Let’s be real.
Teaching children to play the piano in a group setting is not easy.
Today, I am thinking of a group piano class that meets at 3:30 pm on Fridays.
Six students. Ages 7-12.
Two of them talk continuously. Even with headphones on.
One always want to follow his own agenda.
Another thinks I don’t realize she is not playing what I asked her to work on.
The other one asks for help for every single line of music. Even after he has played it for me perfectly just a few moments ago.
And let’s not forget the one who makes a joke out of everything. EVERYTHING.
WHY do I still teach piano in groups?
Because when making music it is important to remember that the positive aspects of a group definitely outweigh the different personalities of children.
Here are just a few of the positives
- Energy. Not the energy I need but the energy generated from belonging to a group of people with a common purpose. It fuels their attitudes towards learning.
- Singing. Have you ever tried to sing with your private piano student? It can be awkward. When I start singing with a group there’s a better chance that one of the students will follow along. If we can sing our songs, playing them at the piano will be so much easier.
- Games. We definitely should not spend our lesson time sitting at the piano. I don’t even recommend it for an adult class. There are so many resources nowadays for activities away from the piano, that teachers have no excuse for not owning at least two or three games.
- Ensemble. Yes! The sound of 6 pianos playing in harmony! It takes time and practice but in can happen every week not just on special occasions.
- Discipline. The goal of my teaching is to prepare students to be music lovers. Not only the type that downloads a track on iTunes but the music lover who attends recitals, symphony concerts, belongs to an ensemble group or just takes music through life in any shape or form. This requires discipline. Discipline to follow a teacher, a conductor, a leader, to practice, to understand a different language. In a group the variables are always changing and helps to adjust learning habits.
- Teach More. Reach More. What about students who cannot pay for piano lessons? Do private teachers have the time to offer more than one or two scholarships? Can schools hire enough teachers for 500 students each week? Probably not. A group setting can provide piano lessons for more.