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I am an amateur pianist who would love to compose in a tight place or on the go with a small MIDI keyboard.

I face this dilemma

  • Buy a standard key size mini keyboard with 2 octaves only (and 25 "normal" keys) like the Komplete Kontrol S25, but I think I will be very frustrated with the tiny range. I'm sure the small number of keys badly affects composition...
  • Buy a mini keyboard with 3 octaves (37 slim keys), like the Arturia Keystep 37. But then, my concern with the second option is that the smaller keys could mess around with my muscle memory if I use them too much...

I understand a mini keyboard has to make concessions, so my question is : those who are in this case, can you switch easily between normal and mini key sizes like it was two different instruments, or do you feel that your playing on a real piano is badly impacted with the bad habits you constructed playing on the mini keyboard?

Thanks

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    I think this isn't hugely uncommon with other instruments - people may occasionally switch between instruments in the same family which are often mainly distinguished by size. For example, violinists may sometimes play viola (or vice versa) – DavidW Apr 17 at 10:56
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can you switch easily between normal and mini key sizes like it was two different instruments, or do you feel that your playing on a real piano is badly impacted with the bad habits you constructed playing on the mini keyboard?

I haven't noticed anything bad caused by playing mini keyboards. Mini keys are a little awkward to play, so I won't try to play any "piano" things anyway. For example, playing white keys by pressing down on the area between two black keys is difficult, because my fingers tend to get stuck between the black keys. This awkwardness leads me to play different things, which can be good particularly for improvisation, because then I'll have to think more with my brain and less with my fingers.

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It will be the same as when you are climbing up 2 stairs with different degrees of steps.

If the difference of the steps inside the scale are equal but different between the two stairs you'll be easily adapting the new distance when climbing the other stair. But when the distance is changing on the same stair you will stumble and struggle like a wanderer climbing up a mountain path.

It can even be an advantage to learn and practice triads on a mini-keyboard, like starting to drive a bicycle on a children bike. As long you don't have the purpose to play piano concertos or Chopin etudes I don't see a disadvantage.

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The brain is very quick to adapt to varying weights and sizes of keys. The first thing though is to have an ergonomic technique. Then the brain can make the proper adjustments to abduction, weight and elbow movement. If there are flaws in your technique your brain won't be able to overcome the differences. It is like walking barefoot, with heavy boots, in sneakers, through snow, through water, through tall grass, on rocks in mud . . . your brain makes the necessary adjustments to accommodate all the differences but the basic laws of ergonomics and physics remains the same. If you have a problem walking to begin with, some of those variances could cause problems.

I always tell pianists to try playing a tracker organ. If they can't play it because the keys are too heavy then they are totally playing wrong. The tracker will reveal your every flaw.

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I think it's different from person to person, depends on how opened we are, how adaptable to different things. Most people I know, doesn't have any problems switching from one to another, and even different instruments. I just bought a Roll up piano for my boyfriend's birthday gift. It has 81 tones, a little bit smaller tiles than standard piano, but with a lot of funkcions like REC., demo, drum kit, etc. He is thrilled, especially to be able to play it almost everywhere, anytime. Practice with all the versions of the keyboard you have access to, as often you can, and switching will not be a problem at all.

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