Hands-On Review:Casio Lighted Keys Keyboards- A technological union of education, fun, and affordability

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By Louis A. Jefferson




Even if you're not a keyboard teacher at all, now there's a way you can  keep a room full of students rapt and learning quickly! Using MIDI  technology, an ultra-intuitive user interface, and keys that light up to  indicate the proper notes to play, Casio's Lighted Keys keyboards make  learning exciting and easy.


Prime motivator

As an educator I try always to heed lessons learned as a live  performance artist. I can't count how many times after a performance  audience members have told me that they played piano, trumpet, or flute  briefly as children and regretted not having gone farther with it. As  often as not their lack of motivation can be traced to bad educational  experiences-usually rigid, uninspiring teachers who had no concept of  music as fun.


Especially in this age of video games and DVD extravaganzas, delayed  gratification is a difficult idea to get across to children. Long hours  spent mastering video games prove kids are still ready to work at  something, but they want it to be fun NOW, while they're working. Simple  duets are a good way to make learning the keyboard fun-providing you  have good rapport with your student, plenty of time for one-on-one  attention, saintly patience, and a basic knack for making music fun. But  if you're lacking any of those luxuries, you're going to lose a lot of  students to boredom and frustration.


With the LK-43, LK-55, and LK-73 electronic keyboards, Casio has gone a long way toward doing with  technology what used to require a lot of skill, patience, and time-all  of which generally translate into the thing we in music education lack  most-money.


A simply brilliant concept
When you hit the power button on a Casio Lighted Keys keyboard, you're  instantly playing a very responsive polyphonic keyboard with a great  grand piano tone and touch sensitivity (on the LK-55 and LK-73).  Press a prominent button marked "Step 1" under the heading "3-Step  Lesson," and you immediately hear an accompaniment and see a beckoning  key lighted up bright red. Push that key for the first note of the song  and immediately another key begins flashing to show you the next note.  The accompaniment waits for you to advance the song by playing the next  note. You're learning to play the song instantly! And you've got 100  songs to choose from, covering all skill levels.


That first lesson makes it easy, you don't even have to hit the right  key to get the right note. The key stays lit if you're supposed to hold  it and blinks off for an instant if you're supposed to hit it again. An  LCD shows you which finger you should be hitting the note with.


The second lesson is slightly more difficult. It takes you through the  song requiring that you hit the correct key and letting your clams ring  out. You have to hit the right note for the song to progress. On the LK-55 and LK-73, standard notation on the LCD tells you how hard to hit each note. The LK-55 locates each applicable note on a treble clef and the LK-73 shows the note you're playing on treble or bass clef. This is a great  assistance in determining where you are on the accompanying sheet music.


The third lesson plays the accompaniment at tempo and forces you to hit  the right notes in time. The more difficult songs include both left-and  right-hand parts and even let you practice them separately. The LK-43, LK-55, and LK-73 all feature MIDI in/out capability that lets you download more songs  from the huge song bank on Casio's Web site at www.casiosongs.com. Each  of these songs work perfectly with the Lighted Keys learning system.



This most affordable of the new LK series keyboards offers a great deal  of utility for the money. 61 full-sized keys with 12-note polyphony  provide plenty of room for young players to stretch out. Featuring 100  built-in songs, built-in speakers, 100 tones, 100 rhythm patterns, Casio  Chord and fingered chord auto-accompaniment, and a unique voice  fingering guide that vocalizes which finger should be used for each  note, it's perfect in the classroom and as a first keyboard for young  players. Transpose and tuning controls plus a 1/4" headphone jack and  the ability to operate on batteries make it very versatile.



Designed specifically with the classroom in mind, the LK-55

features 61 full-sized keys with touch sensitivity which makes them  respond to the hardness of the strike just like a real piano. 24-note  polyphony, 246 tones including 9 drum/percussion kits, stereo piano  sounds, layer and split functions, 120 rhythmic patterns including 20  piano patterns, 100 built-in songs, and a two-track song memory  recording function add up to an extremely usable teaching tool for an  amazingly moderate price.



This keyboard is intended for one-on-one lessons, small-group sessions,  and as a first keyboard for adults and children alike. Featuring 137  tones and all the masterful functionality of the LK-55 , it provides 78 touch-sensitive keys, a more inclusive LCD display, and a beautiful-sounding upgraded speaker system.


The Casio Lighted Keys keyboards make learning music fun, fast, fulfilling, and affordable. They never  tire of playing with your students, and-best of all-they don't require  salaries.


Features & Specs:

Casio LK-43Casio LK-55
  • Lighted Keys learning system
  • Fantastically low price
  • 61 full-sized keys
  • 12-note polyphony
  • 100 built-in songs
  • Built-in speakers
  • 100 tones
  • 100 rhythm patterns
  • Musical information system LCD
  • Casio Chord and fingered chord auto-accompaniment
  • Voice fingering guide
  • Transpose and tuning controls
  • 1/4" headphone jack
  • Battery or adapter powered
  • Lighted Keys learning system
  • 61 full-sized keys
  • Touch sensitivity
  • 24-note polyphony
  • 246 tones
  • 9 drum/percussion kits
  • Stereo piano sounds
  • Layer and split functions
  • Musical information system with finger placement, loudness, and treble clef indicators
  • 120 rhythmic patterns including 20 piano patterns
  • 100 built-in songs
  • 2-track recording function
Casio LK-73 (All features of the LK-55, plus)
  • 78 full-sized keys
  • Inclusive LCD display
  • Musical information system with finger placement, loudness, and treble/bass clef indicators
  • 137 tones
  • Advanced bass reflex speaker system