There are so many different options on the market when it comes to apps that help you to learn the piano, it can be really tough to know which one to choose. There are so many considerations. Is it worth the money? Will my app work with my hardware? Does it suit my learning style? Our latest comparison between Flowkey and Simply Piano should help you to establish which is likely to be the most helpful for you as a piano learner and the pros and cons of both.
Of course, all methods of piano learning have their own pros and cons, and none of them are perfect. So, it’s important that you work out your own specific needs and which app is best for you. Both Simply Piano and Flowkey have their merits, but one might be better for reading sheet music while another might get you started a lot quicker. It really depends upon what you want to get out of it.
Table of Contents
Getting Set Up
It is important that you establish compatibility with your piano or keyboard and with your computer or laptop. Apps don’t universally just work on any device (unfortunately) so before we go any further with our reviews we are going to have a quick look at compatibility and setup.
The first thing to know about Simply Piano is, unfortunately, a downside – it doesn’t work on a computer. Instead, you need to use it with a tablet or some other iOS or Windows tablet device. Most people opt for an iPad as it is easiest to see and often sits on top of your keyboard easily. The benefit of Simply Piano is that it can use the microphone on your device to “hear” the notes and interact with your playing, telling you what you’ve got right or what you’ve got wrong. You can connect via a USB cable for more reliable interaction.
The Flowkey app is more simple to use with laptops but most people still opt for a tablet as it is better for seeing an overview of what is happening and watching the music in front of you as you go through your piano lessons. Similarly, you can use the device microphone, but you can also find that it is more reliable if you connect both device and keyboard using a USB cable if possible. If you are using an acoustic piano then you don’t need to worry too much. Neither Flowkey or Simply Piano will be perfect when it comes to picking up the audio but they will do good job, especially when you are learning to play simple melodies.
Flowkey vs Simply Piano are very similar in terms of being easy to download and get started. Both offer short free trials, so you can even have a brief go with both to establish which is likely to suit your needs most.
Flowkey and Simply Piano Pricing
The pricing structure is another vital detail that most people can’t afford to ignore. When it comes to learning piano, most apps are a lot cheaper than getting a teacher to come and teach you the “old fashioned way” but that doesn’t mean that you can spend unlimited money. Playing the piano can be an expensive hobby so if you can save some cash this is definitely a positive.
Simply Piano does not have a membership that allows you to pay monthly. This can be a frustration, especially if you don’t want to spend a lot of money initially or if you are short of money and can’t pay for long periods of time upfront.
Both have 12-month plans which cost exactly the same, the overall price of these plans come to just under $120 no matter which you opt for. People paying yearly are paying the same for either Flowkey and Simply Piano so it doesn’t really matter which one you go for, at least not in terms of your bank balance.
A one-month Flowkey membership comes to $19.99, and to get the same rate with Simply Piano you have to pay for a three-month membership, which costs just under $60.
The final pricing consideration is the fact that only one of the apps allows you to pay for a lifetime membership. If you know that you are dedicated enough to learn piano and want to spend a long time on the app, for a number of years, a lifetime membership can save you money. Flowkey lets you buy one for just a shade under $300. It is a big investment, but if you know that music is going to be a big part of your life, the songs and sheet music within can help you playing piano even if you are an established player.
Prices are important, but both are going to be much cheaper than a piano teacher, and it is irrelevant if you don’t get as much out of the app as you could.
Curriculum and Approach to Learning
Both have their own unique ways of teaching the piano and do a brilliant job in their own way.
Flowkeys has more video lessons, which is obviously a different way to learn piano from the interactive piano interface that many of these apps, including Simply Piano use. Flowkey has this as well, but for video content, if you think this is the best way to ingest information then Flowkey might just shade it.
They both do teach a lot of aspects of music theory, learning how to play chords and generally understanding music and how music works. Simply Piano is certainly good at this, too, and arguably a little better when it comes to some aspects of music theory. It does more to help you to stay in time and you can’t play the piano to a high standard without gaining this skill!
Simply Piano also has some great little recaps after each section of the course, which helps you learn in a more succinct way. It definitely allows you to cement your knowledge.
Flowkey has some other great benefits when it comes to their approach to learning. If you want to learn at your own pace then Flowkey certainly has considered this. It’s hard to combine both hands and hard to stay in time with the music sometimes when you just start playing the piano. Flowkey lets you learn with sheet music one hand at a time so that you can eventually understand the piece of music better.
Simply Piano does something similar, if you get chords wrong then it might slow the piano demo down a bit to help you to learn more thoroughly before attempting again.
Both have thorough curriculums and teach you plenty, but Flowkey has a little more of a focus on music theory and sheet music when learning piano. If you are trying to learn piano you won’t go from 1 to 100 quickly, but with apps like these two you can go from 1 to 50! It can certainly take you from beginner to intermediate player.
One thing that could arguably be a little bit better in the Flowkey app is the fact that it doesn’t really teach you much about hand positioning an the very very basics. It assumes a small, but sometimes significant level of knowledge before you even start to learn any songs, melodies and chords.
Ultimately, if you go through either of these apps you will end up with a pretty similar level of knowledge, with a bit more focus on music theory with Simply Piano.
Simply Piano has a great feature where it splits the course into two sections and gives you two paths to follow depending on what you want to get out of your app. If you want to become a virtuoso with a focus on classical music then you should probably go for the “Solo” path. If you want to play accompaniment then Simply Piano’s chords path will let you learn how to play chords and sing along to. This is probably a good idea if you aspire to be a keyboard player rather than an out and out classical musician.
Which app is easiest to use? We’re basically splitting hairs here, both are very simple to navigate and understand. If you are familiar with using a lot of different apps on your tablet or phone then you will have no trouble working out how to get through the numerous lessons of these two apps.
Flowkey’s interface can have a bit of a downside in that there are a lot of popups. If you are learning on a tablet or laptop then this can be annoying, but on a phone, it can be almost impossible to get to the tiny controls on the app to close these popups!
It is worth mentioning once again that Simply Piano does not have an option to learn via laptop. This makes it even more important that you have the right app for learning that has a simple, straightforward interface.
It is also worth mentioning the microphone options, which both of these apps do have. They allow you to play acoustic piano and they recognize whether you are playing the right notes, but this technology is not without its flaws. Honestly, it isn’t perfect with either app, we think this tech still has some way to come before it is totally reliable. It is recommended that if you really want to get the most out of your app then you should use a digital piano or keyboard connected to the app.
This is one of the hardest things when trying to compare Flowkey vs Simply Piano. Both of their song libraries are absolutely brilliant, but for slightly different reasons. Both have hundreds of songs that you can access, and you don’t have to pay monthly for extra access to the songs or per song, which is a disadvantage of some of the other apps. For instance, if you learn using Playground Sessions, you only get a certain allowance every month after which you have to buy the individual songs you want to learn.
The Flowkey app focuses on variety when it comes to their app and allowing people to choose the songs they want to play. There are songs in so many different categories, which vary from game music to pop to classical. The songs are all categorized by their mood, so you can learn specific melancholy songs if you wish to, as an example.
Simply Piano also has a huge library with hundreds of songs including their sheet music. These are divided into sections such as intro and chords, which may not be the traditional ways of categorizing music but it can help you to pinpoint melodies and sections you want to play. New songs get added periodically to the song library to allow you to keep things fresh.
Pros and Cons of Simply Piano
Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of Simply Piano to help you to establish whether this is the right app for you to learn how to play.
Pros and Cons of Flowkey
Flowkey is one of the top apps out there, but it still has some negatives. For some it will be perfect but it isn’t the only app out there to consider.
Conclusion – Is Simply Piano or Flowkey Better For You?
There is a lot to consider here, but we must say that it is splitting hairs. We think the best way to work out which of these piano apps is for you is to get the trials and have a play around. Flowkey vs Simply Piano, it’s virtually impossible to answer.
Flowkey does have more flexible membership options which can make it a great choice for people who are watching the finances. It is sometimes a cheaper option, especially if you are going in for the lifetime membership.
If we were going to be really harsh, we would maybe say that Simply Piano is better for sheet music and music theory as it is more strict on timing and it forces you to play the piano in the correct tempo before you advance, it is also very useful for those who want to see more video content as this is shown under the piano roll section of the music.
Neither stands out as being far better than the other. We’d give both a solid 9/10 rating, but if you want to use a laptop, your decision might be made for you as Flowkey is the app that can accommodate.