A Tech Tip for Picking Up Piano in Quarantine
Facing weeks or months under lockdown, many of us have turned to hobbies. And while the internet seems to have decided baking bread is the name of the game, I saw being stuck at home as an opportunity to do something I’ve long put off: learning an instrument.
I bought an electric piano — the Casio PX-160 to be precise — and I found an app to help teach me to play it.
Called Flowkey, it moves sheet music across the screen, and waits at every note of the song until you press the right note on the piano. That way, it can automatically detect the note using your microphone or USB connection.
The free app provides video courses for the basics, like reading music and playing chords, along with a mode that lets you pick up popular songs, chords, and the other basics, one key at a time by demonstrating, then having you play it back to the app. For $19.99 per month, the premium version offers more lessons beyond the basics, and a wider song library to learn. Flowkey reminds me of those gimmicky electric pianos with the light-up keys, except instead of the lights telling you which keys to hit, it’s in an app that shows a keyboard and teaches you where to put your hands — futuristic, nonetheless.
I’ve been using Flowkey for a few weeks, and while I’m not a piano virtuoso by any means of the imagination, I’ve picked up far more about music than I expected from an app, without breaking lockdown orders. The hardest part? Remembering to actually practice — which, ironically, is the easiest part if you’re forced to learn with a human in a physical place every week.