A few years ago Musikgarten (http://www.musikgarten.org/teacher_grouppiano.cfm) was my textbook. I learned a great deal about group piano and still use many of their ideas in my teaching. This blog post is one I shared back in 2008 on missdorla.com.
The Musikgarten teacher training is thorough and in depth. This is not an open and go curricula. You will have to immerse yourself in the philosophy its method and music. But it is so worth it! The piano students I traveled through with Musikgarten have a complete music background.
Read these words from their group piano guide for teachers:
“Group lessons means working together! It is vital to realize that group piano lessons are not just several people in the room at the same time. Singing , dancing, drumming and playing notation games together are activities which capitalize on the psychology of group participation.
Consider these contrasts between group and individual musical learning:
*Singing with a group is relaxed and fun. Singing alone can cause anxiety since so much attention is fixed on accuracy.
*Beat and rhythm are best experienced as part of a group. How can one learn to move expressively to music or follow a conductor by only practicing alone?
*Dancing and drumming create a joyful dynamic within a group. Here, the group synergy produces a mutually-enhancing experience whose whole surpasses the sum of its individual parts.
*Motivation through peer interaction is most effective. Prompting from an adult clearly takes second place and self-motivation will come later with maturity.
*Thorough deep learning occurs as a result of the group’s multi-track approach to singing, moving, listening and discussing. Private lessons often end up dealing primarily with a student’s own technical challenges.
As a group approach to piano study, Musikgarten capitalizes on the child’s love for participating in activities with other children. The beginning piano student longs to be part of a group, especially one of peers. The group setting creates an ideal learning environment for children, and is especially ideal for music learning.”
(from Music Makers: At The Keyboard Teacher’s Guide year 2)
Musikgarten’s approach to group piano is a gem. Ideally students will go through the 3 year program by beginning to play by ear and graduate with improvising, note reading and composition skills that will further their musical life in countless ways.
Are you a Musikgarten teacher? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!