Changing to Group Piano Teaching

By R. Adams
Illinois

How Did I Get Started in Group Piano Teaching?

I jumped in! I could see that I was not keeping pace with technology. I was fascinated with the new world of electronic digital pianos. I observed how much children enjoyed working on computers and playing computer games. And I wanted to find a new approach to piano that would stimulated and excite piano students the same way.

In addition I was tired of hearing, "Mrs. Adams, I didn't practice" as the first words out of my private student's mouths each week. After attending a spring seminar taught by Mayron, I knew group classes were the answer for me. I converted my whole studio to classes that fall. It took most of my summer making preparations, purchasing pianos, etc. Because this was my first time teaching piano classes, it was very scary.

How Many Private Students Did I teach?

Around 20-25

How Many Students Do I Teach Now after Eight Years?

I have well over 100 students enrolled for fall of this year. I'm glad I can give more children the opportunity to learn to play. Being able to teach a lot more children also helps with college tuition for my own children!

What Do Parents Think of Group Piano?

My "love" mail speaks for itself! I have scrapbooks and albums filled with cards and letters from parents. I also have albums filled with pictures enthusiastic students have made, songs they've written, cards they've created with a music theme, etc. If anyone calls wanting references, I invite them over to see my parent and student reviews!

What Do I Like Best About Mayron's Piano Method?

  • I like the music! I like several songs that teach one note before moving on to a new note.
  • I like everything in ONE binder. Every time I use a supplemental book, there is always someone who forgets to bring it to class. No one forgets to bring his big red binder!
  • I like the pages black and white with no color printing. My students take pride in coloring their songs as a reward for learning them. Some of their books are true masterpieces!
  • I like the large printing and uncluttered pages.
  • I really like the practice charts on each song. The kids actually remember to fill them out!
  • I like Mayron's bass clef approach in Level 2. Students need a lot of repetition and separate hand practice on lefty notes! My students read bass clef like pros!
  • I like to be able to place an order and know it will be delivered promptly and in good condition. I have NEVER had to wait for backorders from Mayron!
  • I like Mayron! Happy, helpful, cheerful Mayron! She's just a phone call away to answer questions and address concerns. It is evident she cares about her teachers and the children we teach.
  • I like the pace of group classes, the smiles, the laughter, the interaction, the comments, and the singing. When students express, "I can't believe the lessons is over," I know we've had another successful piano class. I watch them run out to their moms after class with enthusiastic comments about what we did or what they get to play this week.

Is It Easy to Be a Group Piano Teacher?

Group teaching takes time, and a lot of it--like double my actual teaching time. It is a lot more work than private lessons ever were. I wouldn't suggest making the transition from private to group unless you're willing to work. For every 45 minute class I teach in the afternoon, I can plan at least that much lesson preparation time in the morning. Group teaching is a full time job!

General Comments:

  • My experience with group lessons shows that children study piano for a longer period of time in groups.
    I believe my drop-out rate is very low because children enjoy the process of learning in a group. I experience a much greater drop-out rate with private students.
  • With group piano, I have very few calls with the comment, "I just can't get Johnny to practice." These calls were common with private lessons.
  • I get to know my students better in a class setting. In private lessons, I couldn't get my students to speak let alone count! Group lessons provide much more interaction between the students and myself.
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