How to Connect Your Digital Piano to a PC/iPad/Android Device

digital piano midi connection guide

There are now so many options as a modern musician in how we can play, practice, perform, transcribe and compose music.

Reading: How to connect piano keyboard to laptop

Sometimes, it seems overwhelming with the options available. it can also be daunting to figure out which cables to use and what connections you might need.

In this article, I’ll cover how to connect your keyboard or digital piano to a computer or smart device, and why it opens up so many new and exciting opportunities like musician.

digital pianos now include usb, midi and bluetooth options available to you.

That’s where I’d like to come in and help you with what would make sense for you and your needs as a modern musician.

I ask you to sit back, with a drink of your choice, and read on how you can begin to open up new ways of making music!

getting the right gear

Connecting your digital piano to an external device is a relatively simple and straightforward process once you have all the necessary equipment.

First, you’ll need a cable that connects directly to your keyboard.

Depending on the model of your keyboard, it is a midi to usb cable converter or a usb type a to b cable.

usb type b type a ports

both cables allow you to connect your keyboard to a computer, android or apple device to transfer midi data.

midi in out ports

Most modern keyboards have a usb type b port, while some older keyboards and pro-grade instruments use a midi connection (dedicated midi in/out ports).

You may notice a usb type a port on your keyboard, but you can’t use it to transfer midi data, you can only insert a flash drive to save recordings using your keyboard’s internal sounds.

Take a look at the table below to understand what cables and adapters you’ll need to connect your digital piano to a smart device:

connect to a computer

connection to a computer is very simple, since in this case you will only need a cable.

1) If your keyboard has a usb type b port (also known as usb to host), you will need a usb a to b cable like this one.

plug the b end into your keyboard and the a end into your computer’s usb port.

2) If your keyboard doesn’t have a usb type b port, it most likely uses the traditional 5-pin midi in/out ports.

all you will need in this case is a midi to usb interface. you can buy one on amazon or at your local electronics store for less than $50.

iconnectivity mio has proven to be one of the most reliable midi to usb interfaces out there.

the usb a end will go to the usb port on your computer, while the midi in end of the cable will go to the midi out port on your keyboard, and the midi out end will go to the midi in port.

You may be wondering why we connect an input port to an output port and vice versa.

There are still many keyboards that only have midi in/out ports; usually with older models. many of the modern ones will have midi and usb type b ports.

connect to an ios or android device

It gets a bit more complicated here, because mobile devices don’t have a full size usb port, so you’ll need to buy an additional adapter to be able to use usb a to b interface cable or midi to usb .

Alternatively, you can try to find a single cable that can connect directly to both your keyboard and your mobile device, but this won’t always be possible as some of these cables simply don’t exist (or very rarely). ).

feel free to comment below if you’re not sure which cable to use for your device, and we can help!

to connect to an ios device

lightning to usb camera adapter can connect to your ios device via usb a to b cable (or midi to usb interface) to connect to your keyboard.

connecting this way is a reliable solution, however it is a more bulky method since you need two cables.

if you just need a lightning connection, you can also use the lightning to usb type b connector.

The advantage of using this approach is that you only need one cable, less bulk to handle, and you’re saving more money.

however, this method is not as reliable as using two cables, plus those single cable solutions can be quite difficult to find and tend to break easily.

to connect to an android device

with android devices, connecting your digital piano will follow the same process as connecting your ios device. however, the big difference is that you will need a different type of cable since the lightning adapter is not compatible with android devices.

if you are trying to connect your keyboard to an android device, use:

1) otg (also known as “on the go”) usb type a to micro usb adapter (if your android device uses a micro usb port).


2) usb type a to usb type c otg adapter (if your device has a usb type c port).

In any case, you will still need a usb a to b cable (or a midi to usb interface in case your keyboard has midi in/out ports), which you will connect to the keyboard. the other end (usb-a) will connect to one of the above adapters.

Alternatively, you may consider purchasing a USB Type C to B cable, which will allow you to connect to your Android device (if using a USB Type C port) without the need for a second cable (USB A to B).

I couldn’t find a single cable that would provide a direct connection between the microusb port and the usb type b port (or midi in/out).

enable bluetooth midi connectivity

If you want to connect your smart device wirelessly but your digital piano doesn’t have bluetooth, there are tools that can help you do that.

for digital pianos that have dedicated midi in/out ports, you can use yamaha’s solution, the md-bt01 wireless adapter.

the md-bt01 plugs directly into your piano’s midi ports and enables bluetooth connectivity, meaning you can exchange midi data with your smart devices just like you would if your piano were compatible with bluetooth.

Need something a little more advanced?

Alternatively, you may want to use an audio interface (with midi ports) to connect to your computer or smart device. that way you can use one device for both midi and audio signal.

This is a more advanced approach that is more expensive; however, you will have access to additional connections for microphones and other instruments.

If you don’t have additional connections, you can simply use a cheaper portable midi interface like the ik multimedia irig midi 2.

this gives you the option of using lightning or usb connections. this interface includes a bundle of free apps including igrand piano and ilectric piano.

Do I need to install any drivers?

when connecting your digital piano to your pc, you may need to install drivers for your device to work.

midi usb drivers

To quickly explain what a driver is, it’s basically software that allows your digital piano to communicate with the computer’s operating system.

The driver allows the computer to accurately send and receive data from the hardware device, which in this case is the digital piano.

Driver installation generally depends on the type of digital piano you’re using, so check your keyboard’s manual for any drivers you may need.

However, most digital pianos are plug and play, which means you don’t have to worry about manually downloading and installing these drivers.

When connecting to your ios or android device, you won’t have to worry about drivers as they normally don’t require them.

You have successfully connected your digital piano/keyboard to your computer/device! you’ve opened up a world of possibilities in your journey to create and perform music.

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you’ll be able to use digital sheet music (no more heavy music books and loose pages!), annotate your own sheet music, record compositions, edit ideas, record other instruments (guitar, drums, violin, etc.) using your piano digital and learn songs through apple/google apps.

use your keyboard as a midi controller

midi data

Now that you’ve wired your keyboard to your desired setup, it’s time to learn a bit about midi.

midi is the data read by your computer, translating notes and cc (control change) data into music.

for example, you can play a legato phrase on your piano and then repeat it a second time with staccato notes.

The computer recognizes the change and represents the legato or staccato articulations as cc data. from your computer/device, you can adjust these expressions and articulations, and creatively change the way your phrase is played.

audio data

midi differs from audio in that we have control over notes and cc data. If you accidentally record a midi phrase with the wrong notes, you can adjust these via a piano roll screen on your computer or device.

audio is recorded data that you have limited control over any adjustments you want to make.

you can cut, fade, volume up/down, slow down/speed up tempo with recorded audio files, but with midi you have more control to change the notes, the way they are expressed or articulated, dynamics, speed and modulation.

Both audio and midi files are very useful for a musician, and being able to work with midi will open up more possibilities with your music.

Now that you have a whole world of possibilities to create, learn and enjoy music, it’s time to talk about the applications and software that will allow you to do it.

You can use your digital piano as a midi controller to control various applications which we have divided into 4 different categories below.

Before we go into more detail, take a look at the apps within each category that we recommend and that we think offer the best quality and functionality.

teaching applications (learn to play):

teaching music apps

  • flowkey: learn piano
  • skoove
  • play sessions
  • marvel piano
  • piano chords, companion to scales
  • just joytunes piano
  • piano tutor for ipad
  • ireal pro

digital audio workstations (create, mix and record your own music):

music-making apps

  • logic pro x
  • cubase 10
  • fl studio
  • garageband
  • ableton live
  • professional tools 12
  • digital interpreter 9x

vst plugin (browse extensive, high-quality libraries of virtual studio technology plugins):

virtual instruments (VST plugins)

  • pianoteq 6
  • addictive keys
  • spectrasonics omnisphere 2
  • keyscape
  • native instruments kontakt 6
  • sythogy ivory ii grand piano
  • east-west quantum leap piano

notation apps and interactive sheet music apps:

music notation software

  • finale 26
  • sibelius ultimate
  • dorico
  • musescore
  • direct playback score
  • piascore – smart musical score

learn to play

connecting to a daw or piano app through your computer/device can help you a lot to learn music theory, chords, progressions and learn your favorite songs.

The applications available to you vary from beginner to advanced. You can even learn songs without knowing how to read sheet music!

learning piano

flowkey is an excellent application for learning songs on the piano in a short period of time, appropriate to your skill level. flowkey is available on the computer and any smart device, and it can also refresh your music theory skills as well as your practical skills.

Once in the app, you can choose from a wide category of music to learn, including classical music, pop hits, and music from movies, TV, and games.

The app lets you connect to your piano keyboard and tracks your progress as you play. Lessons begin with the basics of piano performance, including posture and hand position.

flowkey piano teaching app

as you go, flowkey teaches you songs with four chord progressions, as well as major and minor chords.

you can use flowkey as a free trial and decide for yourself if you want to continue using it or not before paying a monthly or yearly subscription.

skoove is a fun way to learn piano for beginners using popular soundtracks from movies like game of thrones, pirates of the caribbean, james bond, amelie and hits >. > by adele, john legend, the beatles, coldplay and other popular artists.

The app is available on desktop and through the app store. you can try it for free or subscribe to one of their plans.

Lessons are taught using the “listen, learn, play” method, which is a great way to train your ear and sight-reading skills. each lesson uses an excerpt from a familiar song to teach a musical concept.

Available on computers, android and ios devices, Piano Chords, Scales Companion is the dictionary of piano chords and scales.

This app focuses on identifying chords and scales, which is useful for piano students and a great resource for orchestrators and arrangers brushing up on harmony.

There’s also a handy chord progression generator that lets you experiment with different progressions.

There are over 1500 chords and 500 different scales, so you have a lot to learn.

The app is midi compatible and all you have to do is connect your digital piano to the device of your choice and you’re good to go.

piano composer chords scales progressions app

If you’re learning with a piano teacher, it’s a great idea to let them know what apps you’re using so you can get the most out of them. your teacher will be able to guide you and set achievable piano goals for your needs.

make and record music

Now that you’re familiar with the software applications and have connected your keyboard to your computer/device, you can now create your own little recording studio in the comfort of your own home!

With an understanding of midi usage, you’re opening up new and exciting ways to make music. you’ll be able to customize a setting that makes the most sense to you.

music production apps

You can keep a digital piano in a computer/device setup, or eventually add midi controllers, synth pads, synths, speakers… the possibilities are endless!

garageband app

a great entry-level daw to get you started is garageband, which comes free with every apple computer or device. the software allows you to create midi/audio recordings and loops to edit, arrange and mix your own song.

garageband is great for producing compositions, tracks for a small ensemble, or generating ideas using apple loops. this is a good foundation for learning to write and mix your own songs.

If you want to unlock more advanced features using an apple setup, you can buy logic pro x from apple.

please note this is for apple only and is not compatible with windows desktop, and costs $199.99 on the app store.

A daw is a hefty upfront price, but it’s usually a great investment if you plan on continuing to write and record your own music.

there is a big advantage in owning logic pro x, due to the fact that it is owned by apple: if the os is updated, so does the daw, which makes it compatible with the latest apple os (currently in Mojave).

Usually in the world of daw music, we need to wait about 6 months before updating our computer’s OS so that other daw software can catch up with compatibility. with logic pro x, it is updated along with the apple operating system.

another popular daw is cubase 10, compatible with mac os and windows.

this is another advanced daw you may want to invest in for access to advanced features including detailed expression maps, macros and logical editor presets.

Other popular daw apps include fl studio and ableton live. both are great for developing your music production skills and are popular with electronic music composers.

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In the world of audio production, ableton live is one of the most popular daws due to the attention to detail it brings.

In addition to being able to record and mix audio tracks, you can also use ableton live for your on-stage performances. It’s actually quite popular with djs, as it can be used to match dance song tempos and fix timing problems.

one of the most popular and widely used daws all over the world is fl studio. Formerly known as fruity loops, fl studio is a great audio workstation for creating beats and recording music.

Loaded with several powerful vst plugins, fl studio lets you access different sounds from the built-in plugins ranging from synths to keyboards and bass sounds.

You can also create and design your own specific sounds and tones, although it will certainly take a bit of time and patience to achieve.

fl studio daw

As a fl studio user, I can attest to the simplicity of using my own midi controller with this daw.

however, rome wasn’t created in a day, and it will certainly take some practice for you to fully exploit the potential of this amazing software.

fl studio is used by some of the most well-known producers around the world, including cashmoneyap, martin garrix, boi-1da, tm88, etc. this should tell you about the potential you can unlock if you take the time to properly learn how to use this powerful daw.

connect to external instrument libraries (vsts)

As mentioned above, you can change the sounds of your acoustic piano to other traditional or electronic instruments and sound effects.

You can take advantage of countless great vst plugins that give you premium sounds from upright pianos, grand pianos, vintage pianos, and indeed any instrument (guitars, violins, drums, etc.) ). ) that you can imagine, as well as synth sounds.

How do you do that?! with the use of vst plugins (or virtual studio technology)!

vst plugins

vsts, also known as samples or sample libraries, are pre-recorded notes, sounds, and phrases that have been programmed into a plug-in to be played by the keyboard.

you can create multiple instrument tracks and compose a string ensemble, or maybe a full orchestra! You can also learn about different electronically produced sounds, including many different synths and effects.

Let’s take a quick look at some sample libraries that may be beneficial to your music creation.

first we’ll talk about spectrasonics omnisphere 2, a powerful synthesizer that includes 14,000 sounds, a sound matching feature that instantly locates related sounds, and an audio import option which allows you to import your own recorded snippets as a sound source, just to name a few!

This powerful plug-in is ideal for any modern musician looking to explore music production, synth-based samples.

although you can record your digital piano to a daw as an audio file, when it comes to midi you will still need a vst piano as your digital piano acts more like a midi controller to send notes and cc data to your computer/device.

an excellent piano library is pianoteq 6, a virtual copy of the steinway & child models d and b.

This vst includes advanced tuning tools, the ability to save presets, and a playlist that stores your recorded midi files that you can use for playback (such as brainstorming, etc.).

Note that there are some sample libraries that may not work without the use of a sampler.

native instruments kontakt 6 is a must-have sampler for a modern musician’s setup.

is the industry standard for hosting the largest selection of sampled instruments that also comes with its own 55gb library of sampled sounds. kontakt 6 can act as a basic sampler, or go as deep as creating your own sampled instrument.

once you buy some sample libraries (eg spitfire, 8dio or cinesamples), they can be opened through the kontakt window.

simply create a new software instrument track and open kontakt in the instrument input selection.

You’ll be able to choose from several options including mono, stereo, 5.1 sound, etc., but generally you’ll want to open a stereo track from kontakt. these other options are there for specific soundscapes for your project.

musical notation/scores

music notation apps

With all this technology coming out and various ways to play and create music, there’s no need to handwrite/read paper versions of sheet music (if you choose not to).

You can easily search and find the sheet music you want, edit it, play along with it, turn pages with your digital piano pedals (be sure to check your digital piano manual to see if you can do this) and much more.

piascore – smart music score is an application available for ios that allows you to store scores and read them in a large portable library.

No need to carry around heavy books and loose pages of sheet music when you can have all this at your fingertips.

You can search for and edit scores digitally, and then delete practice marks on your score that no longer apply.

piascore smart notation app

some of its features include vertical screen scrolling with adjustable speed (no page turning!), smart navigation that makes it easy to tab to the first and last page without having to flipping through each page, easy management of scores by tagging composers/artists in a category filing system, and even turning pages with facial gestures with the new iphone x and ipad pro.

For the purpose of creating notated scores, sibelius, finale 26 and musescore are excellent applications.

You can try a free trial version of sibelius ultimate before buying for full price.

sibelius is the next update to sibelius first, featuring scores for up to 16 instruments and you’ll have access to share up to 20 scores online with sibelius cloud sharing.

sibelius ultimate is the full version with unlimited instruments, custom parts and house styles (for how you want your scores to look).

finale 26 is the newest version of finale and starts at $99 for the student educational discount, or $600 outright. be warned, finale is a bit more complicated to use for a beginner learning notation on a computer setup, but it features a more elegant design.

finale 26 notation software

Don’t worry: if you have sibelius but want to go from degree to finale (or vice versa), you can buy your new notation software at a discounted price.

Another beginner app I recommend if you’re having difficulty learning sheet music would be musicscore. is free and great for beginners learning sheet music and for students.

musescore has a supportive active community that is willing to learn and teach by your side. it’s easy to use and you can export xml, midi and audio files to other programs like finale/sibelius, or directly to your daw (garageband, logic pro x, cubase, etc).

final words

Not only did you buy a digital piano, but it feels like you have your own studio right at your fingertips!

music technology shouldn’t be something daunting or scary, but something you’ll long to learn about the possibilities that come with it.

I hope you had as much fun as we did teaching you the exciting ways to create music once you connect your digital piano to a computer or smart device.

If you have any further questions or comments, we’d love to hear from you!

You may also be interested in:

how to record a digital piano – step by step guide

How to Record a Digital Piano [Audio & MIDI] - Step-by-Step Guide

best midi keyboards: an in-depth look at the market

Best MIDI Keyboards: An In-depth Look At the Market

the ultimate guide to buying a digital piano

Digital Piano Buying Guide

choosing the best way to learn piano today (the ultimate guide)

Best Ways to Learn Piano

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