The quality of sound and facilities available on keyboards is continually improving. Even if buying for a child, choose a model with full size, touch sensitive keys. It might seem cute to see tiny keys, but young fingers will then have to re-learn a larger spacing at a later date.
Old models may come with a disk-drive, whereas more recent ones are likely to have a slot to take SmartMedia cards (the same type of memory card used by many digital cameras). This will enable settings and often your own performances to be saved. If you intend to use your keyboard in conjunction with a PC or laptop, then make sure it has a USB port for ease of use and compatiblilty.
A good stand for the keyboard is an essential item, as is a place where it can be left set up without being in the way. If it has to be taken out of its box and put away each time, interest will soon waver. One proviso here – some stands are too tall for a young child even on the lowest setting – you might need to improvise.
Headphones can save you a lot of bother too, useful if the keyboard is in the same room as the T.V. and it has the advantage that you can practise at a realistic volume without annoying parents/spouse/neighbours!
If one isn't supplied as standard, then spend the extra few pounds on a mains adapter for the keyboard, it saves a fortune in batteries in the long run. A dust cover will not only keep it looking good, but also stop dust from getting between the keys or into the memory card slot.
A carry-case will help protect it from knocks and scratches whilst it is being transported to and from lessons, as well as making it easier and safer to carry.
A stool or chair of suitable height will be needed - the correct height is one which allows the elbows to be a little above the height of the keys.
Don't be tempted by useless gadgets and flashing lights, concentrate instead on the things you will make most use of such as good quality styles, realistic instruments, interesting intros, endings, and fills, user memories etc.
Manufacturers – Yamaha (PSR series) and Roland are the leaders in home keyboards. There are other manufacturers such as Korg, but finding examples to audition at your local music shop may be difficult if you don't live near a large city.
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