How do I Learn Keyboard on a Yamaha PSR-80?

Updated July 19, 2017

Yamaha's Portatone PSR-80 keyboard, first released in 1987, is a 61-key synthesizer with orchestra sounds, rhythmic accompaniment patterns, MIDI capability, a Chord Sequencer function and an Auto Bass Chord function. Learning to play keyboard on the PSR-80 is no different than learning on any other modern keyboard with full-size keys and a plethora of sounds.

Take a class. Look for basic piano classes at your local community college or university; if saving money is important, join a group piano class instead of signing up for private lessons. You can also find piano teachers at music stores and music schools and on online notice boards such as Craigslist.

Get a book, book/CD or book/DVD set. There are so many instructional packages dedicated to help beginners learn keyboard that you may have a hard time choosing. Deciding what style you'd like to learn might help you narrow the field a bit. Cruise a site like, or, or go to your local library, book store or music store for piano instructional books, and choose one that seems right for you.

Learn to play keyboard online. Just as there are many instructional media packages to choose from, the Internet offers a plethora of opportunities to learn how to play your Yamaha PSR-80. You'll have to decide between free lessons at sites such as Go Piano, structured lessons at a site like Piano Marvel or signing up for a newsletter or sites such as Play Piano. You could also browse YouTube for keyboard lessons.

Use some of the Yamaha PSR-80s rhythm accompaniment features. Playing along with one of the PSR's 16 rhythm choices--including "Disco," "Bossa," "Rock 'N' Roll," "Reggae," "Baroque," "Samba" and "Swing"--will help you develop your ability to play in time, which is important no matter what style you choose to excel in.

Experiment with the PSR-80s Auto Bass Chord function. Set the Auto Bass Chord function to the "Single Finger" position and you'll be able to play three- or four-note chords using a single finger if you play any of the keys in the lower keyboard section. Choosing the "Fingered" position allows you to play your own chords with your right hand and full bass lines with your left.

Use the "Single Finger" mode to hear the difference between chord types. With the "Single Finger" mode on, hear what a "C minor" chord sounds like by pressing the "C" key together with the next black key to the left. To hear a "C seventh" chord, depress the C key with the next white key to the left. To get a "C minor seventh" chord, press the C key with the next black key and white key to the left.


The PSR-80 also allows you to add harmony to your melodies; create your own two-bar rhythm, bass and chord pattern; and program rhythm patterns. Consult the manual to learn how you can get more from your PSR-80.

Things You'll Need

  • Amplifier
  • Instrument cable
  • Music stand
  • Headphones
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About the Author

Everett Bradman has been an editor since 1994 and a professional writer since 2000. He has worked for "The Miami Herald," the "San Francisco Bay Guardian," "Rolling Stone," "Vibe," "Bass Player," "Computer Shopper" and NYC & Company. He holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism from Florida A&M University.