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Playground Sessions comes to the table with heavy hitters such as Harry Connick JR, Quincy Jones, Mike Garson, etc. This online piano lesson platform has a lot to offer, and it has earned its place as one of the best options for online lessons. In this Playground Sessions review, we will be going over my overall thoughts on the platform and where it sits amongst its competitors.
For this review, I spent over three weeks going through the program and communicating with the team at Playground Sessions to ensure I understood everything it had to offer.
Before getting into this highly detailed review, I thought that Playground Sessions offers a fresh look at modern online piano lessons and clearly shows that this platform can help beginners and intermediate to advanced players who don’t want in-person classes.
Playground Sessions is a unique take on online piano lessons that offers something for all ages. If you're starting from scratch and looking for in-depth lessons and a massive song library that includes backing bands to accompany you - meet Playground Sessions.
- Massive song library that includes something from every genre
- Instant feedback that grades your playing
- An impressive team that includes legendary pianists
- Grading percentage that allows you to repeat the song/lesson to beat your previous score
- All of your data is recorded so that you can analyze where you need to improve
- Much more than just piano lessons, as it includes games, songs, and other fun features
- Available as an app and on desktop
- An easy-to-use interface makes it easy for kids to follow along
- Ability to use a digital or acoustic piano
- Play with a live backing band to get used to playing with a band
- A technology-heavy piano course that allows going at your own pace
- Great community
- Some may desire more video-formatted lessons
- The price might seem steep for those looking for lessons
*If you’re a beginner and still need to get a digital piano, please check out one of our guides on how to choose a digital piano.
Playground Sessions Overview
Playground Sessions is one of the most well-known online piano lesson platforms available. Playground Sessions does the song-learning platform better than any other lessons platform currently. With an impressive number of songs, quick feedback, the ability to replay the music, and the ability to play with a backing band, Playground Sessions delivers where most other platforms do not.
With the rise of e-learning, we have seen and reviewed all the significant lesson platforms. Playground Sessions is a top three online platform, no questions asked.
*As someone who has spent the better part of the last eight years touring and playing music on the big stage in Vinyl Theatre, I can vouch for Playground Sessions as a highly efficient learning platform.
The overall lesson flow uses both video lessons and takes a unique approach in which you learn the fundamentals while learning songs.
Bringing in legends like Mike Garson to have a separate series is also where Playground Sessions sets itself apart. Hearing the knowledge that Mike shares when he’s teaching songs and theory is something that you can’t put a price tag on.
What Do You Need For Playground Sessions?
What makes Playground Sessions so versatile is that, unlike most platforms, you can use a variety of instruments, whether it’s an acoustic piano, digital Piano, or MIDI controller.
I used a digital piano and MIDI controller for convenience while going through the lessons.
You will also need a computer, tablet, or smartphone to log into the app and access the material.
Playground Sessions Cost: Is It Worth It? 30 Day Money Back Guaruntee
Playground Sessions comes with a lighter price tag than other online platforms. If you compare this to what you pay at a traditional lesson, you save money in bulk
There are three different pricing options for a single membership, and there’s also a family membership in which you can save for each additional user.
Every account comes with the following:
- 100+ hours of video lessons with world-class teachers
- Step-by-step learning path
- Unlimited access to 2,000+ popular songs
- Unlimited access to classical and traditional songs
- In-depth, specialized courses
- Real-time feedback, scoring, and progress tracking
- Sheet music printing is available
For single membership, pricing is as follows:
- Monthly membership – at $24.99 a month
- Annual membership – at $12.49 a month, with the first year billed upfront
- Lifetime membership – at a one-off payment of $349.99
Family plans are offered as lifetime memberships at the following pricing:
- Two memberships – $479.99
- Three memberships – $579.99
- Four memberships – $684.99
- Five memberships – $789.99
Playground Sessions target beginner-level pianists. The platform assumes that you need to gain musical knowledge when starting. What I enjoy about the platform is that it’s not necessarily aimed just at kids.
You will enjoy this platform if you’re an adult looking to learn to play the Piano. From song choices to the overall feel, Playground Sessions makes it great for kids and fun for adults.
When using Playground Sessions on my PC, the workflow is superior to that of other piano lesson platforms.
I use it less often on my mobile device because I prefer a PC.
Upon making an account, you will be taken to the dashboard. The dashboard is the hub that will allow you to see your progress in real-time. You can also navigate to any section of Playground Sessions here.
Playground Sessions is broken down nicely into three sections:
- Bootcamp: This section is where you will learn the fundamentals of music theory and the basics of the Piano. It’s broken down into rookie, intermediate, and advanced, with each skill level introducing a more complex technique/theory.
- Courses: This is where one of my favorite parts of Playground Sessions lies, which is Mike Garsons’ videos. There are 18 videos from Garson and hundreds of tutorials/song challenges under the courses tab to keep you busy.
- Songs: The song section of Playground Sessions in unmatched for online lesson platforms. Songs are abundant for every genre, and you can enable a backing band for each piece.
The rookie bootcamp is where you are introduced to the fundamentals of piano. You start with the very baiscs of breaking down the piano, middle C, and slowly start to introduce theory that you will use throughout your journey.
Each one of these lessons is quick, yet effective and straight to the point. I suggest rewatching the videos as you progress so that you can drill the basics into your brain.
There is a ton of material in this section that adds up to over 93 different segments. Take your time and remember that there is no rush. At the end of the rookie bootcamp, you will begin to play pieces with both hands to get you prepped for intermedita boot camp.
I recommend starting to attempt additional songs on rookie mode while you’re going through rookie bootcamp as well.
Intermediate is where Playground Sessions ramps up. Get ready for a ton of music theory in which you will frequently use throughout your journey. If you’re one of those who was hoping they wouldn’t have to learn music theory, I would suggest to go the song section and then slowly introduce the bootcamp material.
While music theory isn’t the most exciting to learn, it is something that can’t be ignored and I believe it’s the most important part of playing the piano. This is where Playground Sessions excels once again. Similar to in-person lessons, Playground Sessions makes sure that you are learning the fundamentals so that you can become a fantastic pianist in the future, even if you introduce in-person lessons at some point.
The advaned section is where you begin to learn the concepts that will allow you to play the advanced pieces from the course. Once you are able to get through the material here, you will be able to play most of the songs from the advanced song selection.
You go over some useful techniques such as:
- 16th notes
- Arpeggios and how to play them
- 7th chords – major, minor, dominant
- Parallel octaves
If you make it this far in the course, you will by now have accomplished many great feats along the way. The course also would have accomplished its main goal, which is to get you to learn the fundamentals of piano, provide a fun experience, and get you up to speed to playing your favorite songs.
The song section is where I found myself spending a ton of time. This is done exceptionally well, as you can choose from an extensive list of genres and then determine the skill level.
If you need more confidence in your playing skills, fear not; it’s set up by going section by section and slowly piecing the song together. This is precisely like any in-person lesson I have done in my 25 years of playing the Piano.
The first song I chose to play was Sky Full Of Stars by Coldplay, as I’m familiar with this song. When you start the song, you focus on the main parts with only your right hand. Once you get the right hand down, you will switch to the left.
After playing each section, you will get a grade for instant satisfaction. You can then retry certain sections you struggled with to improve your score.
Lastly, you can jump around and learn specific parts of the song and clarify if you want to learn it with both hands together or if you wish to focus on one hand at a time.
The courses section sticks true to the platform’s theme, allowing you to search via rookie, intermediate, and advanced.
You can jump around here and try different courses simultaneously until you find which you want to focus on.
My favorite part of this and something I think everyone will find interesting is the Mike Garson course. It’s truly an amazing feeling to watch his course videos and he does a great job teaching fundamental material and providing insight.
I would recommend checking out a few of his videos towards the beginning of your rookie bootcamp to help with inspiration and to pick up a few awesome pointers.
What I Like
Playground does everything well and excels when it comes to its song platform. Having the ability to play some of your favorite songs at various skill levels is a piano hack for those who need to stay motivated. This is where the course sets itself apart from other platforms.
Once students have mastered their favorite tracks at a certain skill level, they can bring in a backing band to get the whole experience.
Playground Sessions Vs. Simply Piano
Playground Sessions and Simply Piano are two of my favorite platforms. The learning style of Playground Sessions is more to my liking as it’s not cartoon based with more human-to-human interaction.
Simply Piano is also great, but it’s geared more toward kids with a relaxed feel.
Playground Sessions VS Pianote
These are my two favorite platforms. Pianote has quite an impressive offering, and Playground Sessions stacks up well against it.
Pianote focuses more on teacher-student lessons, whereas Playground Sessions offers a far more extensive song library with some awesome instructionals by legendary pianists.
Playground Sessions is a unique piano lessons platform updated frequently, has accomplished pianists behind it, and a great team that continues to develop and take it to the next level.
If you need more clarification about trying it, I recommend Playground Sessions for those who want a refreshing and go-at-your-own-pace platform.