An in-depth look at the piano learning app.
Last Updated: January 2023 | Article Details: 2650 Words (13 – 15 minute read)
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Thanks for checking out this complete review of Flowkey. We’ll get into what’s included, how it works, a personal experience and whether it’s right for you.
We’ll also talk about how much it costs and how well it compares to other options.
Be sure to check out our full list of rankings of the best piano lessons online.
Let’s get right into it…
Table of Contents
7.6/10 Stars Overall
Key Decision Making Factors
- Ease of Use – 8/10 – clean interface, well designed. Easy to setup, navigate and use. Lesson tracker works well but skipping lessons is cumbersome
- Comprehensiveness – 7/10 – not the most comprehensive in terms of theory, but goes over all necessary fundamentals. Song library is quite extensive.
- Lesson Quality – 8/10 – very well shot, short and concise theory lessons with good quality exercises, songs have multiple levels of difficulty from beginner to pro
- Affordability – 7/10 – not the most affordable, but pricing in line with industry standards. Yearly option is a good value.
- Standout Features – 8/10 – interactive learning element is the best implementation we’ve tried. Don’t need a MIDI piano to use – works with all types.
Is FlowKey Worth It? Our Recommendation
Should You Subscribe: YES you should subscribe if you’re a beginner that wants a more traditional approach to piano lessons or you’re an intermediate/advanced student that wants a fantastic selection of songs to learn. However, if you’re more interested in learning to play by ear or improvise this isn’t the best option. In that case, HearAndPlay’s course is better. Read the rest of this Flow Key review to learn why.
In a nutshell, it’s the best piano lesson for most people.
What is Flowkey?
This is a training aide that on first glance seems similar to other options in the market – with one very big difference.
It’s an interactive app-based learning and practice program. You watch short video lessons and then play exercises that actually follow-along with you by listening for the sound your piano makes. It’s one of the best ways to learn and practice we’ve come across. This program also has one of our favorite song selections for an online program.
So, is Flowkey good?
Yes. It’s our #1 choice overall but it’s not my personal favorite. I prefer the teaching style and content of HearAndPlay’s courses, but that isn’t for everybody. FlowKey, on the other hand, is one of the better general online piano lessons we’ve come across that’s great for almost anybody wanting to learn piano.
In short, YES we do recommend subscribing if you’re interested in learning to play the piano as a beginner or even intermediate student.
More About the Program
This is a great learning app, overall.
The only reason it’s not my personal favorite is because it’s a more traditional way of learning how to play piano – you learn the basics and then dive into songs. That’s not something most other reviews really touch on, but it was important to use here at Deviant Noise. There are modules on improvising and playing “by-ear” so to speak, but it’s not the main focus of the courses or app.
But that doesn’t mean it isn’t the best option for most people. Learning songs is an absolutely great way to understand the building blocks of some of the most popular and loved music in the world. It’s an essential part of the education process. That’s why we absolutely recommend students try out Flowkey as part of their education whether or not they use another piano course.
The best part about my initial experience was how you learn. Rather than just reading a book or watching a video and going about your merry way, with their app you can learn interactively. It follows along with you as you play your piano during the exercises in real-time.
That’s an extremely valuable way of learning and practicing. And since it’s got the best collection of songs to learn, it’s the best option to learn piano.
- Free Account (limited access)
- USD $19.99 / month (7 day free trial of premium)
- USD $119.88 / year
Note: The Lifetime Membership was a great value offering, but isn’t currently an option anymore.
- Online video lessons from complete beginner to advanced
- Song lessons featuring many popular/classic options
- Interactive learning experience (via web browser or downloadable app)
- Several different modes of learning/practicing
- Free to join + a 7 day free trial of premium membership (on annual plan)
- The best implementation of interactive learning software we’ve seen
- Doesn’t require MIDI keyboard only – use computer/tablet microphone with an acoustic/digital instrument
- Massive selection of songs to play from (over 1500 at last count)
- Songs are popular and classic choices – something for everyone
- Affordable yearly option
- Gets beginners up to speed with quick video instructions and interactive practice lesson
- Advanced controls make navigating/practicing/learning lessons easier and more intuitive/natural
- Cost is high, but in line with other options out there.
- Main focus on sight reading, only a small focus on playing by ear or improvising/composing music
- Very traditional structure of teaching/learning
- App listening to your playing can be janky sometimes
- Skipping lessons while keeping lesson tracker updated is cumbersome
- No longer offering the Lifetime Membership option
Who This Program is Best For:
- Complete beginners looking to get up to speed fast and get to playing their favorite songs
- Intermediate or advanced players who want access to the best song library of all online piano lessons
- People who prefer learning with video lessons and not audio/video
- People who are interested in learning how to play popular/classic music that people love, in multiple difficulty levels
- People who want a traditional methodology/approach of piano instruction (based on sight reading)
How it Stacks Up to Competitors
As mentioned above, there are other options out there that do similar things to this app. I’ve reviewed other learning software like Melodics and Playground Sessions on this site, but so far FlowKey is my favorite implementation of interactive learning.
So why is that?
Flowkey vs. Playground Sessions
Playground sessions is a very similar program, in that it is an interactive learning app with some basic theory lessons. It works pretty well too, but we found Flowkey to be a much better implementation of the teaching method. It was just smoother to use, even though both apps can be a bit janky at times.
But in terms of song selection, there’s no comparison. Flowkey has a MUCH better selection of songs to learn. That’s why it’s our #1 pick.
Flowkey vs. Melodics
Melodics is another similar training app, but there are a few major differences. Melodics isn’t exactly a piano lesson program in a traditional sense. It started out as a practice tool for finger drumming. It then expanded into keys afterwards. But the main issue is that you’ll need a MIDI keyboard to actually use the app. There is no “listening” functionality like in Flowkey that can just detect notes from a regular piano.
Melodics also doesn’t have a mobile/web app, and again the songs available to learn aren’t as great.
What’s Included and How it All Works
With a FREE account, you’re given limited access to the platform.
This includes a free complete beginner’s guide, and a small selection of beginner video/interactive lessons. You can also learn 8 different songs to learn with your free account.
- Amazing Grace
- Brahms’ Lullaby
- Bella Ciao
- Ode to Joy
- Swan Lake Theme
- Happy Birthday To You
- Clair de Lune
- Bach’s Prelude No. 1 in C
When you unlock Premium (try it free for 7 days) you get access to everything the site has to offer.
This includes all course lessons:
- Introduction (basics and fundamentals)
- Playing With Both Hands
- Intermediate Piano Playing
- Music Reading Training
- Playing Scales
- Mastering Chords
- Improvising With Chords
And of course you get full access to the over 1500 song library to learn whatever you like.
Here are some of my personal favorites:
- Hallelujah – Leonard Cohen
- Imagine – John Lennon
- Moonlight Sonata – Beethoven
- Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen
- My Immortal – Evanescence
- Game of Throne Theme – Ramin Djawadi
- Shallow – Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper
- Canon in D – Johann Pachelbel
- Godfather Theme – Nino Rota
- A Thousand Miles – Vanessa Carlton
- Ain’t No Sunshine – Bill Withers
I could go on.
And most song’s have different versions – from “Beginner” to “Pro.” If you need a simplified version of a song, you’ve got it. And as you get better and better, the songs you learn will sound better and better too.
Practice Made Easy
The user interface is clean and intuitive, making it easy to work with.
And the lessons come with advanced controls which help make practicing songs easier. You can easily loop a section of a song to keep trying to master it over and over. And you can easily do a “first run-through” of a song using WAIT MODE – the software just waits for you to hit the next note in the piece before advancing. That way you can slowly learn the notes and chords for piano without worrying about tempo/time/scrolling.
Product Design and How it Affects Use
I’m not gonna lie – on first look it just looked like any other software. But when I dug into it deeper I realized it was anything but. It was by far the best implementation of the interactive learning model I’d seen.
The best part about the setup, though, is the fact you DON’T NEED a MIDI keyboard to take advantage of the interactive learning features. The other interactive lessons I’ve reviewed both require one.
But with FlowKey, you can use your computer/tablet/phone’s microphone and the software will listen for the pitch of notes and progress the lesson as you play.
It really seems the company has thought this through, and as a continual student of piano it’s very much appreciated.
My Personal Experience
I’ve tried a lot of different piano lessons out there, and I’ve got a couple personal favorites. Flowkey happens to be one of them. When I first started using the app, I was excited about the way things worked. I could grab my phone, open the app and start learning/practicing at any piano – it didn’t have to be hooked up to my laptop/computer.
It’ll be tough to find something cheaper that offers the same basic stuff. It’s not great, but it’s within the range of most other online lesson subscription programs out there.
At first everything was going great, the beginner lessons are very basic and take you through the fundamentals. I was a bit bored, but decided to go through a few lessons.
Eventually I tried skipping some of the basic stuff just to see the flow of how the lessons worked. And that’s when I got a bit frustrated trying to skip lessons, while still keeping the “progress tracker” updated. It wasn’t extremely difficult, but it was cumbersome.
Beyond that, during some of the exercises in the more intermediate/advanced lessons, my phone was having trouble registering the notes being played by my digital piano. That could’ve been an issue with my phone, though, since it’s been dropped more times than I can remember (without a case on).
That’s something I hadn’t expected, but it was very annoying.
But all in all, it was definitely my favorite experience using this type of learning software. It’s a really good implementation of it. And the song library had me VERY excited. I found a ton of songs off jump that I knew I would want to learn. And it was a much better experience than just buying the sheet music and figuring it out on my own.
It really is worth the cost in my opinion – especially if you want a steady supply of sheet music to learn. Buying individual pieces of sheet music can get expensive and you don’t get any interactive training app.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, it is worth it. If what you’re looking for is a basic foundation in music and a large library of songs to learn from then Flowkey is one of the best options out there for this. Because it’s an interactive app, it’s a very effective way to learn the songs that you love. But it’s not worth it if what you’re looking for is advanced music theory or an education in how to play piano by ear.
With a premium subscription you get access to all of the songs in the song library. At last count there were over 1500 different songs included – ranging from pop to classical and everything in between. There are both classics and modern songs to learn.
The app is a really great implementation of the interactive learning model for piano. You basically download the app to your smartphone or tablet (you can also use the website on a laptop). The app opens to the lesson and song library where you can choose what to learn. Then you’re taken to a scrolling version of the sheet music to the song/lesson you chose where you play along with the app. The app will listen to your playing through the microphone on your device and will scroll along with you as you play.
The pricing and cost structure is subscription based, and in line with most other competitors that offer a similar product. It’s $19.99 per month or $119.88 per year.
The Final Verdict
I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this piano course – especially for beginners who want traditonal piano training and anyone who wants a structured way to learn and practice their favorite songs.
Even if you’re like me, and learning to play by ear is the priority to you, it’s still well worth the cost of membership to join FlowKey as well as learn with something like Hear And Play’s course.
You’ll truly get the best of both worlds that way – traditional training with a library of beautiful songs to play AND the ability to play by ear, improvise and compose music.
So whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned player, if you’re looking for an interactive software, Flowkey is likely your best bet. I’d recommend it over the other options out there for sure.
Thanks for reading our complete Flowkey review! I hope it was helpful in shedding light on this piano learning option.
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- Chords for Piano
- All About Piano Scales, Intervals and Modes
- Popular Piano Chord Progressions
- How to Play Piano by Using Your Ear
- Teaching Yourself to Play Piano
- Rhythm Patterns on Piano
- Chord Inversions on the Piano
- Increase Finger Dexterity for Piano
- How to Practice
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