I am starting to get a few inquiries for piano lessons, but I have a hard time expressing the value found in group lessons versus private ones. I know what they are, but I get flustered when that call comes in and I lose my confidence in expressing how awesome group lessons are. I’d appreciate any input you’d be willing to share!
Experience them and the more you do, the more you will be convinced. At the moment, just let people know that although you haven’t yet taught group lessons, your peers have and cannot recommend them enough. In time you’ll be confident from your own experiences.
Check out ITTP Module 4, or the Studio Support section under the teacher library tab on the website. There is a wealth of supports for you. Lots of audio and then at the bottom of all the audio you will see the PDF transcriptions. I have found that reading and rereading this information repeatedly on any of the topics is so valuable. You can event watch some examples of shared lessons that Laurie Richards is teaching.
Robin Keehn said she would listen to the audio versions of the relationship conversation and other “scripts” while driving, so they would be embedded in her brain when she needed them.
If you win the battle of making piano fun and an enjoyable thing that the student loves to do, you’ve won the biggest battle. Group lessons make learning fun. We sing together. We perform for each other. We accompany with piano and often add drums and percussion giving a full musical experience. Making music with others becomes a natural and fun thing. There is positive peer pressure to practice to keep up with the group – the children want to do well. Piano is no longer an isolated activity – they know they’re accountable to the group and really want to do well.
Students who are “wiggly” have the advantage in group lessons of being in the round robin, in chairs, as well as at the piano. It breaks up the lesson quite a bit and provides natural times for movement. Private students are expected to sit still on the piano bench for the whole (or most of) the lesson time.
Can you get a friend to role play with you and practice those phone calls? Write down some of the questions people have asked you that threw you, and let your friend choose from those. I think of, “Oh, do you have more than one piano in your studio? How do you do that?”
Also remember that the goal on the phone is to get people to attend the Free Introductory Session: “It’s pretty involved to explain in a short phone call, but I’m going to be explaining how my lessons work during a Free Introductory Session. Would you be free to com? It’s no obligation.”
Stay positive, cheerful, and matter-of-fact. If you feel yourself getting flustered, turn the conversation around – i.e. “It’s a really hard concept to imagine, isn’t it, when you’re used to thinking of piano in terms of a private lesson, but once you’ve experienced the fun, peer support, and superior learning in a shared lesson you will never go back”…then invite them to an FIS.
By the way, I refer to them as shared rather than group lessons, because it gives a better idea of the dynamics of the class. To me, the term “group” suggests a bunch of people sitting around listening to the teacher.