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Feb 07, 2013


Ari M

PianoMarvel is the best and cheapest (when counting also the cost of the sheets). In the second best software (Playground Sessions) the sheets cost 3,99 $ each.

Ken Rushton

re: "it does not measure the time you hold a note". If this is significant to you, try Musiah.

it is also an excellent system, and they are working hard on improving it.



My big problem with Piano Marvel, that nobody seems to have mentioned, is that is does not measure the time you hold a note, so when its teaching you note duration it makes no difference how long you play the note you still get a 100% score (as long as you play the right note at right time) - so you can play a whole note as an eighth note if you like it makes no difference. Which I find pretty poor especially when its meant to be teaching you what a whole note(or whatever) is.

Ken Rushton

RE: Playground Sessions http://www.playgroundsessions.com/
Thanks for the suggestion. I looked at the web site.
I was limited in what I could see: too bad the pictures aren't click-able so that they can be seen in detail. The demo videos were brief and flashy, so I didn't get much of a feel for how it worked. but it is similar to Piano Marvel and Musiah in presentation and feedback.

- It has an instant visual feedback. I don't see this being an advantage; I think it would distract from playing by ear.
- Instead of a free month's tryout, one has to pay for the product, try it out and if unsatisfied, request a refund.
- The song selection was pretty scant, and you have to pay the same price for public domain songs like The Entertainer. Some payment is not unreasonable, as someone has to arrange the piece and set it up for the program, but full price?
- In Piano Marvel the songs you purchase (and some are free) have considerable value added - they have been sliced and diced so that you can learn a piece in tiny sections and build up the piece from the ground up. This technique (which PM recommends), I've found, is considerably faster than the "learn it all at once" method.

So, I'll give it a pass.

But please do let me know if I've misjudged the product.

Sean T


Was curious if you've given Playground Sessions 2.0 a try. I'm curious what you think about it.


I used PianoMarvel for 14 months. I enjoyed the progress tracking and instant feedback. The content was also good (except it is mostly building up towards classical piano playing skills).
What I hated: quite often the connection to the server failed, though my normal internet was working fine. This is not acceptable for a subscription based online software product. (They are using Amazon servers and tried to support, but success was so far limited.)

Ken Rushton

Thanks, Hotfrog, for the comment and to letting us know about Musiah. I'll try it out.

For now, I've just spent an intense morning doing training with Piano Marvel and I'm grateful hat PM gives fun quick feedback and makes a tedious job less so.



I'm 74 years young. As a kid I played accordion for several years then quit. The left hand on the accordion just plays a 4 note chord support for the treble clef and for years growing up I wondered what it would be like to have both hands playing separate music.

About a year ago I bought a keyboard and signed up for Piano Marvel and after 6 months was reading both the treble and bass clefs and got to experience each hand "doing it's own thing". I really enjoyed that experience - it felt like my brain divided into three parts: 1 for the left hand, 1 for the right hand and another part reading the music and running the show.

I have an engineering background so I really enjoyed the structure and the progressive build of Piano Marvel. Also, the Technique section challenges you to apply what you just learned in the Method section.

I had also tried Musiah and would encourage others to check it out too but I think it's Australian and I missed a few things due to the dialect and also at my age I really couldn't appreciate the character scenario as much as younger folks might.

But if/when any youngsters in my family show an interest in learning an instrument I will recommend they check both Piano Marvel and Musiah out; they're both excellent so it's a matter of personal preference.

Ken Rushton

I've used Synthesia - it's a good tool that I recommend.
I is fun to use and is good for learning to play any instrument that outputs midi.

The biggest problems I personally had with it was that the notes come down in a piano line, and I found it hard to map the notes to my finger's location on the jammer.



Did you try Synthesia with the Learning Pack

I'm using it to learn new songs, simply by loading midi files. It also tracks your progress with quite detailed information (how many notes you missed, did you press during the whole duration, etc..), and it can also load very complex midi files and you can then choose what instrument(s) you want to play. And it can even convert visually the midi to a classic sheet!

Thus it's also very easy to make your own training sheet since you just have to split the notes on different midi channels to have them displayed in different colors and tracked differently by the program (since you can train only left hand or only right hand or both).

Not a full-blown course, but deadly useful.

Ken Rushton

I'll add them shortly, along with pictures. thanks for the comment.


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