Why Group Piano Lessons?
When you began to look for a piano teacher for your child, you probably began looking for a private teacher.
And why not? A private teacher can customize the experience for your child. Your child will have the teacher’s full attention at every lesson. Your child will be able to learn at his own pace. That’s exactly what you want, right?
While this may be the “norm” for piano lessons, it’s not in your child’s best interest.
Many group lesson teachers have observed that students who spend their first 2-4 years in group piano lessons have triple or quadruple the skills of those who have spent the same amount of time in private lessons.
Group lessons are more fun! Learning and laughing with friends make lessons something to look forward to!
Group lessons help your child develop a broader skill set, since a good group lesson program will incorporate ear training, rhythm training, composition, and improvisation. These skills are often brushed over in a private setting because the focus is on getting the child to play music and read notes.
Group lessons capitalize on positive peer motivation—your child will practice more and with less nagging from you!
Group lessons allow your child to learn faster AND retain more information. Physical activities, games, and ensemble playing capture your child’s attention better than the lecture style of a private lesson.
Group lessons help your child bypass the fear and stage fright of performing because students are constantly performing in front of each other.
Group lessons make music-making relevant. The vast majority of piano students do not become concert pianists. They will, however, participate in orchestras, bands, choirs, or will simply want to tap into the joy of music making throughout their life, all of which they’ll be able to do with more ease due to the nature of group lessons.
What to Expect from a Group Lesson
There are two components to group lessons: at-home practice, and in-class skill building.
Practice at home is self-paced. I provide each student with a short video (ten minutes or less) with instruction for each of the songs in their book. Practice for the week begins by watching the instructional video.
The benefit of using the video for learning is that the student can watch whenever they feel ready and fresh for learning. They can watch the video as many times as they need. And for parents of younger students, the parents know what the expectations are for learning the new piece and can assist their student at home.
We use an app called Tonara that is used for giving assignments, viewing the weekly video, accessing backing tracks, and tracking practice. When the student feels like they are ready to pass off their weekly song, they will make a recording for me and send it via the app. I will provide feedback for them on each song.
Practice is not required, but 3 practice days a week are recommended. This at-home practice component is where the skill of note reading is learned and mastered. If your child is uninterested in learning to read music and practice at home, they can still come to class each week and work on general musicianship skills. They will still make forward progress, but not as quickly as if they were working at home outside of class time.
In-Class Skill Building
When we come together as a group each week, we play games to reinforce the things we are learning in our pieces at home and we engage in learning activities that build other musicianship skills outside of note reading. We have fun with rhythm activities. We learn how to improvise and compose our own music. We spend time learning to play music as an ensemble. Class time is where the fun happens!
Benefits of Multi-Level Learning
As you look at the class schedule, you may notice that classes are grouped by age range, not skill.
This is because even with a class of same aged-students, there are varying levels of skill and ability. This does not hamper, but rather enhances, the things that we learn together in a group. By broadening the age range a little, it becomes easier to accommodate families with multiple children, so they have fewer times and places to run their kids.
Multi-level playing abilities also enhance our ensemble playing, since several different parts can be represented by the varying levels, making the ensemble sound more sophisticated and complex.
Online students follow the above format for learning but meet for their weekly class time online via Zoom. Similar games and learning activities take place as broader musicianship is developed. As latency issues continue to improve on online platforms, more ensemble playing will take place as well.
Students will need access to a device with Zoom downloaded on it. The bigger the screen, the better, since it will be easier for them to see. They will need this device set up to the side of the piano, so that I can see their hands, arms, and body position at the piano while they play.
Please make sure that enough bandwidth is available during class time so we can have a seamless transmission of information. This may mean ensuring that nobody at home is streaming audio or video during class.
What about Private Lessons?
Private lesson slots are reserved for my older students, typically teenagers, who want to study piano more seriously and have demonstrated they are able to make consistent progress through 4-6 days of practice at home each week. Private lesson slots are issued by invitation only.
When and How Much?
Group lessons in my studio are forty minutes long once a week during the school year.
Tuition for group lessons is $115/month with a yearly $75 registration fee.
Classes for the 2022-2023 school year begin the week of August 15th.
Are you interested but still have a question or two about group lessons? Please reach out and I would be happy to answer your questions.
What People are Saying About Group Piano
“Ms Mindy is a gifted teacher. My son started in her preschool class and I was amazed by her ability to keep the kids engaged and learning. My son loved the class and looked forward to it each week. This year he is in a group piano class with Ms Mindy and once again I am impressed with her teaching ability and how much my son has grown. He has learned so much and absolutely adores Ms Mindy and her class. Try one of her classes, you won’t be disappointed!!”
“Mindy is such a thoughtful, well-organized, exceptional teacher. She’s so great with kids. She provides structure but keeps it fun. We’ve loved her summer camps & her piano class.”