Written by Lisa B.
“Music can change the world because it can change people.” BONO
I believe that. I started playing the banjo three years ago and never knew how much music could bring happiness and joy into my house. Now, my children think it is a natural thing to have music in the house, to dance and sing. Music is not something I was brought up with, but we also were not taught to play instruments in my house. Music was just something I listened to on the radio. As an adult though, I have seen the kids transform when I play the banjo. So now I am now expanding the music to the keyboard. When I had the opportunity to try the Casio LK-265 Lighted Keyboard, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to allow the kids to make their own music. The banjo is too big for them and very hard and awkward to hold since they are so young. It has inspired them to be imaginative and has sparked a musical interest in them.
Why do I care if the kids learn music?
In the past three years, I have learned it is actually a way of communicating. My focus with my banjo is through Appalachian song. Songs that tell stories that date back to the early days. However, the piano works the same way. Most shy away from piano because the first thing people think of Mozart or Beethoven and that is not music that inspires them. The songs I love are not only old but, they are classic fun songs. There are lovey Welsh songs like “The Ash Grove” or just old-time folk songs like “Oh My Darling Clementine” or “My Old Kentucky Home.”
Both my kids are in the beginning stages of learning how to play the Casio portable keyboard. Casio has a step-up lesson system which is great! They have 110 different songs that you can learn. Most of them are classic songs that you know and have grown up with so you can follow along. Knowing the songs makes it easy and fun to learn. When you begin the process, you will choose your song, and the keys light up as you go in order to teach the song. Also, on the keyboard, there is a hand that tells you which finger should be used when you are playing so that you are growing as a keyboard player as you play. It has been great for teaching my kids the basics of keyboarding.
The display also shows several other things that help you to learn as you go. It shows what note you are playing on the staff so you can learn music notation. It also displays the beat, tempo, and the number or name of what you are playing.
One of the first buttons my kids found was the Dance Music button. It got them to start playing with the piano. This Dance music features several types of pattern phrases and applies it to songs that are playing, they usually a beat from a drum set or a Bass. Once the kids found these sounds, my son took up to making the beats, and my daughter took to dancing to the music. When my son started playing with it, he then wanted to add his own beats with his right hand using the other side of the keyboard. There are 50 types of sounds to choose from.
Once you figure out the 110 songs from the song list and you are ready to span out, (or you did not like the music choices on the keyboard) you will need to take a few minutes to visit Casio’s website. Doing this will allow you to learn how to upload new music to the keyboard and how to connect your iPod or phone to the keyboard.
From there you can learn how to upload your favorite songs, the website answered all my questions! Songs come in using MIDI files. (Which is just another extension such as jpeg yet it is a purely digital format.) The download includes 50 more songs to pick from. They will, like the 110 songs pre-programmed on the keyboard, show you which hand to use while playing notes all the while the keys lighting up. You can also transfer some of those songs directly to the keyboard even when your device is not connected.
Once you start using the app, you will see that you can increase or decrease the speed of the song or just learn the ‘left’ hand or ‘right’ hand.
I think this feature is what sells me. It truly keeps you interested because you can choose from music that you enjoy.
There is nothing extra to buy because it is all in the box. Includes: Key Lighting Keyboard, directions on how to use the keyboard and an AD adaptor, and a guide holder. The only thing it does not include that would be nice is a keyboard stand. However, a table or ironing board works nicely!
The kids are now working on Christmas songs that we will be able to sing on our Christmas holiday. I am pretty excited to be sharing the gift of music with my children and husband this year!