First Look: The ONE Smart Piano

2

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  • Reply 21 of 48
    vmarksvmarks Posts: 762editor
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bugsnw View Post

     

     

    That is a Clavinova that he's playing, from Yamaha. I think I have that exact model and it's a gas. I've been playing since I was 5 (by ear) and this thing taught me all kinds of neat tricks. I don't like the lights above the keyboard as much as the 2-dimensional piano keyboard that shows what key is being hit. For someone that already plays, learning little things that artists do with their music is a godsend. The Beatles used something called a Sus4 in Yesterday and I never really payed attention to that fact. (Don't quote me on that - I don't read music or really understand it.) You see patterns and little things that artists do and that's a very hard thing to learn on your own or just by listening.

     

    Someone said earlier to buy something with a piano-like keyboard and I concur. I have a rough time playing those 'toy' pianos with only a couple octaves. The plastic, thinner keys and absence of any attempt at a real piano feel make them difficult to enjoy. Even better, rather than buy a junky digital piano, buy a used real piano and buy an easy song book that uses lead sheets.

     

    This is for those that just want to sound good playing the piano, not those that want to play classical some day.


    A used piano can be a nightmare. If you ever buy a used piano, get a piano tuner to go with you to inspect it, they'll be able to tell you how abused it's been and what it needs to be brought back into good shape.

     

    A digital piano with weighed keys feels and will play better than a used piano that's been beaten to hell. The keys aren't thinner, and have the same finish as a regular piano.

     

    The third note of a triad in a chord defines whether it's major or minor. The suspended chords (sus2, sus4) replace the third with a 2nd or 4th interval above the root note. If you're trying to play that Sus4, raise the third by a half-step. Make sense?

     

    Instead of 1, 3, 5, your sus4 is 1, 4, 5. If you're playing Csus4, it's C, F, G.

     

    The ONE smart piano can absolutely be for those who want to play classical piano. Many of the pieces used for LED-guided practice are classical pieces, although there are pop pieces available, too.

  • Reply 22 of 48
    vmarksvmarks Posts: 762editor
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post



    Is this a kb only? From the site it looks like a full-size upright with pedals.

     




    Two models. 

     

    The ONE = full size console piano.

    The ONE Light = 61-key, non-weighted keys, keyboard.

  • Reply 23 of 48
    vmarksvmarks Posts: 762editor
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Hexclock View Post



    A helpful learning tool for sure. What it can't teach you is posture, finger positioning, dynamics, foot pedals, or theory. Humans are still vital to teaching music.



    Early lessons in the video tutorials are about posture, and fingering. Foot pedals are covered. Dynamics are covered. 

     

    Theory was something always skimped on by the piano teachers I had until I took theory courses in university. 

  • Reply 24 of 48
    vmarksvmarks Posts: 762editor
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by quinney View Post





    That's a good way of (unintentionally) explaining what this is. The learning curve associated with mastering the instrument will be offset by the amount of time a person wastes pressing keys when LEDs light up, like some lab animal in a B. F. Skinner experiment. Once the student realizes this rote technique is not giving them any understanding, they can start the learning curve of actually studying music, if they really have the desire. Or, if that is not immediately gratifying enough, there are plenty of paint-by-numbers kits available to help people "master" artistic painting.



    The LEDs aren't on all the time. You don't learn to play by following the LEDs. You use them to learn the association between the location of the physical key and the note on the staff paper. 

     

    How did you first learn where A was on the bass clef and where it was on the staff? Someone showed you, probably by pointing at the key and playing it. How do you point without a human finger? An LED. This isn't an impediment to learning, it's replicating the same basic things that have been done for centuries.

     

    It's not paint-by-numbers, that's what the KARA game is. And that's not primarily learning, that's entertainment. The only things you learn from the game are perhaps a little bit of ear training and being able to find the keys while keeping up. It's not a total waste, but the learning happens in the video lessons and LED-guided practice.

  • Reply 25 of 48
    sirozhasirozha Posts: 801member



    I've been looking for a system like that for about a year now. I have an old KORG digital piano with weighted keys back from the early 1990s, which does have a MIDI interface. I was able to connect it to an iPad and to a Mac using a MIDI to USB adapter. I also found a couple of piano teaching apps on the App store that work with the MIDI interfaced pianos. So, in principle, I found what I need, except keys do not light up. I'm trying to interest my 5-year-old child in learning how to play the piano. So far, I've noticed no particular interest on his part to follow the lessons in these apps. 

     

    I would like to see if there's at least a semi-professional piano player who would write a review or at least a comment on this piano. It seems that there are plenty of limitations due to the MIDI interface not being properly implemented - at least yet - with Piano One. Obviously, this piano should function like a standard MIDI controller - not just be compatible with their iOS app. The most important part, though, is the app itself. This piano will only be as good for learning how to play as the app lessons are. If they discontinue this project, there will not be a compatible app, I'm afraid, since the MIDI interface is not standard. Additionally, how helpful is the feature of lighted keys? Is this a hindrance to learning where notes are located on the keyboard? I used to play a classical guitar, and in my opinion guitars with lighted fretboards are a gimmick that is a horrible shortcut to learning how to play. A serious study of guitar must teach the students how to quickly find notes on the fretboard rather than just memorizing where to press your finger on the fretboard without knowing which note you are playing. So, is this method with lighted keys on the piano also a gimmicky shortcut to learning how to play the piano. Basically, does this create an illiterate piano player? 

  • Reply 26 of 48
    vmarksvmarks Posts: 762editor
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by sirozha View Post

     



    I've been looking for a system like that for about a year now. I have an old KORG digital piano with weighted keys back from the early 1990s, which does have a MIDI interface. I was able to connect it to an iPad and to a Mac using a MIDI to USB adapter. I also found a couple of piano teaching apps on the App store that work with the MIDI interfaced pianos. So, in principle, I found what I need, except keys do not light up. I'm trying to interest my 5-year-old child in learning how to play the piano. So far, I've noticed no particular interest on his part to follow the lessons in these apps. 

     

    I would like to see if there's at least a semi-professional piano player who would write a review or at least a comment on this piano. It seems that there are plenty of limitations due to the MIDI interface not being properly implemented - at least yet - with Piano One. Obviously, this piano should function like a standard MIDI controller - not just be compatible with their iOS app. The most important part, though, is the app itself. This piano will only be as good for learning how to play as the app lessons are. If they discontinue this project, there will not be a compatible app, I'm afraid, since the MIDI interface is not standard. Additionally, how helpful is the feature of lighted keys? Is this a hindrance to learning where notes are located on the keyboard? I used to play a classical guitar, and in my opinion guitars with lighted fretboards are a gimmick that is a horrible shortcut to learning how to play. A serious study of guitar must teach the students how to quickly find notes on the fretboard rather than just memorizing where to press your finger on the fretboard without knowing which note you are playing. So, is this method with lighted keys on the piano also a gimmicky shortcut to learning how to play the piano. Basically, does this create an illiterate piano player? 




    Comparing it to Fretlight on guitar may be a mistake. The vast majority of guitarists are staff-illiterate anyway, falling back on tablature, ear training, and such. They may know where notes are on the fretboard and be able to play scales and modes, but it's going to fall to classical and jazz guitarists if we're going to talk about literacy rates on guitar.

     

    You can't do the LED-Guided practice and become a piano player. It just won't work. The point of LED-guided practice is to teach where the notes are on the keyboard from the staff. How do you learn where a note is on the staff? How do you learn where E two octaves above middle C is, with all those lines above the treble clef? This is one approach to helping make the association - "That note on paper means this note here." The video tutorials teach the names of the keys. If the student follows the tutorials and does the practice, they'll make this connection.

     

    The things I liked about the video lessons are that each one:

     is short enough to not be overwhelming.

    teaches the student one thing.

    covers a valuable topic - posture, hand posture, fingering, scales, note names, or short songs that can give a sense of accomplishment.

     

    There are 100 Hoffman Academy lessons in it. On top of that, there are 20 piano lessons focused on pop songs, each with their own lessons focused on the different portions of a particular song. There's also a Score Practice section, which helps teach the score.

    For the LED-guided practice, there are many classical and baroque pieces. 

     

    As a parent, it's up to me to guide my daughter to do some of the Score Practice activities in addition to the video tutorials that she ate up.

     

    I think if all you did was play the KARA game, it would be possible to remain illiterate, but there's so much more here.

     

    Name other iOS apps that you'd like me to try it with. I'll try them.

  • Reply 27 of 48
    serkolserkol Posts: 39member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by vmarks View Post

     

     

     

     



    The weighted keys feel very similar to the action on other digital pianos. This should not be surprising. It's not a new technology.

     

    The LEDs behind the keys only come on when the iOS app addresses them. It's not a gimmick to help teach where the notes are when learning staff. 

     

    I suspect that turning their not-turning-off the piano sound while using MIDI from an app is a bug.

     

    Could you name your top list of iOS and Mac apps? I'd like to try them.


     

     

    The difference between some "weighted keys" and the top of the line "hammer weighted keys" is huge. As I wrote I first bought Casio Privia, and upgraded to Kawai CA63 after a while - both are hammer weighted keys. Casio Privia is miles ahead in the keyboard feeling compared to all "weighted keys" (no "hammer" word) keyboards that I tried in stores, but Kawai is even better, it feels like a real grand piano. 

     

    If you want to learn playing piano, you absolutely need to buy a digital piano with the "hammer" word in their keyboard description.

     

    Regarding the software, my kids used tens of titles in 2 years that they learn piano. The most useful ones were "Piano method" by eMedia, Musiah, and Synthesia. First they finished "Piano method" by eMedia, then they learned by a piano course book for a few months, then they finished Musiah. Musiah teaches from zero like the eMedia software, but is more advanced, so if I started now, I would start with Musiah (but it's more expensive than eMedia). Some people say that Pianomarvel is like Musiah for adults, but I have not tried it.

     

    You can try Musiah for free for 2 weeks. Download their beta app - it's more advanced than their retail app. If you want to pay after that, please enter 4003 into "Promo code" - I will get $20 and you will get $10 discount.

     

    During the process of teaching my kids I've learned to enter notes on a computer (free and open source MuseScore). When my kids learned by the piano book, I've entered the most complex music in MuseScore, converted it to MIDI and loaded to Synthesia. Kids learned the music (or a part) by the book, and then played it with Synthesia that checked the correctness of both hands, it was like a final test for them.

     

    My kids used tens of iPad apps, like Piano Maestro (apps with libraries of "songs"), apps that train notes recognition, a number of musical (piano) games, but I don't think that these apps were very useful. The most useful are "courses" like Musiah and eMedia.

  • Reply 28 of 48
    quinneyquinney Posts: 2,528member
    vmarks wrote: »

    ...
    You can't do the LED-Guided practice and become a piano player. It just won't work.


    Precisely. This is something you should have made clear in your review, rather than stating that this system is for people who want to master the instrument.
  • Reply 29 of 48
    sirozhasirozha Posts: 801member

    I thought the A-G system is mostly used in the US.  The lesson in the embedded video tells the girl to play Doh, Doh, Doh, and the girl in the video is playing a Fa-sharp repeatedly. I haven't played a piano in a long time, but I do remember which keys are which notes in the "fixed Doh" system, and the note she played was definitely a Fa-sharp. 

     

    So, I googled this, and it seems there's such a thing as a "movable Doh" system, whereby you can name any first note as a Doh. So, are all these lessons in the "movable Doh" system? Is this mainstream with piano instruction in the US? 

  • Reply 30 of 48

    Eh.

     

    Maybe it's my age/piano player snobbery kicking in, but I feel like an iPad and a good piano/digital piano is all you really need to get started. I would think that light up keys, which mean seem useful, could end up teaching bad habits (looking down too much).

  • Reply 31 of 48
    bugsnwbugsnw Posts: 717member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by vmarks View Post

     

    A used piano can be a nightmare. If you ever buy a used piano, get a piano tuner to go with you to inspect it, they'll be able to tell you how abused it's been and what it needs to be brought back into good shape.

     

    A digital piano with weighed keys feels and will play better than a used piano that's been beaten to hell. The keys aren't thinner, and have the same finish as a regular piano.

     

    The third note of a triad in a chord defines whether it's major or minor. The suspended chords (sus2, sus4) replace the third with a 2nd or 4th interval above the root note. If you're trying to play that Sus4, raise the third by a half-step. Make sense?

     

    Instead of 1, 3, 5, your sus4 is 1, 4, 5. If you're playing Csus4, it's C, F, G.

     

    The ONE smart piano can absolutely be for those who want to play classical piano. Many of the pieces used for LED-guided practice are classical pieces, although there are pop pieces available, too.




    Thanks for the sus2, sus4 descriptions. I only saw it played but never knew or bothered to look up what it meant. All I know is in the song, Yesterday, A-minor sus4 sounds better than E-minor on the 2nd chord of the song. It gives a little 'tension' before gliding gracefully into the A chord.

     

    I phrased my post a little sloppy. When I wrote 'This is for those that just want to sound good playing the piano, not those that want to play classical..." I was referring to my advice, not the piano. A piano such as the one reviewed would certainly be a great learning tool for all kinds of music, including classical.

     

    I just know that there are many people out there who just want to learn a song or two and don't want to do finger exercises for hours on end before getting to it. There was this guy on channel 9 who taught this way. The Piano Guy (http://www.amazon.com/Play-Piano-Flash-Scott-Houston/dp/B002DZG85G/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1438018118&sr=8-1&keywords=piano+guy+scott+houston) was there for just such a person. The use of simpler lead sheets and a focus on playing songs and not finger exercises was a godsend for many people.

     

    I still remember the few piano lessons I had. Note memorization via flash cards and endless finger exercises. I let all that go and now play the piano just for fun, by ear, with my sloppy fingering. Not a great path for classical but perfect for banging out a few cool tunes.

  • Reply 32 of 48
    vmarksvmarks Posts: 762editor
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by sirozha View Post

     

    I thought the A-G system is mostly used in the US.  The lesson in the embedded video tells the girl to play Doh, Doh, Doh, and the girl in the video is playing a Fa-sharp repeatedly. I haven't played a piano in a long time, but I do remember which keys are which notes in the "fixed Doh" system, and the note she played was definitely a Fa-sharp. 

     

    So, I googled this, and it seems there's such a thing as a "movable Doh" system, whereby you can name any first note as a Doh. So, are all these lessons in the "movable Doh" system? Is this mainstream with piano instruction in the US? 




    Movable Do is American.

     

    Fixed Do is European.

     

    These lessons are in Movable Do. But we're also taught A-G in the US, often before we're ever taught solfege. We get both kinds!

  • Reply 33 of 48
    vmarksvmarks Posts: 762editor
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by quinney View Post





    Precisely. This is something you should have made clear in your review, rather than stating that this system is for people who want to master the instrument.



    This system (as a whole) is for someone who wants to master the instrument. The LED-Guided Practice portion of it singly isn't going to do it, but altogether, it's very good.

     

    The Score Reading practice uses no LEDs, and is great - but it isn't as captivating as the Hoffman lessons or the other parts of it.

     

    It presents you with a staff, you choose bass or treble clef, key signature, and polyphony (single notes, dyads, triads, tetrads) and it shows a note and you have to play it on the keyboard. If you tap Hint, it lights the LED. The scoring for this challenge is based on time elapsed until you get the note correct and errors made while getting there. It uses the MIDI capabilities to detect erroneous/correct notes and the timing of them.

     

    I'm getting the distinct impression that there are a bunch of people who believe the only true piano lesson is one where an abusive teacher brandishes a ruler over the student's hands. That's a grim view of pedagogy.

  • Reply 34 of 48
    vmarksvmarks Posts: 762editor
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post





    I've seem to recall reading about a system that was embedded in gloves to somehow tell you if your are right or wrong, can't remember how it worked. Luckily I play guitar and don't even have to look, my fingers somehow know where to go, beats me how, but they do. I am sure it's the same for pianists but I just can't get the hang of a piano beyond 12 bar blues lol.



    There are some common chord progressions you can use to help you get beyond your 12 bar blues for piano.

     

    Instead of naming chord names, I'm going to use roman numerals to name the tonic (first chord), the chord 4 steps above it, and the chord 5 steps above the tonic.

     

    In the key of C, that would be C, F, G, or I - IV - V. You can't end on a V chord, it has to resolve to I. The same is true if you're playing your blues in E on guitar. 

     

    OK, now play I - V - vi - IV - the lower case indicates minor. This could be C, G, Am, F, which can be everything from Pachelbel's Canon in D (obviously not played in C unless we take liberties), "When I Come Around," to "Don't Stop Believin'".

     

    Once you start thinking about things in terms of the numeral relationship between the tonic of chords, it makes it easier to transpose key and you can move between piano and guitar a little easier.

     

    It may also help your ability to improvise on guitar because you can identify modes that will match up to the major / minor quality of the chord progression. There's a whole vocabulary beyond the pentatonic.

  • Reply 35 of 48
    vmarksvmarks Posts: 762editor
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by xSerenityx View Post

     

    Eh.

     

    Maybe it's my age/piano player snobbery kicking in, but I feel like an iPad and a good piano/digital piano is all you really need to get started. I would think that light up keys, which mean seem useful, could end up teaching bad habits (looking down too much).




    They turn off the LEDs very quickly for everything outside of LED Guided Practice.

  • Reply 36 of 48
    vmarksvmarks Posts: 762editor
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bugsnw View Post

     



    Thanks for the sus2, sus4 descriptions. I only saw it played but never knew or bothered to look up what it meant. All I know is in the song, Yesterday, A-minor sus4 sounds better than E-minor on the 2nd chord of the song. It gives a little 'tension' before gliding gracefully into the A chord.

     

     

     



    E minor is E, G, B.

     

    A minor is A, C, E.

     

    A minor sus2 is A, B, E.

     

    That's why someone would play the E minor and have at least two notes in common with what they were hearing on the recording. The sus 2 is probably what McCartney intended. They used this a lot.

     


  • Reply 37 of 48
    sphericspheric Posts: 2,323member
    vmarks wrote: »

    There are some common chord progressions you can use to help you get beyond your 12 bar blues for piano.

    Instead of naming chord names, I'm going to use roman numerals to name the tonic (first chord), the chord 4 steps above it, and the chord 5 steps above the tonic.

    In the key of C, that would be C, F, G, or I - IV - V. You can't end on a V chord, it has to resolve to I. The same is true if you're playing your blues in E on guitar. 

    OK, now play I - V - vi - IV - the lower case indicates minor. This could be C, G, Am, F, which can be everything from Pachelbel's Canon in D (obviously not played in C unless we take liberties), "When I Come Around," to "Don't Stop Believin'".

    Once you start thinking about things in terms of the numeral relationship between the tonic of chords, it makes it easier to transpose key and you can move between piano and guitar a little easier.

    At this point allow me to introduce the Axis of Awesome. This video is a watershed moment for almost all of my students.

    The entire video is I - V - vi - IV, and then shifted by two chords to vi - IV - I - V for the minor songs.

    Behold (language slightly NSFW - there's two F-bombs in there):

    [VIDEO]
  • Reply 38 of 48
    pscooter63pscooter63 Posts: 1,071member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by vmarks View Post

     

    I'm getting the distinct impression that there are a bunch of people who believe the only true piano lesson is one where an abusive teacher brandishes a ruler over the student's hands. That's a grim view of pedagogy.


     

    Yep, that's YOUR grim view of pedagogy.  There are bad apples and good in any profession.  Lay off the FUD.

     
    A digital piano with weighed keys feels and will play better than a used piano that's been beaten to hell. The keys aren't thinner, and have the same finish as a regular piano.

     

    You're comparing a NEW digital instrument to a used acoustic... apples compared to oranges.  (In a different context, say Apple vs. Samsung, you'd be branded as moving the goalposts.)

     

    Factually, though, a digital instrument can be beaten to hell even worse than acoustic instruments, and in a far shorter timespan.  Repair of digital instruments is even more niche than for acoustics.  At this basement-consumer-grade price point, you're often better off to buy a replacement. 

     

    (Any idea what the support/warranty policy will be for these instruments?  Your review doesn't say.)

     

    While we're looking under the hood at these instruments... there are a number of designers/manufacturers of electronic music keyboard actions.  Some of them absolutely suck, whereas some are very good indeed.  Who's the OEM for this line of instruments?

     

    Having said all that, I'll grant that an acoustic instrument requires ongoing maintenance (if for nothing more than tuning).  So yeah, it can be pricey to maintain an optimal playing experience over time.

     

    (I own both types of instruments; my gig rig features a Nord Electro weighted action, as well as a Kurzweil semi, and my home acoustic is a Boston.)

  • Reply 39 of 48
    sphericspheric Posts: 2,323member
    Also, there are worlds of difference between various acoustics, and between various digitals.

    My 33-year-old Toyo acoustic upright feels completely different from the touring-hardened precision mechanics of my forty-year-old Yamaha CP70 electric grand. The latter is among the tightest and most precise-feeling keyboards I have ever played.

    Likewise, the fifteen-year-old Roland digital piano feels completely different from the Kronos' RH3 keyboard or the KX88 controller I use live.
  • Reply 40 of 48
    bugsnwbugsnw Posts: 717member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by vmarks View Post

     



    Thanks for describing it simply. Let's see.... 

     

    "Suddenly" - F chord

    then play an Asus4 (A, D, E)

    "I'm not half" - when you sing 'half', you slide gently into an A chord.

     

    There's actually a 5-note, larger version that sounds very nice. The Beatles did this a lot as well as using inverted chords that sound snappy as you step down the melody.

     

    It sounds richer than the beginner level Youtubers who simply play an E minor chord after the F.

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