LUMI Keys Keyboard is Flashy and Enjoyable, however Typically Misses a Word

LUMI Keys Keyboard is Flashy and Enjoyable, however Typically Misses a Word


Score:
6/10
?

  • 1 – Absolute Sizzling Rubbish
  • 2 – Sorta Lukewarm Rubbish
  • 3 – Strongly Flawed Design
  • 4 – Some Execs, Tons Of Cons
  • 5 – Acceptably Imperfect
  • 6 – Good Sufficient to Purchase On Sale
  • 7 – Nice, However Not Greatest-In-Class
  • 8 – Unbelievable, with Some Footnotes
  • 9 – Shut Up And Take My Cash
  • 10 – Absolute Design Nirvana

Worth: $299
LUMI Keys against sheet music background
Suzanne Humphries

Studying to play a musical instrument proficiently is one thing that’s on just about everybody’s to-do checklist, but it’s one thing few folks really accomplish. Why? As a result of the training course of will be troublesome, prolonged, and at instances even boring. However ROLI, the corporate behind LUMI Keys, is attempting to repair that with its vivid and colourful app-driven keyboard.

This is What We Like

  • Shiny colours are enjoyable and thrilling
  • App is gorgeous and has a excessive manufacturing worth
  • Teaches method and music concept fundamentals

And What We Do not

  • Pricy, particularly with the software program subscription
  • Track issue settings are in every single place
  • Typically masses incorrect music

When LUMI Keys was first pitched by my crew, I jumped on the alternative to check it. I’m a pianist. I’ve studied piano at college and taught piano classes to college students of all ages for years. As a result of I really like the piano, I used to be curious to see what LUMI Keys supplied, the way it might make piano classes extra approachable and thrilling, and the way it may gain advantage the world of music training total.

Over the various years I’ve taught classes, I’ve seen little one and grownup college students alike eagerly begin classes, then get pissed off once they aren’t proficient (or enjoying alongside an expert symphony) in two or three months. Turning into pianist (not to mention an important one) is one thing that takes years of standard follow and severe research, so it’s comprehensible when college students begin to really feel pissed off or bored in the course of the studying course of.

However LUMI Keys provides a strategy to “be extra musical in minutes,” because it says on its website. It additionally desires college students to have enjoyable whereas studying. And if it provides a profitable strategy to shorten the training course of and assist college students make a strong reference to the abilities wanted to grasp and play the instrument proficiently, that’s large information.

However does LUMI Keys really work? And is it well worth the funding?

What’s LUMI Keys and Who’s It For?

LUMI Keys is a small keyboard that works alongside the teachings and music library in its companion cell app. It’s branding itself as “the best strategy to be taught the piano” and the enjoyable strategy to unlock your musical potential. It’s aimed toward newbie pianists and informal fanatics.

The Bluetooth-enabled keyboard provides to gamify piano classes and use colourful lights and acquainted tunes to make the instrument straightforward sufficient for anybody to be taught. As an alternative of specializing in sheet music and musical notation, LUMI makes use of its colours each on the keyboard and the Guitar Hero-style app interface to attach notes to your fingers. Approaching enjoying this fashion is, certainly, simpler, and helps you get a really feel for the way you’re purported to work together with a piano.

It additionally eliminates probably the most nerve-racking a part of the lesson expertise: the instructor. There are classes from actual piano coaches contained in the app, however the means to look at and rewatch them at your leisure (moderately than listening to some daunting stranger discuss at you each week), is nice for each anxious learnings and for reinforcing ideas as wanted. Lessons cover basics like posture and how one can play a C Main scale, and progress as much as studying music notation and studying the basics of music theory.

LUMI’s light-weight small measurement makes it good for enjoying (and storing) anyplace. You’ll be able to decide it up and transfer it to different rooms in your own home, not like a digital keyboard or grand piano, and even take it with you to work, faculty, or on a trip. It additionally has tiny DNA connectors on all sides, permitting you to attach a number of LUMI Keys collectively to type a bigger keyboard. It requires a smartphone or pill (and the companion app for iOS or Android) so as to use it, nevertheless.

The LUMI Keys bundle is simply up as a pre-order in the meanwhile and never but accessible for direct buy. It runs a very steep $299 but additionally features a case, a $50 voucher for LUMI Full (which is entry to all of LUMI’s classes and songs), and free transport.

The Setup

LUMI Keys powered off against sheet music background
Suzanne Humphries

If LUMI Keys is aiming to make studying piano straightforward, setting it up must be straightforward too, proper? Fortunately, it’s. If you first open the field, there’s a cardboard flap with a QR code on it inviting you to obtain the LUMI app. Beneath that’s the LUMI keyboard, in addition to its USB-A to USB-C charging cable and guarantee card.

If you open the app and activate the keyboard, you’ll see the keyboard flash a vivid rainbow then pulse blue, which is the immediate to pair it with the app by way of Bluetooth (intelligent) and join any further LUMI keyboards you could have. As soon as it’s paired, you’re off to the races.

From the house web page of the app, you’ll work your means by means of the “Getting Began” part. This provides just a few quick movies that can assist you get familiarized with the system and the app. It’ll additionally present you the place to put the keyboard if you’re utilizing it and some fundamentals about posture.

When you’re all arrange, you’ll be able to faucet on the Study tab to leap into the handfuls of classes or faucet on the Play tab to begin enjoying some songs. If you happen to’re model new to piano, I like to recommend sticking with the Study tab, because it takes you thru some beginner-friendly classes that work with just some notes at a time (assume “Mary Had a Little Lamb”). This is similar kind of stuff you’d be enjoying throughout a standard piano lesson with a instructor.

The Keyboard

LUMI Keys keyboard at an angle on wooden table
Suzanne Humphries

Most likely the very first thing you’ll discover about LUMI Keys is how fairly it’s. The super-bright rainbow of keys is inviting, however after some time the brightness begins to really feel overpowering (particularly for these with mild sensitivity). The dearth of brightness controls both on the system or within the app is a particular miss right here.

Whereas the colourful lights definitely make the keys look wonderful, the keys themselves have a less-than-premium really feel, sadly. Delicate or partial depressions on a key don’t all the time register, which is irritating. ROLI says the keyboard’s journey distance is 92% of that of an actual piano, nevertheless it seems like a lot much less. Enjoying on it feels harking back to typing on the Apple MacBook’s butterfly keys, in that you just really feel such as you simply want just a few extra millimeters of journey distance. It feels such as you’ll must push proper by means of the keyboard to make any impression.

The keys are additionally unweighted (or at the least, not weighted sufficient), they usually really feel low cost. ROLI says the keyboard has a pleasant dynamic vary, however actually it feels extremely restricted, particularly when you think about how responsive ROLI’s phenomenal Seaboard keyboard is. Those that have by no means touched a piano possible wouldn’t decide up on these points, however the distinction is noticeable to those that have. It feels extra like a bit of tech than an instrument, and never in a great way.

Fixing these points will surely enhance the keyboard, nevertheless it’s value noting that they don’t hinder it in any respect. The keyboard has a enjoyable design and would look good set out on a desk. Its small measurement makes me wish to carry it round my home from room to room and play it. I additionally like that it’s sufficiently small to slot in my backpack; it’d be enjoyable to tackle a tenting or street journey.

The App

LUMI Keys companion app with lessons and songs
Suzanne Humphries

The companion app for LUMI Keys appears to be like stunning. The person interface is clear and logically organized, with separate tabs for the House, Study, and Play tabs. The colours and graphics used within the app look terrific, and the font retains issues minimally clear and simple to learn.

Tapping on a music or piece takes you to its particular person web page and exhibits you data like who wrote it, how lengthy it’s, and what key it’s in. Right here you’ll be able to entry settings for altering the keyboard’s sound, with enjoyable choices like Shiny Synth or Acoustic Guitar. It’s also possible to modify playback pace and the way notes are displayed, just like the default Cascade (a la Guitar Hero), Rainbow, ColorNote, or Traditional (the latter two appear like sheet music). All of those choices are a good way to shake up follow time and hold issues thrilling.

Every music provides you three choices: Watch, Apply, and Problem. Every provides you the choice to toggle the be aware names and metronome on or off, change playback quantity, and modify sound and be aware show choices.

The Watch possibility is useful, because it permits you to see how a music can be performed out earlier than you strive your hand at it. If you really feel prepared, the Apply possibility permits you to play alongside. On this display, you’ll see the notes seem if you’re purported to play them, and the corresponding be aware on the on-screen keyboard and precise keyboard each mild up. You’ll be able to attempt to sustain with the notes, although some songs have a “Wait” possibility that gained’t transfer on to the subsequent be aware till you get the present one proper.

As soon as you’re feeling snug with a music, you’ll be able to transfer on to Problem mode. Right here, you’ll put your finest foot ahead and attempt to play each be aware precisely and on time. The higher you do, the extra factors you earn and better your total mastery score is. Yow will discover your score (together with different tracked metrics like Songs Practiced and Time Performed) in your profile.

Person looking through LUMI's library of lessons and songs on a tablet
ROLI

These options are all glorious, and precisely what I’d anticipate from one thing like LUMI Keys. Nonetheless, the app undoubtedly has some shortcomings (each small and huge) that diminish the general expertise LUMI Keys is attempting to offer.

One of the vital irritating points is coping with music issue. Any music you faucet on exhibits you its issue on its particular person web page. Typically, as soon as that web page finishes loading, the problem modifications, and there isn’t a strategy to manually change it. This implies you’ll need to hold tapping on and backing out of a music so as to attempt to get the problem to alter (and generally it simply doesn’t), which is massively irritating in the event you aren’t fortunate sufficient to get the problem you want the primary time round.

There is an choice to browse by issue on the backside of the Play tab, however there’s no purpose this characteristic shouldn’t be constructed into each music’s particular person web page. Moreover, there isn’t a clear definition for what every of the 5 issue ranges imply, so it’ll take some trial and error in your finish to determine your stage in the event you aren’t an absolute newbie.

There have additionally been instances the place the right music doesn’t load. And a few songs have you ever play together with the melody, whereas others simply have you ever enjoying the principle chords. Some “songs” are actually simply fragments, moderately than full items. This isn’t unusual within the music world, in the event you consider it as an association, nevertheless it is likely to be disappointing to some customers. I’ve additionally observed just a few spots the place the be aware timing feels off, too, so what you’re purported to play doesn’t completely line up with a music’s precise melody, which threw me off in Problem mode the place it docked my efficiency rating.

Fortunately, the product hasn’t been launched but, and most of these items will be simply remedied with a software program replace. Every of those points was irritating in their very own means, however I’ll solely maintain them in opposition to ROLI in the event that they don’t ever get addressed and patched.

The LUMI Library

LUMI Keys companion app song library
Suzanne Humphries

LUMI’s library of songs is spectacular. It features a strong mixture of over 400 conventional songs, classical tunes, well-known rock, EDM, and pop songs in addition to interactive classes. That is just about consistent with what you’d get in conventional piano classes. New songs are added regularly, too, so you’ll be able to all the time look ahead to having one thing new to play.

LUMI Library is obtainable in two tiers: LUMI Important (free with LUMI) and LUMI Full ($9.99 per 30 days, or $6.67 per 30 days for an annual membership). LUMI Important consists of 40 basic songs, 60+ introductory classes, and 72 workout routines. LUMI Full consists of over 400 songs, 130 classes, and 380 workout routines (together with all the things supplied in LUMI Important).

LUMI Full has an honest (although noticeably restricted) choice of classical items from composers like Mozart, Tchaikovsky, and J. S. Bach. It additionally has loads of standard songs from artists like Taylor Swift, Calvin Harris, Dua Lipa, Think about Dragons, and Main Lazer.

If you’re within the temper to concentrate on studying, LUMI has your again with tons of classes, which span all the things from music concept and method to understanding chords and creating countermelodies. It’s an important vary of content material for newbie and intermediate pianists.

All Collectively Now

LUMI Keys on table with app on iPad Pro and headphones
Suzanne Humphries

I feel what ROLI is bringing to the desk with LUMI Keys, and what’s usually anticipated from conventional piano classes, are kind of on the identical web page. LUMI’s classes for method, notation, and music concept, although fairly fundamental, touched on most—if not all—of crucial factors I’d train to new college students. It was good to see a mix of conventional, classical, and pop songs within the app’s library, too.

The app provides precisely what I need it to, however its severe points trigger it to get in its personal means. Gamers want to have the ability to simply set music issue, load the right music, and have correct be aware timing to play in opposition to. It’s what’s anticipated in conventional classes, it’s what’s anticipated in Guitar Hero, and it’s what must be anticipated of LUMI Keys.

The 24-key keyboard is okay for newbie and low-intermediate classes and songs, however severe gamers will actually outgrow it, and LUMI’s steep worth (bear in mind, it’s a whopping $299) will most likely hold most customers from shopping for a second one. For below $600 (the worth of two LUMI Keys), you may get a full-size keyboard with weighted keys that’s fairly dang near the true factor. These keyboards may also permit you to report songs, amongst different advantages.

Conclusion: An Attention-grabbing Albeit Expensive Idea

LUMI Keys keyboard and companion mobile app
ROLI

For anybody who’s severe about studying piano, nothing will beat conventional piano classes with a instructor and an actual piano. Nonetheless, I do know that’s not everybody’s purpose and that some folks simply wish to be taught piano fundamentals and have some enjoyable studying just a few songs. I feel LUMI Keys is the right factor for closing that hole.

Actually, LUMI Keys feels higher suited to individuals who wish to be taught simply sufficient piano to report EDM songs on a MIDI controller than for these hoping to at some point grow to be live performance pianists.

LUMI Keys is a terrific thought, however each the {hardware} and software program want some sprucing, particularly because it prices a lot. The idea of connecting with shade over notes undoubtedly makes piano (and music basically) extra thrilling than it at the moment is, and it’s certain to seize folks’s consideration and hold them . It’s lots able to instructing the basics to curious rookies, and its library of over 400 songs and classes ought to hold anybody entertained.

If you happen to’re all in favour of LUMI Keys, you’ll be able to preorder the available bundle now for $299. The bundle features a LUMI Snapcase, free transport, and a $50 voucher for LUMI Full. Pre-orders will ship beginning on December 16.

Score: 6/10
Worth: $299

Right here’s What We Like

  • Shiny colours are enjoyable and thrilling
  • App is gorgeous and has a excessive manufacturing worth
  • Teaches method and music concept fundamentals

And What We Do not

  • Pricy, particularly with the software program subscription
  • Track issue settings are in every single place
  • Typically masses incorrect music



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