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Piano Software (Flowkey) is it worth while for a beginner? #2616874
02/22/17 03:00 AM
02/22/17 03:00 AM
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 7
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Phillsmit3 Offline OP
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Phillsmit3  Offline OP
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I have been learning using the Alfred Adult Beginner Book and I found it very good. I have also got a number of other books waiting in the pipeline.
Someone has given me a learn and master piano DVD and book set which I started using but I preferred the Alfred book.
At the moment I am happy sticking with the Alfred book but have also been looking at software like flowkey.
Do you think this will help me learn quicker or should i steer clear of them. I am worried i may get used to the sheet music scrolling for me.
LOL
I am only 6 months into learning at the moment.
I was going to go and have lessons but I know i would end up resenting having to be free at a certain time every week.

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Re: Piano Software (Flowkey) is it worth while for a beginner? [Re: Phillsmit3] #2616877
02/22/17 03:47 AM
02/22/17 03:47 AM
Joined: Feb 2011
Posts: 75
Seward, Alaska
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kaziranga Offline
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I was a beta tester for Flowkey. If you only have 6 months you'll be at the low end of their beginner material. Most self teaching folks go through quite a number of different methods looking for the one that fits them. Now after 6 years of playing (5 with a teacher) I look back and think the only essentials are regularity and a structure you can live with. At each stage you need to re-evaluate goals and best way of achieving them. While it pains me to admit it, I'm not the kind of person who can do it without a teacher. I believe some highly disciplined and structured people can but I'm not one of those. The hardest thing for me was appreciating just how long it takes to genuinely get on top of material. Nadia Boulanger famously wouldn't let her virtuoso students even touch the actual keys until they had imagined the sound in every detail in their minds. It's extreme but now I sorta get her point. Whatever structure you choose it will take more time than you think no matter what you do and the most efficient path is with a teacher.

Re: Piano Software (Flowkey) is it worth while for a beginner? [Re: kaziranga] #2616883
02/22/17 04:35 AM
02/22/17 04:35 AM
Joined: Mar 2013
Posts: 3,272
Australia
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earlofmar Offline
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Australia
Originally Posted by kaziranga
I was a beta tester for Flowkey. If you only have 6 months you'll be at the low end of their beginner material. Most self teaching folks go through quite a number of different methods looking for the one that fits them. Now after 6 years of playing (5 with a teacher) I look back and think the only essentials are regularity and a structure you can live with. At each stage you need to re-evaluate goals and best way of achieving them. While it pains me to admit it, I'm not the kind of person who can do it without a teacher. I believe some highly disciplined and structured people can but I'm not one of those. The hardest thing for me was appreciating just how long it takes to genuinely get on top of material. Nadia Boulanger famously wouldn't let her virtuoso students even touch the actual keys until they had imagined the sound in every detail in their minds. It's extreme but now I sorta get her point. Whatever structure you choose it will take more time than you think no matter what you do and the most efficient path is with a teacher.


+1
But to add, I don't think just being disciplined and organised is enough. A good teacher will tell you that you are wrong when you think you are right, will explore every mistake and preconception you have, ease every doubt and eventually make you the best musician you can be.

Originally Posted by Phillsmit3
Do you think this will help me learn quicker or should i steer clear of them. I am worried i may get used to the sheet music scrolling for me.


Nothing will really help you learn quicker, it is all about practice, careful attention to how you practice, and changes to your method of practice as your skill and knowledge increase. Having a teacher is the most efficient way to progress, but for those that can't afford it, (or don't want to), then a tried and true method book like Alfred's is the next best thing. The trouble with software, is becoming reliant on the software and you correctly identified self scrolling screens as a potential issue. You might add to that flashing lights, software specific noises or even scoring as all potential things you might become reliant on, and eventually have to wean yourself off. Just my two cents worth but I did use various bits of software in my first two years of learning, and I found it incredibly hard when I would stop using the software and open up a paper score. Just with the issue of scrolling screens, I had trained my eyes to read with the very limited movement needed for the software. When I stopped using the software it was like I had to learn all over again just the simple eye movement/hand co-ordination you need to read a paper score. Don't get me started on what is feels like when you stop getting scores and other sorts of feedback.


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

13x[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]
Re: Piano Software (Flowkey) is it worth while for a beginner? [Re: Phillsmit3] #2616910
02/22/17 07:30 AM
02/22/17 07:30 AM
Joined: Jun 2014
Posts: 306
Brighton, UK
TrevorM Offline
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TrevorM  Offline
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Flowkey is fantastic, but you're not going to get too much value out of it if you're a beginner.

I see you're using Alfreds, but, if you have an iPad, it may be worth checking out the Faber Piano Adventures Adult All-in-One books. I've just recently checked out their accompanying app and they've really done a good job with it. For a one-off fee (no subscription!) you can download accompanying material for each of the pieces in the book. If you have a MIDI piano you can hook that up and it'll check you're playing the right notes, play it back at a slower speed, add in metronome etc. The sheet music is also fixed, not scrolling, like a real book.

The app is free, with samples, so it's worth taking a look. smile

https://pianoadventures.com/resources/piano-adventures-player-app/


Roland F130-R
Currently working on:
- Sound of Emotions
- Piano Marvel 3C
Re: Piano Software (Flowkey) is it worth while for a beginner? [Re: Phillsmit3] #2617093
02/22/17 08:19 PM
02/22/17 08:19 PM
Joined: Jan 2016
Posts: 116
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Swain Offline
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Everyone is different and there are so many Piano apps out there....Most of them offer free trials (and the ones that don't, probably are not worth looking at) so the best thing to do is try them out for yourself.

As for the scrolling sheet music...again, everyone is different. Personally, I have never had a problem switching between scrolling scores and paper sheet music. BUT and this is a big but, from what I see on flowkey's website and youtube...it looks like you are dealing with a single line of scrolling staff....this is definitely NOT the way to go. You want something that can display multiple lines of notation...Playing piano is not just about hitting the right keys at the right time and a single scrolling grand staff is pretty useless for learning a piece.

A good program needs to be able to show (at the very least) an entire verse, chorus, bridge, etc on the screen at one time. You need to be able to view and analyze each section in it's entirety...Programs like Piano Marvel and Playground Sessions do this....Playground both displays each individual section and the entire score (scrolls like a e-book) A curser moves across the staff the staff instead of the staff moving beneath a stationary curser and allows you to read the music in a much more natural way...both when in play mode and when stationary...When learning a new piece you will be spending most of your time out of play mode (unless you are pretty good at site reading)

Another problem with flowkeys is that there is too much useless junk on the screen...You don't need a video of some dude's hands playing the keyboard taking up all the screen's real estate while you are playing..You need to focus on the notation.

Regardless of flowkeys claim to be based on proven teaching methods, if it's interface is nothing more than what is shown on it's website and the youtube videos I can find, then it is pretty useless.

Re: Piano Software (Flowkey) is it worth while for a beginner? [Re: Phillsmit3] #2617126
02/22/17 10:18 PM
02/22/17 10:18 PM
Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 3,912
Pennsylvania
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dmd Offline
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Joined: Apr 2009
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Pennsylvania
Originally Posted by Phillsmit3
Do you think this will help me learn quicker or should i steer clear of them.


Steer clear of them AND get a teacher as quickly as you can.



Don

Duane Shinn 52 Week Crash Course - Completed Chapter 5

Pianoteq, Spacestation v.3 Powered Stereo Monitor
Re: Piano Software (Flowkey) is it worth while for a beginner? [Re: Phillsmit3] #2617178
02/23/17 04:02 AM
02/23/17 04:02 AM
Joined: Feb 2014
Posts: 1,267
Belgium
johan d Offline
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johan d  Offline
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Belgium
Does any of the above suggestions on software can not only have already pre programmed songs, but also own musescore files or midi to teach songs?

Re: Piano Software (Flowkey) is it worth while for a beginner? [Re: johan d] #2617188
02/23/17 05:02 AM
02/23/17 05:02 AM
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Swain Offline
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Swain  Offline
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Piano Marvel has a library of around 200 songs....Playground sells you the sheet music for 3.99 each.

Re: Piano Software (Flowkey) is it worth while for a beginner? [Re: Swain] #2617189
02/23/17 05:18 AM
02/23/17 05:18 AM
Joined: Jun 2014
Posts: 306
Brighton, UK
TrevorM Offline
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Posts: 306
Brighton, UK
Originally Posted by Swain
Piano Marvel has a library of around 200 songs....Playground sells you the sheet music for 3.99 each.


To be fair, Piano Marvel does also charge a fee for the more recent popular songs. But, yes, Piano Marvel has a big old pile of included content and lots and lots of graded etudes.


Roland F130-R
Currently working on:
- Sound of Emotions
- Piano Marvel 3C
Re: Piano Software (Flowkey) is it worth while for a beginner? [Re: dmd] #2617192
02/23/17 05:34 AM
02/23/17 05:34 AM
Joined: Feb 2017
Posts: 276
UK, Bucks
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Peakski Offline
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UK, Bucks
Originally Posted by dmd
Originally Posted by Phillsmit3
Do you think this will help me learn quicker or should i steer clear of them.


Steer clear of them AND get a teacher as quickly as you can.



I think the question was more aimed at paper book vs software approach. It seems pretty clear that face to face lessons with a good teacher trump both, but still a valid question no? Plus the OP doesn't seem keen on fitting regular lessons into their routine, which I can certainly relate to!


Roland GP-607
Re: Piano Software (Flowkey) is it worth while for a beginner? [Re: Phillsmit3] #2617193
02/23/17 05:37 AM
02/23/17 05:37 AM
Joined: Feb 2014
Posts: 1,267
Belgium
johan d Offline
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johan d  Offline
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Joined: Feb 2014
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Belgium
I meant, does Marvel (or others) allows to practice self made scores (musescore or...)

Re: Piano Software (Flowkey) is it worth while for a beginner? [Re: johan d] #2617459
02/23/17 08:01 PM
02/23/17 08:01 PM
Joined: Jan 2016
Posts: 116
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Swain Offline
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Posts: 116
No...you cannot import into Piano marvel at all. Playground Sessions uses musicXML files but technically it does not allow you to import your own...although it can be done but you have to know how to do it and it requires some hacking and configuration file manipulation....Another issue is you have to be off line because as soon as you connect, the config files sync with PG's servers and fix themselves. TBH it is not really worth the trouble.

But the good news is the developers of Synthesia are currently working on adding the ability to import musicXML files. You can already import midi files but right now the notation display is limited to a single scrolling staff and it is quite buggy. (notes that belong on the treble clef end up in the bass clef, etc.) so it is pretty useless ATM...but the next build will have a much improved display with multiple lines of notation....

But there is one issue with Synthesia that is not currently being addressed...and that is sound quality. It uses midi wavetable synthesis so on top of sounding quite cheesy, the latency is a bit poor. You can work around this by connecting a program like cantabile performer to Synthesia using Loopbe virtual midi cable. This allows you to use quality VST instruments with ASIO drivers..each individual instrument in Synthesia can trigger a different VSTi using this method...in addition, you can add VST FX to each track giving you great, studio quality sound....but it takes a bit to set up and if you do not have a bit of midi experience, it can be a bit complicated. To get an idea of the sound quality this fix can give you....I recorded this track using this method... https://soundcloud.com/swain-9/on-the-wings-of-love-cover-by-swain
Aside from all that, there are a few programs like etude that allow you to import your own sheets, but they are all pretty buggy and most have been abandoned by their developers...in addition, they all have the wavetable synthesis issues and don't allow for the workaround I explained above.

Last edited by Swain; 02/23/17 08:11 PM.
Re: Piano Software (Flowkey) is it worth while for a beginner? [Re: Phillsmit3] #2617547
02/24/17 04:54 AM
02/24/17 04:54 AM
Joined: Jan 2015
Posts: 1,283
Groove On Offline
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The main thing with software music reading apps is that they are designed for use with a teacher or by someone who has had enough lessons to practice reading music on their own. If you are in one of those categories then it's worth weighing the benefits of practicing with a software app.

But using the software app to "learn" how to read music is generally a bad idea. It's better get some serious lessons under you belt first, then apply those lessons to the software app.


We are the music makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams.
Re: Piano Software (Flowkey) is it worth while for a beginner? [Re: Groove On] #2617561
02/24/17 06:36 AM
02/24/17 06:36 AM
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Swain Offline
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LOL..you don't need a teacher to learn to read notation or theory..Get real. I knew theory long before I had a single lesson and it made learning piano easier.

Learning notation is not like learning technique...it is cerebral.

Last edited by Swain; 02/24/17 06:39 AM.
Re: Piano Software (Flowkey) is it worth while for a beginner? [Re: Phillsmit3] #2623712
03/14/17 04:11 PM
03/14/17 04:11 PM
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Posts: 4
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pianom4n Offline
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I spoke with someone at Piano Marvel who said that they plan to add a feature to load your own music XML files this year (2017). Looking at their updates page https://pianomarvel.com/new-features however, I'm not so sure. The guy I spoke with said that they have been really busy with new updates but most of their updates are not being posted on their website. I would love to see this though. Piano Marvel is my favorite piano app I have seen so far. There is room for improvement but I feel that I learn faster when I use it. I need to re-activate my PM account soon. smile


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