Software has truly revolutionized the music world. There have been many new advancements in recent years, and one of the biggest in terms of recording and documenting work is a MIDI keyboard.
However, with so many options out there it’s easy to get overwhelmed. This guide will help with that by providing some of the best MIDI keyboard software options you can try.
1. GarageBand (macOS)
I’m going to start off this list with a tried and trusted MIDI keyboard software option that many of you likely know. GarageBand is an awesome piece of music creation software that will allow you to quickly make, record, and edit songs.
If you’re already familiar with Mac and Apple programs, this program follows a similar interface that you’ll be able to pick up in no time at all.
By utilizing a MIDI keyboard with GarageBand, you’ll have a fully functional (and free) digital audio workstation at your fingertips.
I use both a 44-key MIDI keyboard and a mini MIDI keyboard with GarageBand. All you need to get started is your keyboard and a USB cord so you can connect to the device that you want to create or play.
GarageBand is compatible across all Mac devices, meaning you can use your MIDI keyboard on your computer, phone, or tablet quite easily. Most Apple computers come with GarageBand pre-installed, but you may need to download from the App Store if you want access to it on your phone or tablet.
Pairing a MIDI keyboard with GarageBand is a great way to practice keys but it will also allow access to a decent catalog of MIDI instruments that you can easily control during the creative process. Recording and editing are extremely easy with this software.
In fact, it’s a great place to start if you’re just learning or want a simple way to create great music on the go.
2. Piano Time (Windows)
Another awesome little piece of software for a MIDI keyboard is Piano Time. This PC-based program is compatible with Windows 10 and Windows 11. It’s simple by design, but that keeps it easy to use. It’s also free so you can try it out to see if it’s an option that works for you.
Piano Time is perfect for anyone who’s learning how to play piano or keyboard and isn’t looking for a full audio workstation.
To use the software with a MIDI keyboard, you simply download the program onto a PC or Windows-based mobile device and then connect it to your keyboard. Once connected, you can get started right away and practice your keyboard skills through the easy-to-use interface. You can play piano, record, and save songs as well.
Piano Time doesn’t have a ton of features, and you won’t get any additional sounds or instruments as you will with some other options found here, but if you’re looking for a free and easy option to help you practice and record some of your piano creations, it’s great for Windows devices.
3. Ableton Live (Windows & macOS)
If you’re looking for live performance software that you can use with a MIDI keyboard, Ableton Live is a great choice.
The software has both Mac and PC versions, making it versatile and effective across a range of different devices. I have an older version of Ableton on a MacBook Pro and still love playing with it all the time.
If you’re interested in making digital or electronic music in any capacity, Ableton is meant for you. DJs, EDM performers, and many other famous artists use this software to get the room bumping and the energy high.
Connecting the software to a MIDI keyboard is easy and with it, you can control the many different sounds, samples, and MIDI instruments included with the program.
Ableton isn’t free, however. If you want access to all of its amazing features, you’ll need to purchase the Suite package from the website. If you want a simplified version you can also get the much more affordable basic program.
Either way, it’s a great piece of software for your MIDI keyboard and provides a great platform for digital music creation.
4. Logic Pro X (macOS)
If you’re a professional musician or producer, then you’re already most likely familiar with Logic Pro X.
If you’ve never tried or heard of the software, it’s a high-end professional-level digital audio workstation that will allow you to create full-fledged recordings through an almost endless amount of tools, plugins, sounds, and capabilities at your fingertips. It’s a great all-around program that works really well with a MIDI controller.
Logic Pro X is a Mac-based platform that will give you all of the power of a recording studio on your computer once downloaded.
I’ve made several albums over the last few years strictly in Logic and it has a vast library of included sounds and samples that you can access with a MIDI keyboard. I’ve used my keyboard to produce entire tracks (minus vocals) and it’s really straightforward to use.
Logic Pro X can be seen as the big brother to GarageBand. It can be overwhelming for anyone just getting into music production, but if you have experience or want to learn some serious sound creation techniques, it’s at the top of its class.
Pairing this software with a MIDI keyboard can open up a world of possibilities no matter your level of experience.
There are many great software options in the modern world. In fact, just about any task has some sort of matching software to make it easier to complete. Such programs are great for people who are deep into tech, as well as those who are just getting started. That includes DAWs for musicians.
The above software are all great options for music-making with a MIDI keyboard. From the basic to the advanced, they all come recommended and each offers solid compatibility with a good user experience.
For beginners, the two free options are worth exploring to get started. If you want some serious recording and production software, Ableton and Logic are your best bets.
Do you use MIDI keyboard software? Are there any key programs we missed? Let us know in the comments section below.