As I was working on his week’s Monday Mailbag post, I began thinking of all the benefits of group classes. And there are lots of them! Here’s what I’ve come up with so far. Let me know if you have any other benefits to add!
- Collaboration – Whether it’s playing games, performing in ensembles, doing impromptu improvisation activities, or working on a project, there’s something exciting and musically rewarding about students getting to spend time learning and growing together.
- Inspiration – It’s so fun to watch the eyes of especially the younger students light up when they watch and hear the music being played by the older students! And even the older ones spur one another on to reach new heights in their understanding and performing.
- Competition – In addition to collaboration, I believe it’s healthy to include opportunities for students to compete against each other as individuals and in groups. It’s amazing how hard a student will work to memorize their key signatures if they know that they’ll have an opportunity to accrue points or win a game with that knowledge! 🙂
- Appreciation – As students play for and listen to each other they develop a greater appreciation and enjoyment of music. They might not be inclined to watch a five-minute piano performance on YouTube at home, but when I incorporate it into the group class and give them something to listen for and/or discuss about it, they tune in and learn things they might otherwise miss out on.
- Fun! – One of the primary goals that all of the parents of my students express on their initial interview questionnaire is that their children enjoy music and playing the piano. And one of the most motivating elements in working hard to learn a skill is having fun in the process. We have such a great time together (myself included!), and I always leave our group classes more energized and dedicated to working hard as a teacher. I see a similar response among my students, thus inspiring me to keep making group classes a part of our studio environment!