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An honest Piano Marvel Review #2514642
02/25/16 08:05 AM
02/25/16 08:05 AM
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Swain Offline OP
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Piano Marvel. You see it all over the internet. Paid reviews rave about it. But how does it REALLY stack up?

Well here you go.

1st. The good...

It WILL teach you how to play and, depending on how serious you are, In a short time you will be reading sheet music and find yourself comfortable with the keyboard.

Now the rest...

Although if you stick with it, you just may learn how to play, you may also find yourself so frustrated, you might just give up entirely.

This is NOT a course that works all by itself. It is almost as if it was designed to go along with traditional music instructions..and if you do not have a teacher, you will need to do your homework and a lot of research on your own as there is a lot that is either explained very poorly, or not at all.

There are some basic instruction videos scattered throughout the course, but they are few and far between and they cover very little music theory.

The course is also poorly thought out in places, so much so that even a novice would notice it.....For example, you come to a point where you are introduced to the scale of C minor.

This is the scale of C minor.......Okay. But WHICH minor scale is it? There are three. (for those who want to know, Piano Marvel only works with one...The harmonic minor scale)

You will find holes of missing information all over the place throughout the course. From intervals to scales to chords (and the list goes on) there is very little to no explanation.

About the music you will learn to play with....It's bad. Chances are once you learn to play a piece, it won't be anything you will ever want to play again.

Everything is either 200 years old or really REALLY annoying. I don't know how many times I just wanted to finish a "lesson" so I would not have to listen to that awful music anymore...You know the Barney theme song? Yeah...it's EXACTLY like that.

Another thing about Piano Marvel is that it is still very much a work in progress and perhaps this is why it feels like there is so much missing, but if your waiting around for new features to pop up, you are going to be waiting for a while....There are features that were supposed to be introduced two years ago that have still not been implemented.

Here is just one example. http://musicmarvel.com/exams/ .

So no. Piano Marvel is not all those paid reviews make it out to be and in my honest opinion you are better off going with Musiah or Playground Sessions.

With Playground Sessions you will find yourself spending extra money on songs, but at least it is stuff you will actually want to play.

Musiah is a good choice if you want to learn more traditionally...It includes an A.I. teacher that actually works pretty good.

And thats just about all I have to say 'bout that :p

Last edited by Draco; 02/25/16 08:11 AM.
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Re: An honest Piano Marvel Review [Re: Swain] #2514693
02/25/16 11:55 AM
02/25/16 11:55 AM
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NJ, USA
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Moonsh1ne Offline
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Honest review brought to you by Musiah & Playground Sessions? smile


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Re: An honest Piano Marvel Review [Re: Swain] #2514724
02/25/16 01:07 PM
02/25/16 01:07 PM
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Warsaw, Poland
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Honestly, forget about all that and save your money for a real live teacher. Nothing else will cut it.


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Re: An honest Piano Marvel Review [Re: Swain] #2514728
02/25/16 01:16 PM
02/25/16 01:16 PM
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Orange County, California
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I tried Piano Marvel and really didn't like it. I think you'll learn more faster with Alfred's first book for Adults, Vol 1. You'll definitely learn what a minor scale is, how it's constructed, and the 3 types (natural, harmonic, and melodic). I have a real teacher today, which has been extremely beneficial.


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Re: An honest Piano Marvel Review [Re: Moonsh1ne] #2514882
02/25/16 10:22 PM
02/25/16 10:22 PM
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Swain Offline OP
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Hmmm. "Brought to you by"?
You really might want to rethink that accusation. It is a stupid claim to try and make when they are both owned by separate companies on different continents....I am not promoting anyone's product. I am simply giving my opinion from personal experience.

Re: An honest Piano Marvel Review [Re: Qazsedcft] #2514896
02/25/16 10:52 PM
02/25/16 10:52 PM
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Swain Offline OP
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Ha Ha...That maybe true for some. It all depends on how motivated one is. For those of us who spend 6 + hours a day at the keyboard, traditional lessons can be a hindrance. Some people learn much faster on their own.

These days you do not need a teacher sitting by your side. All you need is a structured course and the desire to look beyond it.

Sorry, I learned more about music theory in my first 6 months of self study then I did in 2 years of traditional lessons.

Re: An honest Piano Marvel Review [Re: Swain] #2514915
02/25/16 11:49 PM
02/25/16 11:49 PM
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Moonsh1ne Offline
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It was just a joke, not meant as an accusation. I get it, you don't like Piano Marvel.

Welcome to the forums!


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Re: An honest Piano Marvel Review [Re: Swain] #2514916
02/26/16 12:06 AM
02/26/16 12:06 AM
Joined: Jul 2013
Posts: 537
India
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noobpianist90 Offline
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Originally Posted by Draco
These days you do not need a teacher sitting by your side.
The validity of that statement is subject to how far and fast one wants to go.

I too am a self learner after taking a few years of (not very good) lessons. I self learn not because I think self learning is better than having a teacher, but because of the lack of time due to my schedule, and not enough time to look for a good teacher.
A teacher is invaluable for correcting mistakes. Everything else, you can learn from a book or online resources, but nothing comes close to a teacher sitting by your side as far as catching mistakes and breaking bad habits is concerned. IMO.

Last edited by noobpianist90; 02/26/16 12:09 AM.
Re: An honest Piano Marvel Review [Re: noobpianist90] #2514921
02/26/16 12:26 AM
02/26/16 12:26 AM
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Swain Offline OP
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Well that is true about catching mistakes...software can only do so much.

I find though that most of the time if something feels wrong, It usually. When played properly the keyboard is designed so your fingers flow over it. If there is no flow..one needs to look into it.

Re: An honest Piano Marvel Review [Re: Moonsh1ne] #2514924
02/26/16 12:41 AM
02/26/16 12:41 AM
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Swain Offline OP
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I don't exactly hate it...Like I said, It can work...It just has flaws. I'm just letting people know what those flaws are.

Re: An honest Piano Marvel Review [Re: Swain] #2514994
02/26/16 06:19 AM
02/26/16 06:19 AM
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Australia
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It has been about three years since I took the Piano Marvel trial, in those days it was 30 days so I had a fair time to evaluate it. Unfortunately with such a poor memory I forget what I disliked about it except for the one thing you did not mention and the problem in general with all computer programs. At best they can only be an introduction to piano, a tool for moving forward with some confidence that someone else has thought about what the beginner needs. Past the beginner stage you might even find such a program detrimental to your development.

Here is a test: Spend a year exclusively with such a program, then take out a plain old fashioned paper score and try to sight read it. If you can do it well, then all well and good the program is miraculous. But what is more likely to happen is you won't know what to do as the program had just about done everything for you before with the exception of prompting your finger to press the note. Worse, if you had been using a cursor or pointer passing over notes as you play and a scrolling score you will have taught your eyes to stay still and only focus on the cursor. This is the opposite to what you do when actually sight reading and you will have to retrain your eyes from the start just how to move properly. I also can't express in words the agony after a year with a program and your first "cold turkey" session of what it feels like to have no feedback or score. Save your money or at least use these programs sparingly. I could go into more of the pitfalls but I haven't the time at the moment. But needless to say it is about time someone much more experienced in teaching methodology than I did an honest review of some of these programs, instead of the paid reviews you find littering the internet.


Problems with piano are 90% psychological, the other 10% is in your head.

Kawai K8 & Kawai Novus NV10


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Re: An honest Piano Marvel Review [Re: Swain] #2515007
02/26/16 07:38 AM
02/26/16 07:38 AM
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Maralc Offline
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I started to play piano a couple of years ago using playground sessions and now thinking about it I think it's really good. It was really annoying when I was using it at that time because it was very buggy but it teaches you over sheets and the videos teach you how to read it. It's definitely not like synthesia. Synthesia really doesn't help at all in the site reading but that's not the case of playground sessions.

Anyway I would just recommend it for a complete beginner. It's great that it teaches you lot's of things in different piano topics and get you playing in no time what feeds the motivation to keep going.

My first song there was the Apologize and I made a few New Zealand dollars playing it bravefully in public pianos in New Zealand for fun. Me and my wife had good laughs about it.

My 2 cents.


Korg Kronos 2 73
Re: An honest Piano Marvel Review [Re: Maralc] #2515241
02/26/16 09:25 PM
02/26/16 09:25 PM
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Sydney, AU
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Major Keys Offline
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Originally Posted by Maralc
I started to play piano a couple of years ago using playground sessions and now thinking about it I think it's really good. It was really annoying when I was using it at that time because it was very buggy but it teaches you over sheets and the videos teach you how to read it. It's definitely not like synthesia. Synthesia really doesn't help at all in the site reading but that's not the case of playground sessions.

Anyway I would just recommend it for a complete beginner. It's great that it teaches you lot's of things in different piano topics and get you playing in no time what feeds the motivation to keep going.

My first song there was the Apologize and I made a few New Zealand dollars playing it bravefully in public pianos in New Zealand for fun. Me and my wife had good laughs about it.

My 2 cents.


I spent two months on Playground Sessions and did it's bootcamps. I'd agree that as a beginner it's not bad and I was able to learn a fair bit, but I don't think someone should stick with it after that phase.

As earlofmar said, the scrolling line is a crutch and a distracting one at that. There are options to turn off all the other feedbacks/assists, so I'm baffled why they didn't give the option to turn off the scrolling line. As you say, it's also very buggy.

I'd also add that whilst it detects notes being pressed, it doesn't detect note length. You can play a 16th in place of a whole note and it would score you 100% for that note. Also there is obviously no checking of dynamics.

The piano sound it uses (if you're not using the one one keyboard) is atrocious, so you're forced to use the piano sound from the keyboard you're playing with. However, if you want to preview a song before playing, you have to preview it with the program's piano sound, which means you'll have to go into the options two or three levels deep to turn up the piano sound. It's such an unpolished mess.

As far as the videos go, they're all over the place and a tonne of theory is piled into a bunch of videos at the end of the last bootcamp. These videos were basically the guy sitting at the piano with no diagrams or anything to go along with his chat - just him and the keys. I didn't bother watching most of these because there are much better theory resources online.

In terms of songs being available after the bootcamp, the selection is spotty. Some pieces have backing tracks and some don't. Some of the arrangements aren't that nice either in my opinion. On top of the subscription fee, you also have to pay for the songs you download.

So yeah, I'd recommend that people pay monthly if they do go past the short trial period - don't pay for a yearly or life time subscription. Get what you can out of it and move on.

Honestly, I expected a lot better from something with Quincy Jones' name associated with it. They seem to put more polish into advertising it than they did producing it.

Last edited by Major Keys; 02/26/16 09:30 PM.
Re: An honest Piano Marvel Review [Re: earlofmar] #2515254
02/26/16 10:05 PM
02/26/16 10:05 PM
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Swain Offline OP
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Yes, you are right....Sight reading is really something I had to work on separately using every method at my disposal...I had a couple of different pieces of software I would quiz on every night and would print out different sheet music to play off of.


Re: An honest Piano Marvel Review [Re: Major Keys] #2515261
02/26/16 10:31 PM
02/26/16 10:31 PM
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Swain Offline OP
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My biggest issue with Playground is you have to pay for each version of a song (beginner, intermediate and advanced) that is really not fair.

Re: An honest Piano Marvel Review [Re: Maralc] #2527884
04/05/16 06:33 AM
04/05/16 06:33 AM
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Swain Offline OP
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Synthesia is actually getting a huge makeover. the next version is supposed to have drastically improved sheet music rendering and XML import capabilities. The platform update that will support all this was released in march.

Re: An honest Piano Marvel Review [Re: Swain] #2527890
04/05/16 06:47 AM
04/05/16 06:47 AM
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I am a tech enthusiast, but the only software I've ever used for piano learning is the ABRSM ear training app.

It might be fun to learn the very basics in a "game-like" setting, but apart from that, why on earth would I need a computer to tell me my mistakes, when I have my own ears? The fact that you have to listen to yourself intently when you play, and check the score continously, and record yourself, and listen again, is probably the single "advantage" of self-teaching. No teacher to rely upon, nobody to tell you what you're doing wrong, you have to find out yourself. And to be honest, with all the wonderful instructive editions, recordings, videos and actual lessons by amazing piano teachers available today on the Internet, there is a lot of help. And of course the wealth of information found in forums like this one. I wouldn't replace this with any software.


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Re: An honest Piano Marvel Review [Re: Swain] #2527909
04/05/16 08:25 AM
04/05/16 08:25 AM
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I'm also very dubious about the efficacy of these kinds of programs. I think, as one tool among many they may have some merit. For example, MAYBE by adding some video-game type elements you might be able to keep kids (including 40 year old kids) engaged. Probably for some kids it would (in principle at least) make practice less drudgery. If I were a piano teacher, I might consider using such programs as part of my curriculum for those kids who responded to that sort of thing.

However, I think that overall as a singular source of instruction, they're probably not a very good choice for the reasons stated above.

P.S. I do agree that ear training software can be wonderful. No need to have someone randomly playing intervals for you when you can get the computer to do it for you. I use Ear Master Pro 6 and highly commend it.


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Re: An honest Piano Marvel Review [Re: sinophilia] #2538790
05/11/16 12:11 PM
05/11/16 12:11 PM
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Swain Offline OP
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Who said anything about replacing all the other resources with the software? No these are tools that can teach only limited aspects. If you truly want to learn it will require more than one resource and the discipline to study everyday.

In two years, I not only learned to play, I also learned music theory and sight reading. I suggest...

1. Software like Playground sessions to give you a basic background to build on and develop sight reading

2.Musition for music theory, Auralia for ear training

3. Piano-ology.com

4. Videos from Udemy, sonic academy, Grove 3 and Linda.com that cover everything from Piano to Music theory to Composition to recording

5. Forums such as this one

and 6 Sibelius

Re: An honest Piano Marvel Review [Re: Swain] #2538803
05/11/16 12:56 PM
05/11/16 12:56 PM
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Santa Ana, CA, USA
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Originally Posted by Swain
If you truly want to learn ...
also don't forget a teacher. Teacher feedback is the most valuable thing.

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