My favorite “keyboard” to recommend to piano students is the Yamaha P125. (I put keyboard in quotes because, technically, it’s a digital piano.) I own 2 of the previous model and they sound great, feel great, and are well made and sturdy. They are a great instrument for beginners because they have all of the necessary components of an acoustic or full digital piano, but are not a huge financial investment.
The Yamaha P125 is still portable like a keyboard and it doesn’t take up a lot of space. It can be played with or without headphones and it has a handful of features like a few instrument voices, recording capabilities and a built-in metronome.
The Yamaha P125 has 88 full size weighted keys, just like a real piano. You can play with the full dynamic range from soft to loud and it can produce the same expressive, musical sounds as a piano. The touch is very similar to playing an acoustic piano. None of these qualities are found in the keyboards that you see in many big-box stores.
Using this more substantial stand will ensure that you or your child is sitting at the right height and can maintain good control over the piano keys. This option will ensure the most authentic piano experience for the player.
I often see beginning pianists sitting at keyboards improperly, either by placing the keyboard on a table, bed or the floor or by sitting on inadequate chairs.
Although it might seem harmless, it can lead to a number of long-term issues at the piano, including injury, poor technique, difficulty playing and frustration.
So, do yourself and favor and get set up the right way from the start!
If you need something a little more compact or portable, this bundle is also a good option. It includes a collapsable stand and bench and an upgraded pedal. You may need to play around with the height of the keyboard stand and the bench to find the most comfortable position for you. These X-shaped stands can be a little unsteady, so you’ll want to be sure the keyboard is in a safe place where it won’t fall or get knocked over.
Several of my students have gotten started using the Yamaha P125 and they have no problem adjusting to other digital or acoustic pianos. However, I would caution you against using this keyboard for the long term. While it’s a great instrument, a serious learner really needs to learn on a proper acoustic or digital piano. If you plan to make piano a life-long hobby or if your child is showing signs of long-term piano interest, definitely plan to upgrade sooner rather than later!
In my studio, we use these keyboards daily for headphone practice and for learning with apps like Skoove and Piano Maestro. We also enjoy the portability of them for performances. My students used this keyboard to perform in our local park and in their school talent shows.