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We live in an age when pretty much anything can be digitized now. Whether it’s business, education, or art, people have found ways to make these areas accessible through digital media.
One such area is the music industry. Digital music has become a great advantage for small and independent musicians. Now they can record, create, or mix their music at home without relying on large studios.
For complete beginners, learning musical instruments has never been easier. Many learning apps have been created to simulate musical instruments and create a more comprehensive learning experience.
Among these apps is Piano Marvel, an app specially made for teaching new musicians how to play the piano. I’ve taken a close look at these online piano lessons and put together a comprehensive Piano Marvel review for you to find out exactly what it is and how it works before you purchase it.
Piano Marvel Review: What Is It?
Piano Marvel is an app designed to teach people how to play the piano. People can use this app by themselves or along with a piano teacher.
The best thing about the app is how interactive it is. It uses impressive, up-to-date technology to deliver a realistic learning experience for the students. Real and experienced music teachers helped design the software to enhance the learning experience and make it as authentic as possible.
They also made sure to include plenty of exercises and songs to challenge students of different levels.
Piano Marvel has a built-in grading system to help track your progress. It keeps track of the student’s activities, progress, and time spent practicing. It also lays out achievements and trophies that the students can attain by scoring points with their progress.
Thanks to these achievement trackers, Piano Marvel is very fun and addictive to use. Some music learning apps make the mistake of having lengthy lectures. Unfortunately, that makes these apps a bit boring to use.
Piano Marvel, on the other hand, allows you to go straight to playing while implementing lessons bit by bit.
The first version of Piano Marvel was released by Aaron Garner in 2009, on March 26 to be exact. Garner had just finished his Ph.D. in elementary music education. Piano Marvel was developed by a team of around 85 employees, led and spearheaded by Aaron Garner as the CEO.
Garner has a lengthy history with piano and music education. He received his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern Colorado with a major in piano performance. Nearly right after, Garner decided to take a Master’s in pedagogy and performance with piano.
During his stay at the University of Northern Colorado, he also took the time to teach piano as a teaching assistant. He did this for around five years.
It was around this time that the idea of Piano Marvel came into his mind. Garner wanted to make an app to enhance his teaching experience and his students’ learning experiences. He realized that students had different ways of realizing their potential. Garner tried to channel this into an app, which started Piano Marvel.
How Does It Work?
Piano Marvel uses an internet connection to connect to its database, so make sure you have smooth internet capabilities. Once you’ve got a stable internet, attach a digital or MIDI keyboard via USB or MIDI-USB cable.
Piano Marvel will do its configuration and calibration. It will likely instruct you to press the highest and the lowest key to get a feel for the keyboard you’re working with. After that, you’re good to go! The app tracks your progress through the MIDI data.
There are different types of lessons that Piano Marvel provides. These are techniques and method lessons. Each category has around 30 lessons to be done sequentially. In each lesson, there are about 20 exercises available.
Method lessons are composed of new concepts like music theory, hand positioning, notation, arpeggios and scales, and chord variations, for the student to learn.
Each lesson comes with tutorials and quick lesson summaries. Piano Marvel uses careful pacing that tries to be effective while remaining exciting.
The technique is where the student develops skills through repetition and reinforcements. These are done through exercises like scales, chord variations, pitch, rhythm, and note recognition.
“Practice makes perfect” applies very much to technique here. Students go through the exercises to master the different concepts as much as possible.
Exercises are conducted through sight-reading by the student. The software provides staff and sheet music for the student to read and play. The instant feedback kicks in through the color-coded lights and notes.
If a student plays the sequence correctly, they will see green feedback. If something is played improperly in terms of rhythm or pitch, the input becomes red.
The expansive library of sheet music that comes with Piano Marvel is already a huge plus. And it’s always growing too. On the off-chance you can’t find the piece you want to learn, there’s a special “Request” tab.
If you click it, it will lead you to Piano Marvel’s website. There, you can email them a song request.
Each song piece also has a practice mode. When playing it, select the button that says “Practice Mode”, which enables you to tackle the piece little by little. You get more finite pieces to learn and practice. You can also slow down the tempo and accompaniment to fit your pace.
The software has different levels. You start with Middle C for level 1, as most piano teachers would do. More notes are slowly added.
You can begin exploring chords and other key signatures by around level 3. At level 6, you start learning standard pieces. Every time you learn new concepts, the technique lessons are there to reinforce and strengthen what you’ve learned. Many of these are exercises as well as standard piano pieces.
In the software, students also have a trophy case to fill up. Part of the progress tracking is the trophy system that gets awarded to the student. There are bronze, silver, or gold trophies, each corresponding to how well you did on a lesson.
Bronze means around 80% well done, silver is about 90%, gold is around 96%, and a perfect score of 100% gets you a Super Gold trophy. This reward system is one of Piano Marvel’s ways of motivating its students.
New users get to try out Piano Marvel for free for a month, which should be enough time for students to figure out how useful the app is for helping them learn the piano. Even with the free trial, you can see your practice and level progress.
Benefits of Piano Marvel
Real-time progress, achievement, & trophy tracking
The tracking feature of Piano Marvel does a great job of showing the students’ accomplishments. Seeing one’s accomplishments is an excellent way of maintaining motivation.
The progress that gets tracked includes session details, such as dates and times. It is complemented by the achievements feature. The parents and teacher of the student can also monitor these aspects of progress via regular email messages from the app.
Even as you practice and play, Piano Marvel gives you real-time feedback in color codes. Green feedback shows you’ve done the sequence right, and red shows there are some corrections you need to make. The immediate feedback is beneficial for learning quickly and accurately.
Piano marvel recently added SASR or Standard Assessment of Sight Reading to its key features. It is the software’s way of evaluating the student’s sight-reading skills. It also scores you in comparison to other students of the app.
Piano Marvel is excellent for students who don’t often keep up with regular pacing. The app gives students plenty of freedom to learn at their own pace and revisit lessons if need be. It also accommodates students who are at a higher level by allowing them to skip classes and go straight to more advanced ones. The library and tutorials are also accessible at any point in progress.
Video samples & performances
One of the learning methods of the app is through video tutorials. Since the dawn of Youtube and similar platforms, video samples have been a popular means of learning for students. The tutorials on Piano Marvel teach everything from finger placement, sight-reading, hand positions, dynamics, and more.
One tremendous advantage to Piano Marvel is its library of piano pieces. There are so many in its built-in library that students will indeed find several to learn and play. For exercises, there are around 1200 hundred to choose from.
For pieces to learn, master, and perform, there are about 1000 available. Piano Marvel continues to add to this collection. Take note, however, that only accounts subscribed for unlimited access can take full advantage of this library.
Piano teachers know very well that exercises are crucial to developing students’ skills. Some activities are specialized for sight-reading. Others emphasize on dexterity, pitch, memorization, and the like.
I love the piano as an instrument. It’s great for learning the basics of music and for making music in general. Unfortunately, good piano teachers can be expensive. Luckily, Piano Marvel provides a more affordable and accessible alternative.
The app itself is very intuitive. As long as you have the required equipment, you’ll have no problem learning how to use it. However, a quick tip is to raise the volume of your computer to match your piano’s volume.
Piano Marvel emphasizes on sight-reading through lessons and technique exercises with thousands of short samples and tons of assessments to go with them. The app is also great at sorting pieces by your ability level.
The pieces they give you match quite well to your abilities at your assessment stage. There are also plenty of genres to choose from, such as rock, classical, pop, jazz, and more.
Even better, Piano Marvel has a wonderful community. They provide tips, suggestions, and answers for when you need help or encounter a problem. Some community members are even as good as piano teachers. There are certified piano instructors that can help you through the app. Customer support is quite fast too.
The app’s learning system is unique because it uses mechanics similar to video games, such as progress tracking and rewards, to motivate students. It also has well-designed tools that intuitively helps students practice scales, chords, sight-reading, pitch, rhythm, and many more.
Not only is there real-time feedback from the app while playing, but it also assesses students’ practice, pitch, and rhythm. These assessments can be sent as an email report to the parents and teachers to track the progress of their child. Along with this comes a growing collection of printed exercises, songs, and even video samples.
Piano Marvel still has lots of room for improvement, but the company that develops it regularly updates it to address the bugs and such. In the future, they hope to improve the display and notation, add an offline mode, and provide more plans like family subscriptions.
Some future lessons might include music history, music theory, and interactive methods of learning these. You may also soon be able to upload MIDI files.
Hardware & Software Requirements
To run Piano Marvel with all its features, it’s best used with a laptop or desktop computer. The computer should have a RAM of at least 2GB and a USB port.
For the actual piano-playing, you need a MIDI keyboard or a digital piano with USB connectivity and the MIDI-to-USB cable to go along with it. You can of course use this piano learning app with an acoustic piano in their ‘book mode.’
For smooth usage, make sure you have a stable and decent internet connection or an ethernet connection. And lastly, download the Piano Marvel Software.
Piano Marvel gives first-time users a free one-month trial. You can spend this time learning the platform and assessing how much it’s helping you. But after the one month, you have an option to try further subscription plans.
A monthly subscription costs $15.99 a month. However, with my referral code (MIDDERMUSIC) the subscription will only cost you $12.99, sign up here!
You also have the great option to buy an entire year’s worth of subscription. It costs $110.99 a year, which is vastly cheaper than the monthly plan. You get everything that’s already in the monthly plan, but for a much more affordable price in the long run.
Pros & Cons
- Piano Marvel is excellent at motivating its students to aim for excellence
- There are plenty of resources such as video tutorials that help you at every stage
- People of any age can start learning with it
- Real-time feedback on pieces and lessons
- Lots of exercises for pitch-training and sight-reading
- Piano Marvel emphasizes on sight-reading, so you get a lot of tasks for mastery
- Rhythm practice lessons are included
- The expansive library in Piano Marvel is a huge advantage
- Piano Marvel comes in book mode for acoustic pianos
- Fabulous customer service
- You can upload your music for practicing and learning
- The lessons and concepts are broken down into digestible learning modules
- It’s not the best to use if you only have an acoustic piano and not a digital one
- Some piano basics aren’t included
- Sound length is not well accounted for
- The first lesson doesn’t include finger numbering
Piano Marvel Review – Final Thoughts
I believe Piano Marvel is an excellent app for piano learners of any level. If you’re a fast learner, a slow learner, or even a veteran at the piano, there are still benefits to be found from the software.
Those who start without any experience at all will improve quickly. Students often stick to the app and become good players, even in just a few months, thanks to the digestible lesson plans, motivating structure, and convenient assessments,
If you’re looking for a way to learn the piano at your own pace, I highly recommend you try out Piano Marvel.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this Piano Marvel review!
Need a keyboard or digital piano to start learning? Check out my list of the best Yamaha keyboards and digital pianos here!