Few things in life are as special as being able to give the gift of music. My partner Sean was born with this gift. He eats, breathes and sleeps rhythms and chords. One thing he’s always wanted to add to his collection of instruments is a keyboard. So, when I was approached by Casio to test out their LK-265 Lighted Keyboard I couldn’t turn it down. Not only would it make an awesome Christmas gift, but I knew my son would also love playing on it for the music portion of his homeschool curriculum. This article is sponsored by Casio. Sean and my son spent a little over a month getting to know this product. All opinions are theirs and my own.
About the LK-265 Lighted Keyboard
The LK-265 boasts an all-new Dance Music Mode lets you create and remix electronic dance music quickly and easily. Select from 50 styles of EDM, and use the lower keys to choose different variations of drum beats, bass lines, and synth parts. You can even add filter, flanger, gate, roll, low-fi, and other effects to polish your tracks.
It also connects to the Casio free Chordana Play app, which uses the LK-265’s lighted keys to show you how to play your favorite songs. Just download your favorite MIDI files, connect your device’s headphone output to the LK-265’s audio input, and explore a huge library of music. You can also transfer MIDI songs to the keyboard, and learn them when your device isn’t connected (some file limitations apply).
- 400 Tones
- 150 Rhythms
- Built-in speakers, or connect headphones for quiet playing
- 61 full-size, touch-sensitive keys that respond naturally to your playing dynamics
- Casio’s Key Lighting System, which illuminates keys to indicate which notes to play
- Combined with its intuitive Step-Up Lessons, the LK-265 makes it easy to learn the 60 built-in songs
- Make music anywhere with battery power, or use the included AC adapter
- Compact and lightweight
I was super excited to wrap this one and put it under the tree this year. I knew they would both love playing on it, and I was right! Sean could hardly contain himself. He had it set up on his lap (eventually moving to the floor), he was so stoked about it! We quickly bought a keyboard stand for it and in no time, they were both in the studio making music.
The LK-265 Lighted Keyboard Review (the musician’s version)
First off I want to say that this is not a top of the line keyboard. There are many keyboards which stretch into the thousands. However, it suits its price point of $249.99. This is not the first Casio that I’ve owned. I owned a lower graded model back in 2008 which doesn’t hold a candle to this one. So the quality has certainly improved. When I hooked it up to my PA speakers there was definitely a difference in quality with regard to sound and clarity.
As a musician, I had to browse through the instruction booklet twice to get the hang of its functions. I went through all the modes and played around with different tempos finding them to be useful as a sketch pad for writing songs. It’s often difficult to just pick up a guitar and write something. But when you have rhythms and beats to play with, it offers a space for creativity. As a musician that is everything.
About the lighted keys, they weren’t my favorite feature. However, I think they were great for our nine-year-old (which I’ll get to later). For me, as a seasoned musician, I felt like they got in the way and were a bit confusing. It only showed me the root notes but not the chords in between. But maybe there are levels of teaching that I missed.
I want to touch on its use by the rest of the family. Namely our nine-year-old Gauge. He loves music, and recently Christa incorporated a music lesson into his homeschooling. It’s a very basic third-grade lesson which teaches rhythm and songwriting. The LK-265 Lighted Keyboard was perfect for this function. He literally can’t put it down. He spends hours in the studio writing songs to beats and playing chords to the lighted keyboard.
I think it’s important to mention that while he loves the music he’s easily discouraged. He picked up a guitar and took lessons for a few months but never got into it. He didn’t get that instant gratification which builds confidence. So he put the guitar down. It wasn’t until the Casio came along that he showed an interest in music again. And this time he was able to make music and feel good about it. So this definitely serves as a good transitional instrument for kids as they learn rhythm and chords.
My overall take on the LK-265 is that it’s a great instrument for simple soundscapes (even for live performances), a great tool as a writing sketchpad, versatile for the whole family and a good addition to any home studio. If you’re looking for a beginner or even an intermediate keyboard, I would recommend the LK-265 Lighted Keyboard. It’s a great value for the price and will get you started on some good projects. I’ll certainly be using it a lot. It’s definitely not a piece of junk.
Sean Clark Overstreet is a musician and songwriter. He started playing guitar when he was nine years old and never stopped. Over the years he’s mastered guitar, bass, drums, and keys. His newest obsession is the cello, but he’ll play anything that makes a sound. Even a beer can.