**I’m going to assume you already have a suitable computer, the below will advise of how to find the right one and any piece of gear.**
The first piece of gear I bought was a MIDI keyboard and was after making the most amateur house music you’ll ever not hear. I was gifted a copy of FL Studio 6, boxed, from a friend (I know what you’re thinking). The first point I want to make is don’t feel the like you need anything to start creating music, never let the equipment become a hindrance.
With that being said, there’s only so much note dragging one can do before RSI becomes a problem. An inputting device like a keyboard who be a sensible first purchase, in regards to which, that depends on yourself. If you’re building a home studio, go for full size, semi-weighted keys. Worth noting, if you’re a pianist, you’ll be used to fully weighted keys. If you’re stuck on space or want a portable option go for the smaller, 25, or 32 (preferably) option. You know your own budget, ask on a music related Discord Server, Reddit or search for a preexisting thread.
Beginner trap: Don’t use Google or look at webpages such as ‘The Top 10 MIDI keyboards’, for 2 reasons. Firstly, they’re just advertisements designed to look like they’re helping you. Companies often pay for those slots or influence them in more subtle ways (generally). Secondly, who are the reviewers? If the website doesn’t offer up who has reviewed the controllers, steer well clear. Everyone’s looking for different things with their choice of controller, many of the popular options don’t work for me, but a much smaller product or lesser known controller nailed it.
YouTube is more of the same with the bigger channels, either they’re sent the controller for free and are obligated to say something nice if they want to continue that relationship (and who wouldn’t?). Or their judgment is simply too clouded in order to give an accurate representation of the product.
Time spent with a controller is an issue too. If the reviewer has only spent 24 hours with something, on one system, the then particulars are yet to be teased out.
My advice: use Reddit, Discord servers (shameless plug) and/or real user reviews and experiences. Finding smaller YouTube channels that have no connection (not just affiliation) to the company in question is another option. Word of mouth, if you have others around you who operate in this circle, is another option. Generally, I find the second two options too much work and simply too subjective.
If I had known this back when I was starting it would have saved me tons of wasted money and time. Building your studio should be fun, personalised, and as you’ll find out later, always in motion.
After you’ve found the perfect keyboard, an audio interface would be the next logical step. It’s very common to purchase these together. Again, use the above advice for finding the right fit for you and your needs.
Computer/software, a keyboard and an interface are your starting point. After that, you can keep building, dive into the world of analogue synthesisers, or wish you were rich and start building a modular system. I’m still on the first step slowly transitioning into vintage synths, so don’t feel the need to rush.
For the sake of lessening the confusion. I’ve made up a few different start packages on Kit.com Jump in the Discord server if you have any questions. If you’re a reader I also have some book suggestions.
I don’t get asked many questions that aren’t personal or extremely subjective, such as education related or concerning a stumbling point in music creation (they’re often very different).
If you have any, or just want to say hi, I’d love to hear from you!