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Piano Marvel Course Review by Melissa BataiPiano Marvel
Piano Marvel LLC
8212 Park Rd
Rye CO, 81069
Piano Marvel offers an innovative way to teach students piano right from home. Students need a digital piano keyboard, a Mac or PC, a MIDI or USB cable, and Internet access. (For ease, Piano Marvel sells the keyboard, MIDI cable and physical copies of the music books in their own store at their website.) The student simply connects the piano to the keyboard via the MIDI cable and launches the Piano Marvel app. This program does not require additional workbooks or other materials. Everything is contained within the online program.
There are two main areas of study—method and technique. The maker of Piano Marvel recommends that students work on both method and technique at the same time.
For each of the two areas of study, there are several levels. Method and Technique each have 6 levels, beginning at 1-A and ending at 6-E for a total of 30 lessons. Within each lesson, there are 20 activities for students to do. In all, there are 600 activities in the Method section as well as another 600 in the Technique section.
When a student finishes a lesson, she earns a trophy. She gets a bronze if she completes all activities with 80% accuracy or better, a silver if she completes it with 90% accuracy or better, and a gold if she completes them with 96% accuracy or better.
The lessons often have video explanations, and they also have method and technique books which are available in PDF format. In addition, students can set a goal for a number of minutes to practice per month, and the program keeps track of how much time is actually spent playing piano.
Piano Marvel offers a free and premium subscription. The free subscription includes 200+ songs and exercise and free sight reading tests. Students can always have access to lessons 1-A through 1-E in both Method and Technique, but the higher level lessons (2-A and on) are only available for the first 30 days of the free program. The premium subscription is $15 per month or $99 per year and includes 3,000+ songs and exercises including all of the activities in the Method and Technique sections.
Early lessons that we tried followed this format: Simple notes appear on the screen. In the beginning, these are all middle C. Some are half notes, some are whole notes, some quarter and some eighths. The student is to play the appropriate key at the right time and for the right length of time. When that is done, the computer automatically gives the student an accuracy percentage. Then, the program shows the student what notes he played correctly in green, and what notes were incorrect in red. The program also shows specifically when the student hit the key and whether or not it was in the right time. Students can continue to play the piece over and over until they get the percentage they are satisfied with.
Piano Marvel can be used by homeschoolers or those who attend schools. In fact, it can be used for learners of all ages. The program would also appeal to a wide variety of learning styles including auditory, visual, and kinesthetic.
My 11 year old son used this program and loved it! He found Piano Marvel to be very user friendly, and every day he asked if he could practice the piano. He especially liked watching the program calculate what percentage accuracy he got when he played. Before Piano Marvel, he had no piano experience, so he’s still working on basic method and technique. He’s very eager to move to playing songs, which starts in the activities in Lesson Two.
However, as my son is new to the piano, he would have appreciated even more instructional videos on method and technique.
Piano Marvel offers an excellent way to teach children piano at home. At a fraction of the cost of traditional lessons, I’m excited for all of my children to use it.
--Product Review by Melissa Batai, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, January, 2016