Learning to Play Music with Lumi

The Roli Lumi (you know, because “illumination”) is a multicolored, light-up keyboard aimed at musical novices eager to learn to play the piano.

The Lumi is a traditional keyboard, in that it has regular keys. There are only 24 of them—about a quarter of the keys you’ll find on a full-sized piano—but this limitation was intentional, as the Lumi is designed with portability in mind. It’s also part of Roli’s Blocks line, which is a family of music production devices that can interlock together via magnetic connectors and function as MIDI controllers for use in Roli’s companion app, or in third-party desktop software. Snap three or four Lumis together and you have something approaching, or even exceeding, the range of a full-sized keyboard. Oh yeah, and the keys light up.

The goal of the Lumi is to help beginners associate musical notes with colors. Start in a Guitar Hero-esque mode, where, after loading the iOS app, you can choose a song to play along with. Different colored notes light up on the keyboard as notes slide across the screen in time with the music. The app tells you when to depress each corresponding key. Next thing you know, you’re playing a song.

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