Whether you are an experienced keyboard player who performs regularly, or if you play at home or are just starting out, you will find that the keyboard on its own is often not enough for a successful playing session. You need to make sure you are also sitting comfortable, are able to practice without disturbing others if necessary and that your beloved instrument is protected under any conditions. I will reveal the 5 keyboard must haves that should be on every player’s shopping list.
Headphones are one of the main essentials when buying a keyboard. They are usually compatible with all keyboards and offer you the option to practice silently. Headphones can be crucial when you are living in a busy environment where you are struggling to concentrate, if you like to practice late at night when others are asleep, or, if you simply just want to have more of a private session. There is a huge range of headphones available and you can get a very decent quality pair from approximately £15.00 upwards. Keyboards are also often bundled up with a free pair of ‘phones’.
A sustain pedal is usually something you don’t use when you first start to play, but once you do, you virtually cannot live without it. It adds a more expression and realism to your playing and is also a handy tool that helps you link chords and notes together that are located at a larger interval. This makes for smoother jumps and also allows selected sounds to resonate and fade out for as long as you wish, thus giving you more control. There is a variety of pedals to choose from, based on your needs and budget – ‘box-style’ pedals are usually cheaper and smaller. You can also choose a more traditional style piano-pedal – these will usually stay in place much better and are more comfortable to use. Finally, if you are not planning to take your keyboard on the go a lot, you can go for a pedal board with 3 pedals for a more permanent fix, just like an acoustic piano. But make sure your keyboard has a matching wooden stand available and it is compatible with the pedal board to fix it all together.
One of the most important things for comfort during those longer practices is a stool. I would personally recommend an adjustable stool, especially for young children, as their height will change and it is important be able to sit comfortably at all times as this influences posture and ensures they do not get tired easily. If you are gigging, a height adjustable stool will make sure that you enjoy yourself while playing, even if your keyboard is at a different height than normal. There is a range of stools to choose from, whether it is a wooden stool for a classic look or a more portable x-style bench. If you do have a permanently fixed stand, a sturdy, traditional-looking fixed height stool would be great too, as long as it is the appropriate height for you.
Similar to a stool, a stand will ensure your keyboard is located at an appropriate height for you. There is a range of stands available, both fixed and adjustable height. An adjustable height model, again, would be great for gigs and younger children. X-style stands are usually the most popular and versatile option, as they are usually adjustable and suitable for most keyboards. If you are looking for a more permanent fix, you can either go for lightweight, portable stands or more traditional wooden stands that attach to your keyboard. Just make sure your instrument is compatible with the particular stand.
Last but not least, keyboard bags and covers are essential to protect your keyboard from external damage and dust. If you are a mobile musician, a keyboard bag is vital to make sure your instrument does not suffer any damage in transit. I would recommend a padded bag or, ideally, a hard case for the best protection. There is a variety of bags and cases available and you should be able to find one that fits your keyboard. Even if you only play at home, it would be advisable to acquire a keyboard cover, as this will keep your instrument protected from dust in between practices.
I hope you enjoyed this article. I would love to hear what are your keyboard essentials in the comments below!