Learning the piano is great. It can become a lifelong pursuit, a hobby everyone can enjoy, from toddlers to senior citizens. Aside from learning a new skill, there are many benefits to kids learning how to play the piano.
Music and math skills have been linked to exercising the same parts of the brain, and learning how to play the piano can also help children improve their ability to focus and concentrate on a single task. Problem-solving skills, hand-eye coordination, and having an outlet for creativity and self-expression are a few more benefits enjoyed by kids who learn how to play the piano.
Alesis Melody 61 MKII Electric Piano
This keyboard has 61 keys and an impressive library of sounds, including 300 voices, 40 demo songs, and 300 built-in rhythms to play along with in accompaniment mode.
Best Overall Piano for Kids
Of the ten kids’ pianos and keyboards that we’ve looked at, the best overall goes to the Alesis Melody 61 MKII electric piano for kids. This keyboard has 61 keys and an impressive library of sounds, including 300 voices, 40 demo songs, and 300 built-in rhythms to play along with in accompaniment mode.
Perfect for beginners, the Alesis Melody 61 MKII comes with all the accessories you’ll need to get kids started with learning the piano. It comes with a stand, an adjustable height bench, headphones, a microphone, and music rest. You also get a 3-month premium membership to Skoove, an interactive online lesson platform to offer support and feedback as kids begin their journey with the piano.
Best Classical Piano for Kids
This miniature piano might look tiny, but it can make some real music. The Goplus Classical Kids Piano is just 19 inches tall, but it looks like a real grand piano, with a beautiful hinged lid held up with a brace. Its classic design means it will look great in the living room or playroom, and its 30 keys have a beautiful, bell-like tone. This piano does need to be tuned to be played correctly. The Goplus Classical Kids Piano is a great beginner piano for kids, and it is available in black and pink.
Best Keyboard for Kids
If you’re after a keyboard for kids, you can’t go wrong with the Casio CT-X700 Portable Keyboard. Casio is a well-respected manufacturer of pianos and keyboards, and this model is no exception. This keyboard has 61 full-size touch-responsive keys and an expansive library of musical sounds, including over 600 tones and 195 rhythms to play along with.
The Casio CT-X700 Portable Keyboard comes with a ton of accessories, making it of excellent value. You get a keyboard stand, an adjustable bench, a pedal, an instructional DVD, and there’s also a USB port to connect the keyboard to your device so you can use your favorite music apps.
Best Piano for Toddlers
The best piano for toddlers we’ve looked at is the Schoenhut My First Piano. Small enough for babies to sit at and pound tunelessly at the ivories. It can be placed on a low table for older toddlers to play comfortably. This 25 key miniature piano has keys scaled-down specifically to fit the smallest hands. This kid’s piano includes Schoenhut’s patented play-by-color method, with a removable color strip that slots in behind the keys to help guide older toddlers and preschoolers as they pick out their first melodies.
Best Piano for Older Kids
The best kids’ piano on our list is the Yamaha PSR-EW300 SA 76 Key Portable Keyboard, an electronic piano with spring-loaded touch-sensitive keys for a great playing experience. This keyboard comes with 154 preset songs you can play along with, a 165 possible auto-accompaniment styles to choose from, and a library of 574 instrument voices to play in.
A USB connector allows you to hook up your device to the keyboard to record your playing or use your favorite music apps with your device. The Yamaha includes a touch tutor lesson mode, the Yamaha Education Suite (YES), and a free downloadable songbook.
At What Age Should my Child Learn to Play the Piano?
There are no hard and fast rules here. While some particularly musically inclined children might be eager and able enough to handle lessons at the age of four, the majority of children will be ready for formal lessons at some point between the ages of five and eight. Here are a few things to look for when trying to figure out if your child is ready for lessons:
For most kids, these factors will come together at some point between five and eight. If your child struggles with lessons at first, it’s okay to take a break. They may simply not be ready yet. You can always wait for six months to a year before trying again. It’s more important to foster a love and appreciation for music in a young child than to try and force lessons before they are ready, so your child can truly reap the benefits of playing the piano.
On the other end of the spectrum, it’s never really too late to start lessons. While our brains do become less malleable as we grow up, our ability to focus and our determination to succeed can become even more powerful. Older children, teens, and even adults can certainly still learn how to play. It’s never too late to learn how to play an instrument – such as the drums or guitar.
List of the Best Piano Choices for Kids
Electric Pianos or Keyboards
1. Alesis Melody 61 MKII
The Alesis Melody 61 MKII has 61 keys and comes with a big library of sounds to experiment with. There are 300 voices – including acoustic piano, electric piano, strings, organ, synth, drums, and many more – 40 demo songs and 300 built-in rhythms to play along with in accompaniment mode.
The Alesis Melody 61 MKII keyboard for kids comes with all the accessories you’ll need to get started. It includes a stand, an adjustable height bench, headphones, a microphone for singing along, a music rest, and a power adapter to plug it in. Parents should note that this keyboard does not take batteries, so you won’t be able to place it anywhere without access to a power outlet.
With this keyboard, you get a 3-month premium subscription to Skoove, which offers interactive online lessons that make it easy to learn piano for kids. Skoove has one-on-one support available from experienced musicians to provide feedback or answer your questions, which is a fantastic resource when you’re starting out. You get two months of unlimited live video lessons from the program TakeLessons.
2. YAMAHA PSR-EW300 SA
Here’s another electronic keyboard, this one slightly larger with 76 full-sized keys. Although the keys are not weighted, they are spring-loaded and touch-sensitive for a great playing experience – press the keys harder for a louder sound, or use a lighter touch to play more quietly.
The Yamaha comes with 154 preset songs you can play along with, 165 possible auto-accompaniment styles to choose from, and a library of 574 instrument voices to play in. It features a USB MIDI connector that allows you to hook up your device to the keyboard to use with music apps or record and mix your own music compositions.
There’s also a touch tutor lesson mode, Yamaha Education Suite (YES) that helps teach dynamics, and a free downloadable songbook that gives you the sheet music for the built-in songs, allowing you to play along with the track. The Yamaha comes with its own stand and power supply to use at home. It can also use six AA batteries if you want to travel with it, and it’s lightweight enough at 17 pounds that you can easily store or transport it.
3. RockJam RJ561
This electronic keyboard for kids and beginners features 61 full-sized keys. Keep in mind that the keys are not weighted. The RockJam RJ561 Keyboard Piano with 61 Keys has an LCD display that shows all of the built-in rhythms and tones, including 100 rhythms, 50 tones, and 30 demo songs that come with it. It has record and playback functions, allowing musicians to experiment with composing music that includes several layers. This kid’s keyboard can either be plugged in at home or be powered by six 1.5V D batteries if you’re on the go.
The RockJam RJ561 Keyboard Piano comes with a keyboard, a sheet music stand, a sturdy and adjustable keyboard stand, a padded stool, over-ear headphones, and keynote stickers. This kids piano keyboard also comes with a complimentary subscription to the Simply Piano app, compatible with Apple and Android devices. This app offers lessons and tips to beginners, making it easy to get started playing.
4. Casio CT-X700
At a slightly higher price point from the previous entry on our list, the Casio CT-X700 Portable Keyboard has 61 full-size touch-responsive keys, although they are not weighted. The music library includes over 600 tones and 195 rhythms, allowing you to explore. The Casio has a powerful AiX SoundSoure technology that will make your keyboard sound like an instrument that is much more expensive than it is. Some of the sounds available include a 9 foot grand piano, an electric piano, a flute, trumpet, bass, saxophone, synthesizer, and many more.
The Casio comes with a ton of accessories, giving you great value for the price. Besides the keyboard, you get a double braced keyboard stand, an adjustable bench, a pedal, an instructional DVD, and a cloth for polishing your keyboard. It has a jack for headphones, which are not included, and a USB-MIDI port to connect your keyboard to any type of device.
The built-in music stand is specially designed to hold tablets or smartphones as you use your keyboard with your favorite music apps. It can either be plugged in for use at home or use batteries (not included) on the go. The Casio is the complete package, perfect for beginners.
5. Alesis Recital Electric Piano
This full-sized digital piano is as close as you can get to the real thing, all while staying at an affordable price point. The Alesis Recital Keyboard is compact enough to put away in a closet when not in use but also has 88 premium full-sized weighted hammer action keys that have an adjustable touch response to suit your playing style.
It has several different sounds available, including both acoustic and electric piano, organ, synth, and bass, and two 20W speakers to fill the air. You can use Record Mode to record your playing and listen back to your performances. There’s a headphone outlet for private practice, ¼ sustain pedal input jack (pedal not included), and output jacks to connect the keyboard to speakers or amplifiers. This keyboard runs either on a power adapter or on six D batteries.
The Alesis Recital Keyboard comes with access to interactive piano lessons. It includes both 60 free virtual lessons from Melodics and a 3-month premium subscription to Skoove. Skoove features in-depth online piano courses that provide feedback and have musicians on hand to answer questions. Overall, this is a great quality keyboard with all the benefits of a kids piano at an affordable price point and a much smaller footprint than a classical piano.
6. Plixio Electric Piano
The Plixio Electric Keyboard with 61 keys is one of the best value keyboards for kids you will find. It’s incredibly lightweight, at only 7 pounds, and easy to tuck away when not in use. The keys are smaller than full size, which makes it a great beginner kids keyboard piano. This keyboard comes with a selection of 60 demo songs, 40 tones, 100 rhythms, 8 percussions, and volume and tempo control.
Hook it up at home with the power adapter, or use six AA batteries (not included) for use outside the home. There’s also a jack for a microphone (not included) to turn this kid’s keyboard into a karaoke machine! This keyboard comes with a stand for sheet music, as well as an outlet adapter. Parents should know that this basic keyboard does not include a USB port, so it cannot be connected to any devices. However, it’s still a great practice keyboard for kids and beginners at an affordable price point.
7. Donner DEK-610 Electric Piano
The Donner DEK-610 Keyboard Piano is a great basic starter keyboard for beginners, which offers excellent value. It includes two four-inch 20W speakers that provide three-dimensional surround sound, heavy bass, and a warm tone. You can connect it to the microphone that comes included or to headphones that you purchase separately.
It has a vast music library featuring 500 tones, 300 rhythms, and 40 demo songs that will allow young musicians to create layered musical performances. The LCD display panel shows the different functions and offers a variety of functions to add to your playing experience, including auto chord, recording, keyboard drum, and playing MP3 tracks.
This keyboard includes three different teaching modes, including music teaching mode, follow mode, and single finger chord mode, to help beginners improve their playing. The Donner has a dual power mode, meaning it can be played both plugged in at home or with six D batteries (which are not included) while on the go. It can also use a MIDI cable to connect to a computer or tablet with teaching apps or music editing programs. This reasonably priced keyboard is a great entry-level product for beginner musicians.
8. Schoenhut Fancy Baby Grand Piano
If you’re after a beginner piano for your young musicians, check out the Schoenhut Fancy Baby Grand Piano. This toy instrument is sized for the pint-sized pianists out there, standing only 19 inches. Although it includes a bench, this piano is also the perfect height for very young toddlers to stand at as they practice making music. The 30 keys, which span two and a half octaves, will make a great introduction for little ones to basic keyboard skills, all the while promoting hand-eye coordination and fostering creativity and a love of music.
This toddler-sized baby grand piano is attractively designed, with curved legs and well built with white painted wood. It looks good enough that it could fit in with the décor of your living room. It would make a beautiful birthday or holiday gift for a young toddler in a music-loving family, sure to encourage the family’s youngest members to grow up with a love of making music.
9. Goplus Classical Kids Piano
This piano for kids is made for the smallest musicians in the family, suitable for children ages 1 to 6. The miniature scale of the Goplus Classical Kids Piano means it is easy to fit into small spaces, and the beautiful design with a hinged lid that lifts and is held in place with a brace – just like a real grand piano. The non-toxic, glossy finish shines, and the piano is available in either black or pink. It’s made of solid birchwood and comes with a matching bench and music holder.
The Goplus Classical Kids Piano has 30 keys, although parents should be aware that this piano for toddlers does need to be tuned. Once tuned, though, it has a beautiful sound that will make your little one’s enthusiastic playing sound like music to your ears! A piano can greatly benefit young children, allowing them to work on their hand-eye coordination and develop their cognitive abilities, all while fostering a love for music and encouraging creativity.
10. Schoenhut My First Piano
Another piano for toddlers worth checking out is the Schoenhut My First Piano. This is the smallest kids’ piano on our list, with only 25 keys. The Schoenhut My First Piano is built to accommodate very young children, sitting low enough to the floor that babies or toddlers can easily reach the keys while seated on the floor.
For older toddlers or preschoolers, you can set the piano on a low table. The keyboard is scaled down in size to be suitable for tiny hands, with the width of the keys promoting proper finger placement for when they are ready to move on from a toddler piano to a full-sized one.
The Schoenhut My First Piano isn’t just a toy, though. Although babies and toddlers will love to explore their musical creativity by experimenting with hitting whatever keys they want, older toddlers and preschools can begin to learn to play with the patented Schoenhut tri-play learning system. A play-by-color teaching method, this kid’s piano comes with a removable color strip that fits behind the keys to guide tiny fingers as they play their first melodies.
Keyboards vs. Classical Piano
There are a few factors to consider when deciding between a classical piano and a keyboard. First of all: how much space do you have in your home? Pianos are, without a doubt, much larger instruments and are not easy to transport. Once they’re in your home, they’re pretty much there for good, so ensure your family will be sticking with the instrument for the long haul.
On the other hand, keyboards are much easier to carry and can easily be transported from room to room, in the car to be brought to a different location, or even folded up and stored away when not in use.
Aside from size, another significant difference between the two involves the keys. Piano keys are heavier, which can make a difference in the dynamics and musicality of the instrument. Keyboard keys tend to be lighter, and the volume is controlled by a knob rather than pressure on the keys, which means that advanced players may not find them quite as dynamic.
For beginners, the lighter keys can make it easier to learn how to play, particularly for children who don’t yet have the finger strength needed to firmly press down on the heavier keys. A piano has only one type of sound available, while a keyboard can have an enormous range to fit any musical need you may have. Their sound can be altered in hundreds of different ways, making them lots of fun to experiment with.
That brings us to the final and most significant difference: the price. A full-size classical piano can cost thousands; you can find a keyboard for under a hundred dollars. For most beginners, a keyboard makes more financial and practical sense. A classical piano might be a perfect fit for families with serious piano students, or a piano is something multiple family members can enjoy. Just make sure there is enough room in your house.
How Do Classical Pianos Work?
Please note that this explanation does not include keyboards.
Did you know that the piano is classified as a percussion instrument? It’s true! Pianos make noise when we press a key, which triggers a small hammer to hit a string, making a sound.
A piano has six main components: the pedals, the metal frame, the soundboard and bridges, the action – which involves the keys, hammers, and hammer mechanism – the casing, and the strings. When a key is pressed, and the hammer mechanism is triggered, the strings are struck. The vibrations of the strings are picked up by the bridges and carried to the soundboard.
The metal frame keeps the strings taut, while the casing is the wooden part that protects everything from outside elements. As far as the pedals go, they can affect the sound quality of the notes being played. The soft pedal, found on the left, can shift the hammer slightly to the side so that when you press a key, the hammer hits only two strings instead of three. The loud pedal, found on the right, de-emphasizes the strings and allows them to vibrate freely.
Benefits of Playing Piano
There are numerous benefits that your children can take advantage of when they learn how to play the piano. Several academic studies have discovered that the areas of the brain that are exercised when learning an instrument and performing a math problem are the same area.
When learning to read music, children will be practicing math organically by counting bars or understanding that four quarter notes equal a whole note. Learning piano can also help children to improve their focus and concentration. The ability to sit down and focus on repetitions of one task until you get it right might not seem like a huge milestone for adults, but for many kids, being able to focus on a single task like that is huge.
When lessons are involved, children can also improve their communication skills when engaging in back and forth dialogue with a piano teacher, learning to articulate what they are struggling with, taking advice from a teacher, and applying it to their playing.
There are a few less tangible benefits to learning an instrument that might become evident only after long periods of time, such as problem-solving skills, improving hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills, learning the satisfaction that comes with hard work and persistence when you finally master that difficult piece you’ve been working on and providing children with a lifelong outlet for creativity and self-expression.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Piano and Guitar Chords the Same?
Essentially, yes, piano and guitar chords are the same, but they are played differently. They are based on the same musical structure, but the fingering techniques and positions for playing the chord will be different.
Are the Classical Pianos Already Tuned to Scale?
Full-sized classical pianos will need regular maintenance, including regular tuning to scale. Only one of the pianos on our list requires tuning – the GoPlus Classical Kids Piano. The other two miniature pianos from Schoenhut, the My First Piano and Fancy Baby Grand models, do not.
Are the Integrated Teaching Offerings Free?
In most cases, the integrated teaching offerings on the keyboards on our list are free, but make sure that you read the fine print. Several keyboards offer limited-time premium memberships to an instructional music app, so be sure to check when the free membership expires. If your child enjoys the content, you may find it worth your while to continue with a paid membership, but if not, make sure you cancel before the free membership expires.
Do Key Sizes Matter?
Depending on the age of the child, key size can make a big difference! Full-sized keyboards are large enough that if your child is younger than age six or seven, they may struggle to spread their hands across five different keys. Scaled-down pianos for younger children and toddlers – such as the three miniature classical pianos on our list – have keys that are sized small enough so a toddler’s hand could spread across five of them.
Alesis Melody 61 MKII Electric Piano
This keyboard has 61 keys and an impressive library of sounds, including 300 voices, 40 demo songs, and 300 built-in rhythms to play along with in accompaniment mode.
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