When it comes to selecting a MIDI Keyboard for a school music program the options can be kind of overwhelming. There are many competitors that offer similar features, yet some of the detailed features are very important to look at.
Some of the key aspects to think about are:
- number of keys
- the overall goals of your program or class
- the space you are working in
- power supply
- what device will it be used with (i.e. tablet, computer)
- do you need knobs and pads and what do you want to use them for?
In our program we use Ableton Live so I wanted to get a keyboard that worked well with that program. Although students have iPads we decided that being able to use it with a computer was more important. I wanted to find a keyboard that was able to have transport control, launch clips, had knobs that were mapped to the program as well as have some pads that were good for drumming. These features are all important to the students education in the program so a keyboard with these features was critical.
To narrow down my options I looked for video overviews that could be useful about the product. One of the best YouTube channels I have found for this style of production is Sounds and Gear. There are tons of reviews and resources available on this YouTube channel and the website http://soundsandgear.com/
For our particular program we narrowed it to the LaunchKey Series and Akai APC Key 25. In the end we went with the LaunchKey because the pads double as both drum pads and pads to launch clips. We went with the 25 key version.
Feel free to let me know if you have any questions about what controller may be best for your program.