Monday Mailbag – Group Class Assignments

I’ve never done group lessons before, but I’d really like to try one. When you do a group lesson, what do you do about students’ individual assignments/songs they’ve learned the week before? And what do you assign them for the next week? Or do you think of group lessons totally differently than individual lessons?

In my studio, group classes are offered as an extra perk in addition to the regular lesson that week. They are scheduled approximately every 6 weeks on a Thursday evening for two hours. Since I set the schedule for the studio at the beginning of the fall semester, everyone can put the dates for all the classes on their calendars if they want to attend. This has worked out really well for quite a few years and usually around 15 of my students are able to make each group class.

I’m tossing around the possibility of trying a different approach next year just to change things up a bit and try some new ideas, but we’ll see if I actually end up doing it or not! I know a number of teachers schedule group classes in place of regular lessons for the week, but I’m not sure how individual assignments would be handled in that case. Anyone want to chime in? If they are performing for each other and participating in various group activities at the class, perhaps you could incorporate specific practice suggestions and/or give them new assignments as part of the class that would give them something to continue working on until their next lesson.

I also tend to think that if students have taken some ownership for their own musical progress that they will be able to continue working on their own for two weeks and moving forward even without new specific assignments from the teacher. Some students are great at this; others, of course, will take the extra week as a “get-out-of-jail-free” (a.k.a. take-a-week-off-of-practicing) card. 🙂

Remember, if you have a question you’d like to contribute to next week’s Monday Mailbag, leave it in the comments below or send me an e-mail sometime this week with Monday Mailbag in the subject line!

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