Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Is Playing Digital Keyboard Right For You?The keyboard is one of the easiest instruments to pick up, but also one of the most difficult to master. To find out if learning to play keyboard is right for you ask yourself the following questions:
1. Why do I want to learn the keyboard? Answer honestly, if your reasoning is that the keyboard will help you pick up chicks then you have another thing coming to you. The keyboard is not a chick magnet if you're unskilled, if you want to attract women with an instrument then I recommend the guitar. With a guitar you need practically no skill whatsoever and girls will flock to you. With the digital keyboard you actually need to be somewhat decent.
2. Can I afford a decent digital keyboard? You will need to have at least $200 bucks laying around to purchase a decent quality digital keyboard. Sure you can get one for cheaper, but if you are serious about learning you will want one that is touch responsive, has MIDI, and has at least 77 keys. There are some great cheap Casio Keyboards out there that fit the bill.
3. Am I an Idiot? Don't attempt to learn the keyboard if you're a completely idiot. You will need to understand complex chord progressions and the like if your intent is becoming proficient at the keyboard. Luckily, since you're reading this it automatically makes you smarter than the general population. Congratulations!
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
What Is MIDI? MIDI, or Musical Instrument Digital Interface is an industry-wide protocol for signaling digital music that has been in place since 1982. You know all those beeps and boops in your old Nintendo games? Those are MIDI. Nowadays MIDI is a lot more sophisticated and it is hard to differentiate MIDI file audio from real audio. You see, MIDI audio is not actually real audio. It's just a series of digital information that accounts for timbre, volume, pitch, and tempo. Each individual computer, synth, cell phone, whatever might interpret the MIDI file differently based on what MIDI instruments they have available.
How Do I Know If I Have a MIDI Digital Keyboard?
If you have the ports shown above on the back of your instrument then you have a MIDI Digital Keyboard.
What Are The Benefits Of Having a MIDI Digital Keyboard? There are countless benefits to having a MIDI capable keyboard. MIDI allows your device to act as a MIDI controller for composing on the computer through programs such as Garage Band, Finale, Ableton Live, and more.
MIDI also enables your keyboard to communicated with other electronic instruments. All synthesizers and mixers have MIDI ports for inter-connectivity between instruments, and you'll want to have MIDI on your digital keyboard so that you aren't left in the dust.
Where To Buy A MIDI Capable Digital Keyboard? Nowadays most keyboards over $100 have MIDI capability. Just check to make sure the MIDI logo is listed on the product's box, otherwise there are no guarantees it has the necessary ports. Also make sure that your keyboard has legitimate MIDI ports and not a USB-MIDI port, as legitimate ports are more standard amongst digital keyboards.
Monday, May 25, 2009
Buying Your First Digital KeyboardThe beginning keyboard buyer is bombarded with a slew technical jargon when shopping for a digital keyboard. The main purpose of this guide will be helping you digest these features and make an informed choice.
Features of Digital Keyboards Here I will outline and explain some key features you'll encounter when looking to purchase your keyboard.
Amount of Keys
The amount of keys on the keyboard is fairly important. For a general purpose keyboard you'll want at at least 61 keys. 77 or 88 is preferred, but 61 is all that's required for playing most pieces.
A keyboard can have 88 keys but be completely useless if it doesn't have decent polyphony. Polyphony is basically the amount of keys that can be pressed at one time and still have the keyboard produce the key's sound. Most keyboards on the market have 32+ key polyphony which is more than enough.
MIDI Input and Output
If you want your keyboard to be able to communicate with other electronic instruments and software, then you'll definitely want to make sure it has MIDI input and output ports. Many lower end instruments lack these, so make sure you check!
You'll definitely want touch response in a keyboard, as it allows adjustment of volume on the fly. Touch response mimics real acoustic pianos, so the harder you press the louder the sound will be!
Hammer Weighted Keys
Weighted keys are available on some high end keyboards. If you've been trained on piano then you may want the feel of weighted keys to assist in your playing.
Light Up Keys
Many beginning digital keyboards have light up keys nowadays. These can help you learn lessons, but I feel they make the keyboard look cheap and gimmicky. Still, kids tend to love them!
Sounds and Beats
The last thing you'll want to look for is the amount of sound samples and beats that the keyboard includes. Memory is cheap now, so most keyboards have hundreds of quality sounds. On some you can even download more!
Now that you've gotten the gist of digital keyboard features you can make an informed decision when shopping!
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