Apatient instuctor who is willing to let me proceed at my own pace.
NEW YORK — I've always wanted to play the piano but never got around to taking lessons. Now at long last I'm learning to play, and I've got a patient instructor who is willing to let me proceed at my own pace.
The piano itself is doing the teaching, through a mobile app and a series of LED lights that are synchronized to interactive sheet music.
One Smart Piano is a digital wooden upright with 88 weighted keys and three pedals (soft, sostenuto, sustain). One looks and sounds like a real piano but at 121 pounds was a mother to assemble. A toolkit is included, but I'd suggest putting two bodies on the job.
I love music and have always been able to use a single finger to bang out a melody by ear on a piano keyboard. In all other respects, though, I'm a total novice. To this eager student it was a delight to use.
I'd also recommend the piano as a good solution for folks who maybe took lessons as a kid and all these years later want to channel their inner Billy Joel.
Judging by the positive reaction I got from 8-year-old Samuel Baig, someone such as my son is another candidate.
While the One piano is essentially about learning, I'd consider it a fine choice for even an accomplished musician, especially at its relatively modest price. My friend Vito Pirrera, who plays wonderfully, was impressed by the audio quality and the fact that the keys provided the proper hammer action feedback. (That is, press harder for louder sound; press gently for softer audio.)
Of course, what makes the One piano stand out from the chorus is that you can connect an iOS or Android device, download the aforementioned app onto your phone or tablet — an iPad in my case — and watch video tutorials as you play. Sound is piped through the piano's own speakers, or if you'd rather not disturb family members or housemates, through earphones.
What's more, the video lessons, as well as the interactive sheet music that you can follow along with, are synchronized so that LEDs above the keys you are meant to strike at that moment light up. The light is red if you're supposed to use your right hand, blue if you're suppose to use your left.This system generally worked well, though occasionally the lights seemed out of whack and on complex material was still quite challenging. I've only been playing for a relatively short time, so I'm not ready to judge if this paint by numbers approach to mastering the piano will be an effective teaching method long term.