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    NAMM Expert PreView - Casio LK-365 Keyboard

    By Anderton |

    Expert PreView: Casio LK-265

    Casio continues its stealth campaign to engage people in making music

     

    by Craig Anderton

     

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    As Dendy Jarrett said, “This is the show where some companies realized that if we don’t get people engaged in making music, all that’s happening here becomes irrelevant.” Which is a perfect introduction to Casio’s “gateway drug” to making music: the LK-265 keyboard ($149 street price).

     

    Sure, it incorporates tried-and-true Casio “learn music” features like lighted keyboard keys that teach built-in songs phrase by phrase, a display that shows notation and correct hand positioning, auto-accompaniment, and a scoring system for students to track their progress. But what’s new is that it short-circuits the gating element for those starting in music: impatience. After all, if people don’t have a positive experience within 60 seconds, then it’s back to video games, smartphones, and Netflix.

     

    And that’s why the LK-265 includes “dance music mode,” which treats the keyboard like a curated collection of triggerable loops. Within seconds, you can be remixing drums, bass, and synths, as well as triggering effects (flanger, lo-fi, high cut, low cut). Seven more keys provide “build up” effects like roll, filter, stutter, etc. So it’s not just about learning music, but also arranging and mixing.

     

    I can hear the Debbie Downers now: “But that’s not teaching real music”—which totally misses the point. Dance music mode is about getting people engaged in music. Once they have a positive experience creating the kind of music they hear every day, then it’s a short step to wanting to learn more. And for a cool tech touch, the LK-265 interfaces with Casio’s new Chordana Play app, so users can learn their favorite songs via downloadable MIDI files. But forget the camera kits or other adapters: a standard 1/8th stereo cable runs audio in one channel and data in the other.

     

    I guess I’m supposed to like something more sophisticated and pro, but I can’t help myself. The LK-265 is fun—and I predict it will suck kids into music like a Shark vacuum cleaner in a dust factory. Casio will be sending us one for a full review as soon as they can pry one loose.

     

    Resources

     

    Interview with Casio's Mike Martin about the LK-265

           

     

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     Craig Anderton is Editorial Director of Harmony Central. He has played on, mixed, or produced over 20 major label releases (as well as mastered over a hundred tracks for various musicians), and written over a thousand articles for magazines like Guitar Player, Keyboard, Sound on Sound (UK), and Sound + Recording (Germany). He has also lectured on technology and the arts in 38 states, 10 countries, and three languages. Stream his latest "video album" at craiganderton.com.

     

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