As I mentioned in Part 1 of this series, there are two main goals for every music lesson:
Students want to have fun!
How can we make lessons fun and fit in all of those activities and learning experiences that are vital for students to become musicians?
Don't think multiple keyboards and everyone learning Twinkle, Twinkle at the same time. These group performance classes provide opportunities for private students to learn all of those skills you don't have time for in weekly private lessons through fun and engaging group classes.
If you want to know more about why I started group classes and what my students have to say about them, read Part 1 of this series.
Let's look at how these group classes are structured and the logistics of scheduling.
I teach weekly private lessons year round, but four times a school year and 1–3 times during the summer I schedule group classes for all of my students. And I do it without adding any gray hairs! Here's how ...
I schedule four group performance classes during the school year and always rotate through the main time periods as follows:
I use the same activities whenever possible for all ages/levels. All activities and composer studies are adapted to be age/ability/instrument appropriate. I teach piano and flute and all of my students participate. (The exception might be 3 and 4 year olds if I don't have more than two. They don't pair well with 5+ year olds.)
Group Performance Classes include four parts:
Here's a real life example:
For the 2018–2019 school year, I taught 27 students. Their private lessons were scheduled on Mondays, 9:00–12:45 a.m. and 2:00–7:00 p.m., and Tuesdays, 8:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. and 2:00–6:15 p.m. That's a total of 17.25 teaching hours in two days.
My group classes were scheduled on Tuesdays as follows:
11:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. — 3rd–7th grades (6 homeschooled students)
2:30–2:00 p.m. — Adults (3 students)
2:15–3:15 p.m. — PreK – 1st grades (3 students)
3:30–4:45 p.m. — 2nd–4th grades (7 students)
5:15–6:30 p.m. — 6th–10th grades (5 students)
The other 3 students either could not come or scheduled a private lesson with me on Monday for various reasons.
That's a total of 5.25 teaching hours in one day, plus perhaps another hour of private lessons.
My regular teaching week of 17.25 hours was condensed down to 5.25 hours on one day.
I usually spend about 3–5 hours of prep time getting ready for the classes, depending on how long it takes me to get things printed, laminated, and cut at Office Max. So my total work hours that week was around 11 hours, instead of the usual 17.25 hours.
5 hours of prep time may seem like a lot, but when you consider your overall work hours for the week, it is quite reasonable!
In the next post, I'll dive into a sample class to show you just what we do! But I hope you can see that the extra effort it will take to get group classes set up in the beginning of the year produce big results, both in student satisfaction and in being able to teach all of those "extras" that really aren't extras at all!