Piano Marvel is a top choice for many who seek to learn piano – but is it actually any good?
Many people dream of becoming a pianist, and some reach those dreams through traditional piano lessons. However, these are inaccessible for many people, and they may consider an unorthodox approach. Online piano learning software has risen in popularity due to its accessibility, affordability, and speed. You can learn at your own pace from the comfort of your home.
We have done in-depth analysis of various piano software online on our search for the best option. Throughout the search, we have striven to find high-quality lessons at affordable prices to make learning to play the piano possible for everyone. We have researched countless programs to see what works and what does not. You won’t have to spend years with a boring instructor performing drills to learn the fundamentals of playing an instrument.
We found Piano Marvel to have a comprehensive program for those who want to learn more than a few songs. It helps you practice the piano and accelerate learning through quizzes, flashcards, exercises, and live feedback that all teach you professional techniques and music theory. Many piano instructors use it as supplementary content to their students’ learning.
Piano Marvel covers tons of material, from beginner to advanced skill levels. It has interactive exercises, customizable lessons, and an excellent value for the cost. Piano Marvel works best when accompanied by a more traditional instruction method, but you can still benefit from it alone. By plugging in your digital piano or keyboard, you can learn your strengths and weaknesses and get closer to mastering the piano.
Keep reading this Piano Marvel review to find out more about this fantastic service!
Piano Marvel Overview
Before we discuss all of the cool features offered by Piano Marvel, let’s look at it overall.
What Is Piano Marvel?
Piano Marvel is a comprehensive piano learning software that teaches people of all ages to play the piano faster. This motivational program provides instant feedback on your playing, video tutorials and performances, and tons of lessons. You can practice music theory, sight-reading, ear training, and rhythm.
To facilitate song learning, it splits each piece into sections, and you progress to the next part after mastering the previous one in Prepare Mode. You can choose from 1,000 songs, though they are mostly Classical. They offer their first level for free, and then you pay a low monthly cost to access all of the content.
While many features require a digital piano or keyboard, they do have Book Mode for acoustic pianos. They have built a large community on social media and have a quick responding customer support team. Since the creator designed it for teachers and students, instructors can create a curriculum with their pieces. Piano Marvel offers a weekly report of students’ progress, and teachers can access all student accounts.
Is It Any Good?
We believe that Piano Marvel is a worthy software to invest in because of its thoroughness and versatility. Few other programs go as in-depth about music theory as this one, and it combines the fun of other software with the rigor of traditional teaching. However, it works best when used simultaneously with a mentor or instructor, and some of the lessons assume you have one. Nevertheless, you will still gain positive experiences from it if you are learning on your own.
Piano Marvel is one of the most personalized piano learning software available due to its many unique features.
When you begin, you can choose between two Modes before starting the lessons: Book Mode and Assessment Mode. If you have an acoustic piano, you will need to go with Book Mode because it offers notes, songs, video lessons, and hints. However, it does not provide feedback on your performances.
Assessment Mode lets you connect your digital piano or keyboard via USB to your computer to access the feedback feature. You will get all the same features as Book Mode, but you can learn on the spot if you play the correct notes, making it more similar to having a teacher with you. Otherwise, you could play it incorrectly and never know.
Some programs use your computer’s microphone to detect the keys played by your acoustic piano, so it may be worth looking into those if you do not wish to purchase a keyboard.
Piano Marvel has one of the most extensive libraries we’ve seen, with over 1,000 pieces to practice. They prioritize Classical music, but they also offer Holiday, Pop, Jazz, Blues, Rock and Roll, and Hymns. You can access digital versions of every song with a premium account, but you will need to purchase it from the publisher if you want a physical copy.
The songs range in difficulty level from Level 1 to 18. Beginners are Levels 1-3, Intermediates are 4-6, Advanced 7-10, and Professionals get 11-18. Unlike many libraries, Piano Marvel’s higher-level songs are challenging. They have original advanced sheet music, and you play music written by a composer. The Professional levels will genuinely sound like a song played by a pro pianist.
You can access performances of most pieces on YouTube, so you can hear how it sounds before learning it. Some offer sheet music PDFs so you can practice offline.
The library features method books in addition to songs, like Alfred’s Premier Piano Course, Hal Leonard Piano Solos, and Alfred’s Basic Adult All-In-One Course. These are now available with a premium subscription. You will learn most of the content in these books by completing the lessons, so they are unnecessary, but they do make for good practice.
The library has other boot camps, reading exercises, sight-reading exams, and harmony exams from other piano methods.
The Method tab on the app features six levels with five sections each and 20 lessons per section. Each lesson has a video tutorial that summarizes what you will learn. They also come with printables that explain them in detail and provide the sheet music used for those in Book Mode. The PDFs also employ some theory, such as the note names written on some songs.
It teaches you signs and musical terms. You can learn everything about sheet music with their lessons, letting you sight-read music from most other sources. Piano Marvel makes you aware of variations in phrasing, dynamics, and style.
Moving through the lessons will earn you trophies for your trophy case, offering some motivation to complete them without mistakes. Scores between 80 and 90% get you a bronze trophy, 90 to 95% gets silver, and 96 to 100% offers a gold one. You can use the goal-setting feature to motivate you to complete a specific number of lessons each month.
The lessons are small and include different piano songs you will play. They start with you playing middle C with accompaniment, providing a foundation for rhythm and note values. As the lessons continue, you learn more notes. They primarily employ children’s songs, which may not feel too entertaining to most students. However, you can expand to other pieces in the music library, though they are mostly Classical.
If you are in Assessment Mode, you will get a score on your note playing and rhythm accuracy. High scores get you trophies.
As the levels progress, the songs become much more demanding. By Level 3, you will need to move to the Minced or Chopped slicing, explained more below.
The Technique section focuses on rhythm and ear training, chords, and major and minor scales. Many traditional lessons hone in your note playing skills, ignoring these two critical components. However, they only teach you the harmonic minor, not the natural or melodic scales. It also has six levels with five sections each and twenty lessons per segment.
This section also focuses on playing different styles and improving your sight-reading skills. The Method segment teaches you theory, musical notation, and various songs, while the Technique area’s drills expand upon these lessons and reinforce them.
Both the Method and Technique sections have you name chords and notes, identify key signatures, and do rhythm clapping exercises. Piano Marvel has a much stronger focus on music theory than most other online piano learning platforms. Teachers usually teach ear training, so it does help that a solo learner can learn this on the Piano Marvel app.
Overall, it provides a more well-rounded practice, bridging the gap between a teacher and an online course. You will not learn as many contemporary songs as other programs, but you can complete the same drills as you would with an instructor to master the piano. Nonetheless, they miss out on imperative lessons on posture and hand position, which could hinder your technique.
Keep in mind that Method and Technique only have six levels, whereas the songs reach Level 18. Once you have completed the coursework, you can practice the pieces until you master the highest level.
Standard Assessment of Sight-Reading
Piano Marvel recently developed the Standard Assessment of Sight-Reading (SASR) section. This part tracks your sight-reading capabilities and scores you accordingly. It compares your score to other users while monitoring your progress, letting you see how you improve over time.
While they do not have a specific assessment section for playing by ear, they teach it in the Technique portion. All of these features create a well-rounded music-learning experience.
The Slicing Method lets you practice songs in smaller segments until you feel confident enough to master the entire piece. The Whole slicing option enables you to play it all with one hand at a time. This option works for Levels 1-3.
By Level 3, you will want to experiment with the Chopped and Minced slicings. The Chopped option creates shorter seconds to play with both hands at once, while Minced has you play small segments one hand at a time.
If you have a digital piano or keyboard connected via USB, you can receive instant feedback on your performance. Piano Marvel will tell you what notes you played correctly, which ones you missed, and whether you maintained rhythm. This feature saves you time when practicing. Traditional classes could lead you to misplay the song for a week before finding out you had made a mistake.
If the feedback indicates you have specific trouble spots, you can highlight them to practice on loop. Minced and Chopped slicing divides these sections for you, but you can choose them if you’d like. The looping lets you hone your skills instead of practicing an entire song only to miss the same section continuously.
There are three different modes to practice in: Prepare Mode, Practice Mode, and Assess Mode. Prepare Mode scores the note accuracy, not the rhythm. Practice Mode lets you practice segments of a song, and Assess Mode scores note accuracy and rhythm.
Piano Marvel has built a community by creating contests and challenges. The students compete by uploading videos of them playing songs, and they can win iPads and cash prizes. The competitions encourage students to challenge themselves and offer motivation for the more competitive types.
Piano Marvel works best when the student has a personal instructor or mentor. They offer features just for teachers, and they have seminars and conferences for them.
As a student, you can use the “Find a Teacher” page to find an online teacher. If you already have a teacher, you can refer them to the program to undergo training by Piano Marvel that lets them use it in conjunction with their lessons.
Teachers can create their curriculum using Piano Marvel, and they can upload their original songs for students to practice. They can select which lessons they want students to practice in folders, and the teachers can track if they completed them.
Teachers can see students’ practice times, progress, and scores, and they have full access to student accounts. This feature helps educators with grading large groups of students at once.
While teachers can benefit from Piano Marvel, a solo learner will still gain a lot from its use. However, it is not as gamified as many other online programs, so you may prefer it most if you are a serious student.
Its customer support is known to respond quickly, but they do not have live chat support. You will likely get a response by phone, and the email support request should receive speedy attention, but nothing is as fast or convenient as a live chat while using the program. Nevertheless, they do have an FAQ section to answer many common questions so that you do not need to contact them.
Piano Marvel offers competitive monthly pricing for their services, and you can receive discounts by purchasing gift cards through the Music Marvel store. The gift cards let you buy annual, family, and four month subscriptions for a lower price than paying monthly.
The store also sells items you would need to get started playing the piano, including keyboards, cables, accessories, books, apparel, and gift cards. They have USB-to-MIDI cables, keyboards, and kits to make your Piano Marvel experience more fun. You can purchase bundles with a keyboard, USB, and Piano Marvel subscription to kickstart your education.
Piano Marvel Alternatives
In this Piano Marvel review, we have discussed many of the benefits of this software. However, there are alternatives on par with the program, and some exceed it in a few areas.
The first Piano Marvel alternative we will discuss is Flowkey. This app works with keyboards, digital pianos, and acoustic pianos, and it has desktop and mobile versions. It uses your device’s microphone to detect the keys played, so you do not need a special cable to use it.
Flowkey focuses on learning popular songs from various genres, including Pop, R&B, Jazz, Classical, and video game music. It’s best suited for beginners, but intermediate pianists who have not mastered sight-reading would benefit from its library.
You can try Flowkey for free and pay a monthly or annual fee to upgrade your membership. The premium membership gives you access to all 1,500 of their songs and lessons. You can learn to sight-read by watching their videos of someone performing accompanied by sheet music. The correct keys light up on the screen to help you follow along. If you miss a note while playing, it pauses until you play the correct one.
Unlike Piano Marvel, Flowkey does not go much into music theory, so it is not suitable for those serious about becoming professional pianists. However, it has a broader selection of contemporary songs, so if you primarily want to learn to play your favorite pieces, Flowkey might be your best option.
Read the full Flowkey review now.
2. Piano In 21 Days
Piano In 21 Days tries to teach you the piano by focusing on chords instead of notes. They do not utilize traditional drills, instead prioritizing your ability to play contemporary songs. By learning chords, you can avoid years of playing Classical music and cut to the chase. It is not meant for someone who wants to become an elite pianist, but rather someone who wants to play their favorite songs.
By accelerating the process, you spend much less on lessons. You pay once for lifetime access, and you can take the course at your own pace. The creator Jacques Hopkins designed it for completion in one go, but it still works if you spend longer than 21 days on it. You will not learn much music theory, and it does not replace an actual instructor.
Overall, Piano In 21 Days works well if you aren’t sure if you want to pursue the piano or just want to learn a few songs. They have free material to try out before you pay, and you can buy different packages depending on how much you want to cover.
Read the full Piano in 21 days review here.
3. Playground Sessions
If you want an experience more similar to learning from an instructor, consider Playground Sessions. This celebrity-endorsed program has lessons from highly acclaimed pianists like Quincy Jones, Harry Connick, Jr., and David Sides. It covers playing contemporary songs, music theory basics, ear training, sight-reading, sheet music, and proper technique. You can measure your progress and receive live feedback.
Playground Sessions is more gamified than most programs. You can earn awards and badges for scoring highly and compete against your friends. They also let you perform in a Guitar Hero style fashion with a backing track that you can record and share. This program works best for beginner to intermediate pianists who want to refine their skills, but you will not become an elite piano player from it.
You will need a digital piano or keyboard, and it does not comply with acoustic pianos. Also, its app has a lot of implementation issues. Playground Sessions is an excellent alternative in all other aspects, especially if you do not have an instructor with you.
Check out the in-depth Playground Sessions review.
Piano Marvel is an incredible resource for those learning to play the piano. It teaches you new songs in every lesson, and it has similar drills and exercises to traditional instruction. You can learn music theory fundamentals, sight-reading, and ear training with it, and you or your teacher can customize it to best fit your educational needs.
Piano Marvel does a decent job with motivation as it features trophies, certificates, goals, and progress reports. It encourages you to put in the extra effort to make a real difference in your education. You can compete with other students as well and win tangible prizes.
However, it primarily teaches you children’s songs and Classical music, and it works best in tangent with a traditional piano instructor. Nevertheless, this program is far more comprehensive than most online programs for a fraction of regular lessons’ cost. A motivated solo learner could quickly learn a lot about playing the piano from it, provided they combine their education with other resources about proper posture and musicality.