Anything out of the ordinary requires repetition and clarification.
If it shakes up the status quo get ready for criticism.
But if you truly believe that what you have to offer will be a benefit to others, you should not give up.
Teaching group piano lessons in a private piano lesson world is not easy.
It’s a tradition to teach and learn piano in a private setting. It’s a good tradition that I doubt any group piano teacher is trying to erase.
But this is the 21st century. The music of our world is constantly changing and if we want to preserve our traditions, some things will have to change.
Change needs to happen in order to keep alive the tradition of learning to play the piano under the tutelage of a teacher. Teaching to play the piano can now be done in many different ways.
Group piano is still considered “out of the ordinary”. But I truly believe it makes piano lessons accessible to more students; and one of the many ways to keep the tradition of learning to play the piano, alive.
Everything you will read below is a repetition. And I hope it will help you clarify the importance of what we are called to do.
Talking To Yourself
Before you talk to a parent about group piano lessons, you need to make sure you have convinced yourself that this is the best way for YOUR students to learn to play the piano.
Why do you think group piano teaching is best?
How many students are you willing to teach at the same time?
Where are you going to teach these students?
Do you have multiple keyboards?
What if all of your students agree to be in group lessons? How will you handle this?
What if 50% of your students leave because of your desire to teach them in a group setting? How will you handle this?
Talking To Parents
At my studio parents tell me they want their child to:
- Learn to read the notes
- Play at hymns at church
- Have fun
There has never been a time where a parent wants their child to practice more at home.
Do they have any idea how hard or how long it takes to learn to read music and play hymns? It requires a lot of practice.
I want my students to learn to love music and be knowledgeable about it. So, I’ve opted to turn the conversation around and say:
- group piano lessons provide a path for students to learn to read the notes in an enjoyable way (games, friendly competition, learning from peers)
- group piano lessons allow students to experience different types of music with friends (it no longer is a lecture from the teacher, but an experience)
- group piano lessons provide the opportunity for socializing while learning (this is why school can be so much fun!)
Talking To Other Piano Teachers
Making money was never my reason for teaching group piano. If you peek at my bank account you will know it’s true!
I was just tired of repeating the same thing every 30 minutes, all afternoon, every day, every week, every month, every year.
But that’s just me.
I love interacting with kids. Singing, dancing, playing the piano. Observing their differences as they get comfortable with each other and with me.
I am not trying to convince anyone that group piano lessons are better than private lessons. But I would like to see more group piano teachers, old and new be confident in what they are offering.
When we talk to our piano teacher friends about group piano remember that:
- The benefits of learning to play the piano are the same for group and private
- We are teaching the same “stuff”
- Goals are exactly the same
The only thing that makes it different is the amount of people that are involved during the same 60 minute period!
Let’s keep talking about how to make group piano teaching better. It does not matter if we use keyboards, acoustic pianos, mixed ages, same levels, original music, only classics, creative lessons or traditional group.
Our goal should be to repeat the benefits of learning in a group and to clarify exactly what we are here to accomplish.