Split Classes 2 Ages
Debbie T., Canada
I am a new SM teacher willing to travel to a neighboring town to teach four students from three families. The decision was a simple one, since those families would not have signed up had they all had to drive out to my location. I would like to teach all four children in one lesson. All are new to the piano, but two are 5/6 and the other two are 7/8. I realize that the 5/6 year-olds will progress more slowly.
Has anyone taught a split class? I thought it might work if I supplement foundation 1 with comp/improv. etc for the older two children while moving along with more basic stuff for the younger two.
Ramona V., Texas
I have a similar situation — I started a class with three families. Each family has a 7 yr. old boy and a 5 yr old girl. After the first two lessons, I realized there was a great learning gulf between the two ages. My solution was to split the boys from the girls. I have a 30 min. class with the girls – dismiss them and have a 30 min. class with the boys. The boys are advancing much faster and the girls can go at their own pace. Now no one is frustrated; especially me.
April H., Utah
I have found that it truly depends on the child. I have a class with these ages 5,5,7,8,8. I have to admit that one of the 5 year olds is my daughter, but the other 5 year old does just as well, and along with one of the eight year olds, the 2 five year olds and that 8 year old do the very best- pretty consistently. I did find though that for the first 3 or 4 songs there was a gap- that the 5 year olds were slower, and after that, everyone learned at pretty much the same rate. It just took more time for the 5 year olds to get their fingers coordinated. So…. I would think you could start them all out together, give it a little time, and if they don’t progress well together then split it up at that point. I find it much easier to split a class then try and join them later.
Ruth M., Washington
This age combo has not worked well for me. I do not know how long you plan to spend there, but you might want to consider teaching to shared lessons and charging more, or even 15-20 minutes 5-6 10min combined 15- 20 minutes 7-8
You could also ask them to recruit more students to make it worth the drive for you.
Irene S., Canada
I agree with splitting them up later if need be, but being open with the parents, and letting them know that that is a possibility up front.
I just wanted to add another idea here: I’m not sure where you are teaching the class, if it is at someone’s home, or at a church? But if you have the space, I would suggest to hold two classes, an older and a younger, and try to get a few more children of the older and of the younger. Possibly give the family’s a discount incentive, if they find more age appropriate children. (Or you might even find the students yourself!) This way, you will get more word of mouth, plus it will become more worth your while to drive there)