Siblings learning at different paces
Joy O., Alabama
I have a group of home schooled students. Three are siblings. The oldest one catches on much quicker, and the youngest one struggles, especially with blues pieces. There is one other student in that group from a different family.
If they were all different families, I would probably move the oldest and youngest ones to two different groups (assuming I had an appropriately-paced group to move them to). Since they are brother and sisters, I’m not sure how well that would work.
Maureen K., California
I’ve taught three mixed-age home schooled lessons now, one with two families (two and three children), another with two families (same makeup-, and the third with three sibling plus their grandma who sits in and takes lessons in an adult class as well. I call them “family classes”.
They are challenging for sure, but here are some advantages that make it worth it to me and the families:
- The families like attending at the same time
- I encourage flexibility in expectations. For example, a younger child might, on their own, learn the RH of Night Storm even though it wasn’t assigned to them. I applaud that and put Night Storm in their playlist, but don’t spend time teaching them the LH.
- I love encouraging families and friends to make music together. Family classes are perfect for that. We spend some time “jamming”. For example, one player plays Jackson Blues on the bottom of the piano. Others get on the top piano keys, keyboard, melodica, and rhythm instruments. Even if you have only one instrument in your student, the piano, one can do Jackson or Bishop Street Blues on the bottom and others can take turns soloing on the top. It’s also great to get a basket of inexpensive rhythm instruments for jams. Some of mine are toys from my daughter’s younger years like a rainstick and shaker eggs. The soloists take turns improvising on the blues scale. Or on the pentatonic notes of the C scale, however many they can manage (CDEGA).
Have fun with this!