In this article, I will discuss what keyboard features that are not essential but can ease the learning process and operation of your keyboard.
The first feature you might find useful is the use of memory buttons. These normally range from four memory buttons to eight buttons, in your price range. The memory button remembers the complete set up of the keyboard, which might include the sound you are using plus the rhythm and speed and volumes of each part. This is especially useful if you have spent hours setting up your keyboard and you want to save your settings. There’s nothing worse than trying to find that perfect setting again, when you could have saved it. Also some keyboards will have a floppy drive which can save the entire settings of the keyboard including memory buttons just in case there is a power cut or your memory buttons get wiped, again not essential, but useful.
The next feature is reverb. This setting on a keyboard can dramatically transform the sound of any instrument sound on your keyboard. An example of natural reverb can be found in a church or a large hall or an underground cavern. If you have visited any of these places then you know the sound created is echo like. Of course, it is very difficult to describe the sound difference when adding reverb but again this is another advantage to visiting a music shop where you can actually listen to the keyboard sounds. The difference between reverb and no reverb is quite dramatic. If you haven’t heard the difference it is unlikely you will miss it but be warned once you have heard the difference between reverb and no reverb you will want reverb on your keyboard.
The next feature to look for is a recording facility. Recorders are built in to keyboard, they don’t use tape, they use memory chips to record actions made on a keyboard such as playing a piece of music. These recorders are referred to as music sequencers and can create very complex almost orchestral pieces of music although the features on a sequencer at your price range will be limited. As a beginner you will not get a lot of use from this feature however, it can be used as a teaching aid, for example a teacher can play a section of music in to the sequencer and the pupil can then listen and practice the sequence of music as many times as is needed. If this feature is pushing your budget, then I would say you don’t need it. The choice is yours.
Finally, most keyboards made today have two or three “MIDI” connections; these can normally be found on the back of the keyboard and look like five pin din sockets and are marked up as MIDI In, MIDI Out and MIDI Through. MIDI stands for “musical instrument digital interface” As a beginner you will not use these connections. These connections enable your keyboard to play and be played by other keyboards. They can also connect to a computer and music can be played and created using MIDI and computer programs. MIDI is a complex subject and if you wish to learn more about this subject, you can search the internet where you will find lots of information about MIDI. So if your keyboard does not have MIDI connections, its does not matter, if your keyboard does have MIDI connections it still doesn’t matter.
In part four I will discuss optional extras, which for some people could be necessary extras. Also information about keyboard lessons.
You can read the first and second article at Mikes Music Room.
About the Author
Michael David Shaw runs music websites http://www.mikesmusicroom.co.uk and http://www.keyboardsheetmusic.co.uk