Many students are learning to play the piano using a keyboard or digital piano. They are really a great option and if you get a good one, it will have a very authentic feel and sound. You can read here about my favorite keyboard to recommend to piano students, the Yamaha P115. It’s a great deal because it comes with a stand and a bench, which are a necessity when playing a portable instrument.
There are a few other accessories that you might find helpful if you use a portable keyboard or digital piano.
If the pedal that came with your keyboard looks different than this one, you’ll want to get this one instead. The pedal that comes with most keyboards doesn’t really do the trick. It’s small and a much different shape than a pedal on a piano. They often slide around while you are using them, which can get frustrating. This type of pedal is much more substantial and will make a big difference!
One of the big advantages of using a keyboard or digital instrument is that you can use headphones. Usually piano practicing adds a fun musical background to your home. But, sometimes it’s nice to have your student plug in headphones while other family members are sleeping, on the phone or have other competing sounds going on. Some students practice really well and kind of get into a “zone” with headphones on.
I have 4 pairs of these Yamaha headphones in my studio. I’ve had them for over 5 years now, they all get daily use and they’re holding up great!
Headphones need an adaptor like this one in order to plug into the keyboard or digital piano. These are super inexpensive, so it might be nice to have a few around. They do seem to wear out over time and cause static or distorted sound in the headphones. And since they’re small, they often disappear to the bottom of the pencil jar or into pockets. I just purchased 2 of these sets of 3. With 6 new adaptors around, we should be set for a while!
5. Audio Cable
You may already have one of these to plug speakers into a computer. I always keep an audio cable plugged into the main digital piano that I teach on. I often plug my phone or computer into it to play audio through the speakers of the piano. My students and I are always searching for YouTube clips of piano performances, so it’s nice to get a good sound through the piano when we play a video. When music is playing through the piano’s speakers, it’s really easy for students to play along on the piano. In my preschool music class, I always play our playlist from my computer through the piano speakers. It really has the best quality sound and I have a lot of control over the volume.
You’ll need an adapter like the one mentioned above for headphones to plug this cable into your piano.
6. Bench and Stand
If your keyboard did not come with a stand or a bench, I highly recommend getting both of these items. It is really important to sit a the right height at a piano. It’s tempting to want to put a keyboard on a table and to use a regular chair, but you have no way to adjust the height that way. I see students get into a lot of bad habits with this set up. Not to mention, it’s really easy to get injuries like tendonitis or carpal tunnel if your hands aren’t at the right level. These basic options would do the trick:
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