ONE Music Group–a Chinese manufacturer of musical instruments incorporating digital technology–has announced the North American launch of its new smart piano product line consisting of The ONE Light keyboard and The ONE Smart Piano; the latter claimed to be the world’s first and currently only upright, Apple MFi-certified piano on the market. The company also announced the launch of a corresponding Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign.
“Our goal is to help people play their first song in just a few minutes,” said The ONE Music Group’s Global CEO and co-founder Ben Ye. “Our sheet music inventory is huge, so that people can learn with the songs they love and have fun as they practice.”
The ONE Smart Piano and The ONE Light both provide a new self-instructional way to learn piano in place of expensive private instruction or video game consoles that don’t always translate into real skills. The learning method is simple; users connect their iOS or Android device to the piano. The ONE Smart Piano app (see below) is free to download and offers three different ways to easily learn songs within minutes: LED-guided sheet music, video lessons, and games.
With LED-guided sheet music, a user can pick from thousands of songs ranging from classical to jazz to pop and more, then follow along with real-time LED lights to play through any song immediately. Video lessons cover piano instruction and are integrated with the LED lights so that you can follow along with the teacher on screen. With games, a user gets a score by hitting scrolling bars as the notes light up on the piano.
The ONE Smart Piano, which comes in two colors–Matte Black or Classic White–is a digital upright piano with the look and feel of a traditional piano and equipped with a full compliment of 88 hammer-weighted keys, three foot pedals and a wooden body. For the mobile musician, The ONE Light is ideal for pianists looking for more portability or who don’t want/can’t afford to invest in a full-sized piano. The ONE Light comes with expanded entertainment features such as a microphone plug-in for sing-and-play and 6AA battery-powered mobility, and is available in either Onyx Black or White Gold livery.
Both models of the piano work with the free apps for iOS or Android and come equipped with thousands of free and integrated sheet music selections. With their built-in mp3 speakers, both pianos work with third-party music apps including Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube, and more, playing music directly from the instrument speakers. Both are also midi input systems, so they can be used as music creation tools such as Apple’s Garageband.
“We’re bringing a new way to learn that defies traditional education conventions,” explained Mr. Ye. “Introducing a fun way to learn piano in your own home with mobile technology and the Internet is only the beginning of what we believe will be the transformation of music education. Fifty percent of Americans receive formal music instruction at some point during their lives, but only twelve percent actually continue to play as adults. The ONE Music Group is aiming to change this, with our products.”
Already the best-selling piano on Alibaba’s TaoBao and other e-commerce platforms in China, The ONE Music Group is expanding operations to North America with its U.S. headquarters in San Francisco. The ONE Music Group has begun gaining popularity in the U.S. among influential investors, and Sequoia China partnered with the company in 2014.
“The ONE Music Group is bringing music instruction into the 21st century,” observeed Sequoia partner Doug Leone. “We’re thrilled to support The ONE in its mission to make music a lifelong passion for people of all ages.”
Endorsed by some of the top musical performers in China, The ONE has also begun developing a following in North America, and is being used in homes by performers including Stephen Bradley of the multi-platinum group No Doubt, as well as Joseph Hoffman, creator of the Hoffman Method, one of the most popular online piano tutorials. Stanford Professor Wang Ge, one the original creators of the Smule music app with 25 million users, is an advisor and supporter of The ONE on providing a fun app experience.
The ONE Smart Piano App
The ONE Piano app by Wanaka offers everything you need to learn the piano, including a depository of sheet music from which you can select the piece you want to play, interactive piano lessons that allow you to learn to play the piano from the best teachers at home, and keyboard games to develop your musical sense and get to know the keyboard quickly. The ONE Piano app shows which key to press, and the LEDs on The ONE Smart Piano light up.
The ONE Smart Piano app features include:
You can also subscribe to HDpiano lessons for $60.00 per year with a 30-day free trial. Your subscription will renew automatically each year and payment will be charged to your iTunes Account within 24 hours prior to the end of the current period. You can turn off auto-renewal by going to your Account Settings after purchase. No cancellation of your subscription is allowed during the active subscription period. Any unused portion of 30-day free trial will be forfeited when the user purchases a subscription.
In support of The ONE’s North American launch is an Indiegogo campaign, with the primary goal of raising awareness of the company and its mission to modernize learning to play an instrument. The money raised will be used to offset the high costs associated with shipping pianos, so the company can keep the price point as low as possible for customers.
As part of the Indiegogo campaign, funders can choose to help The ONE advance music education in nonprofit classrooms with a Buy The ONE, give one perk. One of the partners, Open Mind School, is a special needs school and nonprofit 501(3) c that explores different technologies to assist in their students education. Senior Planet 501(3) is another partner who is using the smart pianos as a way for senior citizens to pick up a new music skill or revive their rusty piano techniques.
The ONE Smart Piano is offering a limited-time discount on Indiegogo, starting as low as $799 for the earliest funders, and The ONE Light for $199, which is a steep discount from the suggested retail price. Both pianos are already in production, so it’s projected that backers can expect the products to be delivered to their door by September 2015.