One of life’s little problems for piano players is portability. Those 88 keys just don’t pack in a backpack too well.
So what do you do when you travel? Do you just hum along? There’s a better way. The iRig Keys Mini by IK Multimedia.
This 25-key universal mini keyboard controller along with a couple smartphone apps is the next best thing to having a full-fledged orchestra at your disposal. At its simplest setting, you can attach it to an iOS device (iPhone or iPad), an Android phone or tablet, or a PC/Mac laptop and play songs. Within seconds, you’ll be playing sounds that are hard to distinguish from the real thing.
Keys Mini comes complete with three cables to hook up to all the above. There are cables with micro USB, standard USB and with Lightning connectors – pick your poison.
The keyboard feel is extremely responsive – just like its larger cousins, but the whole unit is super lightweight – easily toteable in a backpack or gig bag. While 25 keys don’t seem like much, two buttons above the keys on the keyboard let you easily and quickly assign lower or higher octaves so you can cover the equivalent of an 88-key keyboard. All keys are also velocity sensitive.
Another advantage making this unit extremely portable is lack of a power adapter. All power needed for the keyboard is supplied directly by the USB connector cable. And while traveling, remember you can connect your smartdevice of choice to your car audio via Bluetooth or 1/8” audio cable, giving you extremely high fidelity sounds while traveling 60 mph…assuming your navigator is your keyboard player.
But that’s only the start. Included with your purchase of the iRig Keys Mini are various software packages: (depending on your host operating system). On my iPhone I’ve been playing with: iGrand Piano FREE for iPhone and iPad, offering both grand and upright piano instruments. Also the Sample Tank for iPhone and iPad FREE offers a wide selection of 27 instruments which can be expanded to 76 by registering your software.
On my PC, I’ve downloaded Sample Tank 3 SE which comes with 6.5GB of sound samples.
But wait, I don’t know how to play a keyboard (or a guitar, or drums, or whatever). There’s a solution for everything, and MusicSchoolOnline is just what the doctor ordered. Through more than 400 recorded videos, experts will teach you piano, guitar, bass, drums, and voice lessons.
If you really want to get into it, try the music theory courses to learn all about scales, notes and rhythms. But, if you just want to make music, jump right into the various instrument lessons and learn by watching the masters break down popular songs into chords and notes you can master by repeating their motions. Within an hour, I was impressing myself by playing accompaniments to some popular songs. Downloadable resources augment the lessons with sheet music, scale charts for guitar, piano, etc.
Will you be playing all your popular favorites in a matter of weeks – NO; but you’ll be making progress enough to decide if you want to pursue your instrument of choice. MusicSchoolOnline offers a 14-day free trial, so check them out when you’ve got some spare time to devote to making beautiful music at home.
Now hit the road and make beautiful music where ever you roam.