Piano Learning Software Comparison Review

Piano learning software has become a popular way of learning to play the piano over the past decade. Though some of these piano learning systems have been around for quite some time, many of the new players in the game are revolutionizing the way that people learn to play the piano. We have carefully reviewed the best of the best to bring you what we call the top piano learning software of 2018.

Which piano learning system is the best?

Image of Piano Marvel Logo

#1 Piano Marvel

245 of 270 points

Pricing:

Free account option
$12.99/month for Premium
$110.99/annually for Premium

  • Learning Tools 95% 95%
  • Curriculum 100% 100%
  • Accessibility 83% 83%
  • Teaching Tools 86% 86%
Summary: Piano Marvel offers the best value and best performance of any piano learning software. It’s also the only one that will work for any age or ability level.

Image of the Flowkey Logo

#2 flowkey

182 of 270 points

Pricing:

Free account option
$19.99/month for Premium
$155.88/annually for Premium

  • Learning Tools 73% 73%
  • Curriculum 55% 55%
  • Accessibility 90% 90%
  • Teaching Tools 16% 16%
Summary: flowkey is a fun and impressive experience. As a newer online piano learning system, we look forward to great things in the future.

Image of the Playground Sessions Logo

#3 Playground Sessions

180 of 270 points

Pricing:

Free account option
$17.99/month for Premium
$119.88/annually for Premium

  • Learning Tools 83% 83%
  • Curriculum 63% 63%
  • Accessibility 83% 83%
  • Teaching Tools 20% 20%
Summary: Playground Sessions is a great way to discover and learn new music.

Image of the Yousician Logo

#4 Yousician

168 of 270 points

Pricing:

Free account option
$19.99/month for Premium
$119.88/annually for Premium

  • Learning Tools 58% 58%
  • Curriculum 53% 53%
  • Accessibility 81% 81%
  • Teaching Tools 50% 50%
Summary: Yousician keeps things simple and is fun. We look forward to what they will do next.




Piano Learning Tools

Learning tools include items that specifically help students learn piano. They are rated below based on how well each program performed or by the quantity available, or both. For example, video lessons were rated by quality and quantity, while tempo control was rated on functionality.

Click on the scores below for details about each rating!

Each of these programs has their strengths but we found that Piano Marvel had the best features. Flowkey, Playground Sessions, and Yousician all have nice features but they mostly focused on teaching students to play songs. Piano Marvel is more focused on teaching you the skills you need to play the piano.
Image of the Piano Marvel Logo

#1 Piano Marvel

9pts | Video Lessons (?)
Piano Marvel has hundreds of video lessons. The instruction is very good on the videos.
10pts | Exercises
Piano Marvel has a lot of exercises. This is great for students who want to take their learning to a high level. They also pair most of their exercises with instructional videos which makes it nice. The exercises are also very sequential like a popular piano method book.
10pts | Tempo Control
Piano Marvel gives you full control of the tempo of all songs and exercises. You can set the tempo anywhere from 30 to 240 beats per minute.
10pts | Looping Control
Piano Marvel has a nice looping feature that is designed to work in their standard and practice modes. It is also highly customizable if you need to practice a very specific phrase or range of measures.
10pts | Sight Reading
Piano Marvel has a strong emphasis on teaching students to read real sheet music. Not only does Piano Marvel have many exercises specifically geared for teaching reading, it also has a sight reading practice and assessment tool called the SASR (Standard Assessment of Sight Reading). We were also informed that the SASR is currently being used by hundreds of schools and universities around the world to improve sight reading. Additionally, Piano Marvel has their version of what they call a reading bootcamp, which is an immersion approach to learning to read music. Piano Marvel’s ability to teach reading is beyond impressive.
9pts | Scoring
Piano Marvel’s scoring works very well. Note that a MIDI enabled piano is required in order to be scored however.
9pts | Feedback
The feedback provided in Piano Marvel is very useful to help students correct mistakes when they are practicing.
10pts | Progress Tracking
Piano Marvel does an excellent job of tracking your progress as you work through songs and exercises. You can also use book mode to manually track your progress if you want.
Image of the Flowkey Logo

#2 flowkey

10pts | Video Lessons
flowkey was rated high for having high quality videos that accompany their songs. We only wish that they had more.
6pts | Exercises
flowkey seems to be more about teaching you to play songs, then how to play the piano. There really isn’t much to offer in the way of exercises to give students the building blocks of learning to play piano. flowkey has a courses section which looks nice but isĀ anemic at best.
8pts | Tempo Control
flowkey has 2 tempo presets, slow and fast. The tempos are set by flowkey and there isn’t really any way to practice at the tempo you want unless you use the wait for me mode.
8pts | Looping Control
flowkey has an ok looping feature. It is cumbersome to use because you are forced into a scrolling view of the music. In order to get to the part you want to loop you have to look for the section first, then turn looping on, then select the measures you want. This is difficult in a scroll view.
5pts | Sight Reading
flowkey is very focused on teaching songs through videos, but they do display the music notation on screen. It’s too bad that you can only view music in a scroll view and there aren’t really very many tools or exercises specific to teaching reading.
8pts | Scoring
flowkey scoring seems a bit arbitrary. It does allow scoring through a microphone, but the accuracy leaves much to be desired if you are playing a more advanced song.
8pts | Feedback
flowkey does provide some feedback on song performances but it is limited in it’s helpfulness.
7pts | Progress Tracking
The progress tracking features in flowkey are limited.
Image of the Playground Sessions Logo

#3 Playground Sessions

10pts | Video Lessons
Playground Sessions is very strong with their video content. Bravo!
7pts | Exercises
Playground Sessions gives you what they call a bootcamp, which is a series of instructional videos and lessons. The lessons and videos are very well done, but does not come close to the number of exercises found in Piano Marvel.
5pts | Tempo Control
Playground Sessions does not offer fully adjustable tempo. They have tempo presets similar to flowkey. Unike flowkey however, there is no wait for me mode.
9pts | Looping Control
The looping controls on playground are much better than flowkey and yousician. It lacks the precision and ease of use that you see with Piano Marvel however.
7pts | Sight Reading
Playground Sessions shows a more traditional music layout which is better for the music reading experience. It showcases some nice reading material but is limited in it’s scope.
9pts | Scoring
The scoring in Playground Session works very well. Note that a MIDI connection is required to get scoring on your performances.
10pts | Feedback
Playground Sessions provides very good feedback on performances.
9pts | Progress Tracking
Playground does a nice job of creating reports of your progress. The interface is a bit confusing to navigate however.
Image of the Yousician Logo

#4 Yousician

7pts | Video Lessons
Yousician has some good videos but it feels like they are lacking in instruction that the students need.
7pts | Exercises
Yousician has a different approach to their exercises. It attempts to guide the student through a path. This seemed to work ok, but it does leave the user feeling a bit trapped and not having a perspective of their progress. You can navigate out of the path but it’s still not really clear how you are progressing. Yousician also does not have nearly as many exercises as Piano Marvel.
5pts | Tempo Control
Yousicians tempo control is only allowed in their practice mode which we found annoying. Also, tempos are shown as a percentage of the song’s original tempo which is also not very helpful. Basically you can speed things up and slow them down if you can find the controls, but you will never know what tempo you are playing at.
0pts | Looping Control
There does not seem to be any looping controls on Yousician. If there are, we couldn’t find them.
5pts | Sight Reading
Yousician also uses a scroll view which feels a bit unnatural. It is also fairly limited in what it teaches as far as reading music goes.
8pts | Scoring
Scoring on Yousician is a bit unclear. You do get some basic assessment with a microphone however.
6pts | Feedback
The feedback provided by Yousician is not as helpful as it could be.
8pts | Progress Tracking
Yousician’s progress tracking shows a pretty good overview, but it’s difficult to see the details of your progress.

%

Learning Tools 77/80 points

%

Learning Tools 60/80 points

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Learning Tools 66/80 points

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Learning Tools 46/80 points




Curriculum

Curriculum for each piano learning system was rated considering the quantity of songs and exercises, quality of music, and the range of difficulty that the music covers.

Click on the scores below for details about each rating!

Curriculum is where Piano Marvel absolutely destroys the competition. Not only does Piano Marvel have more songs and exercises than flowkey, Playground Sessions and Yousician combined. It also has 18 levels of music exceeding far beyond anyone else!
Image of the Piano Marvel Logo

#1 Piano Marvel

10pts | Method
Piano Marvel has developed a growing method series that is used by piano teachers around the world. Their method exercises are well put together and there are around 600 exercises available.
10pts | Technique
Piano Marvel is the only system we have seen that has a comprehensive technique learning section. It features around 600 technique exercises. This is more than you would find in a technique book series.
10pts | Songs
Piano Marvel has a huge library of songs in almost any style. We found their library to be excellent.
10pts | Sight Reading
Piano Marvel is the only system we have seen that has a whole section dedicated just to sight reading. It’s highly impressive and it sports over 2,000 sight reading excerpts covering 18 levels!
10pts | Custom Music
Piano Marvel is the only system that allows you to create and upload your own music to practice in Piano Marvel! This is a huge feature for teachers and those that want to compose their own music.
10pts | Additional Learning Materials
Piano Marvel scores high here as well. on top of all the music available in the music and exercise library, there are specific exercises for ear training, rhythm training, harmonization, solfege and more.
Image of the Flowkey Logo

#2 flowkey

7pts | Method
The flowkey approach has great instruction early on but has a low number of learning exercises.
5pts | Technique
Flowkey doesn’t really have much to offer in the way of technique specific training. There is a courses section which has a quick overview of some technique but it really lacks in substance.
9pts | Songs
Flowkey has an awesome library of music, we only wish it was bigger.
5pts | Sight Reading
Flowkey does not have very much that is specific to sight reading in their system.
0pts | Custom Music
No custom music features are available with flowkey.
7pts | Additional Learning Materials
Outside of songs and the basic lessons, there isn’t much offered in flowkey for additional learning resources.
Image of the Playground Sessions Logo

#3 Playground Sessions

8pts | Method
Playground Sessions does not have an official method but their bootcamp acts like a method in some ways. The material is high quality but it progresses very quickly which makes it hard for younger students to keep up.
7pts | Technique
Playground Sessions has a boot camp which is designed to teach basic technical skills. These lessons are well put together but lack in substance if you are new to the piano.
10pts | Songs
Playground Sessions music library is larger than flowkey’s and Yousician’s. New songs are added all the time.
6pts | Sight Reading
The Playground Sessions Boot Camp has some material that can help with sight reading, but there are no specific sight reading exercises.
0pts | Custom Music
No custom music features are available with Playground Sessions.
7pts | Additional Learning Materials
Outside of songs and the basic lessons, there isn’t much offered in Playground Sessions for additional learning resources.
Image of the Yousician Logo

#4 Yousician

7pts | Method
The Yousician approach is very unique. Rather than a more traditional method it has paths that you follow to learn skills. It attempts to get students playing fun music faster. This approach is good for learning to play songs but will leave the student missing out on many of the basic skills that pianists need.
6pts | Technique
Yousician does not have a specific technique section. Some technique is sprinkled through out the songs and exercises.
6pts | Songs
The yousucian song library has a pretty good number of original pieces but doesn’t seem to have any popular songs. Though the songs can be fun to play for a little while, we found the library to be pretty limiting.
6pts | Sight Reading
Yousician has some material that can help with sight reading, but there are no specific sight reading exercises.
0pts | Custom Music
No custom music features are available with Yousucian.
7pts | Additional Learning Materials
Outside of songs and the basic lessons, there isn’t much offered in Yousician for additional learning resources.

%

Curriculum 60/60 points

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Curriculum 33/60 points

%

Curriculum 38/60 points

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Curriculum 32/60 points




Ease of Use & Accessibility

Ease of use is a very important part of enhancing the learning experience. You will want to spend your time learning the piano instead of troubleshooting and setting up. The items below are rated with these things in mind.

Click on the scores below for details about each rating!

Everyone scored pretty well in this category but flowkey made it look the best. Their user interface is extremely smooth and easy to use.
Image of the Piano Marvel Logo

#1 Piano Marvel

9pts | Account Setup
Piano Marvel makes setting up an account pretty easy. We only wish that they had a login through facebook or gmail option.
9pts | Installation
Piano Marvel requires the installation of a small plugin that runs through your internet browser. Installation is fairly easy.
9pts | Website Navigation
Piano Marvel has a nice, easy to understand website. It would be nice if it was a little more mobile friendly.
9pts | App Navigation
Piano Marvel has a pretty easy to use interface. Piano Marvel has a lot of content so it makes it sometimes a challenge to find the content that you are looking for. Overall it’s really good.
10pts | Saved Logins
Piano Marvel has a really great saved logins feature that allows for large groups to be able to keep their logins stored for easily switching between Piano Marvel accounts.
10pts | iPad App
The Piano Marvel iPad app works well and matches pretty close to the regular version at www.pianomarvel.com
0pts | Android App
So sad. No android app for Piano Marvel. We hope to see one soon.
10pts | Support
Piano Marvel provides phone, chat and email support. They also have a support page with articles and support through facebook and twitter. Great job.
Image of the Flowkey Logo

#2 flowkey

10pts | Account Setup
Flowkey’s account setup is as easy as it gets!
10pts | Installation
With Flowkey there isn’t really anything to install which is nice. Just run it in your internet browser.
10pts | Website Navigation
Flowkey has a very simple website. Very easy to use.
10pts | App Navigation
Flowkey makes app navigation really simple. Nice work!
8pts | Saved Logins
Flowkey’s saved login feature works well but is not well suited for groups.
9pts | iPad App
Flowkey has an iPad app. It has some mixed reviews on the app store however.
9pts | Android App
Flowkey has android users covered as well. Some pretty mixed reviews on the app however.
7pts | Support
Chat support seems to be the only support option available currently.
Image of the Playground Sessions Logo

#3 Playground Sessions

9pts | Account Setup
Playground Sessions makes account setup fairly easy. It would be nice to see a login through facebook or gmail option.
8pts | Installation
Installation of Playground sessions is not as easy as the other systems. There is a large download to use it.
9pts | Website Navigation
Playground Sessions has a nice modern looking website. It’s a little bit information overload looking at it. The look is a little bit cluttered.
7pts | App Navigation
We found navigating Playground Session confusing and cluttered. It takes a while to get familiar with.
7pts | Saved Logins
Playgound Sessions has a saved login feature which works well but is not well suited for groups where multiple logins are needed on one computer.
8pts | iPad App
Playground sessions has an iPad app for their system. It is currently in beta at the time of this review which indicates that there are still some bugs to work out.
8pts |Android App
Playground Sessions has a beta app for Android at the time of this review.
10pts | Support
Playground Sessions offers chat, phone and email support.
Image of the Yousician Logo

#4 Yousician

10pts | Account Setup
Yousician makes account setup very easy!
7pts | Installation
Installation of Yousician is a bit confusing. You start in the browser, then you download the app to install it, then you login and it takes you back to the browser which tells you to go back to the app again.
8pts | Website Navigation
Yousician’s website is so simple you don’t really know what you are doing there. It’s like they tried to make it too simple. A little more information about the product and offers would be helpful.
7pts | App Navigation
Yousician makes navigating easy if you just want to follow along the path they lay out. If you want to take charge of your own path however, it’s a bit difficult.
7pts | Saved Logins
Yousician’s saved login feature works well but is not well suited for groups.
9pts | iPad App
Yousician has an iPad app for their system. It also has pretty good ratings, but not as high as flowkey as of the time of this review.
10pts | Android App
Yousician has an Android app that is highly rated at the time of this review.
7pts | Support
Yousician offers support through their community and articles on their website. Not a very personal touch.

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Ease of Use 66/80 points

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Ease of Use 73/80 points

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Ease of Use 66/80 points

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Ease of Use 65/80 points




Tools for Teachers & Group Classes

Some people may look at piano software programs as a replacement for a teacher. This may be a bit of a misconception. Piano learning applications are a great way to learn many of the skills that all pianists need to know. For those who want to learn to play at a high level, a piano teacher can help you reach that extra mile. So it’s no surprise that many piano teachers actually use piano software programs to enhance their student’s learning. The features listed below are specific for teachers and how they interact with their students.

Click on the scores below for details about each rating!

Many piano teachers may be surprised to find that some piano software is also designed to help them teach more effectively. There is a growing number of piano teachers joining the 21st century and utilizing technology to benefit their students.
Image of the Piano Marvel Logo

#1 Piano Marvel

10pts |Reports for Teachers
There are a variety of helpful reports in Piano Marvel for teachers. These include practice minute reports, sight reading reports, exercise reports and more. The reports are also great for individual students and group classes.
9pts | Song Ratings
Piano Marvel has rated songs, making it easier to find great new songs to learn.
8pts | Social Media
Piano Marvel has a facebook page, several facebook user groups and a twitter following. We would love to see a tighter integration with these platforms however.
6pts | Training for Teachers
There is some video training for teachers but it seemed a bit sparse. Piano Marvel needs to do a better job of showing off their features that teachers will want to know about.
10pts | Student Groups
Piano Marvel allows teachers to organize students into classes. This is helpful for teachers at schools and universities. The classes also work hand in hand with the student reports.
Image of the Playground Sessions Logo

#2 flowkey

0pts |Reports for Teachers
There are no reports for teachers in flowkey.
0pts | Song Ratings
There does not seem to be any way for users to rate songs in Flowkey.
8pts | Social Media
Flowkey has some social media integrations. It would be nice to see a little more here.
0pts | Training for Teachers
Flowkey does not have any videos for teachers
0pts | Student Groups
Flowkey does not allow teachers to create student groups.

#3 Playground Sessions

0pts |Reports for Teachers
There are no reports for teachers in Playground Sessions.
0pts | Song Ratings
There does not seem to be any way for users to rate songs in Playground Sessions.
10pts | Social Media
Playground Sessions does a nice job with their facebook and twitter media pages. They also have a forum community where people can ask questions and help each other out.
0pts | Training for Teachers
Playground Sessions does not have any video training for teachers.
0pts | Student Groups
Playground Sessions does not allow teachers to create student groups.
Image of the Flowkey Logo

#4 Yousician

5pts |Reports for Teachers
Yousucian has some limited functionality for teachers to receive practice information from students.
10pts | Song Ratings
Yousician allows you to rate songs and see which songs are the highest rated.
10pts | Social Media
Yousucian has a good social media following.
0pts | Training for Teachers
Yousucian does not have any video training for teachers.
0pts | Student Groups
Yousucian does not allow teachers to create student groups.

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Teaching Tools 43/50 points

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Teaching Tools 16/50 points

%

Teaching Tools 10/50 points

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Teaching Tools 25/50 points




Results:

The results of our review are that Piano Marvel is the most comprehensive online piano learning system. We also included piano software programs that don’t necessarily run online like Playground Sessions. Each of these programs has their strengths so depending on your needs, you may want to take a look at more than one. As a whole, we felt that Piano Marvel provided the best value and a better all-around learning experience that accommodates the widest range of piano learners.

Learning Tools

Piano Marvel won the learning tools category. It does a great job with most of the learning tools offered. We really were impressed with how much thought Piano Marvel has given to accommodate students in a variety of circumstances. For example, Piano Marvel works well for self-learning students, students taking piano lessons, students in group classes, and university students. Playground Sessions, Flowkey and Yousician primarily focus on the first group of self-learning students so the learning tools that they have are mostly centered on this group. Because Piano Marvel has more diversity and options, it looks like a system that a student can stick with for a long time and keep on learning. We particularly liked the way that Piano Marvel and Playground Sessions do their feedback and assessment. The markings on a score view really help the students see clearly where they are making mistakes which makes it much easier for them to make corrections in the practice session.

Curriculum

In the curriculum category, there really was no contest between Piano Marvel and the others. We would love to see Piano Marvel make finding and navigating their music a little easier, however. Piano Marvel has approximately 600 method exercises, 600 technique exercises, 2,500 classical songs, 400 popular songs and 2,000 sight reading excerpts. Additionally, they have what they call reading boot camps which are song compilations designed to teach reading of hymns, pop songs, and classical music. Overall the curriculum is maybe a little unbalanced with lots of classical music and less jazz and pop, but still, lot’s of music to choose from. Playground Sessions has perhaps the next best offerings for curriculum, but not nearly the volume Piano Marvel has. We were also disappointed to find that in Playground sessions, you need to have a subscription and then pay extra for many of the songs and video lessons. It feels a bit like nickel and diming.

Ease of Use & Accessibility

Flowkey has done some really neat things here. Everything from creating an account, to logging in, to browsing through the music is very simple. We felt that Flowkey did the best job when it comes to ease of use. We particularly like how easy it is to search through the music library to find new pieces to learn. Yousician also has a pretty neat music library and searching through it is pretty easy. We felt that there is room for improvement here with both Piano Marvel and Playground Sessions.

Tools for Teachers & Group Classes

This category was owned by Piano Marvel. It was apparent that while the other piano learning systems seem to avoid piano teachers, Piano Marvel embraces them. We would have liked to see the user interface a little easier to use in Piano Marvel but the features designed for teachers were very useful. Yousician has some basic support for teachers but it does not seem to be a major focus of their product.

Image of people practicing the piano with Piano Marvel

Piano Marvel wins the DW award for best piano learning software of 2017-2018!

Image of the Piano Marvel Dashboard

Piano Marvel introduced a new dashboard design that makes navigating and finding new music easy.