Skoove provides online piano courses through an e-learning platform. Founded in 2014, their mission is to make music education accessible to everyone regardless of income or education. We were recently given the opportunity to trial the app in our home and we’d like to share our experiences.
Firstly, a little more about Skoove and how it works…
Skoove is an online program that provides piano lessons in an interactive way. The program provides guidance and feedback, either through the app on iOS or through a web browser on a laptop or computer. It is designed so that anyone of any age can develop their piano or keyboard skills. Skoove teaches theoretical music knowledge and the principles of composition and freestyle playing; this includes how to read music sheets and tips to compose they’re own original music. Through carefully crafted lessons, Skoove combines theory with practice, allowing students to learn how to play the piano with their favourite music pieces.
Regardless of skill-level or taste in music, Skoove offers 19 different courses, over 400 lessons, and hundreds of popular tracks. As students are playing, Skoove’s audio-analysis algorithm will analyse their playing technique through the microphone on their smartphone, iPad, or computer. Each student will receive personalised feedback together with guidance to help them learn the correct technique. Students may also request an individual consultation by Skoove’s own music teacher.
Out of the millions of lessons played Skoove extracts new, quantifiable results concerning the students’ progress. These results are used in developing individual learning methods that are being directly integrated into the curriculum. Skoove’s didactic concept combines established music education with the possibilities of modern digital technology.
Our Thoughts on Skoove
We have tried a number of music programs for the boys before and this is what we liked best about Skoove:
- Skoove is a true music learning program. It not only teaches you how to play the piano but it also provides information about piano theory. This allows you to take your knowledge and apply it to any sheet music.
- Each lesson provides a graduated process for learning a song on the piano. Each song is broken into segments. Players will learn to play each segment with single hands in their own time and progress in a step-by-step fashion towards playing the whole song with both hands in time with the accompanying music.
- Corresponding hands on the piano. Skoove allows you to see where your hands should be on the piano and which fingers you should use to play each note.
- Wide coverage of lesson material. Skoove provides lessons suitable for beginner players with no experience to intermediate players with some learning experience to advanced players with significant knowledge of piano playing. You can choose to start at any level you are comfortable with.
- Skoove is interactive. It allows you to get direct feedback on your playing.
- Personally, I like that the notes don’t move while you’re playing them. For a number of piano programs we have tried, the musical notation usually scrolls across the screen from right to left as you play the music.
What Could be Better
There were a few things I thought could be better:
- If you’re a student with some piano experience, you need to work out which lesson to start with. For instance, I’ve studied piano up to Grade 5 but I wasn’t sure if that placed me in the intermediate or advanced lessons. For G1 and G2 who have not followed a traditional piano program, I have even less of an idea where to start them.
- For the lessons where the program waits for you to play the notes correctly, it sometimes has difficulty detecting the note. For instance, if I have to play a chord (say C, E, G), even if I play the chord correctly, it might not be able to detect that I’ve played the C note. I have to hit the key quite hard to get the app to detect it. Since we have an electronic piano, I am not sure if it is a fault of the electric piano or the iPad microphone. We have yet to try the app on a real piano to see if the feedback is better. Regardless of the reason, the program’s inability to detect the note played can make this part of the learning process quite tedious.
- It would be nice to have a feature that allows you to adjust the pace of the music so you can slow it down if you aren’t ready to play the music at its natural pace. Currently, the app only allows you to play the music “on-hold” where it waits until you play the notes correctly, or at the normal pace of the song.
- There does not appear to be an option to set up individual profiles for the whole family to use the app. While not impossible, it does make it less convenient for the kids to keep track of their own lessons when we’re all using the same app. I could be wrong about this – perhaps I’ve missed the settings for it.
Features I’m “On the Fence” About
- In another program we used, we were given three stars at the end of a lesson to tell us how well we’ve done and how much room for improvement there is. While it’s good to know how we’re progressing, I found that it sometimes distracted G2 from the real goal of the lesson – to learn. He would get upset if he didn’t finish a lesson with 3 stars and would be determined to hit three stars whatever the cost. A feature that was designed to help him learn better was having the opposite result of distracting him from the learning. Skoove does not provide a starred assessment at the end of each lesson. You can decide whether this is a feature you prefer to have or not.
Skoove Free Trial
Skoove is offering a free trial so you can give the program a go before deciding if you would like to continue with a paid membership. Membership fees are available at:
- 1 month – $19.99/month
- 3 months – $13.99/month
- 12 months – $9.99/month