Technology has helped humans today in every way possible. It has made life easier and much more convenient. It has also made the world a global village, and helped us increase our connectivity with the rest of the world. It has become such a helping hand that it allows us to get almost everything done, right from our living rooms, in our pj’s!
Apart from getting things done, the internet has always helped us in learning many new things. Be it any form of art or any skill, we can now learn all of those from the comfort zone of our homes. This reduces the hassle of getting ready, going out in the heat or in the rain, catching a bus, and getting stuck in traffic. Even if one is ready to face all of these, the availability of time is another factor that often stops us from trying out something new.
Nobody has free time in today’s world. Everybody is busy. And to take out time from this busy schedule to learn a form of art or a skill is next to impossible for all. This is why online teaching and learning apps have gained their hard earned popularity among people today!
When you finally get some time off work, instead of binge watching your favorite Netflix show (again!), why don’t you try out doing something productive that could also be fun and new! This is when music learning apps come into the scene. These have been on the internet for quite some time now and have been hugely accepted by all people. And what better instrument to learn than the soulful and melodious piano!
What is a piano learning app?
A piano learning app is a place where you can learn and practice playing the piano, anytime and anywhere. You can simply download it on your smartphone, your tablet or your PC, and play the piano wherever you feel like instead of going out and taking classes. You can create an interest in your kids’ minds to start playing the piano, since learning to play any instrument is something that will stay with them throughout their lives.
Though there are many piano learning apps available on the internet, today we are going to review Playground Sessions, which is apparently one of the most popular apps available for learning to play the piano. So, go through our review and check out if the app you are looking for is Playground Sessions.
Playground Sessions- Introduction
Playground Sessions was founded back in 2010 and is headquartered in New York City. It was founded by Chris Vance, and was later joined by Quincy Jones after about two years. It is basically a piano learning app which enables the viewers learn from home. It also includes interactive videos by experts to help out the learners in every way possible.
It is often difficult to properly learn and convey your doubts merely to a screen. But the presence of interactive videos makes it easier for the learners to actually learn just the way they would in a physical class, or maybe, even better. So, the use of artificial intelligence in this learning app is a plus point that we cannot ignore.
Features and Instructions
This app also allows the learners to socialize and play with other learners from different parts of the world. This is another plus point as it makes learning so much more fun. It allows you to make new friends that have the same interest, and collaborate with them, and even learn from them.
The app also allows you to select from the difficulty levels offered by it. This means that you can simply play according to your own comfort level and you will not be forced to play at a difficult level when you are not ready for it. A beginner will obviously not be able to play at a high difficulty level right away. So, instead of feeling pressurized, you can select any difficulty level you please, without be afraid of getting judged, and then can move ahead according to your own personal progress.
It is an extremely easy to use app, according to our research. The app uses software that has interactive sheet music which helps in keeping a check on the players’ performances and whether or not they are matching the notes. It uses a MIDI keyboard and teaches with the help of video demonstrations. The students simply have to connect their keyboards to devices that run the software.
The main reason why Playground Sessions may be regarded as one of the best piano learning apps is the involvement of the names of renowned musicians from around the world. Once you hear that the app was co-founded by the legendary Quincy Jones, you can rarely stop yourself from using it. It provides its students with lessons from personalities like Harry Connick Jr, which is again one of the top reasons why people may get attracted towards this app.
The subscription plans offered by Playground Sessions is also quite convenient and is gives the user the leniency to select their own way. One can subscribe to it on a monthly basis, a yearly one, or for lifetime. It may not be the cheapest piano learning app available, but it is also not the most expensive one! Its payment methods are convenient too- it accepts credit and debit cards, and PayPal.
The lifetime subscription would cost you $349.99 which is a huge amount, and is recommended only if you are totally dedicated and committed towards playing the piano; otherwise, you can simply go for the other memberships, which are affordable.
Another thing we liked about Playground Sessions is that unlike other piano learning apps, it does not provide any huge benefits to its users that have opted for a lifetime membership. We feel this is good because most of the time, people who have subscribed to monthly plans may feel that they are not being able to explore the app fully, or simply feel neglected by the app just because they couldn’t afford or didn’t want to go for a more expensive plan.
By keeping all benefits and perks equal for all of its users, irrespective of the plans they have subscribed to, Playground Sessions is able to keep its users satisfied and make them feel valued for whichever subscription they have selected.
The main motto of Playground Sessions is to let the user learn by actually playing, unlike other piano learning apps that do not allow a hands-on experience until and unless the user has completely mastered the basics of piano playing. Playground Sessions, on the other hand, believes that allowing their user to play right away would help them learn fast and brush up their skills in no time.
All of the basics are taught in the Bootcamp that comes with 3 difficulty levels, as mentioned earlier. It helps the player keep a record of their performance very easily, since the software marks the correct and incorrect notes and breaks it down into a percentage, so that you can record your progress and learn from your mistakes.
There is also level upgradation as you go on earning points. We feel this feature keeps the student motivated to do better and reach higher levels. There are a variety of tutors that will be guiding you through your journey of playing the piano and help you build a relationship with them, just like you would do in a physical class. Although, there is one benefit that is not provided by Playground Sessions, and that is the chance to work one-on-one with a certain tutor. This benefit is provided by very few piano learning apps, and it would be great if Playground Sessions adopted it too.
The teaching techniques of this app are quite commendable as they use various perks to attract and motivate the students to do better. There are certain courses available which are unlocked depending on the students’ performance and improvement. It provides a huge number of songs for you to learn to play. These songs can be bought by earning song credits, which are provided at a number of 5 to all monthly and annual subscribers every month.
Though some piano players have the habit of or want the facility of being able to read the music before playing it. This feature is not provided by Playground Sessions, which turns out to be a negative point. And no matter how detailed and advanced the teaching techniques may be, this app is simply not for kids. Kids and teens would find this app a bit complex and confusing; since it does not follow other apps and directly lets you play.
It uses popular songs to teach people so that it is fun for them to learn. But, it is often opposed that simply using popular movie songs is not the correct way to teach the basics of piano playing. Yes, their lessons are definitely fun, but it would much better if they started from a more initial level, where a person who has absolutely no idea about the basics of a piano can still learn to play one. They need to understand that just because a person listens to a certain popular song doesn’t necessarily mean that they already know the musical concepts that are indulged in the song.
Though we cannot ignore the fact that the lessons provided by Playground Sessions are really fun and customizable, there are many concepts involved in playing a piano that have been covered in this app without any kind of video demonstration. It is not something that can be understood just by reading, and getting a visual demonstration is absolutely necessary. Few important techniques, say scales and triad, are not given as much importance as they should be given. Also, there is no lesson that teaches the symbols used in music, the terms and dynamics.
There is also no importance given on musical expression. Even though the app makes sure that you are hitting the right notes, and makes you aware of the incorrect ones, it does not let you know if your playing sounds musical and does not guide you with expressions and speeds, as it ideally should. The sheet music provided is also not original and are just arrangements so that it is easier for the student to cope up.
Playground Sessions is definitely one of the most popular piano learning apps known to people, but we do not agree that it is the best that is available. It has amazing features, and a very few limitations, but none of these limitations are negligible.
It definitely abides by its motto, which is to make learning fun. Its lessons are fun, hands down. And its techniques are advanced too. But the only major problem with it is that it teaches the students as if they already have some prior knowledge in this field. It is not a suitable platform for you if you have no idea about playing a piano, which is not your fault, but the app’s inefficiency.
It should be able to provide a platform for people who are willing to learn and may or may not have knowledge about the basics. It’s techniques are commendable and its features are better than most other piano learning apps. But it is a bit too advanced, and is not suitable for kids or for adults who are completely new to this field.
If we ignore these cons, then the list of pros is long as well. It lets you learn popular and latest movie songs so that your lessons are not boring, but are rather interesting, since you already know these songs. Each song also comes with a back track of instruments like strings, drums, etc, to make your lessons even more fun and your music sound better.
It allows you to customize the difficulty levels, the songs that you want to learn, and the learning methods that you want to opt for. It gives you complete freedom so that you can work and learn according to your convenience and comfort level.
It also keeps a track of your progress and makes you aware of your mistakes so that you can work on them.
Overall, on a scale of 1 to 10, we would give this app an 8. It is a good app to play piano and learn new songs, with fun, but not the best one to start your piano learning journey with.
Hence, it is not the BEST piano learning app, but definitely a good one!
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