Ion Piano Apprentice plays nice with your iPad, lights up your life

It's not enough anymore to simply cram a single-octave keyboard into the bottom of a Nintendo DS, effective piano instruction requires at least twice as many keys -- and an iPad. The Ion Piano Apprentice (when coupled with a compatible iDevice and companion app) offers aspiring Tchaikovskys octave-selectable free play, lessons on reading sheet music, and even a view of award-winning piano instructor Scott Houston's handsome hands. If those mitts are too distracting for you, just follow along with the light-up keys, you'll be fine. This mini keyboard / iPad dock will land this fall to the tune of $100 -- -- it's either that, a real instructor, or a pair of haptic robot gloves. Your choice, really. Hit the PR after the break for a peek at Mr. Houston's official nickname, if you're into that sort of thing.

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ION Intros Portable Keyboard with Lighted Keys & Piano Learning Software for iPad, iPhone & iPad
PIANO APPRENTICE turns a portable keyboard into a traveling music teacher with an intelligent piano learning software app.

Cumberland, R.I. (July 19, 2011) – ION, a leader in consumer audio and entertainment technology, announces PIANO APPRENTICE, a portable lighted-key piano learning system for iPad, iPhone or iPod. ION will showcase PIANO APPRENTICE at Booth #400 at the 2011 Summer NAMM show from July 21st- 23rd in Nashville, TN.

PIANO APPRENTICE portable piano transforms iPad, iPhone or iPod into a personal piano instructor. The PIANO APPRENTICE App – a free download from the App Store – is piano learning software designed and built by ION to work seamlessly with PIANO APPRENTICE and creates a comprehensive music-learning experience. Piano players follow along as Emmy award-winning piano instructor, Scott Houston (aka "The Piano Guy"), appears on the screen demonstrating how to play while the PIANO APPRENTICE keys light up in time with the music. In addition, Scott's hands are right above the PIANO APPRENTICE keyboard, showing the user where to place their hands, teaching them how to play.

Other modes will teach aspiring pianists how to read sheet music or allow them to simply play the piano at any octave they choose. The portable keyboard itself is touch sensitive, responding to soft or hard playing accordingly for expressive music creation. PIANO APPRENTICE is lightweight, battery powered, and has built-in speakers for learning and playing anywhere. A headphone jack is included for quiet practice at anytime.

"PIANO APPRENTICE enables people everywhere to bring out their inner musician using their iPad, iPhone or iPod, even if they've never played an instrument before," said Wendy Mittelstadt, Product Manager, ION. "This is a incredibly easy-to-use and portable system for learning and music creation."