or Music Rest: If you’re just starting to learn the piano, you’ll want to make sure that you can easily read your sheet music or lesson books and that you can prop them up with a music stand. Most digital pianos, including some of our picks in this guide, feature a built-in stand. We think it’s a useful attachment if included, but it’s not a make-or-break accessory.
Keyboard Stand: Where are you going to keep your keyboard? If it’s not on a table, you’ll probably need a stand to set it on when playing. Many beginner keyboards are sold along with stands, but if yours doesn’t include one, they’re easy to find and set up with most brand’s instruments — a foldable, X-shaped design will be able to easily hold up your keyboard and break down when you’re hitting the road.
The Best Keyboards for Beginners
From Yamaha to Casio, here are the top keyboards and digital pianos for practicing, recording music and playing your favorite songs.
1. Casio CT-S1 61-Key Portable Keyboard
We’ve played and practiced on Casio keyboards in the past, and this affordable 61-key model is a good fit for players of all levels. With its portable size, anyone starting out on the instrument will appreciate the approachable size and price tag. But just because it’s not a full size doesn’t mean it feels cheap.
The Casio’s keys feel closer to a standard keyboard piano, which will come in handy when sustaining notes and chords — or simply when you’re just practicing scales. It comes in three colors: black, white and red. It’s even lightweight at under 10 pounds, which makes it ideal for carrying to lessons or commuting. You can choose among 60 tones, including a can’t-go-wrong stereo grand piano setting. A metronome, meantime, makes sure you’re not rushing or dragging. While it delivers stellar sound thanks to its built-in stereo system, you can also connect a pair of headphones when you’re practicing around others.
2. Alesis Melody 61 MKII Music Keyboard
For a complete keyboard kit that includes a bench, stand, headphones and a mic, this Alesis model has 61 keys, though it’s also available in 32 and 54 keys.
It’s a super versatile and portable option that makes learning a little more fun in the process. Case in point: The keyboard has over 300 built-in sounds, so you can switch between playing the organ one minute, to playing drums or synths the next. There’s even a metronome to help you make sure you don’t rush through your songs.
Write the next iconic rock piano masterpiece? You can record what you play on the keyboard, too. And if you don’t know where to begin or you don’t have a teacher lined up, you can take advantage of the included three-month subscription to the lesson service Skoove.
3. Donner DEP-10 Beginner Digital Piano
Just because you’re learning a new instrument doesn’t mean you have to settle for a low-quality instrument. This Donner digital piano has 88 semi-weighted keys for a slightly more authentic playing feel to a standard piano. At about 19 pounds and measuring 52.3 inches wide, it’s also easy to carry with you and won’t take up as much space in your apartment, a small office or your home studio.
Like other models in our guide, this piano comes with a sustain pedal that you can connect to the keyboard and press down with your foot so every song you play won’t sound like “Chopsticks.”
Donner included eight different playing tones on this digital piano, so you can make it sound like you’re playing an acoustic grand piano, a church organ and even like you have a full orchestra in the room with you. You’ll need to purchase your own stand or set it on a desk or table when playing.
4. Yamaha P-45 Keyboard With Sustain Pedal
Yamaha makes some of the best pianos you can buy — and this 88-key portable piano is no exception. This keyboard bundle comes with all you need for starting out and then some, including a sustain pedal and a music rest for your lesson books and sheet music. Best of all, it’s a high-quality keyboard that’s suited for all playing levels.
The portable pedal plugs into the keyboard so you can practice sustained, drawn-out notes. Most importantly, the 36-pound keyboard itself has slightly weighted keys that will feel closer to jamming on the real thing. Reviewers say that this keyboard sounds closer to an acoustic piano, too.
Joe Rogan and Jordan Peterson Wax Idiotic on Climate Change and What It Means to Be Black
There is a meditative quality to both Joe Rogan and Jordan Peterson’s work that sucks you in. For Rogan, it is his voice — a soft, curious, always credulous murmur that lends itself to explaining complicated topics. Watching Rogan deconstruct a mixed martial arts fight can be a genuine pleasure for fans of the sport, like listening to a close friend really nerd out over something they’re passionate about. Peterson is not as blessed sonically — he sounds like Kermit the Frog as a freshman philosophy major — but he too projects the same blithe confidence in his own words that can make almost any topic sound compelling.
The only problem is, Joe Rogan and Jordan Peterson are two of the dumbest people on earth. The wildly successful podcast host and self-help author’s careers have intersected and built on one another multiple times, as their core audience of disaffected young men is largely the same. Their paths crossed once again this week in a four-hour marathon conversation on The Joe Rogan Experience, during which Peterson bizarrely and very proudly wore a tuxedo. Their topics were varied, but almost all of them were intensely stupid, if not incoherent.
Here is Peterson, for instance, confidently proclaiming a theory on climate change loaded with circular arguments that all come back to the same point: It’s not real.
Holy moly. I don’t think I can do this. First words out of Peterson’s mouth in the Joe Rogan interview are complete self parody. I can’t even dunk on it. pic.twitter.com/hIDYPi0KDc
— bad_stats (@thebadstats) January 25, 2022
Peterson appears to be saying that because there are a large number of variables that influence the climate, it’s impossible to ascribe change to any particular variables (like, say, our massive consumption of fossil fuels). This is false, as the entire point of climate science is to identify which of those variables correlate to statistically significant changes in temperature or ozone levels et cetera, et cetera. And yet, Peterson talks on, saying the word “everything” multiple times without actually saying, well, anything. “Mmhm,” Rogan responds. “What do you mean by, ‘everything’?”
This sort of credulity is both Rogan’s biggest draw and his worst tendency. Rogan has built his brand around open-mindedness, which he passes off as “free thinking.” But in practice, instead of thinking about what his guests are saying to him, Rogan’s first instinct is to “mmhm” his way through topics that frequently stray into conspiracies, bigotry, or simple stupidity. Rogan’s guiding ethos doesn’t seem to be much more complicated than “seek out the controversial, and popular,” which has led him, during the pandemic, to repeatedly platform or publish misinformation about coronavirus and vaccines.
Gibberish like this is laced throughout Peterson’s latest appearance. At one point, Peterson claims more people die from solar energy than nuclear energy, because they fall off of roofs while installing the panels. He and Rogan take turns ruminating about how you can’t say anything as a comedian these days, because of “protected classes.” And of course, things really take a turn when they discuss race. Rogan takes the lead in this clip, claiming that Black radio host and academic Michael Eric Dyson, a Peterson critic, is not “Black,” based on a complicated and truly idiotic discussion of various skin tones.
On Joe Rogan’s Spotify podcast — Jordan Peterson claims Michael Eric Dyson is “not Black”
Rogan replies: “Unless you are talking to someone who is like 100% African from the darkest place where they are not wearing any clothes all day … the term Black is weird.” pic.twitter.com/Wyk00WHwus
— Alex Paterson (@AlexPattyy) January 25, 2022
This one is basically a parody of itself, no debunking necessary. It even includes the sublime: “I’m not white, I’m Italian.” But in itself it’s a good example of why Rogan and Peterson are, collectively and individually, incredibly stupid and incredibly compelling. At the center of both of their work is the same mantra that blends conservative traditionalism and new-age guruism into a superficial concept of modern masculinity, a quick-fix guide for men who struggle to find self-worth in a fractured and callous world. Their work is aimed at people who are seeking enlightenment, people who think that they want to change their minds about something. What they’re served is a flood of babble that includes just enough introspection, surface-level analysis, and controversy to be passed off as incisive. This babble falls apart as soon as you step back and apply even a tiny bit of logic. We have mountains of provable data that certain climate variables correspond to climate change, racial identity is not tied to skin tone, and that falling off a roof and exposure to radioactive compounds are not comparable risks.
But there’s a reason Rogan’s podcasts often go so long, and that Peterson has published two lengthy books that basically say the same things: Once you’re in, you’re in. You’ve entered the mind palace. Your brain is just stimulated enough to fire off dopamine when one of these two instantly recognizable, friendly voices says something that confirms a prior belief or makes you feel better about something. The water is warm. There is nothing to fear. It’s a safe space to be a little racist, a little incredulous, a little simplistic. The only people it hurts are the uninitiated, those outside the tribe, and it’s their own fault for clinging to identities that don’t fit into the narrow philosophy Rogan and Peterson have distilled. If those people just manned up they can come on in, as well. They can leave their brain at the door. All the thinking they need is clearly going on inside.
Immolation’s Pitch-Black Death Metal Matures Like Fine Wine on ‘The Age of No Light’
Death metal started out in the mid-Eighties as a mad sprint: a scrappy cohort of underground acts each looking to push the limits of speed and shock value. But for many in that first generation, it’s turned out to be a marathon. Of the bands that helped to cement the subgenre’s core features of growled vocals, maximalist drumming, and swarming, seething riffs, many of them — from Obituary and Carcass to Morbid Angel, Cannibal Corpse, Suffocation, Deicide, and even de facto death-metal forefathers Possessed — aren’t just surviving, but thriving well past the three-decade mark, regularly issuing new music and drawing die-hard crowds worldwide.
Right alongside them are Immolation. The Yonkers, New York, quartet was never death metal’s most high-profile act — while some of their peers were inking major-label deals in the early Nineties, they were still slugging it out in the underground. But as the years rolled on, and many of those same contemporaries changed course, shed key members, or outright disbanded, Immolation co-founders Ross Dolan and Bob Vigna kept their heads down and all their energies focused on crafting some of the most darkly enthralling records the movement has ever seen. Standouts like their 1991 debut, Dawn of Possession, and 2000’s monstrously intense Close to a World Below have influenced countless younger bands, as well as above-ground titans like Slipknot, whose guitarist Mick Thomson has a blasphemous image from the Dawn cover tattooed on his arm.
Immolation’s unswerving aesthetic means that their current output instantly conjures the pitch-black aura of their classic work. “The Age of No Light,” the second advance track from the band’s upcoming 11th full-length, Acts of God (out Feb. 18), announces itself with an ominously trilling figure from Vigna, the band’s sole composer and a guitarist who often seems more like a spellcaster than a mere wrangler of riffs. The full band — rounded out by bassist-vocalist Dolan, guitarist Alex Bouks, and drummer Steve Shalaty — enters in a blast-beat-powered cloudburst, as Dolan roars out a portrait of the arriving apocalypse. A trademark Immolation move arrives early, in the form of a downshift into a fierce half-time groove, which Shalaty peppers with borderline-funky syncopated snare accents.
Part of the charm of early Immolation was how frantic and chaotic their arrangements could sound, but over time, they’ve become masters of pacing, with each twist adding intrigue to their dark mini epics. The crafty arrangement of “The Age of No Light” — where an ominously trudging midsection builds to an eerie two-guitar break and overlapping solos, pointing the way to a suitably dismal outro riff — shows how, 31 years after their debut, they’re focusing as much on atmosphere as aggression. And on Acts of God, with the help of longtime producer Paul Orofino, they’ve achieved some of their clearest, fullest-sounding studio sound yet. Who knew? Maturity and death metal mix pretty well, after all.
Find a playlist of all of our recent Songs You Need to Know selections on Spotify.
RFK Jr. Apologizes for Comparing COVID Measures to Anne Frank, Holocaust
‘Deeply Sorry’ for Anne Frank Comparison …
During Anti-Vax Rant
1/26/2022 7:32 AM PT
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is backpedaling big-time, and flat-out apologizing for drawing a parallel between the COVID vaccination measures and the Jewish Holocaust.
RFK Jr. said on Twitter, “I apologize for my reference to Anne Frank, especially to families that suffered the Holocaust horrors.” He also said, “To the extent my remarks caused hurt, I am truly and deeply sorry.”
He claimed he was trying to use the terror of Nazi Germany as a parallel to what he views as “the perils from new technologies of control.”
The son of the late Attorney General, and presidential candidate, RFK … has been a vocal opponent of the COVID vaccines, but his Sunday rant crossed a line even for his wife.
Cheryl reacted by saying, “My husband’s opinions are not a reflection of my own. While we love each other, we differ on many current issues.”
Perhaps they finally had a heart-to-heart — at least when it comes to him exploiting the Holocaust.
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