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#65500 - 01/05/15 07:31 AM Beginning Group Lessons
Bridget Offline
Regular Member

Registered: 06/17/14
Posts: 63
Loc: Ohio
I'm starting to pick up new students at a fairly quick rate (which is absolutely wonderful as I had quit another job that I hated to pursue teaching full time!).
Because of this, I'm starting to think about doing group lessons. I know many of you do them with your studio, and I attended them growing in the studio with my old teacher and absolutely loved them. Just a few quick questions as I go to introduce them to the studio.

How do you approach the subject with parents, musical and non-musical alike?

Do you make groups by age, by skill level, both or just kind of work with what you have?

Do you mostly play games? Theory activities? Growing up I remember having "mini recitals" at group lessons that were very informal, and sometimes we even played pieces that were not performance ready for the group, just to get some experience playing in front of an audience to help cut down on jitters when the big performance day actually came.

Finally, most of my kids are close enough in age and skill level right now that I could easily do one large group or two small groups, but then I have those 2 or 3 students who are much older and don't fit either demographic. Is it appropriate to ask them to come and "help" me? I could see my few high school students loving to lead games with the little ones.

Thanks so much to everyone who has always been more than helpful to me on this forum!

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#65582 - 02/12/15 11:16 PM Re: Beginning Group Lessons [Re: Bridget]
J.Baker Offline
Contributing Member

Registered: 02/03/15
Posts: 21
Loc: New York City, NY
I have taught siblings within the same lesson, but not group lessons as in three or more students at once. I am not against the idea, but only that I find that one student is more than enough to command my complete attention and assistance.

How many children would you expect to have in this group? And what set of skills would you intend to teach? Sight singing? Or would you have access to multiple keyboards?

Children enjoy feeding off of each others energy - that is the positive aspect of teaching more than one child. But the difficulty for me is that when one child clearly needs my help and I respond to give it, the other children must wait while I do so and that creates an awkward gap of time for them and that opens the door for them to become restless.
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#65599 - 02/24/15 04:13 PM Re: Beginning Group Lessons [Re: J.Baker]
Bridget Offline
Regular Member

Registered: 06/17/14
Posts: 63
Loc: Ohio
I think I should have been more clear. Looking back, the group lessons I attended may not have been the traditional ones that seem to be described here. About once per quarter, we would get together for about 2 hours with kids in our skill level. There would be some "party" aspect to it, with snacks and a few games for younger ones, but also theory quizzes, the "recital practice" I mentioned before, and instruction of some theory concept. Not a "lesson" specifically addressing musical repertoire then, I suppose.
Has anyone on here had experience with this type of activity?

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#65611 - 03/02/15 02:10 PM Re: Beginning Group Lessons [Re: Bridget]
shannonspiano Offline
Mainstay Member

Registered: 07/01/04
Posts: 694
Loc: WI
Yes I have done this type of group lesson for the past 10+ years. Although my group lessons are about 1 hour long and that includes a snack.

If you're organizing them by skill or book that makes it easier for theory games or rhythm exercises without catering to the lowest level student. In aspect of the few older students, they can either have there own group lesson, or they can help younger less knowledged students.. I'll have my students sometimes participate in activities where we are in 2 groups and make sure to have an even number of older students to help the younger ones. However it also sometimes comes that due to age the older students don't attend group lessons due to outside activities.

My group lessons consist of a Mini recital(10 min max), a composer bio, games, duets or improv, and snacks.

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#65613 - 03/03/15 05:44 PM Re: Beginning Group Lessons [Re: shannonspiano]
Bridget Offline
Regular Member

Registered: 06/17/14
Posts: 63
Loc: Ohio
Shannonspiano, that sounds like so much fun! Do you get your composer bios from anywhere specific or do you create your own to fit your lessons? I have seen lots of good material from Joy Morin on colorinmypiano.com but her work is fairly extensive. It would be wonderful to use for long term (spread out over several weeks) lessons, but might be a bit much to squeeze into a group lesson.

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#65615 - 03/04/15 01:11 PM Re: Beginning Group Lessons [Re: Bridget]
shannonspiano Offline
Mainstay Member

Registered: 07/01/04
Posts: 694
Loc: WI
Nowhere specific.. I go by birthday for my composers, so I choose one from the month usually that the group lesson is during.

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#65619 - 03/06/15 02:44 PM Re: Beginning Group Lessons [Re: shannonspiano]
J.Baker Offline
Contributing Member

Registered: 02/03/15
Posts: 21
Loc: New York City, NY
In one respect I envy you being, respectively, in Ohio (I was born in Akron) and Wisconsin where there are regular suburban communities. More than ever, here in New York City my students are from all over the world, and on holidays or 4-day weekends students and their families fly off to Europe or Asia. In no way can I get more than two students together in the same room on the same day for a group lesson!
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