We've always loved those scenes in American movies, where a piano gets the center stage and either a soulful singer giving his best shot or a teacher learning some teenager the tricks of the trade. Loved and envied, in at least equal parts. And while listening to piano instrumentals all day long may make you a contender for some show involving recognition of classical pieces - though we still have our doubts going past Vivaldi's Seasons or any covers of modern hits -, lack of time to get up and about to learning to play the piano is what usually keeps a dream from becoming a reality.
Luckily, an US, San Diego-based , Virginia-brought up music teacher and pianist transformed here passion for the art in a functional, easy-to-use, time-efficient method to make everybody at least able to sing a song, if not tens or hundreds, without needing to learn a single note.
It really seems to be easy-as-pie: each song lyrics are color-coded, and while they run in the app on your phone or tablet, you coordinate in pressing the matching colored decals placed on your ivory keyboard. While the app is free to download, decals range in price between $14.99 (mini decals, for ordinary keyboards) and $27.99 (a bundle of both mini and standard decals, the latter being customised for full-fledged pianos). For this price, you get a set of 19 decals, each set being either equipped with clinging mechanism - in case of standard decals - or an adhesive backboard for the mini decals. Membership for the service is momentarily free, including a limited number of songs for which you can order decals, with a paid plan following up shortly.
Jennifer Rodriguez, the mastermind behind this musical journey, taught music for more than 20 years, and throughout this period realised that
many students would quit because they didn't like to practice, didn't like the music or thought it was too hard. They only wanted to play Katy Perry's <<Firework>> or Disney's <<Let it Go>>
She then created the solution - let students consider piano learning as playing rather than a menial chore. The project was succesfully crowdfunded via KickStarter, which allowed the proper initial boost to get it off the ground. The musical sheet was thus replaced with fun, colored lyrics. And, to make it even more fun and connected to the current social media world, you can record yourself while playing and then upload the video to YouTube - who knows, you might even become an overnight success!
Decals are at the moment available for shipping in the US, New Zealand, Taiwan and the Phillipines, and we hope to see them soon available in Europe as well. If you plan on ordering some decals to get going, use the offer code PRLaunch to get a $5 discount.
For idea novelty, we give them 5/5.
For design, we give them 4.5/5 - we've also tested the app a little bit, the design is very intuitive and simple. Unfortunately, it crashed when trying to record a performance.
For user experience, 4/5 (simple to use website, well-organised app).
For potential to scale, I give them 4/5
OVERALL GRADE: 4.375 out of 5. Bring them to Europe and we'll definitely be trying to beat the "60-second to learn a song" mark.