There is a lot of help and information on this site about which keyboard to buy, and how to connect it up to your PC – you may be wondering if it is essential to purchase some kind of keyboard or digital piano to benefit from making music using your PC: the answer is it really depends on what you want to do.
If you want to learn the guitar, for instance, then there is a wide selection of guitar and bass tutors, and there is absolutely no need to purchase a keyboard or MIDI device to use any of these, you simple use them straight out of the box.
Most of the theory, ear training, composition and accompaniment software (eg Music Ace, Ear Training Software, BandInABox, Play Music etc) can be used either with or without a keyboard controller. Much of the functionality of the software is still available without any further equipment, though there may be some parts of the software which work with keyboard input – handy, though not essential, if you already have one.
However, a MIDI keyboard can offer benefits to all musicians even if your main instrument is a string or woodwind or brass instrument or guitar, and you may find it beneficial acquire an inexpensive 4-octave velocity sensitive keyboard controller as a MIDI input device (this is one of the cheapest options). Even cheaper, if you just want simple data entry is to look at any of the smaller MIDI controllers. Take a look here at our full range of MIDI Keyboards
The reason is that using a controller or MIDI keyboard is often the easiest method of recording music compositions, and some skill with this instrument can be very rewarding. The MIDI keyboard used with your PC for learning and/or composing does not need to be expensive, and if it is your second instrument, you could consider an interactive tool like Piano Suite Premier, to help acquire skill on the piano. The skills gained in this way will certainly help support you in playing your main instrument.
Finally there is obviously little point in purchasing software specifically to learn to play the keyboard or piano if you don’t have some kind of keyboard available – either a MIDI controller keyboard, personal keyboard or digital piano. And to benefit from the interactive experience and guidance that this software offers, you really do need to connect your keyboard up to your computer – find out how to do this, and which sort of keyboard to buy if you don’t already own one, in our related articles.