Do you need 88 keys to learn the piano?

do you need 88 keys on a piano

You want to learn the piano and you are trying to choose the right instrument.

You see several models of pianos or keyboards, and they haven’t all the same number of keys.

If you read this article, it means that you already know that traditional piano keyboards have 88 keys.

But what about these models with 61 keys?

Let’s figure this out.

Watch the video:

Do you need 88 keys on your keyboard?

I will assume that we are talking about digital pianos or keyboards here because acoustic pianos have 88 keys anyway.

But both entry-level digital piano and keyboard have often 61 keys.

Is that enough to learn the piano and play songs?

It depends.

I know, you don’t like this answer and it doesn’t help you.

I will give you my opinion then: yes it is enough and no you don’t need 88 keys.


Because it depends on your goals.

In particular, if you aim to become a good classical pianist, 88 keys will very soon be necessary. Several of the best composers, such as Beethoven make use of a large range of notes. Thus, you won’t be able to play some of the most famous piano pieces if you don’t have a full piano keyboard.

But, before Beethoven, notable during the Baroque period, keyboards only had 5 octaves, thus around 61 keys. This means that you can still play a lot of classical piano pieces on a smaller keyboard.

Even better, you can play all the pop songs you want. Or rock, blues…

You won’t have many limitations in the end.

The most important aspect if you want to learn correctly how to play the piano is to have hammer action keys.

Be sure that you buy a keyboard with this feature. Unless you only want to play keyboards, not the piano itself.


You don’t need 88 keys to be able to learn the piano and to play most of the songs on this instrument.

You can read my guide here to help you choose your piano or this one if you want a MIDI keyboard.

My question: What model have you bought or do you wish to buy?

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