Group lessons are about unlocking possibilities for the students. The value for you is that you can be flexible in how much time you spend passing and working on pieces for each student.
You don’t have to worry about keeping anyone on a certain pace. You only have to worry about if they’re moving through books at all and if they’re an enjoyable student.
Daniel: How much of the lesson do you spend passing last week’s pieces? And how much working on this week’s pieces? What do you do … How do you do … What do you do if they have basically mastered what you are planning to assign? Ah, got it. Gosh, I love this question. And I know it hasn’t been addressed in the core training, so I’m very excited for this.
So, how much of the lesson to you spend passing last week’s pieces? It depends from student to student. I’m gonna talk about a student that I had, named Maria, and a student that I had that was sitting right next to Maria, named Collin. They both started lessons at the same time. Same month. Maria got through her entire set of books in 19 months, all the Faber levels, and Collin took his sweet time and took something like, I don’t know, four or five years. Which is below average for my groups. The point is that the beauty of the groups, and doing multi level teaching, is that you don’t have to have each child keep up with the one beside them, which means that it affords you the opportunity to give the child a customized experience.
Maria would have been bored if I had slowed her down. So for her, there were times that I passed songs right in lesson. She mastered the song there. I was planning on assigning it, she mastered the song, I passed it off right there. And then she would go home, and I would sometimes even give her songs that we hadn’t even worked on together in the lesson. She’d go home, she’d master those, sometimes master some that I didn’t even assign, come back, and I would spend just a little bit of time listening to last week’s pieces.
Okay, now, I’m gonna pick on a kid that I currently work with, name will be redacted to protect the innocent. This family is super casual, and they have their kids enrolled in many, many sports, and all kinds of activities. They’re running all over the place. Parents were very clear at the very beginning that they were just looking for musical enrichment, and the kid likes music, but we’re not trying to become a concert pianist here. So, there are many weeks where that child goes home, plays one day, comes back … He’s a little bit of a stubborn kid, so we hit … He was flying through his books early on, but when the practice requirements started increasing, he started slowing down. Then we got to 2A, in Faber, and he decided he didn’t want to listen to anything I had to say about counting eighth notes, and he slowed to a crawl.
I spent a lot of time with that kid from week to week. Just working in the lesson on last week’s material, over 50%, because we’re just trying to get stuff right. You will have students like that. I’m not trying to paint a paradise where every student is just flying through it, break neck speed. I’m very clear about this, not only in information I give before people join us, but even in the training itself, that this is about unlocking possibilities. This is what I saw with my students, personally, is that good students became outrageously good students. They went from passing five pages a week to ten, sometimes 15 pages a week, and I’ve seen that happen. Would never have had the time in the context of a private lesson to get that many pages done.
I’ve seen average students become good. I’ve seen below average students become average. Just across the board, when I converted, I saw student’s skill level go up from whatever level they were at, they moved up from there. You are still going to have your kids that are maybe way below average, you’re gonna have that spectrum in your studio, if you even allow a student like that to stay with you. Typically I will allow a casual student to stay if they’re pleasant to work with, or fun to work with. If a student is poorly behaved, plus doesn’t work, they are out. So, I’ll just kind of put that in there as a freebie.
But, ultimately what I’m getting at, is that you will see a variance in how long you’re spending on last week’s material, just depending on what that kid’s intensity level is. So, I hope that’s helpful.