As a grown-up who’s never tired of building Lego models, I appreciate the number of sets that are targeted at a more mature audience. From the Lego Architecture series to the recent Lego Art sets (check out my Iron Man build), the company has given us older folks plenty of reasons to keep collecting and building.
Now music lovers can get in on the act with the Lego Ideas Grand Piano set. Featuring an impressive 3,662 pieces, this isn’t just a pretty bauble you can put on a shelf but an actual motorized model makes music when paired with your phone.
The Grand Piano features a number of innovative features. The glossy black finish looks classy, and you can prop up the top lid to see the realistic gold-colored details inside.
Each of the 25 keys on the removable keyboard has its own hammer, which moves realistically when the key is pressed. The foot pedal raises and lowers the dampers when activated. Even the piano bench is adjustable with the twist of a knob.
The standout feature here, however, is the piano’s ability to play music with the help of a connected iPhone or Android device. The Lego Powered Up app has two modes for making music with the piano.
Listen mode lets you cue up one of 10 songs. They’re mostly public domain tunes, but there’s also an original composition called Playday by Donny Chen, the fan who submitted the original design to the Lego Ideas team. Hit play on the phone, and the piano’s mechanism comes to life, not unlike an old-timey player piano.
The more interactive Play mode makes you the maestro. Choose one of five songs on the phone, and when you press the piano keys, the phone will play the next note in the song. The controller inside the piano is forgiving in Play mode: It will play the correct note or chord in the song, regardless of which key you press.
The whole instrument is made of plastic, making it kind of noisy when all the pieces are moving around while the music plays. So no, it’s probably not ideal for your next piano recital.
The Lego Ideas Grand Piano retails for $400 (£320, AU$530) and is sold at Lego.com and in Lego stores. The website currently lists the set as out of stock, and I’m not surprised. This was a fun build, and will be a great addition to my toy collection.
If you aren’t interested in hearing my musings on the Grand Piano set, and just want to see me build it, check out the “build only – no talking” video on the CNET Highlights channel.