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With so many competitive online piano lessons available to choose from, you may find yourself wondering which is the best. We have been reviewing a lot of subscription options available to you. If you have been reading our articles you might find yourself torn between some of the choices we have highlighted.
We have seen a technological leap in recent years that has allowed some great educational tools for learning instruments to evolve. Not only are they convenient for a hectic schedule but they can also save a little cash.
We decided to compare them in a Playground Sessions vs Simply Piano comparison article, highlighting the similarities and differences, helping you make the most informed decision.
If you’re short for time, here’s a brief conclusion on the Playground Sessions vs Simply Piano discussion…
Playground Sessions is the overall better option if you are a complete beginner looking to learn how to play the piano. It does require a PC or MAC however and is best utilized when connected with a digital keyboard. On the other hand, Simply Piano is an app available on iOS or Android and works well with all types of pianos and keyboards.
Pros Of Playground Sessions
Playground Sessions is a well-developed online piano lesson platform that utilizes popular songs to teach beginners and intermediates alike. It employs game-like features to help keep the content engaging and was developed with the input of none other than Quincy Jones.
It is available for computers or downloadable on your iPad. A subscription gives users access to informative video lessons and song breakdowns from an extensive library.
They are divided into three levels, the same as the lesson content itself. Rookie, Intermediate, and Advanced, each one has interactive sheet music to follow.
Specific concepts are taught under the platform’s Bootcamp menu which supplies all the tools you need to master each.
The lessons teach each hand separately or both together. You can choose to have finger numbers and note names displayed and play with or without a metronome. The speed can also be slowed to help you grasp ideas and concepts at your own pace.
All songs are taught in a simplified manner. First, you will learn a skeleton version, then the musical foundation is built upon so you can progress easily. There is an instant feedback mode that lights the musical notation green or red to help show you visually whether you are playing correctly or not.
There are around 200 lessons that teach you all the basics like posture, finding the notes, and how to read sheet music. The intermediate lessons cover a wide variety of scales and chords including inversions. The advanced tour covers dotted rhythms and tougher content, including improvisation.
The courses have video introductions from David Sides and Grammy-winner Harry Connick Jr. to explain the concepts.
Playground Sessions also has an active forum community to share and discuss topics with one another. They also employ points, badges, and levels systems to help you track your progress, keep motivated, and show off in the forums a little.
The points are generated based on how much you improve from practice exercise to exercise. The number of points you rack-up will boost your level as you hit milestones and badges are earned for specific completions.
It costs $17.99 per month or $119.88 annually. You can also invest in a lifetime subscription for $289.99.
Pros Of Simply Piano
Simply Piano by JoyTunes is an iOS and Android only piece of software that teaches beginners to play piano from scratch. It is full of game-like, lesson content and each is centered around a recognizable song.
The interface is very well designed and has won a Parents’ Choice Award as well as Apple’s Editor Choice. Although it caters to different levels and will ask you about your experience to get you to set your own goals, you can tell the focus is on beginners. Simply Piano teaches at a very broken-down level, in comparison to Playground Sessions, it is a much slower learning journey.
When you start you can create a customized profile with your goals. If you have no prior experience you will be taken through their beginner fundamentals. The Piano Basics and Essentials I lessons cover finger numbering and basic rhythm.
They teach you to use your hands independently and start using them together in a relaxed basic manner. You will learn to recognize a few notes and play a very simple song upon completion of the introductory courses.
Alongside that, there are 2 main paths you can take within the app, soloist, and chords. One being more sight-reading and theory-based than the other. This accesses content from the essential 2 sections and upwards.
The app has a sociable vibe and encourages users to develop a habit for daily practice. It has a 5-minute workout tool that enlists a variety of different fun and engaging ways to practice things you have already learned.
Each time you log in you are faced with a recap lesson to put into practice what you recently covered. You cannot move on to the next lesson without completing the one before.
The app provides detailed feedback based on your playing. Correct notes turn blue and incorrect notes turn red. The notation turns yellow if you take too long. Too many yellows and it will restart the bars, too many reds, and practice mode is automatically activated slowing the track and adding a metronome.
The subscription costs $59.99 for three months, $89.99 for six months, or $119.99 per year.
Cons Of Simply Piano & Playground Sessions
- Simply Piano is slow to load.
- The microphone detection for Simply Piano doesn’t always work.
- The course content on Simply Piano has to be completed in a linear manner.
- The smallest subscription is 3 months upfront.
- A Playground Sessions subscription only gives you 5 songs per month, for more than that you need to commit to a pricier lifetime subscription.
- You must have a digital piano or keyboard to truly benefit from Playground Sessions.
Playground Sessions vs Simply Piano – Final Thoughts
Both are again great substitutes for real-world lessons or supplementary tools. Which is the better of the two is a pretty subjective question. It boils down to your personal preferences and budget.
If we had to choose, Playground Sessions probably has the edge in terms of content and how you can navigate your own way through the platform. It also has a lot more course-related content, teaching chords and musical theory in more detail than Simply Piano.
However, the limitation on the song library access is a bit restrictive, and dare we say tight. This could put some of you off, especially if you have some previous playing experience!