What is Piano Marvel? And how do you use Piano Marvel to practise sight-reading? Read this 2020 review to find out all about Piano Marvel.
If you’re someone who prefers a more interactive learning method and doesn’t mind using technology, then a piano app like Piano Marvel could be for you.
Piano Marvel is great for getting feedback on your performance, keeping track of your progress and keeping you motivated. But did you know that Piano Marvel is also a fantastic resource to practise your sight-reading skills?
Let’s take a closer look at Piano Marvel and see how it all works.
What is Piano Marvel?
Piano Marvel is a membership site and app where you can learn piano by yourself with the help of video tutorials and keep track of your progress. It offers lessons on note-reading, rhythm, technique and ear training. It contains a huge library of more than 25,000 pieces and exercises from beginner to advanced in several genres such as classical, pop and gospel.
Unlike other piano learning platforms, Piano Marvel also includes a sight-reading test called the SASR.
What is SASR?
SASR stands for “Standard Assessment of Sight-Reading”. It’s a sight-reading test you can take at any time and as many times as you like, to assess and practise your sight-reading skills. It gives you a score based on the number of correct notes you played and keeps track of your progress so that when you retake the test, you resume where you left off.
How does SASR work?
From your dashboard, click on SIGHT-READING -> START TEST NOW then select a level (Beginner, Intermediate or Advanced). You’ll be given a piece suited to your current level, and you’ll have 20 seconds to scan the music. In that time, you can also adjust the settings for the metronome and backing track by clicking on CTRL in the bottom right-hand corner.
When done, click on Continue to sight-read the next piece. You can stop the test at any time by clicking on the X in the top right-hand corner or keep going until you have scored three times below 80%. You will be given a score at the end of the test, 100 being the lowest and 1900 being the highest.
Watch this short video to see the SASR in action:
How to use Piano Marvel?
To get the most out of all of Piano Marvel’s features, you need a MIDI-enabled keyboard or digital piano. You can either plug your piano to a laptop or an iPad with a USB A/B cable (or a USB MIDI interface cable, depending on your piano).
What are the pros and cons of SASR?
- User friendly
Piano Marvel is user friendly and intuitive. You can easily navigate from one section to the next and see everything at a glance on the dashboard.
- See your progress
In the “Method” and “Technique” sections, you can see how many levels you’ve done from the number of trophies you’ve received. You can also see which exercises you’ve completed and what scores you got. This can help you stay motivated.
- Three practice modes
When learning a piece from the library, you can choose between three practice modes: whole, chopped or minced. Whole means practising the whole piece in one go; chopped means practising short sections hands together, and minced means practising short sections hands separately. Piano Marvel keeps track of every section you do for any of these three practice modes.
- Practice minutes and day streak
On your dashboard, you will see at a glance how many minutes you have practised in the current month and for how many days in a row.
- No page turns
Whether you’re doing the sight-reading test or learning a piece, the music will automatically scroll up and down for you at the right times which means you don’t need to worry about page turns and can concentrate on the music.
- Backing tracks
The pieces and sight-reading excerpts come with backing tracks which you can turn on or off.
- Printable scores
If you want to have a paper copy of a score, you can download the PDF and print it. However, some scores are not available for print due to copyright.
- SASR does the work for you
The SASR tracks your scores and determines which excerpts you should play next so you never have to spend time looking for pieces to sight-read. This can save you a lot of time!
- Practice goals
You can set practice goals for the current month or next month. All you need to do is click on “Set Goals” in your dashboard and enter the number of practice minutes you plan to practise.
- The sight-reading excerpts are not always clear
Sometimes, the phrase marks in the sight-reading excerpts look a bit messy and make the score hard to read.
- Not compatible with an acoustic piano
While you can use Piano Marvel with an acoustic piano in book mode, you will miss out on Piano Marvel’s best features, that is, getting feedback and scores on your performance and keeping track of your progress and your practice minutes.
- iOS only
Piano Marvel is only available for iOS devices (Mac and iPad) and Windows. It does not run on Android or Chromebook at this time.
- Limited flexibility
While you can adjust the settings of the SASR test such as the volume of the metronome and the backing track, you can’t adjust the tempo. Futhermore, you can’t repeat any of the excerpts, which means you only get one chance for each excerpt.
How much is Piano Marvel?
You can have a free account but to have access to all of Piano Marvel’s features, all levels and unlimited SASR tests, you need to upgrade to a premium account and pay a monthly subscription of US$15.99 or US$110.99 per year. However, with the discount code “pianosightreading“, you can get a monthly subscription for $12.99.
Who is Piano Marvel for?
Piano Marvel is both for kids and adults. It’s suitable for piano students, self-taught pianists and piano teachers.
Is Piano Marvel worth it?
If you want to have access to a large collection of sheet music and video tutorials and want to practise note-reading, rhythm, ear training, technique and sight-reading all in one place, then Piano Marvel is definitely worth the money.
To create your Piano Marvel account now at a discounted price, click on the following link: https://pianomarvel.com/create-account/pianosightreading.
Alternatively, you can go to the Piano Marvel website and add the discount code “pianosightreading” when signing up. You can cancel and resume your membership from your account at any time (all your practice trophies will be saved).
Over to you
Are you tempted to try Piano Marvel? Or if you’ve tried it, what do you think? Let me know in the comments below.
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