Alexa Can Be Your Piano Teacher
Keyboard manufacturer Roland announced at CES 2019 that its new GO:PIANO will have Amazon Alexa built-in. Additionally, Roland announced it is developing an Alexa skill that offers similar features, but will be compatible with other instruments. With Alexa built-in to the GO:PIANO, users will be able to use voice commands that are specific to the keyboard, such changing the keyboard’s sound and settings. The Alexa skill will provide more generalized features, like access to libraries of music users can play along to. The Alexa skill will also allow users to share recorded audio clips with their friends and family. Roland stated it would add new tools to the Alexa Skill over time, with a focus on compatibility with other instruments. Roland did not provide any information about pricing but did tell Engadget the Alexa-enabled GO:PIANO would launch in the Fall of 2019. The release date of the Alexa skill is unknown.
Electronic Instruments as a Voice Use Case
Roland stated it wanted Alexa integration to let pianists focus on their piano fingering and technique instead of tweaking settings as they play. For example, Alexa can play one-half of the keys as the user plays the other half during a song to help them learn. Users will also be able to view their progress over time with the feature.
A voice assistant integrated into a musical instrument is a relatively untouched use case. Musical instruments have not received many voice integrations especially compared to everyday household objects, which is surprising considering that playing a musical instrument is a strong use case for needing hands-free voice control. Though there are a few skills for instruments like the guitar-tuning Alexa skill, the voice control for electronic instruments has been a rarity so far. One reason could be that it might be difficult to speak recognizable voice commands while playing an instrument, or that the technology is better suited to the speakers connected to the instruments themselves. The success of GO:PIANO could determine whether there is a place in the market for voice controlled electronic instruments in the future. This being said, we won’t really be able to pass true judgment until the product comes out.