We are fast approaching holiday season, and with Christmas on its way, it’s time to start thinking about gifts for the aspiring musicians in your family.
Here, we have put together a list of some of our favourite music keyboards, digital pianos, synthesisers, And other musical instruments.
We hope this will give you some inspiration when choosing musical gifts for musicians and aspiring musicians in your family.
Of course there are many other pieces of musical gear which could be purchased, But we hope this is a useful starting point of picking the perfect instrument.
Do also be sure to check out our keyboard buying guides, which we have linked to below.
Not all of these instruments are new this year, but we think they represent some of the best options available now.
Music keyboards for children
Here we are looking at entry-level Music keyboards which are budget friendly, yet pack in a range of both fun and educational features. This sets them apart from the plethora of cheap, colourful, and some might say irritating toy instruments which flooded the market yet provide very little educational benefit or long-lasting appeal.
The main players in this category, as in many others, are Yamaha and Casio. We have also included an all in one package designed to get your budding musician up and running in no time.
Casio tends to excel at creating low cost Instruments for beginning musicians. This 44 key instrument comes in a delightful shade of orange, with mini keys, speakers, an LCD for displaying information and tutorials, and colourful controls.
Features include 100 tones, 50 rhythms, eight note polyphony, quick switch between piano and organ sounds, and 10 built in songs. There’s also a headphone jack, allowing private practice.
The mini keys are perfect for smaller fingers. At just $50, it’s a relatively small investment for a young child just starting out making music.
For children ready to use a full-size music keyboard to learn to play, the Casio LK-265 offers a lighted key experience. This causes the keyboard to light up the correct notes to be played for a given song. As well as built-in songs, the keyboard can connect to a smartphone or tablet app, allowing additional user songs to be used.
Casio has also built in its step up Music lessons, plus a fun dance music mode, and the ability to plug in both headphones and a microphone. The keyboard has 400 tones, 150 rhythms, and 60 built-in songs. A separate sustain pedal can be added to this keyboard.
At $149.99, it’s a little more expensive but its feature set will last much longer.
Yamaha is well known for its high quality piano sounds, and this entry-level Music keyboard contains a version of the Yamaha grand piano, along with over 100 voices and accompaniment rhythms.
The colour coded Control Panel makes the instrument is easy to use. Other features include a metronome, duo mode for allowing two people to play at once, powerful speakers, headphone output, and music rest.
It doesn’t appear to have an inbuilt Music lessons, but Yamaha is providing access to its tablet-based learning apps.
The keyboard retails for around $120.
RockJam 54 key
This manufacturer may not be the first one you think of when looking for a music keyboard, but its entry-level 54 key keyboard is worth considering as a first Childs instrument.
Features include full-size keys, Recording and playback function, 100 sounds and rhythms, tutorial modes, and access to the piano maestro iPad app. It can also be bought bundled with a keyboard stand. The keyboard on its own cost $60.
Alesis has created this 61 key instrument and bundled it with several accessories. It includes 300 built in sounds with layering and split modes, 300 rhythms, and recording.
It comes with a music stand, bench, headphones, music rest, Power adapter, and microphone.
RRP is under $100.
Music keyboards for teens
The musical requirements for teenagers may be similar to that of adults or even older children, however teens often want something that allows them greater self expression. This could mean slightly more expensive Instruments with a wider feature set.
Here, we’ve looked at instruments that can perform well as digital pianos, but also have features such as recording, sampling, and connecting to other equipment such as tablets and computers.
This five octave keyboard features a wide variety of sounds and rhythms, and also includes Casio’s new Dance Music Mode. This lets you create and remix electronic dance music quickly and easily, with 50 styles of EDM, variations of beats bass-lines and synth parts, and various effects such as filters, flanges, gates, lo-fi and others.
It’s also possible to connect your iOS or Android device in order to help you learn to play new songs.
RRP is under $100.
This larger, more extensive keyboard comes with a 76 keys, making it well suited to piano playing. However, it also features a host of other controls including quick sampling, groove creator, real-time backing tracks, EDM content, large on-board speakers, and the ability to alter sounds and effects live whilst playing.
RRP is under $400.
Roland’s new portable keyboard is designed for beginners in mind, particularly those on the move and with access to a smartphone.
Features include streaming music from a smartphone wirelessly into the keyboard and out through its on-board Bluetooth speakers, the loop mix which offers powerful accompaniment features using single note entry, live performance controls, and recording functions.
It has over 500 sounds on board, taken from Roland’s pro synthesisers.
RRP: Under $300.
Music keyboards for pianists
Stripping away unwanted distractions, Yamaha’s entry-level Digital piano is ideal for beginning and intermediate piano players. It has 76 keys, so is slightly smaller than a full grand piano, but still features Yamaha’s graded soft touch keyboard and high quality piano samples.
This digital piano can be connected to an iOS device for use with a range of Yamaha apps such as Digital Piano Controller, Metronome, and NoteStar. A simple recalled function allows pieces to be stored and played back.
RRP: Under $290.
This keyboard offers the high-quality Roland digital piano sound in a compact, 88 key instrument. Available in black or white, it features Roland’s SuperNATURAL piano sound engine, a powerful amplifier and stereo speakers, Bluetooth connectivity for use with mobile devices, twin piano mode, and additional sounds including organs, strings and percussion.
RRP: Under $700.
Much like the GO:KEYS above, the GO:PIANO offers connection to smartphones, providing a way to learn to play piano. It comes with the Faber Piano Adventures piano method, making it easy to get started improving your piano playing.
This compact instrument features five octaves, with some of Roland’s acclaimed piano sounds. Although it does not have the full range of keys found on more expensive digital pianos, it still has weighted keys for a ceiling more closely resembling a real piano.
RRP: Under $300.
Music keyboards for aspiring musicians
This section covers instruments aimed at those wishing to push their musical expression. It includes more synth Instruments and those with on-board learning functions.
One of Casio’s flagship keyboards, the MZ-X300 features over 900 tones encompassing global variety of instruments, with the ability to modify each tone using the Colour Touch interface and real-time control knobs and sliders.
One of the standout sounds is the virtual tonewheel organ, with simulated rotary speaker and physical sliders for precise drawbar control.
The instrument features hundreds of flexible, great sounding rhythms in a wide variety of styles, a 16 track MIDI recorder, and the ability to create patterns for use in rhythm accompaniment.
Other features include multifunction pads, sampling, musical phrases, and powerful speakers.
RRP: Under $800.
The PSR-S670 features a range of voices, rhythms and accompaniments, plus arpeggio function, live controllers, expansion memory, and on-board recording.
Korg kaossilator 2S
This is a dynamic phrase synthesiser, especially suited to dance music production. The synthesiser has a touchpad allowing for free performance expression, with 150 sound programs, a loop recorder, and integration with Ableton Live.
Other functions include scale and key lock settings, note range function, arpeggiator, multitrack recording, and recording of external sounds.
RRP: Under $120
There is a huge range of music keyboards and other equipment available, and this article has just scratched the surface of what’s out there. We hope it has been a useful starting point for selecting a keyboard for yourself or someone else.