Music

Yamaha makes learning piano EZ with follow-the-light keyboard

Yamaha makes learning piano EZ...
Lighted keys show the way to piano learning
Lighted keys show the way to piano learning
View 6 Images
Lights embedded in the 61 keys of the EZ-300 show students where and when to push down a key, to learn how to play at their own pace
1/6
Lights embedded in the 61 keys of the EZ-300 show students where and when to push down a key, to learn how to play at their own pace
Lighted keys show the way to piano learning
2/6
Lighted keys show the way to piano learning
Follow the lights for an easy start to learning to play piano
3/6
Follow the lights for an easy start to learning to play piano
Students can slow down the tempo to learn phrases and songs at their own pace
4/6
Students can slow down the tempo to learn phrases and songs at their own pace
Yamaha has included over 200 songs in the library, and more can be added via a PC or Mac
5/6
Yamaha has included over 200 songs in the library, and more can be added via a PC or Mac
The student selects a song, and then hammers down a key when it lights up red
6/6
The student selects a song, and then hammers down a key when it lights up red
View gallery - 6 images

We've seen a few learning systems that help students to learn at their own pace by having them follow lights to form chords on a guitar or nail songs on a piano keyboard. The latest from Yamaha to do so is the EZ-300, which comes with songs built-in.

Yamaha has opted to put the lighting system inside the 61 keys of the EZ-300, like it did with the electronic keyboard's 2012 EZ-220 predecessor and like the One Music Group have with some of their piano learning systems.

The One Pianos work with an app running on a smart device, but Yamaha has included over 200 songs in the library of the keyboard itself, including famous classics and selections from popular music, with the ability to add more by dragging and dropping MIDI files downloaded from the Yamaha store via a Mac or PC connected over USB.

The idea is roughly the same though. The student selects a song, and then hammers down a key when it lights up red. The notes will sound through the included speakers, and the more force used to push down a key, the louder it will sound – just like with an acoustic piano.

The Keys to Success package will walk users through short phrases, building up confidence by offering control over the tempo, until they master the full song at normal speed and move onto the next title.

Lights embedded in the 61 keys of the EZ-300 show students where and when to push down a key, to learn how to play at their own pace
Lights embedded in the 61 keys of the EZ-300 show students where and when to push down a key, to learn how to play at their own pace

The EZ-300 comes with 622 instrument voices, including a sampled grand piano, and features something called SuperArticulation Light Voices which adds gestures used by experienced players (including guitar string harmonics and pizzicato plucks on a violin) for a more authentic playing experience.

An if you just want to jam, the system can provide auto accompaniment. Effects like reverb and chorus can also be called upon, and performances can be recorded to the internal memory at the push of a button.

"Between the light-up keyboard, built-in pop songs, and Keys to Success lesson mode, even extreme beginners can get to playing some really cool music very quickly," said Yamaha's Ben Harrison. "Add touch-sensitive keys, drag-and-drop song support, a huge variety of accompaniment Styles and instrument Voices, and other exciting features, and the EZ-300 becomes a great choice for anyone learning to play as well as for more creative musical adventures."

The EZ-300 will go on sale in late November/early December for a suggested retail price of US$399.99. The video below has more.

Yamaha EZ-300 Overview Video

Product page: EZ-300

View gallery - 6 images
3 comments
alexD
Nothing new here... this kind of thing has been around for quite a while but the secret is commitment... unfortunately once people get past the initial excitement the commitment fades down...
ReservoirPup
my daughter still plays a lookalike by Casio. Her commitment wakes up every time she can't get hold of her gadgets.
pmshah
I used to sell and service Casio "follow the key" lighted keyboards 25 years ago. So tell me something new.