We recently took a look at the iPerform3D online guitar lessons for those looking to unleash their inner Hendrix, but if you're thinking tinkling the ivories might be more your style then Ion Audio's Piano Apprentice could be worth a look - at least for a basic introduction to playing the piano. Following the Simon school of music instruction, the Piano Apprentice features a 25-note keyboard that docks with an iPad, iPod touch or iPhone to demonstrate how to play as the relevant keys on the device light up.

Through the use of a free iOS app, users are instructed by Scott Houston, also known as "The Piano Guy" after the PBS series of the same name. Houston's hands appear on the docked iOS device's display directly above the keyboard to demonstrate where to place your fingers, while the touch sensitive keys light up in time with the music. Although the device is compatible with iPod touch and iPhones, the iPad's larger display would make it the obvious choice for the job.

The app includes modes to teach aspiring pianists how to read sheet music or to freestyle it at any octave they like. The device is Core MIDI compliant and is powered by four AA batteries or an optional AC adapter. It features built-in speakers as well as a headphone jack if you're feeling considerate of those around you. Ion Audio's Piano Apprentice is currently available from Amazon for US$99.99, down from the list price of $149.99. The accompanying app is (or will be) available as a free download from the Apple App Store.

Via Chip Chick