This page is updated regularly and we try to find the most practical, yet quality choices for instruments. These are not toys. 

Note: Please consider purchasing using the links on this page as some of the links may provide us with a small referral fee which supports our school. 


Not full sized keyboards and may be appropriate for the earliest beginners if you’re not sure the child will continue beyond a few lessons. Still they are playable and can be inspiring and fun thereby creating more interest.  

Yamaha Piaggero NP11 61-Key Lightweight Compact Portable Keyboard

This is very good for the money and size. It even runs on batteries and can become a travel keyboard if you step up to a full size digital piano later. The quality of sounds is quite good and I’ve had several students purchase this one and all have been very pleased. About $200 for keyboard alone.  


When you know you are going to be playing real piano pieces I recommend you move to a full size 88 key digital piano or an acoustic piano. Here are a few of my recommended digital pianos and notes about them. The stage pianos are more portable but can also be paired with a matching stand which makes it attractive enough for the family room.  

Best Brands

The big names in digital pianos are Yamaha, Casio, Kawai, and Roland. These names are the ones you come across in most piano forums with Yamaha and Casio being the front runners.  

What Is Polyphony?

A note about Polyphony, You’ll come across this term polyphony which basically means how many notes the piano can handle in it’s digital memory before running out. Most modern digital pianos are at least 64 notes which is pretty good. The better ones have 128 and then 256 and even higher. This becomes a factor if you are playing pedaled notes which keep ringing. If you are using a low polyphony keyboard, you’ll start to notice how some of your notes will drop away as you add more. Not exactly realistic, but it’s how they save on costs for the lower end models.  

Alesis Recital Pro 88

This is my current FAVORITE RECOMMENDED CHOICE Alesis is a company that has always been known for quality and affordability.  

This bundle is about $375 and includes everything you need to get started. 88 full-sized, weighted keys with built-in speakers Make sure you order the stand and bench - the pedal can wait until later  

Yamaha P45 Yamaha P45 88-Key Digital Piano

about $600 

A recommended first digital piano that’s affordable, yet good quality  

This is a great first choice as it is not only great quality, has a weighted key feel, but also portable enough to move around the house or bring on a family trip.  

AWM (Advanced Wave Memory) sampling technology Simple one-button operation Compact and lightweight Graded Hammer Standard (GHS) weighted piano action Dual mode for layering two voices  

Casio Privia PX-770 Digital Piano 
about $800 

This bundle has a furniture type stand to blend well into your living room.

  • A superior grand piano experience
  • 88 scaled, weighted hammer-action keys with simulated ebony and ivory textures
  • Stunning new piano sound with detailed resonance, plus 18 other Tones
  • Stereo speaker system built into stylish, modern wooden cabinet
  • Versatile recording, practice, and performance tools


An acoustic piano is a wonderful instrument and can never be matched by an electric/digital one. But, there are considerations with space, volume and maintenance.

You will need to commit to having tunings every 6 to 12 months. But, the sound is glorious as long as your neighbors don't mind.

Just like cars, there are new piano dealers as well as used piano dealers.

You can also look into renting an upright piano - just Google it.

Here's a video interview we made with Brian Whiton, owner of Big Wrench Pianos on what to look for in a used piano.

We recommend local piano shop Big Wrench Piano - ask for Brian and tell him you are a student of Park Slope Music Lessons for a special discount.

Guitars For Kids

Martin LXK2

I wish small sized guitars existed when I was a young 'un. These are great - Ed Sheeran uses one and they actually created one branded with his name. You don't need that one. This works fine. Great for small hands even for adults and teens.

Steel strings.

* "1-style" Sitka spruce bracing

  • * Martin's patented neck mortise
  • * C.F. Martin script logo on headstock

Taylor - Baby Taylor

I had one for years. Love it! I upgraded to a bigger Taylor. Great guitars.

This one plugs in!

The mahogany-top version of the Baby Taylor will yield a slightly darker, earthier tone than its spruce top sibling.

Steel strings.

  • Pint-size Dreadnought.
  • Equipped with the Expression System Baby (ES-B) pickup.
  • The pickup is powered by an onboard preamp with a built-in digital chromatic tuner.
  • The preamp/tuner unit features an LED display for tuning and low battery indication, along with Tone and Volume controls.

Yamaha JR2 Junior-Size 33-Inch Acoustic Guitar

These guys consistently make quality instruments across the board. Whether it's band instruments, pianos or guitars, they are always well-made and can last for your entire life.

I still have my Yamaha semi-hollow electric I bought when I was 16. I also have a student flamenco made my them. Awesome quality and affordable.

This one is steel strings.

Yamaha CGS103A 3/4-Size Classical Guitar 

Great value and sound

Nylon strings for finger style or classical.

  • Yamaha CGS103A 3/4-Size Classical Guitar
  • Spruce Top
  • Meranti Back & Sides
  • Rosewood Fingerboard & Bridge
  • Natural Finish
  • On-Stage GBA4550 Acoustic Guitar Gig Bag
  • D'Addario NS Micro Clip-On Tuner
  • D'Addario EPS510 ProSteels Electric Guitar Strings, Regular Light, 10-46
  • Hal Leonard Guitar Method Book 1: Book/CD Pack


Adrian plays his dulcimer which he put together with his Dad. Note the flames! This is a fantastic beginning string instrument for kids. The one I’m recommending is created specifically for classrooms as it has a cardboard body that will last 20 years with some basic care.  

This is a very affordable instrument at around $50 and you can even paint in crazy colors or put stickers on it. The tuners really do stay in tune.

Purchase at Backyard Music.

Ludwig LC178X016 Questlove Pocket Kit 4-piece Drum Set-Black Sparkle Finish


Ludwig LC178X016 Questlove Pocket Kit 4-piece Drum Set-Black Sparkle Finish

This acoustic kit is a great starter set at a great price. It's also created by Ludwig in collaboration with Questlove.

Around $270 at Amazon