INSTRUMENTS FOR KIDS 

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. 

PIANO

Local Instrument Shops & Piano Tuners

While a quality acoustic piano is a wonderful instrument and can never be matched by an electric/digital one, the maintenance and cost of a high quality upright or baby grand or grand is usually more than most parents of beginning students want to spend. I’ll address acoustic pianos in the future. For now, here’s some recommended electronic keyboards. 

For local providers, check out this page here.

Here’s a video that explains what to look for in a Digital Piano

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PORTABLE ELECTRIC KEYBOARDS BELOW $200 These are 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 $160.  

Casio CTK-2300 61-Key Premium Portable Keyboard Package with Headphones, Stand and Power Supply Casio is another well known maker of digital keyboards and the quality is quite high for the price. Again, this is a smaller keyboard than a full size piano but can be useful to gauge your child’s interest before committing to a real acoustic piano or a full sized 88 key digital piano. About $130 including stand, headphones.  

DIGITAL PIANOS – 88 KEYS 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.  

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.  

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.  

Lowest Price Digital Pianos With 88 Weighted Keys  

Alesis Recital Pro 88 This is my 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 $450  

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 PX150 BK 88-Key Touch Sensitive Privia Digital Piano with Tri-Sensor Scaled Hammer Action Just under $500 – great value!  

Keyboard: 88 keys, weighted scaled hammer action Sound Source: AiR (Acoustic & intelligent Resonator) Polyphony (maximum): 128 Tones: 18 Built-in tones, Duet Mode, Layer, Split, Octave Shift Simulator: Hammer Response, Damper Resonance, String Resonance, Lid Simulator HERE ARE MY RECOMMENDED DIGITAL PIANOS BELOW $1000  

Yamaha P115 about $600  

88-note, GHE (Graded Hammer Effect) weighted-action keyboard 128-note polyphony Dynamic Stereo Sampling – 4 separate layers of stereo samples Key-Off Sample plus Sustain Sample for acoustic piano realism Emulates the soft/half pedaling and damper effects of an acoustic This one is the little brother of the P155 and yet adds some other features like a drum machine. The touch action is a little less realistic than the P155 too.  

PureCF-sampled piano: Sampled from Yamaha’s own acclaimed CFIII concert grand, no digital piano at this price point delivers recordings from such a high-end instrument. Pianist styles: This built-In duet partner plays along with you in one of ten different playing styles. Built-In drum patterns: Basic drum patterns put the “fun” back into practicing and is a practical alternative to a metronome. Or turn your solo act into a two piece band where the drummer is always on time. 88-note, weighted GHS action: Heavier touch in the low end and lighter in the highs, just like an acoustic piano 128-note polyphony: Even when using dual Voice and split mode with a drum pattern, 128-note polyphony ensures every note gets heard.  

Casio PX780 Privia 88-Key Digital Home Piano, Black about $1000 – This is a similar Casio to the Yamaha P155. I preferred the touch feeling on the Yamaha, but the Casio is very similar in value and sound quality. Also 128 note polyphony.  

88 Note Scaled Hammer-Action Keyboard AiR Sound Source Ebony and Ivory Feel Keys Hammer Respons

DULCIMER  

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.