Being a musician is incredibly rewarding, however it takes hours and hours of continued practice to make any significant progress, especially if you reach a plateau. The problem with piano practice is that it’s not as easy to practice in other places as it is with other instruments. Instruments like guitars and horns are smaller with compact carrying cases. There is no carrying case for grand pianos, and electric pianos can still be very large and bulky. This is usually the case with digital pianos too – as they are often bulky; although you can definitely find decent portable digital pianos (through sites such as The Box Tiger Music).
This can create various issues for the traveling musician who wants to experiment, or keep his skills polished. Luckily with the advent of digital technology, pianos have been digitized and shrunk for convenient use. All that’s needed is a digital audio workstation, a laptop, and a MIDI piano. Choosing a MIDI piano can be difficult, but this list will highlight the best MIDI pianos for the traveling musicians. Here are the top five travel pianos for musicians.
Though a little on the larger side, the Impulse more than makes up for its size with an incredible amount of features. With a drum machine input and modulation effects, the Impulse offers pianists and musicians in general plenty of options for mobile music making. The Novation Impulse sells in the $300.00 to $400.00 range, which can be a bit pricey, but is more than worth the price with the fullness of its features. If you’re looking for something cheaper and simpler, try the Novation Impulse 25 keys version.
Akai Professional MPK Mini MKII 25-Key USB MIDI Controller
If you’re looking for something small with plenty of features from a trustworthy brand, the Akai MPK MKII is the way to go. With features like oscillation, a drum pad, and a built in 25 key MIDI piano, the MKII is a versatile yet compactable machine that sells in the $200.00 range.
Whether you are considering the 37 key or 25 key versions, the Korg microKEY offers a slim, compact design that’s perfect for travel. With a stripped down interface, the microKEY presents a simple design with four buttons, the keys and an analog stick. The 37 keys version includes pitch and modulation wheels. Both versions come with a pedal input for digital sustains. Both versions range from $75.00 to $130.00 depending on where it’s purchased.
M-Audio Oxygen 25 MK IV
The M-Audio Oxygen 25 MK IV MIDI keyboard is truly an innovation in digital music technology. Packed full of features on a tiny frame, the MK IV offers everything from oscillation, pitch and modulation wheels, a drum machine, and synthesizer effect knobs, all over a 25 key keyboard. Not only is the machine packed with features, the usual price tag of $120.00 won’t break the bank either.
These are our picks for the greatest MIDI keyboard for the traveling pianist or musician. However there are tons of work stations to choose from. Explore your options and choose what’s right for your needs and budget.