As someone who has always loved the piano as a child, being able to review a piano unit is something of a dream come true, though something a tech writer would rarely cover. But The ONE Light keyboard is more than just a typical music keyboard, it comes with an app that works in sync with your piano to make both the learning process and playing a lot more fun.
But is it a worthy investment, and are you the right target audience? Read on to find out!
Learn at your own pace and needs
With the goal of teaching you to enjoy playing the piano, the ONE Light Keyboard is a keyboard that works together with an app to help you learn how to play. When the keyboard and the app is in sync, the right keys light up to help you know which keys to hit, as well as challenge you to memorise the notes where necessary.
The setup process is simple enough. You can either plug in your keyboard or use 6 AA batteries so you can play anywhere you want, and after downloading the app, either on your smartphone or tablet, make sure OTG is turned on in the settings and you're good to go.
There are four option within the app: sheet music, crash course, videos and games. The sheet music helps you learn how to read notes and play music. Crash course has you playing songs via a more rhythm game style mechanic (like Guitar Hero). Videos is a collection of videos to watch and help you understand the piano, and games is well... you treating the piano like a rhythm game and actually hit the notes on time.
With this many options, figuring out which way helps you learn is totally up to you. If you're the type who doesn't like sight reading for piano, you can play using the crash course. If you're more of a rhythm gamer, there's always the games option. All in all, the app gives you a wide range of learning abilities.
Of course, the free version comes with only a number of songs that may or may not appeal to you. If you're aiming to learn more songs, you can always purchase them for US$3.99 (around MYR16) per piece.
It's easy to use as the keys do light up accordingly, so if you're the type who needs guidance learning songs, this keyboard does the trick. However, you will need to take some time to learn which fingers are placed where as that takes plenty of practice and a keen eye on the screen. All this will come in due time of course.
The keyboard is a good sturdy one, with no extra frills other than having a few other sound modes. Your tablet or smartphone acts as the screen and that's it, but if all you want is to learn music and not really compose it yourself, then this keyboard is totally worth looking into.
A challenge in the connectivity
Now for the downside. First off; don't expect any bluetooth connection. The keyboard completely depends on wires to be connected to your tablet/smartphone, which can be a hit or miss for some. But there are more limitations; the wire to connect your tablet/smartphone provided is a microUSB and not a USB Type-C port. As far as we know, a USB Type-C connection is not available for the piano yet and even if there is, you will have to request for it separately as it doesn't come together.
Also, it's highly recommended to play this on a tablet or a pretty big smartphone. You're going to need a big screen to be able to see some of the notes and finger placements. I struggled quite a lot with finger placements especially while using the app and keyboard.
Lastly, while this is a great way to learn the piano, it may not be the best way to fully understand the piano as the learning process can feel artificial. It's great for a beginner, definitely, but for those who have some idea of the playing process this way of learning may not be ideal. And if you're hoping to upgrade to compose music or connect to a laptop/computer to do more, it's definitely not possible.
A beginners keyboard
The ONE Light Keyboard is a great first step to getting yourself acquainted with the piano; especially if you can’t get a piano teacher around. With the many ways you can learn, you’ll find a style that will suit your play. But it still cannot replace an actual person teaching you the nuances of the piano or the meaning of a music piece (unless you’re able to do your research on the matter). Still, as a beginners keyboard, let’s just say it hits all the right notes.
If you're keen to get your hands on the ONE Light Keyboard, be sure to purchase it on their official Lazada store!