The Old Schoolhouse® Product & Curriculum Reviews

With so many products available we often need a little help in making our curriculum choices. The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine family understands because we are in the same boat! Do you need more information on a product before you buy? With over 5,500 products listed in 52 easy-to-use categories, much of the information you need to know is only a click away! Let our reviewer-families help yours.
Do you want to get the word out about your product or service to the homeschool community? Email Jenny Higgins and share a little about what you´d like showcased, and we can help with that!

Playground Sessions, Inc. Review by Renee Knoblauch

Lifetime Membership
Playground Sessions, Inc.
32 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10013

Playground Sessions is a downloadable software program that teaches how to play the piano. No experience is needed to use the program. It teaches the basics to get started. It walks through the lessons step by step teaching the chords, posture, and other skills needed to be successful in playing the piano. It will accommodate any skill level or experience students have with playing the piano. Unlike conventional piano lessons, this piano program is based on playing songs right from the beginning. Music theory learning is scattered throughout the lessons in the curriculum. Students learn how to read music while using Playground Sessions. It flows naturally while learning to play the songs.

My family received a Lifetime Membership. There are several membership options to choose from like a Monthly Membership ($17.99 monthly), Annual Membership ($119.88), or a Lifetime Membership ($289.99). There is even a choice to buy a Family Plan in both Annual and the Lifetime Membership. In the store, you can purchase a keyboard or digital piano with membership options too. Playground Sessions does not require added workbooks. Everything needed to learn to play is within the software program.

It is compatible with Windows, Mac, and iPad. Be sure to check system requirements first. The website has all the necessary requirements for checking computer system compatability. The program requires the Internet to download the software and access any of the lessons.

Playground Sessions is an interactive program and requires a keyboard or a digital piano that has a MIDI or USB to plug into a computer. Playground Sessions recommends a sixty-one-key keyboard, but a forty-nine key keyboard will work in the Rookie and Intermediate levels.

The music library is impressive with over five-hundred songs. It has a good mixture of genres from gospel, classical, country, film/TV musicals, pop, and more styles to learn to play. More songs may be purchased, or students can earn song credits to buy music.

After we set up our account and downloaded the software. We needed to connect the keyboard MIDI or USB into our computer. Once logged in, my son had to synchronize his keyboard to the software which involved pressing certain high and low notes and he was ready to begin learning.

When we first logged in, we were taken to the main dashboard. The main dashboard shows how long students have played, their level, and how many lessons the student has completed. The lessons happen in “Bootcamp.”  Students learn with the help of the video tutorials. Students can choose various speeds and difficulty levels for each lesson. The level choices include Rookie Tour, Intermediate Tour, and Advance Tours. The songs are more complex and go faster depending on the tour.

Navigating the site is simple as everything needed is found within a few tabs. My son calls the program very modern looking and not cluttered.

The software has a virtual keyboard on the bottom of the screen. When you play your physical keyboard the virtual one mimics the keys you are playing on your keyboard.

When doing a lesson, the sheet music is at the top and tells students which keys to play. The virtual keyboard is at the bottom, and the keys light up for students to follow. The software tracks student progress. It gives an instant feedback report after each lesson. The report shows the percentage of right and wrong notes played. The program awards points based on the report and it helps students progress through the lesson with so many required points. This software also allows students to record their lessons. My son really liked that he could track his accuracy with this feature. He also earns badges throughout the lessons for his achievements.

My thirteen-year-old son has been using this for several weeks. He has had some experience with playing when he took lessons when he was younger. He learned how to read music a few years ago with his guitar. I love seeing him progressing with the keyboard. He likes that he can go over the video lessons again to practice certain chords that he feels needs more attention. He likes seeing the tracking reports to gauge how he is doing. We both really like that he can set his own pace and focus on mastery. He is going slow and steady making sure he feels confident before he moves ahead.

The best part is that he can do lessons at home, at his own pace, anytime night or day, and the cost is very affordable on a tight budget.

I love the flexibility that he has while learning to play. I feel like I gave my son his own private tutor with Playground Sessions.

Product review by Renee Knoblauch, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, September 2019