I had wonderful parents, who despite living through the horrors of American segregation, offered their children – especially me – a well-rounded childhood experience. My father loves the opera and one of their greatest ideas was that each child should have music lessons. Thus, after an odd period involving accordion lessons supposedly on the way to the piano, I began learning the violin at 6 and played for 16 years. However, in terms of time, it was a substantial commitment for my entire family. I had orchestra practice for 12 hours a week plus private lessons. This meant that for four days a week, my parents had to cart me to these lessons and the weekly family schedule was organized around them. Teaching a child an instrument develops and stimulates key areas of the brain that help with learning, creates a cultural appreciation of music and instills discipline. I lament that nowadays, parents do not have or make the time for what I consider a viral part of childhood development.
Thus, when I saw the One Smart Piano at this year’s CES Unveiled, it was product Love at first sight! This amazing and ingenious product allows families to offer their children piano lessons without leaving the house! Just connect an iPad or Android tablet or phone to either their standup piano or keyboard and you are on your musical way. With multiple skill levels, it is perfect for both the budding or more experienced player. The keys light up to guide new players or the user can turn this feature off and play at will. The corresponding app provides thousands of pages of sheet music, games and video lessons with dozens of teachers. And there is no disturbing the rest of the family or the neighbors because you can plug-in headphones, so only the user hears himself.
The price point is so low, they are almost giving them away. The upright is just $1499 and the keyboard is just $300 – yes that’s THREE HUNDRED DOLLARS! There are also accessories for your keyboard including a carry tote and a stand at $59.99 and $39.99, respectively.
Piano lessons have just been added to my to-do list for this year! Look for my more thorough review when mine arrives.