Annoyingly, when the clocks struck midnight on New 12 months’s Day, and 2020 fortunately made manner for 2021, all the issues of the previous yr didn’t magically disappear as I’d hoped. The Covid-19 pandemic continues to be rampaging throughout the globe, and within the UK, we’re again in lockdown.
Which means I’m primarily confined to the identical 4 partitions that appear to get just a little nearer every single day. It’s dispiriting and isolating, to be sincere, and I would like one thing to take my thoughts of the top of the world. So, I’ve determined to look into how tech may also help me lastly study to play the piano.
When the world first shut down final yr, there was quite a lot of speak about folks utilizing lockdown as an excuse to study new issues, take up hobbies or get match. I took the choice route of getting dumber and fatter. Whereas I don’t really feel terribly dangerous at that alternative – all of us have totally different coping mechanisms – I did look on enviously as folks higher themselves.
So, I would like 2021’s apocalypse to be more healthy and extra optimistic than 2020’s apocalypse. Properly, as wholesome and as optimistic as an apocalypse might be. Which means ditching the cookie-heavy food regimen and study a brand new ability!
So, why the piano? To be sincere, I’ve all the time needed to play it nicely, and as I kind all day, I form of assume getting the cling of the piano could also be a bit simpler. I dabble just a little bit – I do know a couple of chords and have discovered a couple of fundamental nursery rhymes to impress my 18-month daughter (didn’t work). Plus, I inherited an upright electrical piano a couple of years in the past, which I’m fairly assured isn’t haunted.
You may additionally be pondering, why use know-how to assist? In spite of everything, the greats, like Beethoven, Chopin and Elton John didn’t have to depend on tech and devices to study their craft – so why ought to I?
First, I’m not aiming for greatness. Mediocrity can be a great consequence. Additionally, I by no means actually bought on with the thought of music classes, and with the present restrictions, I wouldn’t be capable of go to them, anyway.
However, there are some nice instruments now obtainable that carry classes into your personal house, and allow you to study at your personal tempo. Crucially, many apps and devices on the market ‘gamify’ studying, serving to to maintain tech-obsessed folks like me targeted and .
Some folks could discover that patronizing. Not me, although. I’m fairly silly and have the eye span of a sugar-infused pet.
So, desirous to get on with studying the piano earlier than the world actually does finish, I’ve gathered collectively some cool tech to assist.
First up is the Lumi Keys, a trendy Midi keyboard that connects to the Lumi app, and teaches you how one can play by way of movies and a Guitar Hero-like interface. The keys mild up because the app teaches you fundamental piano expertise and songs, and it’s some of the beginner-friendly methods of beginning out on a piano that I’ve seen.
The app can be utilized on each Android and iOS gadgets, and whereas I had a fast dabble with Lumi linked to my smartphone, I’ve ended up utilizing an iPad as an alternative.
To this point, this has labored out a lot better. Initially, the bigger display screen of the iPad makes the app simpler to make use of, and it additionally means the keys of the Lumi Keys correspond fairly nicely to the keys proven on the app, which makes enjoying with out wanting on the bodily keyboard rather a lot simpler.
Secondly, the iPad comes with the superb Garage Band app, and this works rather well with the Lumi Keys. It’s because, in the meanwhile, there isn’t a option to simply fiddle and check out your new expertise within the Lumi Keys. By switching to Storage Band, I can play the Lumi Keys with none serving to lights, which I’ve discovered may also help cement the teachings I’ve learnt.
My purpose is to discover ways to play the piano, and study some new songs, utilizing the Lumi Keys, then practise on them when I’ve spare time. Then, I’ll use my upright piano to use what I’ve learnt.
The Lumi Keys are helpful as they’re compact and simply transportable (and might include a protecting case, which additionally doubles as a stand on your pill or smartphone), which implies I can rapidly have a tinkle when the temper takes me, somewhat than trudging upstairs into the deserted room the place the totally not haunted piano sits.
One factor to notice, although, is that the Lumi Keys doesn’t have built-in audio system – it must be linked by way of Bluetooth to a tool working the app, or a Midi app like Storage Band.
To this point, I’ve been utilizing the Lumi Keys and its app on and off for per week, and I’ve been having fun with it – although it’s early days for each me and the Lumi service.
What I imply by that is that whereas the app seems to be nice, there are a couple of options which have but to be included. New methods to show songs and classes, together with color-coordinated and conventional sheet music, are ‘coming quickly’, which I’m wanting ahead to, as it could be good to discover ways to learn music as nicely. In the mean time, it’s a bit too simple to rely closely on the light-up keys of the Lumi, which implies it’s simple to play a pleasant sounding tune, however laborious to recollect.
As I discussed, there’s at the moment no option to follow songs you’ve discovered within the app, which is why I change to Storage Band straight after to follow the tune with none assist from the app. I discover this makes it simpler to recollect the notes I have to play, however it could be good if there was a manner to do this within the app.
Classes within the app, which combine movies of your instructors, with the Lumi Keys lighting up as they play, are actually good, however I discovered within the early classes they educate you an concept or a part of a tune, ask you to repeat it, then transfer on to one thing else, which doesn’t actually assist. Once more, it could be good to have an choice to replay a bit of a tune till you’re comfy sufficient to maneuver in. As a substitute, it is advisable replay the entire lesson, together with the introductory video.
However, these are all issues I’m assured will get ironed out because the app matures – and it truly is a really skilled wanting package deal, and the Lumi Keys themselves are fantastically constructed. It’s also possible to simply join up extra items to make for an extended piano, which snap collectively utilizing magnets. It seems to be cool and would make studying to play utilizing each fingers rather a lot simpler, however as every Lumi Keys is £299 (round $400, AU$540), it’s also a really costly manner of studying to play.
I’m additionally utilizing a free Lumi Important account in the meanwhile, which incorporates over 60 classes and 40 traditional songs, and is nice for freshmen. I’m certain as I progress I’ll make the soar to Lumi Full, which incorporates over 400 (and rising) up to date and classical songs, and over 130 classes, and which prices $79 a yr (round £60, AU$105), or $6.67 a month (round £5, AU$10).
I positively really feel like even after per week it’s having a optimistic impact. I’m training virtually each night time, and whereas I’m working my manner by means of the early classes, which I really feel are aimed toward freshmen even newer to piano enjoying than me), I’m additionally taking time to make use of the app to study Pachelbel’s Canon, one among my favourite items of music. Bold, actually, however the Lumi app encompasses a simplified, and straightforward to observe, model that’s an ideal place to start out.