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Learning to play the piano can take a long time and the price of tuition can mean you rack-up a heck of a lot investing in your instrumental endeavors. Many are turning towards online piano lessons instead, but with so many platforms to choose from, it can be a difficult market to navigate.
The majority are essentially the same product reimagined, but some have very different approaches to the course content taught. Two such examples would be Playground Sessions and Piano Marvel, two of the top online piano courses out there, but how do they fare side by side.
Both are very popular options that teach all levels and ages. They share a lot of common ground but they also differ enough for us to give you a Playground Sessions vs Piano Marvel comparison article to help you decide which is better suited to you!
If you’re short for time, here’s a brief conclusion on the Playground Sessions vs Piano Marvel discussion…
Playground Sessions has a greater emphasis on learning through playing and introduces musical theory at later stages. For many, this makes it a more fun and enjoyable way to learn the piano. On the other hand, Piano Marvel has a greater focus on learning classical piano and is more theory-based from the beginning.
Playground Sessions Overview
Developed with the help of Quincy Jones, Playground Sessions is a platform that is centered around popular songs. It employs game-like features to keep learning fun as well as educational.
It requires a digital piano to connect to the software and is available for computers in addition to your iPad. Lessons and songs are divided into three levels; Rookie, Intermediate, and Advanced. There is also a Bootcamp section that teaches you conceptual content in an easy to grasp manner.
The content is taught in a manageable broken-down method. You can learn each hand independently as well as together, the interactive sheet music scrolls alongside. You can slow the speed down and choose to have fingering numbers displayed and play with or without a metronome.
A monthly subscription grants you access to five songs and costs $17.99. You can also pay an annual upfront fee of $119.88 or even a lifetime subscription at $289.99.
Piano Marvel Overview
Piano Marvel is much more serious, that is not to say it isn’t fun or suitable for younger learners. It caters to all ages and anyone starting off completes the same necessary basic skills at a relaxed pace.
But it generally speaking has a more professional methodology and the theoretic side of things is covered in much more depth. It is much more akin to real-world piano lessons and offers better training that includes regulated reading tests.
It also works by hooking up to your digital piano via the MIDI and is available on the computer or in iOS format.
However, the course content is also available to print in book format, which can be used alongside an acoustic piano. However, you don’t reap all the feedback elements or interactive parts of the course or platform in general when using a book, except for each lesson having a video lesson.
In practice mode, the piece is broken into short sections, you have the option to play the entire piece with one hand at a time, or play short segments with both hands or even shorter segments with individual hands.
The practice on offer is much more well-rounded, covering more bases than competitors. The modes and techniques used are more thorough. It may have you clap a rhythm or count aloud. Piano Marvel is stronger when it comes to the theory side of things.
The course content is divided into two subsections, each has 6 initial stages with many more sub-sections. When you have completed the initial 6 levels you can use the Flashcard recap system to practice with. It uses time-limited responses to check what you know. There is also a very large song-library.
Piano Marvel uniquely incorporates a genuine Standard Assessment or Sight-Reading (SASR) test for beginners, intermediate, and advanced tracks. So your progress is judged by a universally accepted academic standard.
Piano Marvel costs $15.99 for a monthly subscription or $110.99 upfront annually.
Both platforms provide integrated dashboard sheet-music feedback to help you measure your ability. Notes played correctly turn green and notes played incorrectly turn red.
Both use a reward system to encourage motivation and help you to keep track of your progress.
Piano Marvel provides a virtual trophy cabinet and awards trophies for the completion of each section. You receive a bronze trophy if you score 80-90%, silver for 90-95%, and gold for 96% and above.
Playground Sessions has a more complex system of points, badges, and levels. You earn a few points initially from the very basic beginner lessons and from that point on the points are generated based on your improvement during and between each practice exercise. Points equate to levels when you hit various milestones. Specific content has badges to award for completion.
Piano Marvel is far more academic than the other and provides wider user access as the downloadable book option can be used with an acoustic piano.
The song options though extensive for both, present their own pros and cons. Playground sessions offer plenty of popular genres but you are limited to 5 songs a month without having to pay additional fees.
Piano Marvel has thousands of songs that are unrestricted. But, those that are part of the course content vary from nursery songs to simple classical pieces which might seem beneath adult beginners.
In the advanced areas, there are genuine original arrangements of well-known classical pieces which many other platforms do not offer. It also teaches musical terminology and symbols in greater depth exposing users to changes in dynamics and playing style variations. This is something many other digital piano lessons do not cover.
Playground Sessions has an active forum community whereas Piano Marvel doesn’t, but it does hold the occasional Youtube contest for you to upload your videos for submission.
Playground Sessions vs Piano Marvel – Final Thoughts
Once again, crowning a winner between the two platforms is a difficult subject. They both have merits for different types of students. Hopefully, today’s breakdown and comparison will have helped spell it out, but to summarise…
Playground Sessions is much more relaxed, the songs are more interesting, and you’ll be learning piano in a more informal “learn as you play” way.
Piano Marvel provides a much more solid foundation of musical theory for advancement later on and mimics genuine piano lessons. It can be used with an acoustic piano and provides original arrangements for advanced song-learners.
Both have free trials you can make use of so why not try them out for yourself before you subscribe?