All arranger keyboards will have auto-accompaniment features and also some digital pianos.

This feature enables a novice player to sound like a full band.

When the feature is activated, the keyboard will be split at a designated point (which can be altered) and when playing chords in the lower section, the auto-accompaniment will sound according to the style and tempo selected.

As you change chords, the backing will automatically follow. Then you only need to play the melody with your right hand.

To use this feature, ideally you will need to understand chords and inversions, but in most cases there are features for beginners whereby you only need one or two fingers for these.

In most cases there will be:

  • An intro (one or more)
  • Variations (usually four different ones)
  • Fills which can be triggered to activate automatically between variations
  • Endings (one or more)

The quality of the styles varies between instruments, but at the high end they are quite stunning. This feature can allow a good player to make truly professional performances solo.

There are thousands of styles available (downloadable) for all genres of music and it can take hours (months) to wade through them. On the advanced keyboards, you can even create your own styles, but this involves a fair learning curve.

Yamaha, Korg, Casio and Roland all produce keyboards with this feature. I’m inclined to say that the Korg’s are the best, but I’m sure others would disagree with me.

This feature can be used live or incorporated into recordings where plenty of manipulation is possible - and this is the way I would prefer to use it.

Auto-accompaniment is incredible for sure, but the downside is that you could spend half your life messing about with it - and why not if this is what you want?

But if you are serious about learning to play properly, I would advise learning to play the conventional way first with both hands as described in my tuition books, then use auto-accompaniment if you want to. Then you will have the best of everything and the most fulfilment.