Noodling board

Posted by: Maarkr

Noodling board - 04/20/14 10:20 PM

i was thinking of getting a small keyboard to noodle with as I'm watching tv. Something small with maybe 24-ish keys, speaker, full size keys... a brief google didn't get me anywhere.

and if u think it is a silly idea, i'll read your comments.
Posted by: Sand Tiger

Re: Noodling board - 04/20/14 11:33 PM

Not sure what the point is if, you have all the gear in your signature (Privia PX-5S, XW-P1, Roland Juno-G, Korg MicroSampler). Something with 24 keys is more suitable for hands separate than hands together. A tablet with some apps might be more versatile and more useful to you, if you are looking to work on melody lines and/or harmonies separately.

There are a lot of smaller keyboards at a variety of price points. Many are designed as kid gifts and have poor sound, especially considering your collection of gear. I might go for a tiny midi controller and a very cheap laptop or tablet for the samples.

Another idea to rig a monitor or TV where you can watch TV while sitting in front of one of your full size keyboards. This might be a better option than yet another piece of music hardware, especially if you are looking at the junky end of the price curve.
Posted by: Charles Cohen

Re: Noodling board - 04/21/14 02:49 AM

There are a bunch of "short-keyboard" synths made by Korg and others. By and large, they don't have loudspeakers, and you'd have to use headphones (or outboard speakers). Check out the Arturia MiniBrute as an example.

If you didn't specify "full-size keys", I'd recommend the microKorg series - any one of them. There are lots of sounds, and they're compact and can be battery-powered. They look like toys -- but believe me, they're not. There's a pretty powerful synthesis engine inside, and you have access to all the parameters.

. Charles
Posted by: 36251

Re: Noodling board - 04/21/14 06:43 AM

Just get a melodica.
Posted by: Digitalguy

Re: Noodling board - 04/21/14 07:47 AM

If you have an ipad or a small pc, I would consider a small midi controller like iRig Keys pro, 37 full sized keys, just over 23 inches and extremely light, to be connected to an iPad (you get decent software piano free with the keyboard and the cables to connect directly to ipad and pc, without any need for camera connection kit)
I am probably buying it myself too...
Posted by: EssBrace

Re: Noodling board - 04/21/14 07:54 AM

Posted by: 36251

Re: Noodling board - 04/21/14 08:56 AM

Originally Posted By: EssBrace
when I was a kid, I always wanted one of those, but never got one. I always reminisce when I see pics of them.
Posted by: voxpops

Re: Noodling board - 04/21/14 10:38 AM

Originally Posted By: 36251
Originally Posted By: EssBrace
when I was a kid, I always wanted one of those, but never got one. I always reminisce when I see pics of them.

Today's equivalent is the Korg Volca Keys. Tiny, but with a whole grab-bag of real-time controls, a built-in speaker, three VCOs and a sequencer. $150

Oh, and if you prefer full-size regular keys, you can connect via MIDI to something like the Alesis Q25, although then you'd need a power supply.
Posted by: voxpops

Re: Noodling board - 04/21/14 10:47 AM

Two alternative routes (and I have used these as "armchair" keyboards):
1. Alesis Micron with headphones
2: Arturia MiniLab plus laptop and headphones
Posted by: lolatu

Re: Noodling board - 04/21/14 11:13 AM

I think you're looking for a keytar.

Posted by: Maarkr

Re: Noodling board - 04/21/14 11:05 PM

lol! well, I could use my Lucina but I would like to avoid running a cord to a processor... no melodica, sorry. I have an older Korg MicroKontrol for a midi controller, and the other controllers may work, but again the perfect device would be cheap, 36 keys, built-in speaker (or connect to bluetooth), run on batteries...so i don't need to connect to anything. The other reasons for it are wanting full size keys since I'm learning fingering, sight reading, drills, interval practice and other basic student stuff. There's prob a toy out there that may work. Thanks.
Posted by: Morodiene

Re: Noodling board - 04/22/14 09:02 AM

Originally Posted By: Maarkr
lol! well, I could use my Lucina but I would like to avoid running a cord to a processor... no melodica, sorry. I have an older Korg MicroKontrol for a midi controller, and the other controllers may work, but again the perfect device would be cheap, 36 keys, built-in speaker (or connect to bluetooth), run on batteries...so i don't need to connect to anything. The other reasons for it are wanting full size keys since I'm learning fingering, sight reading, drills, interval practice and other basic student stuff. There's prob a toy out there that may work. Thanks.


While I admire your desire to improve your playing and be efficient with your time, I do question the value of practicing in front of the TV.

Practice needs to be mindful for it to accomplish anything. You are building neural pathways when you play, but you can certainly make noise and move your fingers and not build those pathways. And without them, well, your playing won't go very far at all.

Not only will your mind be distracted, but there is little point in playing when you aren't also listening closely to what you're doing. Playing in front of the TV encourages not listening, which is a common problem of beginner piano students, so I don't encourage it. Just practice with the TV off, on a full set of keys on a good stand with a bench at the proper height and distance.

Lastly, rest in between practice sessions is hugely important. Almost as important as the practice itself. So have your practice time, and then allow it to simmer, and return to practicing again later.

Or if you insist, run to practice during commercials, but that's not ideal timing.
Posted by: Sand Tiger

Re: Noodling board - 04/22/14 11:47 AM

Originally Posted By: Maarkr
... I'm learning fingering, sight reading, drills, interval practice and other basic student stuff. There's prob a toy out there that may work. Thanks.


I'm with Morodiene. Practice when you practice. A person watching TV is not going to learn as much as someone focusing at a piano bench in near silence. I thought that you wanted a tiny device for composing or perhaps duplicating music you might hear on TV.

Just an opinion from a stranger, but you seem to have a lot of gear considering the piano topics you are working on, and yet are looking to add to the hoard. I might be out of line, but my suggestion would be less time shopping, more time practicing (away from the TV).

Adding a toy keyboard or midi controller isn't likely to help in any meaningful way. A 24-key or 36-key unit on the lap, bed, or couch isn't likely to help your fingering or piano technique. If you want to work on sight reading or ear training, tablet apps may yield more mileage for your time and money.
Posted by: Digitalguy

Re: Noodling board - 04/22/14 12:49 PM

Originally Posted By: Maarkr
There's prob a toy out there that may work. Thanks.


Absolutely agree with the previous comments. And I would add, don't expect anything serious from a small toy. They all have downsized keys, short travel, etc. (been shopping for one for my 4 year old niece...)
Posted by: spanishbuddha

Re: Noodling board - 04/22/14 01:45 PM

One of the semi professional players on here, practises whilst reading a book! Well, he said that once. If he sees this he might correct, confirm, clarify. Apologies to him if he's a full time professional, the term was not meant to be demeaning.
Posted by: Sand Tiger

Re: Noodling board - 04/22/14 03:12 PM

Originally Posted By: spanishbuddha
One of the semi professional players on here, practises whilst reading a book! Well, he said that once. If he sees this he might correct, confirm, clarify. Apologies to him if he's a full time professional, the term was not meant to be demeaning.


There is something to be said for practicing with distractions if a person gigs in a high distraction environment. One noted teacher would slam doors, have phone noises, cough and have people talking while some of the advanced students played, just so they wouldn't be scared of those interruptions when playing live. A beginner working on basics isn't going to get much benefit from doing that.

Again, the stated purpose for the toy is to practice fingering, sight reading, scales, other technique drills. Is there any value for a beginner doing that while sitting lopsided on a couch or bed, playing on a toy keyboard, all while watching TV? There might be worse ways to practice, but not that many. There may be worse things to spend money and time on, but not that many. Especially when there is a new Casio stage piano in the next room or across the room.
Posted by: JohnSprung

Re: Noodling board - 04/22/14 03:25 PM

Maybe come at it the other way: Use your existing keyboards, and get a little flat screen TV.
Posted by: o0Ampy0o

Re: Noodling board - 04/23/14 06:20 PM

I'd like to echo the benefit for beginners of simply having a keyboard under your fingertips in combination with conscious, diligent plans with objectives blah blah...

Some disciplines advocate taking the object of your learning with you everywhere including sleeping with it at your side.

Nothing we do in this world is natural. Our first breath of air hurts but we have to get through it or we die then we soon become experts and forget there was a time when we didn't know how to breathe. Playing any instrument is foreign for a while. In that regard, just getting comfortable with the tactile sensation is a step. In combination with a decent improvement plan your noodling will have traces of those exercises and moves. It is a matter of familiarity.

Look at another context, drawing. If you study and practice with conscious intent when you doodle your doodles will be backed by knowledge, skill, ideas of goals, developed muscle finesse and informed memories rather than consist of pointless exploration of the unknown. In fact when instructed to partake in an exercise exploring the unknown you have to unlearn or conscious shut out what you know before you can complete that exercise.



Posted by: 36251

Re: Noodling board - 04/23/14 08:04 PM

A while ago I bought a Korg microStation for the very reason that OP is talking about. It was fun a few times but I lost interest. I sold it, but I still have iRig keys and GarageBand if the urge returns.