Advantages of Shared Lessons
Mark M., New York
I meant to mention this when I first wrote last week about the advantages of shared lessons, in case anyone was wondering: there were a few items from that video brainstorming session that I purposely left out. Here’s why:
Wider possibility of teaching venues
More time efficient for teacher
More financially efficient for teacher
These four are advantages for the teacher, not the student/parent, and so I didn’t think them appropriate to include on a list intended to encourage enrollment.
Captive audience — I didn’t really understand this per se as its own separate advantage, and if it is, it seems likely to be more an advantage for the teacher than the student.
Effect of demonstrated success — I didn’t necessarily understand this one either — I imagined it to mean that one student could be encouraged by another’s success, but I thought that that could just as easily go the other way depending on a student’s temperament, so I left it out. I wanted the items on the list to be fairly unambiguous.
Ensemble experience — Unless teachers specifically create group performance opportunities, I didn’t think this was likely to be truly present for most students in shared lessons.
Sheri R., California
I have a different take on the ability of a shared lesson environment to provide ensemble experience. I do like noting the advantage of ensemble experience to potential students because even though it may not be with another instrument they are still having to gain the skill of playing evenly with an agreed upon beat and learning how to pick up a song a few notes later if they miss a note or a measure or more.
My students play together all the time–I think the skills they gain from it also transfer over into their solo playing as far as playing fluently and without gaps. Sometimes students will play the same exact song together, sometimes each plays a different hand, sometimes they play different parts, for example Dreams Arr. 1 together with Dreams Come True. Also, whenever we sing I consider that ensemble experience too.
If I were you I would definitely include ensemble experience in your list of shared lesson advantages!
Laurie Richards, Nebraska
I agree, Sheri. You can spend just a few minutes on this regularly in class. When they learn accompaniment arrangements, one student can play the arr., another student can improv or play the melody. Students who play another instrument can bring it in occasionally and try a Simply Music melody with someone playing piano. (I need to do this.)
When they get to reading music, there are lots of opportunities for ensembles, even in the SM material. By this time, their prior ensemble experiences in lessons will help them immensely.
The students enjoy the ensemble experience, it creates camaraderie, and lets them know first hand different ways in which they can enjoy their piano skills.
Mark M., New York
Ah, see, this is a function of my being a newly licensed teacher who hasn’t actually started teaching yet — it didn’t occur to me to count the times when students all in unison repeat an instruction after the teacher, as well as the singalong moments. You’re right, that is ensemble experience, my bad, and I guess another item needs to be added to the musical advantages list!
Original discussion started November 14, 2009