Hands-On Review:Casio Lighted Keys Keyboards- A technological union of education, fun, and affordability
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.
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, , and 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 and ). 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 theand , standard notation on the LCD tells you how hard to hit each note. The locates each applicable note on a treble clef and the 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, , and 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
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, it provides 78 touch-sensitive keys, a more inclusive LCD display, and a beautiful-sounding upgraded speaker system.
Themake 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-43||Casio LK-55|
|Casio LK-73 (All features of the LK-55, plus)|