Why Take Group Piano Lessons?

Why Take Group Piano Lessons?

 

What is a group piano lesson?

In the last few years, I've often heard these three questions:

  1. Should my child take group piano lessons?

  2. Could I, as an adult, take group piano lessons?

  3. Why should I consider taking group lessons instead of private?

These are all valid and important. Traditionally, as a beginner pianist of any age, you would start by finding the most qualified teacher in your area and taking weekly private lessons with your new instructor.

That's not the only method, though. If you or your child is brand new to the piano, you may want to consider group piano lessons before diving head first into private lessons.

Social engagement

Just like any other classroom, there is the opportunity for new relationships. Everyone there has the piano in common, so whether it is a joy or a struggle for you, it’s something to which you can relate with anyone. Studies have also proven that learning music in a group environment has a positive influence on other aspects of the students' lives, particularly a boost in prosocial behavior in children. 

Peer Learning

Every person has a unique learning style, and if the teacher is competent, he or she will know how to incorporate ways to teach to each style every class period. But what sets group lessons apart from private lessons is the chance for peer learning. This is where students learn through interaction with and observation of each other. A study published in 2017 confirmed that students retained more from dialogue rather than monologue-videos. Now, group lessons are live with a teacher and students in the same room, but the essence remains true. People generally learn and retain more on a topic when they've conversed and discussed the topic, rather than being told the "what, how, why" all the time.

Advanced aural skills

Students tend to be strong listeners. This is especially the case in a group classroom with only acoustic instruments. Not just in my classroom, but in many others, students are required to play together or in “ensemble.” A very valuable skill as a musician is to listen to the other musicians in the group as you listen to yourself, so that everyone stays together.

Teamwork

Again, a really good group teacher will incorporate activities that encourage students to work together. Sometimes figuring something out or coming to a conclusion with your classmates, helps a new concept to stick better than if the teacher were to spit it out for you.

Avoid the spotlight 

In the group setting, there is less pressure to perform or vocalize during class. Some people prefer to remain quiet and learn by observation. There's also less personal attention from the teacher directly on you at all times. A good teacher will spread out the attention, but not each student has to know every answer or respond to every question for the duration of a class.

Absorb the spotlight 

If you or your child is one who really enjoys the spotlight, then a group class would be just the right fit. With the teacher and at least two other students, there’s always a built-in audience for performing music and expressing ideas. Traditional schoolroom classrooms typically discourage talking during class, but some modern classrooms are breaking from that tradition to encourage a more discovery approach to learning. Depending on the teacher, you may find this to be true in your group piano lesson as well. 

Healthy Peer Pressure

I always encourage my students to play their pieces for the class as a way of “turning in their homework.” No one is required to play, but I’ve noticed that students want to sound as good as or better than their peers. It’s a healthy competition that continually pushes everyone to do their best.

Built-in performances: both formal and informal (with familiar faces!)

From day one, every student in the classroom is playing something on the piano. Almost everyday of class we have “performance time,” where each student plays a piece they worked on the week before. The formal performances are held as a traditional recital, but for just the class members and their friends and family invited to listen. If it’s an adult class, I like to give my students the option of either a recital setting or something a little less formal like a mingle with music.

So that's a group piano lesson. 

It's not the only way to begin learning to play the piano, but if any of the points I made above are appealing to you, then consider it. It’s a great way to introduce yourself to music and playing the piano.

Of course, please don't hesitate to get in touch about piano lessons in Philadelphia. I'd love to hear from you and learn more about your musical needs.

 

 

Erika Gingery