LUMI Keys Keyboard is Flashy and Fun, but Sometimes Misses a Note

Ranking:
6/10
?

  • 1 – Absolute Sizzling Rubbish
  • 2 – Sorta Lukewarm Rubbish
  • three – Strongly Unsuitable Design
  • four – Some Professionals, Rather a lot Of Cons
  • five – Acceptably Imperfect
  • 6 – Excellent Sufficient to Purchase On Sale
  • 7 – Nice, However No longer Absolute best-In-Elegance
  • eight – Improbable, with Some Footnotes
  • nine – Close Up And Take My Cash
  • 10 – Absolute Design Nirvana

Value: $299

LUMI Keys against sheet music background
Suzanne Humphries

Finding out to play a musical device proficiently is one thing that’s on just about everybody’s to-do checklist, but it’s one thing few other people if truth be told accomplish. Why? Since the studying procedure may also be tricky, long, and now and then even uninteresting. However ROLI, the corporate in the back of LUMI Keys, is attempting to mend that with its brilliant and colourful app-driven keyboard.

This is What We Like

  • Brilliant colours are a laugh and thrilling
  • App is gorgeous and has a prime manufacturing price
  • Teaches method and tune idea fundamentals

And What We Do not

  • Pricy, particularly with the device subscription
  • Track problem settings are in all places
  • Occasionally quite a bit flawed music

When LUMI Keys was once first pitched through my staff, I jumped on the alternative to check it. I’m a pianist. I’ve studied piano at college and taught piano courses to scholars of every age for years. As a result of I really like the piano, I used to be curious to look what LUMI Keys introduced, how it would make piano courses extra approachable and thrilling, and the way it would get advantages the arena of tune training total.

Over the various years I’ve taught courses, I’ve observed kid and grownup scholars alike eagerly get started courses, then get annoyed after they aren’t gifted (or taking part in along a certified symphony) in two or 3 months. Changing into a excellent pianist (let by myself a perfect one) is one thing that takes years of normal observe and critical learn about, so it’s comprehensible when scholars begin to really feel annoyed or bored throughout the educational procedure.

However LUMI Keys gives a approach to “be extra musical in mins,” because it says on its web page. It additionally desires scholars to have a laugh whilst studying. And if it gives a a success approach to shorten the educational procedure and assist scholars make a forged reference to the talents had to perceive and play the device proficiently, that’s large information.

However does LUMI Keys if truth be told paintings? And is it definitely worth the funding?

What’s LUMI Keys and Who’s It For?

LUMI Keys is a small keyboard that works along the teachings and music library in its spouse cell app. It’s branding itself as “the best way to be informed the piano” and the joys approach to release your musical attainable. It’s geared toward newbie pianists and informal fans.

The Bluetooth-enabled keyboard gives to gamify piano courses and use colourful lighting and acquainted tunes to make the device simple sufficient for somebody to be informed. As an alternative of specializing in sheet tune and musical notation, LUMI makes use of its colours each at the keyboard and the Guitar Hero-style app interface to glue notes in your hands. Coming near taking part in this fashion is, certainly, more uncomplicated, and is helping you get a really feel for the way you are meant to engage with a piano.

It additionally removes some of the demanding a part of the lesson revel in: the trainer. There are courses from actual piano coaches within the app, however the talent to look at and rewatch them at your recreational (quite than listening to a couple daunting stranger communicate at you each week), is superb for each nervous learnings and for enhancing ideas as wanted. Courses quilt fundamentals like posture and methods to play a C Main scale, and development as much as studying tune notation and studying the basics of tune idea.

LUMI’s light-weight small length makes it highest for taking part in (and storing) anyplace. You’ll pick out it up and transfer it to different rooms in your home, not like a virtual keyboard or grand piano, and even take it with you to paintings, college, or on a holiday. It additionally has tiny DNA connectors on every aspect, permitting you to glue a couple of LUMI Keys in combination to shape a bigger keyboard. It calls for a smartphone or pill (and the spouse app for iOS or Android) with a purpose to use it, alternatively.

The LUMI Keys package is best up as a pre-order this present day and no longer but to be had for direct acquire. It runs a actually steep $299 but in addition features a case, a $50 voucher for LUMI Whole (which is get right of entry to to all of LUMI’s courses and songs), and unfastened transport.

The Setup

LUMI Keys powered off against sheet music background
Suzanne Humphries

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

While you open the app and switch at the keyboard, you’ll see the keyboard flash a brilliant rainbow then pulse blue, which is the suggested to pair it with the app by means of Bluetooth (artful) and fasten any further LUMI keyboards you might have. As soon as it’s paired, you’re off to the races.

From the house web page of the app, you’ll paintings your approach in the course of the “Getting Began” phase. This gives a couple of brief movies that can assist you get familiarized with the tool and the app. It’ll additionally display you the place to put the keyboard while you’re the use of it and a couple of fundamentals about posture.

If you’re all arrange, you’ll faucet at the Be told tab to leap into the handfuls of courses or faucet at the Play tab to begin taking part in some songs. When you’re logo new to piano, I like to recommend sticking with the Be told tab, because it takes you via some beginner-friendly courses that paintings with only a few notes at a time (suppose “Mary Had a Little Lamb”). This is identical form of things you’d be taking part in throughout a conventional piano lesson with a trainer.

The Keyboard

LUMI Keys keyboard at an angle on wooden table
Suzanne Humphries

Most likely the very first thing you’ll realize about LUMI Keys is how beautiful it’s. The super-bright rainbow of keys is inviting, however after some time the brightness starts to really feel overpowering (particularly for the ones with gentle sensitivity). The loss of brightness controls both at the tool or within the app is a undeniable leave out right here.

Whilst the colourful lighting indisputably make the keys glance superb, the keys themselves have a less-than-premium really feel, sadly. Cushy or partial depressions on a key don’t all the time sign in, which is maddening. ROLI says the keyboard’s trip distance is 92% of that of an actual piano, but it surely seems like a lot much less. Taking part in on it feels paying homage to typing at the Apple MacBook’s butterfly keys, in that you are feeling such as you simply want a couple of extra millimeters of trip distance. It feels such as you’ll want to push all over the keyboard to make any have an effect on.

The keys also are unweighted (or a minimum of, no longer weighted sufficient), they usually really feel reasonable. ROLI says the keyboard has a pleasant dynamic vary, however truthfully it feels extremely restricted, particularly while you believe how responsive ROLI’s extraordinary Seaboard keyboard is. Those that have by no means touched a piano most probably wouldn’t pick out up on those problems, however the distinction is noticeable to those that have. It feels extra like a work of tech than an device, and no longer in a great way.

Solving those problems would indisputably fortify the keyboard, but it surely’s value noting that they don’t impede it in any respect. The keyboard has a a laugh design and would glance great set out on a table. Its small length makes me need to lift it round my area from room to room and play it. I additionally like that it’s sufficiently small to slot in my backpack; it’d be a laugh to tackle a tenting or street shuttle.

The App

LUMI Keys companion app with lessons and songs
Suzanne Humphries

The spouse app for LUMI Keys appears to be like stunning. The person interface is blank and logically arranged, with separate tabs for the House, Be told, and Play tabs. The colours and graphics used within the app glance terrific, and the font helps to keep issues minimally blank and simple to learn.

Tapping on a music or piece takes you to its person web page and presentations you knowledge like who wrote it, how lengthy it’s, and what key it’s in. Right here you’ll get right of entry to settings for converting the keyboard’s sound, with a laugh choices like Brilliant Synth or Acoustic Guitar. You’ll additionally regulate playback velocity and the way notes are displayed, just like the default Cascade (a los angeles Guitar Hero), Rainbow, ColorNote, or Vintage (the latter two seem like sheet tune). All of those choices are an effective way to shake up observe time and stay issues thrilling.

Each and every music offers you 3 choices: Watch, Apply, and Problem. Each and every offers you the way to toggle the word names and metronome on or off, alternate playback quantity, and regulate sound and word show choices.

The Watch possibility is at hand, because it allows you to see how a music can be performed out sooner than you take a look at your hand at it. When you are feeling in a position, the Apply possibility allows you to play alongside. On this display, you’ll see the notes seem while you’re intended to play them, and the corresponding word at the on-screen keyboard and exact keyboard each remove darkness from. You’ll attempt to stay alongside of the notes, regardless that some songs have a “Wait” possibility that gained’t transfer directly to the following word till you get the present one proper.

As soon as you are feeling ok with a music, you’ll transfer directly to Problem mode. Right here, you’ll put your very best foot ahead and take a look at to play each word correctly and on time. The simpler you do, the extra issues you earn and better your total mastery ranking is. You’ll to find your ranking (along side different tracked metrics like Songs Practiced and Time Performed) to your profile.

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

Those options are all superb, and precisely what I’d be expecting from one thing like LUMI Keys. On the other hand, the app for sure has some shortcomings (each small and big) that diminish the whole revel in LUMI Keys is attempting to supply.

One of the vital irritating problems is coping with music problem. Any music you faucet on presentations you its problem on its person web page. Occasionally, as soon as that web page finishes loading, the trouble adjustments, and there isn’t a approach to manually alternate it. This implies you’ll must stay tapping on and taking flight of a music so as to take a look at and get the trouble to switch (and infrequently it simply doesn’t), which is vastly irritating for those who aren’t fortunate sufficient to get the trouble you wish to have the primary time round.

There is an way to browse through problem on the backside of the Play tab, however there’s no explanation why this option shouldn’t be constructed into each music’s person web page. Moreover, there’s no transparent definition for what every of the 5 problem ranges imply, so it’ll take some trial and mistake for your finish to determine your stage for those who aren’t an absolute newbie.

There have additionally been occasions the place the right kind music doesn’t load. And a few songs have you ever play along side the melody, whilst others simply have you ever taking part in the principle chords. Some “songs” are in reality simply fragments, quite than entire items. This isn’t unusual within the tune international, for those who recall to mind it as an association, but it surely could be disappointing to a couple customers. I’ve additionally spotted a couple of spots the place the word timing feels off, too, so what you are meant to play doesn’t utterly line up with a music’s exact melody, which threw me off in Problem mode the place it docked my efficiency ranking.

Thankfully, the product hasn’t been launched but, and these kinds of issues may also be simply remedied with a device replace. Each and every of those problems was once irritating in their very own approach, however I’ll best hang 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 forged mixture of over 400 conventional songs, classical tunes, well-known rock, EDM, and dad songs in addition to interactive courses. That is just about in step with what you’d get in conventional piano courses. New songs are added frequently, too, so you’ll all the time look ahead to having one thing new to play.

LUMI Library is obtainable in two tiers: LUMI Very important (unfastened with LUMI) and LUMI Whole ($nine.99 per 30 days, or $6.67 per 30 days for an annual club). LUMI Very important comprises 40 vintage songs, 60+ introductory courses, and 72 workout routines. LUMI Whole comprises over 400 songs, 130 courses, and 380 workout routines (together with the whole thing introduced in LUMI Very important).

LUMI Whole has a good (regardless that noticeably restricted) choice of classical items from composers like Mozart, Tchaikovsky, and J. S. Bach. It additionally has quite a lot of well-liked songs from artists like Taylor Swift, Calvin Harris, Dua Lipa, Believe Dragons, and Main Lazer.

While you’re within the temper to concentrate on studying, LUMI has your again with heaps of courses, which span the whole thing from tune idea and option to working out chords and growing countermelodies. It’s a perfect vary of content material for newbie and intermediate pianists.

All In combination Now

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

I believe what ROLI is bringing to the desk with LUMI Keys, and what’s generally anticipated from conventional piano courses, are roughly at the identical web page. LUMI’s courses for method, notation, and tune idea, regardless that reasonably elementary, touched on maximum—if no longer all—of an important issues I’d train to new scholars. It was once great to look a mix of conventional, classical, and dad songs within the app’s library, too.

The app gives precisely what I need it to, however its critical problems motive it to get in its personal approach. Gamers want as a way to simply set music problem, load the right kind music, and feature correct word timing to play in opposition to. It’s what’s anticipated in conventional courses, it’s what’s anticipated in Guitar Hero, and it’s what must be anticipated of LUMI Keys.

The 24-key keyboard is ok for newbie and low-intermediate courses and songs, however critical avid gamers will actually outgrow it, and LUMI’s steep worth (bear in mind, it’s a whopping $299) will most probably stay maximum customers from purchasing a 2d one. For less than $600 (the cost of two LUMI Keys), you’ll get a full-size keyboard with weighted keys that’s beautiful dang with regards to the actual factor. The ones keyboards may also can help you report songs, amongst different advantages.

Conclusion: An Attention-grabbing Albeit Dear Thought

LUMI Keys keyboard and companion mobile app
ROLI

For somebody who’s desirous about studying piano, not anything will beat conventional piano courses with a trainer and an actual piano. On the other hand, I do know that’s no longer everybody’s function and that some other people simply need to be told piano fundamentals and feature some a laugh studying a couple of songs. I believe LUMI Keys is the easiest factor for final that hole.

In truth, LUMI Keys feels higher suited to individuals who need to be told simply sufficient piano to report EDM songs on a MIDI controller than for the ones hoping to sooner or later grow to be live performance pianists.

LUMI Keys is an incredible thought, however each the hardware and device want some sharpening, particularly because it prices such a lot. The idea that of connecting with colour over notes for sure makes piano (and tune on the whole) extra thrilling than it recently is, and it’s certain to snatch other people’s consideration and stay them . It’s lots able to educating the basics to curious newbies, and its library of over 400 songs and courses must stay somebody entertained.

When you’re focused on LUMI Keys, you’ll preorder the to be had package now for $299. The package features a LUMI Snapcase, unfastened transport, and a $50 voucher for LUMI Whole. Pre-orders will send beginning on December 16.

Right here’s What We Like

  • Brilliant colours are a laugh and thrilling
  • App is gorgeous and has a prime manufacturing price
  • Teaches method and tune idea fundamentals

And What We Do not

  • Pricy, particularly with the device subscription
  • Track problem settings are in all places
  • Occasionally quite a bit flawed music

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