My Skoove Review covers the two levels – Basic and Premium. Basic is free access to the first lesson of each course. Premium is everything inc tutor support.
For a brief and general overview of Skoove take a quick look at my recent blog post. I’ve tried not to repeat here things I said there, so the two are needed to get the full picture.
As I explained in that post, the first few lessons of all the Skoove courses are free. Those are the only lessons I used for my evaluation. Skoove calls this level “Skoove Basic”.
If you want to access more than the free lessons then the upgrade is extremely simple and cheap. There is only one upgrade – “Skoove Premium”. That upgrade gives you access to new lessons every month and one-to-one support from an instructor.
Once I’ve completed this review of the free lessons I’ll upgrade, and then report on the differences. You can see my Skoove Premium update below
There are 3 ways to pay for Skoove Premium
- Monthly: 19.95 EUR / 19.95 USD / 7.95 GBP
- Quarterly: 38.85 EUR / 38.85 USD / 15.75 GBP – equivalent to monthly (12.95 EUR / 12.95 USD / 5.25 GBP)
- Annually: 119.40 EUR / 119.40 USD / 47.40 GBP – equivalent to monthly (9.95 EUR / 9.95 USD / 3.95 GBP)
As I said – pennies (even taking into account that very strange exchange rate). Being a UK resident I have no issues with £47.50 for 12 months access and 1:1 support.
For what you get, that’s awesome.
And there’s a 20-day Money Back Guarantee.
What more could you ask?
Skoove runs in the web browser of a PC/Mac laptop. I actually use a ChromeBook, and it works fine, but it wasn’t happy with my cell/mobile. I haven’t tried it with any of my tablets but the FAQ says “not yet”. This might have changed by the time you read this.
There are several ways to connect Skoove to your piano or keyboard. I use the acoustic connection, the tablet’s microphone picks up sound from my digital piano speakers. I found it to be perfect – no cables, no hassle.
Alternatively I could have used a USB A-B cable from the piano. or from my MIDI keyboard. I could’ve used a MIDI cable.
If I needed to play quietly I could even have used the headphone output from the PC.
Lots of choices.
There are 8 courses, comprising 191 lessons.
- Beginner (3 sub-courses, totalling 57 lessons)
- Intermediate (3 sub-courses, totalling 53 lessons)
- Classical (20 lessons)
- Pop (24 lessons)
- Christmas (17 lessons)
- For Music Producers (20 lessons)
- Boogie & Blues (Coming Soon)
- Accompaniment (Coming Soon)
In the list of course, each one has a summary of what that course covers. Here is the Christmas summary
In the beginner courses you learn simple fingering, and basic note reading, centered around the musical key of C, in 4/4 (common) time. If you play slowly, or if you miss a note, Skoove waits for you while you sort yourself out.
The intermediate courses move on to different time signatures and different musical keys. The tunes are of longer duration, too, so you get to meet a new tool – the page turner. It looks like a ghost wafting across the screen.
At this level Skoove no longer waits for you if you hit a bum note or you lose track of what you’re supposed to be playing. That’s exactly as it should be. Just get over the mistake and keep moving in time with the beat. Proper musicians have to do it, so it’s good practice for you.
The first lesson of every course is a “Get To Know Skoove”, so you don’t need to go back to the main menu to remind yourself of what features are available.
Each subsequent lesson tells you what the lesson covers. Here is the first part of The Christmas Course
You can go to any lesson, in any sequence, as often as you want to.
During each lesson there is a “Progress Bar” at the top of the screen. It shows you how many segments the lesson is broken into, and which segment you are currently working on. At any time you can click on any segment and repeat it. Or skip segments that you find them too easy.
All lessons differ in the number of segments, but there are several in common such as
- Listen and get to know the new song covered in the lesson
- Watch the motions of the hands on the keys as each note is played
- Play it, in your own time, following the prompts
- Play it, at your own speed, without the prompts
- Learn the notes written on the score sheet
At then end of each lesson you get a timer showing how long you spent on that lesson. I found that informative, but not very useful. If you have to deal with a knock at the door mid-lesson then your timing looks a bit weird. I can see a value in knowing the timing, as a sort of “personal best” type of thing, but then it ought to be accessible outside the lesson as a “look back”. Just my personal opinion. Maybe I should keep a log book?
My upgrade to Skoove Premium came as a surprise bonus.
About a week into my review of Skoove Basic I received an email offer – upgrade within 24 hours for a 50% discount.
That means I get a year of Skoove Premium for £23.75, equivalent to £1.98/month.
Well that was a no-brainer.
My First Full Lesson Set
The first full tune of Intermediate Course 1 is the James Bond theme tune.
It is spread over 4 lessons, covering
- The intro section, in both hands. First the right hand melody, then the left hand accompaniment, then both together, 9 segments in total
- The main section, likewise, in 7 segments
- The concluding section, likewise, also in 7 segments
- The complete piece, from start to finish, in 6 segments
My opinion? What an astonishingly easy way to learn.
During the lesson I noticed that Skoove offered me a download of the lesson’s .wav file. The file is actually a playback of what Skoove heard me playing. That’s pretty darned neat, isn’t it? I actually get to hear myself playing and I can compare that with how the lesson sounds.
That’s unique, and priceless, and I love it. There really is no better way to improve than to hear yourself playing. It pushes you to keep on tidying up the edges and smoothing out those little wrinkles.
Pros & Cons
The main difference between Basic and Premium is, of course, the number of lessons you can access within each course.
This leads to the number of tunes you can learn, and the greater depth you can go to within each tune.
And here lies my first criticism.
On the screen you can see only one line of the music you are playing. You cannot see the lines before or after.
In itself this is no bad thing. It helps you focus on the “here and now” action.
But, if you want to practice without the screen in front of you, or to focus on a specific few bars that are giving you grief, you have nothing to reference.
I really really wish there was a way to print the whole piece of music for the specific lesson.
You can’t even pause the screen at the specific problem point. Yes you can stop and restart, but it always flips back to the beginning of the section. This is annoying when you really need to focus on just the final bar or two.
This is a good moment to find out how the “one to one” support works. There is “live chat” which claims to respond in 2 hours, or there is the contact form, which claims to respond in 24 hours except at weekends.
Watch this space.
Built In Solutions
Meanwhile, I realised that there is already a solution.
The solution is to return to the lesson that covers the tricky part and master it there.
I probably should have done that before moving on.
One lives and learns.
“Live chat” is a relative term, I guess.
6 hours later and my question has still not been responded to.
But then, it is the week leading up to Christmas.
I did get a response a day or so later – they can email me the pdf of the whole piece. That’s more trouble than it’s worth at this moment in time, but it’s good to know there is someone out there.
Visit Skoove.com to see what all the fuss is about.
Watch the short video.
Browse the FAQ section.
Experiment with the Live Chat?