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Best keyboard with speakers for a child

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Best keyboard with speakers for a child

Postby jimhoyle » Fri Jul 10, 2020 9:17 pm

What's today's best synth/keyboard with speakers for a child? I'm looking for something a professional musician would buy for their children (I have classical and electronic music background myself). Ideal gadget would be something like this:
- mini, 3–4 octaves, velocity
- very small frame to keep it small and portable
- speakers, (rechargeable) battery operation
- high quality grand piano sound, bunch of stage piano sounds, why not synth sounds
- would be great to have a screen with notation, chord names, musical games etc.
- good connectivity
- good key action etc. is a bonus

Perhaps my ideal device doesn't exist, but what would be close? Yamaha Reface CP: maybe, but probably there's something closer to what I'm looking for?

I already have M-Audio Keystation Mini 32 Mk1 but I need a portable playback for that (also it's only 2,5 octaves, 3–4 would be better). For that solution, what's the best connection cable and app? I have iPhone 6, iPad Air 1st gen, iPhone 5s.
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Re: Best keyboard with speakers for a child

Postby The Elf » Fri Jul 10, 2020 10:07 pm

I've lent out my old Yamaha DJX many times for people to try out with their kids and it seems to go down well.
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Re: Best keyboard with speakers for a child

Postby James Perrett » Fri Jul 10, 2020 11:26 pm

Our lad started off with a Yamaha PSR175 (£5 from the dump in immaculate condition) at around age 4 and has now graduated to a PSR410 from Gumtree. The PSR4xx series have velocity sensitive full size keys and USB for MIDI and file exchange. It seems to have an XG sound set and the ability to adjust a couple of parameters in real time. There are lots of built-in songs and styles as well as arpeggios and the ability to record your own sequences. The Yamahas have battery compartments but I've never used them on battery.

Although he had a toy keyboard with small keys for a couple of years he was also playing some of my keyboards from a young age and he seemed to get on well with full size keys.
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Re: Best keyboard with speakers for a child

Postby jimhoyle » Fri Jul 10, 2020 11:46 pm

Thanks for the messages so far. Great to get suggestions. It may be good if I add two more bullet points:
- I intend to inspire my child on classical/jazz, auto-accompaniment might be less useful
- the age is 0 to 4 years old (and above) and therefore mini sized keys would be great
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Re: Best keyboard with speakers for a child

Postby Folderol » Sat Jul 11, 2020 8:15 am

I believe the 'received wisdom' is to not give kids keyboards toy size keys, as it makes it much harder for them to move to full size keys.
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Re: Best keyboard with speakers for a child

Postby ef37a » Sat Jul 11, 2020 9:02 am

Folderol wrote:I believe the 'received wisdom' is to not give kids keyboards toy size keys, as it makes it much harder for them to move to full size keys.

I agree, I know little of keyboards but much the same applies to guitar. There are some very petite gals playing Precisions!

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Re: Best keyboard with speakers for a child

Postby James Perrett » Sat Jul 11, 2020 3:07 pm

James Perrett wrote:Our lad started off with a Yamaha PSR175 (£5 from the dump in immaculate condition) at around age 4 and has now graduated to a PSR410 from Gumtree.

Just checked and it is actually a PSR-E403 that we have but they're now up to the PSR-E463 which is very similar with a few added features.
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Re: Best keyboard with speakers for a child

Postby jimhoyle » Sat Jul 11, 2020 3:25 pm

I have not done any research on the subject of key size variety and intuitive coordination related to that. However, my own experience is that changing relative sizes is relatively easy compared to some other skills. For example, it doesn't require vast amounts of time to change string instrument sizes to find some basic intonation, and changing key sizes from normal to mini, for an adult, is not really difficult. Therefore I suspect that it's not "dangerous" to play at different relative sizes. That said, of course it's more difficult for children to change to larger than it's for adult to change to smaller. But I think human coordination is based on relative measurement rather than (only) absolute measurement. And therefore it's not one of the most difficult tasks to change relative size. Much more difficult to learn harmony etc.

I played several minikeys as a child before a real piano later on, I feel it was ok. Normal keys are kind of huge for a baby, so I think I'll start with mini. Bigger later on. Anyway, also iOS apps and connectivity is interesting to me, if there are any suggestions (I haven't tested anything).
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Re: Best keyboard with speakers for a child

Postby jimhoyle » Mon Jul 13, 2020 12:33 am

About the mini key size, I wouldn't recommend that for a 7-year old stuying piano in a music school, as the only practicing instrument. That would be a disaster. But for a very small child, self or home taught, I think it might do.

Abou the keyboards. I googled and the contenders seem to be:
- Korg microKEY Air-25/37/49/61
- iRig Keys (first model or 2) (37 keys)
- Garagekey Mini (37 keys)

For the notation/chord viewer, Tonality (iOS) seems to be right.

For piano, electric piano etc. sounds, it seems I need to check out these for iOS: GarageBand, Cubasis, NanoStudio, Neo Soul Keys, iGrand Piano, iLectric, Korg Module. And for jazz chord practicing, iRealPro.

To play without an iOS device, Yamaha Reface CP.

This is what I found so far. I didn't test anything yet, so this is speculation for now. If there are any other suggestions, please let me know.
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Re: Best keyboard with speakers for a child

Postby Atheen » Thu Jul 23, 2020 3:51 pm

Hi, did you find anything yet? I'm a big fan of Yamaha and always recommend their pianos to my students. However I would recommend taking a look at the Casio SA Series, mini keys, lots of sounds and a couple of fun features to maintain interest.
https://music.casio.co.uk/keyboards
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