Portable Keyboards – Pros and Cons

pinao keyboard

Portable keyboards have been very popular for over 30 years.  Not only are they versatile and a lot of fun, as their name implies, they are great for someone where portability is a factor.  They can range from less than 61 notes to a full 88 notes.  I’ve known several people who travel for work and spend quite a bit of their life in a hotel room.  A portable keyboard allows them to keep in practice when a piano is not available.  They can be a great solution for outdoor events where weather could be a factor with an acoustic piano, and a good choice for use in a musical group such as a band.

The misconception is that portable keyboards can be effectively used to learn to play the piano.  Most quality piano teachers will not allow a student to learn on a portable.  As one teacher stated, “It’s like giving your kid a Nerf football and having him try out for the football team.”

Much of the practice of learning piano is devoted to learning proper technique, which can not be accomplished on a keyboard.  Here are a few of the techniques lost by using a portable keyboard:

  1.  Learning how to control touch (legato, staccato and portato touch), sensitivity and expression.
  2.  Posture and seating position and hand/arm alignment.
  3.  Finger dexterity and evenness of touch.
  4.  Pedaling for sustain, soft pedal and sostenuto.
  5.  Balance between melody and accompaniment.
  6.  Dynamics of sound.
  7.  Approach and release of chords.
  8.  The concept of weight using hands, arms and shoulders.

Having a quality acoustic or digital piano at home will encourage and motivate the student rather than becoming a frustration.  A quality instrument and teacher will make learning the play the piano fun and exciting.