What is Piano Marvel?
Piano Marvel is online software for piano teaching and learning. It is used by individuals - teachers and learners - as well as the entire school systems. The software can be very helpful in the group class setting. Its diverse library accommodates various ages and tastes.
What are the key features of Piano Marvel?
Mistake tracking: correct notes turn green while wrong notes turn red
Progress tracking: quality and quantity of your practice
Accompaniment for exercises, library sheet music, sight-reading tests
Incentives and immediate feedback
Inside the Piano Marvel:
Library, Sight-reading, Techninque, Method
Library is where all the music pieces are located. You can search from over 2000 of them. These can be sorted by level as well as genre. In addition to separate pieces of music, there are also some pieces from recognised piano methods (e.g. Alfred, Premier, Hal Leonard Piano Solos series). A feature called slicing allows one to focus on practicing one hand at a time and working on short excerpts. One more thing to be found here are so-called boot camps that allow a perfect set-up for improving sight-reading.
Both Method and Technique sections are broken down into 6 levels, and these levels are broken down into bite-sized lessons. There are three different modes that help to work your way through.
Prepare mode allows you to go through the exercise in your own time, indicating whether the note was correct or not.
Practice mode chops your piece of music into small sections which allows you to focus on a short excerpt at a time. This makes your practice much more efficient and is very useful for getting rid of the unhelpful habit of always practicing from the beginning only.
Assess mode tracks your note accuracy as well as whether they were played on time, thus evaluating the correctness of your rhythm.
Control tabs allow to switch the metronome on or off, change the tempo, and adjust the volume of the accompaniment.
As you complete small sections within Method and Technique, you get to collect your trophies (bronze, silver, or gold). When you master short excerpts from your pieces of music inside the library, you get awarded stars. It might sound like a slightly primitive incentive but it is certainly effective for tracking your progress and motivating to perform well. Seeing your progress depicted visually is genius simplicity.
Sight-reading section leads you to the Standard Assessment of Sight Reading. SASR alone is a reason large enough to use Piano Marvel. I only wish PM was around when I had to practice sight-reading (not without a load of frustration, if I am honest!). SASR allows time to look through the exercise, counts you in, offers accompaniment to provide you with some harmony and a steady police-man-like pulse, gives you an accuracy score, and gradually progresses in difficulty.
On the note of progress – in the `reports` section, you can track your practice time, as well as your scores for pieces, sight-reading, method, and technique sections. You can also set your practice goals. The goals can also be set by your teacher, who can track your progress to see which particular exercises or pieces of music you are struggling with. This way they can make informed decisions about what is needed for your improvement, and offer you suggestions for further practice. To keep your spirits and motivation up, Piano Marvel organises a variety of virtual contests (not without valuable prizes!)
What is needed for Piano Marvel to work?
iPad or Laptop (PC or Mac)
Digital piano or keyboard
Standard A/B USB printer cable (Click here for details)
Is there Piano Marvel iPhone App?
Sure there is! Piano Marvel App allows you to have some fun playing selected music on the virtual keyboard or on your digital piano. To use the piano, you will need a USB-lightning cable (Click here for details).
What if I only have an acoustic piano?
Fear not! There is a 'book mode' for you. With all honestly, this will not get you the most out of the Piano Marvel, but it will make your learning exciting nonetheless.
What is the difference between Piano Marvel Free and Premium accounts?
Both Free and Premium accounts give you access to their exclusive platform where you can learn pieces of music using MIDI. This means that your playing is being monitored by the software: incorrect notes are indicated in red, you are assessed on your playing precision, and you have an opportunity to play with the accompaniment which is so much more fun than playing on your own, especially when you are just starting and your pieces or exercises are rather simple-sounding if unaccompanied.
A free account is great for starting with the software. It gives you access to 125 songs in their library (Levels 1 – 9), over 200 exercises (Level 1 only), and 3 sight-reading tests. This is great if you only aim to test your sight-reading, but if you are looking to improve it, then practicing is essential, and for this you would need Premium with unlimited sight-reading tests. Free account also provides you with practice reports (with basic features) and 25 instructional videos.
Premium account opens up some truly marvelous opportunities. It offers over 1200 exercises for levels 1-6 and over 2000 pieces in the library for all levels. As already mentioned, you will also have unlimited access to sight-reading tests, and sight reading boot camps, which are great for practice. What is more, there are more than 100 instructional videos and expanded practice reports, which means you will be able to monitor your progress in much greater detail. Technical support is absolutely free. It feels almost unfair that all of this comes for only $12.99 (contact me for the promo code, otherwise the standard price is $15.99).
Scores & assessments with MIDI
Over 200 exercises (Level 1)
Over 500 music pieces (Levels 1 – 9)
3 Sight-reading tests
Over 25 instructional videos
Scores & assessments with MIDI
Over 1200 exercises (Levels 1 - 6 )
Over 25,000 music pieces (Levels 1 – 18)
Unlimited Sight-reading tests
Over 100 instructional videos
Expanded practice reports
Sight-reading boot camps
Contact us for the 20% off promo code
Below are some helpers for connecting your digital piano to your PC, Mac, and iPhone.
Disclaimer: to help you find particular connection solutions , I am providing examples of products. I am not associated with any of the brands below and these are not recommendations of a specific brand, manufacturer or seller.
Connecting digital piano to PC or Mac with USB-A port:
Type A to Type B USB cable
Connecting digital piano to Mac with USB-C port:
Type B to Type C USB cable
USB to iOS devices with lightning port
Personally, my experience with Piano Marvel has been incredibly positive. I believe that it is time to tailor piano learning for the current generation and its lifestyle. Piano Marvel makes a meaningful step towards this and presents a way of online learning that actually works.
Although Piano Marvel might be seen as a very technology-focused kind of learning, potentially making one feel slightly isolated, to me it felt quite the opposite. This is because Piano Marvel team is incredibly dedicated to their work and they truly make you feel a part of the community.
Their support cannot be left unmentioned. When I first registered with Piano Marvel and emailed them with a couple of technical questions, Aaron, the creator of the software, kindly offered me a live zoom consultation. What was meant to be a short piece of advice, turned into an over 90-minute conversation and in-depth demonstration. Piano Marvel people are absolutely devoted to what they do, and I am happy not only to be working with the tool myself but to be recommending it to others, too.
Technology-based kind of learning is already finding its way to recognition as a common practice, and now we can start seeing a similar trend in the field of music. In the upcoming years, we might see more apps that are build using similar principles but at the time of writing there is only one, and it really is quite a marvel.