The Best Kids Piano


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.

Top Pick
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. 

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:

  • Hand Size: Kids should be able to spread five fingers across five keys on a keyboard. There can be a big size difference between the ages of five and eight, so some kids might not be ready until they are closer to the upper end of the range. Kids should also be able to wiggle each finger independently when asked. This is trickier than it sounds.
  • Attention Span and Motivation: Kids need to be motivated on their own to work hard at lessons and practice. By age five or six, most children are in kindergarten and are used to adult-directed learning environments. They should be able to focus on a task for thirty minutes at a stretch as well.
  • Reading: There are a few different methods that teachers may use, and if the teacher you have found uses a book-based method that teaches children how to read music, it’s best to start after your child has learned to read with fluency. While this may happen as early as five for some children, for others, it might not click until closer to seven or eight. 

    There are some teaching methods, such as the popular Suzuki method, that are ear-based, and if you’re looking for lessons for a child who is eager to learn but not yet reading fluently, a teacher who follows a method like this would be recommended.

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.

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.

What to Look for When Buying a Piano for Kids


Keyboards and pianos come in a variety of sizes, so there’s sure to be one that will fit your needs. Full-sized pianos can take up a lot of room, but the pianos on our list are miniature pianos that are small enough to tuck away when not in use. When you’re buying a keyboard, think about the space you have to store it. Some keyboards are light enough for a child to carry from room to room, while others might need an adult to transport them, so be sure to check the keyboard’s weight before you buy.

Number of Keys

The number of keys you want to look for when you buy a piano for kids is related to the size. A full-sized piano has 88 keys, 52 white and 36 black. Scaled down slightly, you can find keyboards with 76 or 61 (36 white, 25 black) keys. While these keyboards with smaller numbers of piano keys covering four and a half octaves are generally considered suitable for beginners or entry-level keyboards for kids, they are also appreciated by more experienced musicians for their portability and lighter weight. 

Some higher-end models from respected brands such as Casio or Yamaha even include the option to have the missing octave range by using different settings on the keyboard so that experienced musicians can access the full range of sounds. While piano keyboards for kids with fewer keys are smaller and lighter, they are also less likely to have weighted keys, making the transition to a traditional piano a bit more challenging.

Weighted vs. Non-Weighted Keys

With a classical piano, the keys need to be pressed with enough force to have the connected hammer strike a string and sound a note. In keyboards, this physical sensation is often duplicated by weighting the keys. If the keys are not weighted, it makes for a very different experience when they spring back up after being pressed. 
This can make for a confusing playing experience if you go back and forth between two instruments, for example, playing the piano at lessons once a week and then practicing with a keyboard at home. Weighted keyboards do a better job replicating the feel of a traditional piano, so moving between two instruments is much easier.
There are three main types of weighted keys: 

1. Semi-weighted keyboards are made more resistant by springs but don’t always do a great job at feeling enough like piano keys to make it worth it. 
2. Hammer action keyboards are built with a mechanism that reproduces the feel of the -hammer action in a classical piano, so when you press on the keys, you’ll feel the same type of resistance. 
3. Graded action keyboards follow a similar concept, but the keys on the lower end of the register will have a heavier feel, and those on the higher end will have a lighter feel. This last type is the closest you will find to mimicking the resistance of the keys you will find on a traditional classical piano.


For formal lessons, it’s best to wait until at least age five or six. You will need to ensure that your children have sufficient attention spans, are motivated to learn, and have hands large enough to touch five keys with five fingers. Knowing how to read can also be very helpful, although there are some methods for teaching young children that are ear-based instead of book-based – such as the popular Suzuki method. 

It’s never too late to learn how to play, though, and even older kids and teens should be encouraged to take lessons if they show interest. Suppose you have a toddler or a child under five. In that case, it may be best to hold off on formal piano lessons and just focus on fostering an appreciation of music until they are old enough to concentrate for the duration of a class.

Keyboard v.s. Classical Piano

Should you buy a keyboard or a classical piano? It depends on a few factors, including how much space you have, your budget, and the child’s age you are buying for. The pianos on our list are small and sized for toddlers and young children, but full-sized pianos are a different story. They are much more expensive, have a bigger footprint, and require regular maintenance, so the decision to buy one should not be made lightly. 

The toddler pianos on our list, on the other hand, are small enough to be tucked into the corner of a playroom or living room and are a perfect introduction for young kids. These kids’ pianos are great for encouraging creativity and a love of music in toddlers, but a keyboard is probably the better choice for older children who want to take lessons and learn how to play. 

The electronic keyboards on our list are scaled slightly down from a full-sized piano, but not to as great a degree as the toddler pianos we reviewed above. These keyboards for kids are lightweight and portable, affordably priced, and don’t take up a ton of space.

Number of Sounds

Electric keyboards can come with vast libraries of hundreds of sounds so that when you play, you can sound like almost any instrument imaginable – a piano, synthesizer, strings, saxophone, and many more. Kids can experiment creatively with different sounds, coming up with new ideas. Keyboards also typically include some pre-recorded tracks that you can play along with, so kids can see what it’s like to play along with the accompaniment.

Adjustable Stands

If you’re buying a keyboard for practice at home, it’s going to have to go somewhere. Many of the keyboards on our list come with stands included but read the description carefully of the products you’re interested in to be sure. Adjustable stands are great because they can be raised or lowered to suit players of different heights. Alternatively, a keyboard may come with a fixed stand but come with an adjustable bench or stool. This will serve the same purpose of having the musician sit at the correct height when playing.

Headphone Capability

These days, most kids’ piano keyboards are designed with an input jack for headphones but double-check before you purchase. Headphones are helpful for practice, so the person playing the piano can hear what they are doing, but other household members still get a bit of peace and quiet. Headphones are great for when you’re experimenting with different sounds on the keyboard or listening to a track and playing along.


While a traditional piano’s volume can’t be adjusted much, even with soft and loud pedals, electronic piano keyboards will have adjustable volume controls even with soft and loud pedals. While a few of the keyboards on our list are touch-sensitive, meaning that when the keys are pressed harder, the volume is louder, others are adjusted using a control panel. Another advantage to buying a keyboard for kids instead of a traditional piano is that typically, you can plug headphones into an electronic keyboard.

Intergrated Lesson Plan

These days, many electric keyboards for kids and beginners include a subscription to some kind of lesson. In some cases, this might be a DVD or premium membership to an app with either interactive lessons or several instructional videos. Either way, this supplemental content can add a lot of value to your experience. 

Older kids with high motivation levels can use these lessons to teach themselves to play their favorite songs, or they can supplement in-person classes and make practicing at home easier. Read the description carefully when buying a keyboard for kids to see if lessons are included.

Accessories Included with Your Purchase

What is included will vary from piano to piano. Some of the items on our list have a range of accessories, such as music stands or adjustable piano benches. Often, keyboards will come with an adjustable stand, but be sure to double-check because if they don’t, you will have to find a different way to position the keyboard. Check if there are any lessons included – these days, many keyboards come with videos or virtual classes or premium membership to an app where you can access lessons.


All of the pianos and keyboards on our list are portable. While most full-sized pianos are not very mobile, all of the pianos on our list are miniature-sized and easy to move from one place to another. Keyboards are also easy to transport. They tend to be lightweight – most are under 20 pounds – and can be stored in a closet or even under a bed when not in use, making them ideal for smaller living spaces.


There are keyboards for kids available in every budget range, but the features included will vary. At lower price points, expect to find a smaller assortment of tones, rhythms, and prerecorded songs to choose from. Keyboards at lower price points are also less likely to include extra features such as USB ports to connect to a tablet, phone, or other devices and may come with fewer accessories included. 

You’re more likely to find a wider variety of tones, songs, and rhythms at higher price points. The keyboards may be more technologically advanced with the ability to connect to your device and use it with an app. Some piano keyboards for kids even come with membership to an app that includes virtual lessons. You may also find that kids’ keyboards at higher price points come with various accessories, such as a stand, a bench, microphone, headphones, or even membership to an app as suggested above.

When determining your budget, I’d suggest thinking about what features are most important to you. For example, suppose a keyboard at a slightly higher price point includes a premier membership to an app that provides lessons teaching the basics. In that case, this may work out to be less expensive than purchasing a lower-priced keyboard and then paying for lessons. If you’re already paying for classes, though, and just need a basic keyboard for practice at home, you may be fine with a lower-priced option that comes with fewer bells and whistles.


Check the product description carefully for information about a warranty when you buy a kids piano or a keyboard for kids. Many pianos come with a warranty of one year, but in some cases, the warranty may be limited or apply to only certain parts of the keyboard or piano.

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.

Leave a Comment