Teachers are constantly trying to find new ways to motivate and encourage their students. During an MTNA Conference, I was fortunate enough to be chosen to participate in a seminar teaching students in the Piano Class format.These students did not know each other so they were timid at first, however after the first fifteen minutes of playing technical exercises, sight reading and learning an ensemble piece, the group dynamic was amazing. They also learned a classical piece, and did an amazing improvisational piece. It was a joy seeing them relating to each other in such a positive way. Once the playing started, all shyness was forgotten and the music was enjoyed. Of course, being the teacher I am, I really wanted my own students to experience this!
Plenty of pianos for everyone to play!
There is a broad curriculum presented that relates the study of repertoire and technique to keyboard theory studies.
The social aspects of students enjoying learning music with their friends.
The musicianship activities can often be based on games and students love this aspect of learning.
Elements of competition in a healthy way are used with peer interaction in positive ways .
Sight reading in groups works very well.
Practicing technical studies together(scales, etudes, etc.), is fun and stimulating.
Ensemble playing is natural in the group. This repertoire is as important as solo repertoire.
Students learn to be sensitive to one another, balance parts, and offer ensemble works in recital situations.
Students in Piano Class are constantly playing for others. This helps overcome stage fright, and establish a healthy climate for learning, one free of threat.
Students show each other "what works" in regards to effective practicing.
Students and teacher solve musical problems together. Critical listening skills are developed by the students who listen to each other play and offer suggestions for improvement.
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