Are you wondering what Piano Marvel equipment you need to get started? You’ve come to the right place to find out! Follow my 4-Step Guide to make sure you have the necessary devices and cables.

Then take a look at my recommended optional supplies, including curriculum books and flashcards.


4-Step Guide to Choosing the Right Piano Marvel Equipment

Minimum Requirements: PC: Windows Vista or later and 4 GB RAM memory; i-Core processor Mac: OSX 10.8 or later and 4 GB RAM memory
Shop for Top Rated Laptops on Amazon

We use this Dell laptop for Piano Marvel, and it works very well. The response time is very short, and it has good sound quality.
Now you're ready to install the Piano Marvel app in Chrome or Firefox and create an account. Remember to use promo code KATE if you want 20% off a monthly premium account. I receive a small commission if you use my promo code. If you will be using Book Mode only: Get started in Piano Marvel using my Quick-Start Guide. If you want to connect your device to a MIDI-enabled keyboard: Move on to Step 2.
Recommendation: iOS 10 or later 2017 Model or newer Any version will work, but newer iPads will run Piano Marvel more smoothly.

Shop for Top Rated iPads on Amazon
Now you're ready to install the Piano Marvel app (commission link) and create an account. Use promo code KATE if you want 20% off a monthly premium account. If you will be using Book Mode only: Get started in Piano Marvel using my Quick-Start Guide. If you want to connect your device to a MIDI-enabled keyboard: Move on to Step 2.
Minimum Requirements:

At least 61 keys
MIDI or USB connection

Shop for Top Rated Keyboards on Amazon


Piano Marvel Casio CTK-3500 Package: includes keyboard, cables & 1 year of Piano Marvel Premium Membership

Price: $279.99 Piano Level: Beginner This keyboard is sold by Piano Marvel as a Piano Marvel equipment package. So you get the beginner keyboard, necessary cables, and 1-Year Premium membership. This is the easiest way to get started with Piano Marvel. Note: I receive a small commission if you use my distributor link.
Yamaha Digital Pianos: Yamaha is widely known for its high-quality instruments. My family practices on a Yamaha Clavinova digital piano we've had for over 20 years, so I can attest to its reliability and quality. Shop for the top-rated Yamaha digital pianos on Amazon. Choose one that fits your budget and desired options.
No matter how hard they try, playing on a digital piano will never be exactly like playing on an acoustic. It might sound very similar or even better (depending on how good/bad your acoustic piano is), but the feel of it just isn't the same because one is electric-based and the other is string-based. A beginner or even an intermediate player can progress well using a digital piano, but an advanced player should be using an acoustic piano. You could look into getting the QRS PNOScan that can give your acoustic piano digital capabilities, but it's pricey (at least $4k plus installation). If you're an advanced player who wants to use Piano Marvel, you can either do most of your practicing on the acoustic piano, then pass off the song using a digital piano, or just use Book Mode (you just won't get a score).
If you have an acoustic piano with no MIDI capabilities, I would recommend that you use Book Mode in Piano Marvel. You can still play along with the accompaniment and utilize many of the tools on the program. When you feel like you played the song well enough, you can mark the song as completed.
It’s important to get a high-quality cable. Otherwise, your connection will be lost frequently and using Piano Marvel will become frustrating (I know this from experience!). For Apple products, make sure you use Apple brand cables.

For Laptop Users:


Choose: USB A/B cable (also called a printer cable; you might already have an extra one in your cable stash)


Choose: USB to MIDI cable



This is the high-quality MIDI cable recommended by Piano Marvel.

For iPad Users:


Choose: USB A/B cable + Lightning to USB Adapter

    


Option 1: USB to MIDI for Mac, PC and iOS, Lightning Version



Connections are provided for both an iPad (4th generation and newer) and a computer (Mac/PC).


Option 2: USB to MIDI + Lightning To USB Camera Adapter (if you want to be able to charge your iPad while using Piano Marvel)

    

If you’re still not sure which cable you need, check your owner’s manual or email Piano Marvel customer support at: contactus@pianomarvel.com. This video made by the Piano Marvel tech expert is also extremely helpful.
Recommendation:

5 MBPS or higher internet speed

Now that you have your Piano Marvel equipment, you’re ready to get started in Piano Marvel using my Quick-Start Guide!


Optional Supplies & Resources

If you’re using the Piano Marvel curriculum, having printed copies of the Piano Marvel books is incredibly important. You will be able to play your songs on an acoustic piano, and you will also get good theory practice by using the printed books. I will also give you recommendations of other supplies and resources to use with Piano Marvel.

Method Books

First of all, print out the Method PDF Book or buy a copy (I receive a small commission if you use the links provided). In the “Method” section, there’s a small link above the song list that says, “Method Book 1 (PDF).” If you click on that, a PDF version of the book will open up and you can print your favorite songs from there. It is 77 pages long, so you may not want to print the entire book! My preference is to pay the ~$15 and have the book shipped.

Piano Marvel booksThe Method pieces are in the book so you can also play the songs on your regular acoustic piano–definitely make sure you do that often.  Playing on a keyboard or even a good digital piano just can’t be the same as playing on a real piano.  Also, there are duet parts included in every song so if there’s someone else in the house that can play the piano, you’ll have a fun time playing the songs together (“Peter, Peter” is a great one to play with someone else!). The book also has little tidbits of instruction to teach you new concepts, just like a regular piano method book. In the beginning, it teaches you about posture, correct technique, and other important concepts.

August 2017 Piano Marvel Update:

The PDF versions of the Method books have been revised to include Theory, such as writing in the names of the notes for the songs. The new versions are now for sale in the Piano Marvel store so you can take advantage of the important Theory components.

Piano Marvel books
Theory component from Method Level 1

Technique Books

Not only can you print out the Method books, but you can print out the Technique books as well. However, I feel that printing out the Technique book for Level 1 is unnecessary. It’s much more exciting playing these exercises on Piano Marvel. No duets are included, and once you pass the songs off in Piano Marvel, you usually don’t need to review them. Later on when you start learning scales (beginning in Level 3), it will be helpful to have printable copies of those.

Piano Marvel books
Piano Marvel Technique Level 3

Music Flashcards

I’ve also created Piano Marvel flashcards on Quizlet, a free online program/app that helps you learn and practice flashcards of basic music terms in a fun, interactive format. You can learn the terms in the “Flashcards” section and then see how quickly you can match the terms with their definitions in the “Match” section. The other sections don’t work well with these flashcards, so I would just stick with “Flashcards” and “Match.” I divided the terms by Piano Marvel level and sublevel. Here are the Piano Marvel Level 1 flashcards. And here are the Piano Marvel Level 2 flashcards.

If you’re not using the Piano Marvel curriculum, consider getting a basic set of flashcards so you can learn important music terminology and note names.

You can also use apps such as MusicTutor Sight Read (android) to learn the names of the notes and key signatures. Notes! Learn to Read Music is the only decent iOs app I found that allows you to select which notes you want to drill. Please comment below if you know of any other good note apps.

Happy Piano Marvel playing!

3 Comments

  1. This is great, I'll get started soon. I'll tell all my friends about this.

  2. There are a dozen or more Site-Reading apps for Android phones… some use a keyboard and some use letters to quiz you. Making physical flashcards is unnecessary.

    1. Thanks for your comment! I mentioned in a different post that there are apps for learning the names of the notes, but I forgot to mention that in this post. I will add that information here. The app I like is Music Tutor Sight Read. I don’t know of any good apps that quiz you on music terms though. If you have any recommendations, please let me know. I do have to say that physical flashcards haven’t completely lost their value though. When teaching kids, physical flashcards sometimes work better.

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