An Impromptu Group Class

Since I’ll be taking off of teaching next week to attend the MTNA Conference, I planned to stick to my regular teaching schedule this week, even though it was spring break for most of my students. I had consented to giving a few lessons Monday morning for several students that would be going out of town. Sunday night, a group of six of my students who are good friends came up with the idea of me giving them a special group class Monday morning instead. It sounded like a fun alternative to me, so I agreed. They all showed up Monday morning at 10:00 and for an hour and a half we all had a blast!

We started out with a fast-paced game of Affirm-a-Term. On each card is a music-related word of some sort. The student whose turn it is has to describe the word so that the other students can guess what it is. I gave each student a one minute time limit to go through as many cards as they could. We went around the circle two times and each student kept track of how many cards they had gone through during their turn. They had a ton of fun with this and I’m sure they would have played it the whole time if I had let them. 🙂

I pulled a fun-looking piano trio of “She’ll Be Comin’ ‘Round the Mountain” from my files Sunday night and assigned two students to each part. We started out by all counting out loud together and them tapping the assigned parts while I directed. After a couple times through, they worked in pairs on their assigned part. (Thankfully, since we’re getting ready for the Clavinova Festival right now, I have a Clavinova in my studio that we could use!)

Once the parts seemed to be coming together pretty well for all of them, we split into the trio at each piano and worked on playing the whole piece through. They did an amazing job! It worked really well to have two people playing each part (one at each piano), because if one of them messed up, the other one was doing fine and the other could pick back up with them. They learned to listen better to the other players in the ensemble, they were able to bring out the melody when it was in their part (this trio was perfect because each part had the melody at some point), and they were all willingly counting out loud in order to stay together!

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