Group Piano lessons can be a monster or a nice ride in a luxury car. It all depends on the teacher and the chemistry that ensues during those first essential weeks of lessons. Human culture is a big factor in this mix and the choice the teacher makes regarding the method to be used can soothe the beast or sweeten the ride.
For many years my preferred method was Musikgarten’s Music Makers: At The Keyboard – an awesome curriculum for beginning piano students. For years I had the right mix of ingredients. Chemistry between teacher, parents and students. Loads of human interest (culture) and the best method. I still have many students who I now teach privately who are extremely talented and I can see how their musical wheels started turning with our approach to playing by ear first and reading the notes later.
But the culture is changing. Families are so busy and rushed. They don’t want to be-but they are. They want to best of both worlds but they want it now. Today. And please let my child do it on his/her own, because I am busy trying to help my other children with homework, preparing dinner and the normal stress of life. It’s the way it is. And it is not going to change anytime soon. Oh yes, individual families have opted out of the race. But as a whole our culture is always busy.
So this year I made a big change in my teaching. I needed my students to be able to work independently sooner than later and be able to transfer to another piano teacher, if necessary, without too many glitches.
At first I wondered, how I would be able to use My First Piano Adventures in a group setting? I spent a lot of time researching the Forum and studying the method. But in reality all I needed to do was take the plunge. And I did. It has been a good change. We still improvise, play rhythm games, move, sing and compose.
But I have also noticed that the parents who practice with their children will always do it. No matter the method. The ones that do not practice with their children, will never get to it no matter what.
And then there is the note reading aspect. When they do not have to read the page students are free. But there seems to always be that one student who needs a picture reference to remember what to do. And what about when students move to another city, state, or just go to another teacher? There are zero piano teachers in my area who I could recommend to continue their musical journey. If they did not complete all 6 books it was hard for them to transition. No a good thing.
As this semester ends I am satisfied with the changes made. I look forward to finishing the book and having a complete view in order to compare.