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Posted: 01-19-21 9:26 pm
by reachdabeach
I have clicked on a few links lately; because of groups I am in and things I search for, they are always there, mixed in my news feed. 50 people want to teach me piano and/or keys for music production (there are differences). I can be improvising in 15 minutes and famous by the end of the week according to some of them.

Anyway, a couple stood out in their ads - Melodics and Piano Marvel. Both are highly interactive with your connected device, similar to Synthesia but with guided instruction and structured courses. But they are monthly subscription services and within 3 months or so you will have exceeded the cost of Synthesia. However, as is often pointed out, Synthesia is a practice aid and not a teaching site/course/whatever.

Once you get past the subscriptions and integrated courses, the similarities between the two services end. Piano Marvel is all about sheet music and sight reading. It's a major focus with a big part of the coursework on reading music and advanced sight reading. I read music, so I was able to jump into some of the lessons where I was playing. I really liked the way it was starting to teach me some improvisation. You get some coaching in some lessons, basically text read aloud at the beginning of doing some short licks that are in the key of the background track that plays after you get a couple of licks down. They have a large library of songs to play. Their deal for a trial is a free month with nothing but email required to sign up. But while on a free account, your access to content is limited. Pretty much old standards and nothing copyrighted. I do play a lot with straight sheet music, but I like being able to have falling notes and dots on keys in the early going on something new. I am also not really piano focused.

I don't think I have seen a clef or staff on Melodics and I did their brief introduction and some of a level 2 course on arpeggios. They do use note names and have graphics showing the keys. I assume somewhere in level 1 they did a little bit of explanation about note names and positions. Their interactive playing inside a lesson is nice. You get a chance to practice the fingering of chords and notes you will use in an exercise and then you have to remember them to some degree, seeing only note names falling for you to play at the right time. It's graded interactively and you can keep repeating but this is where their limitation on a free account gets you. Playing in a lesson for evaluation counts as "performance" and you get 30 minutes the first day, but then only 5 minutes a day after that, It's unlimited if you subscribe, of course. The content for free is also limited, but there is a fare amount. Melodics is geared more toward playing for music production; they do drum pads also. In the arpeggio course, the notes were driving a synth, not plinking a piano.

If I were to subscribe to one, it would be Melodics because of their focus toward people who use keyboards to produce all sorts of sounds and instruments and combine them to produce music. If drawn more toward true piano and being able to "really" read music, I would like Piano Marvel better. By "really" read, I mean picking up on all the bits of info in the score, not just being able to tell what notes get played for how long. I will use my 5 minutes on a lot of days with Melodics as just one more exercise.

They are both around $17 a month if you pay several in advance or closer to $30 if you go one at a time. I am too cheap to do either right now.

Posted: 01-20-21 9:53 am
by reachdabeach
I got an email about a couple of new lessons at Melodics that illustrates some difference in focus. I took a screenshot of the descriptions of those new courses:
NewLessonsAtMelodics.jpg (59.1 KiB) Viewed 6291 times
and took a screenshot of the first level Method lessons for Piano Marvel.
MarvelMethod.jpg (93.55 KiB) Viewed 6291 times
Piano Marvel divides lessons into Method, Technique and Sight reading, though sight reading is really just testing.

Further down in the Melodics mail they list a course on adding a synth melody track to an ambient song. That course requires a subscription. I am pretty sure they used my preferences and interests to dangle that in front of me. Anyway, I think it is clear by now that they focus on creative process in production and not about becoming a master pianist. But Piano Marvel is all about piano and while they have a lot of different genres in their library, classical looks deepest.

Posted: 01-20-21 1:41 pm
by Nicholas
Those screenshots show a rather stark contrast between the two! :lol: