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'Group' Tuition


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#1 JimD

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Posted 10 February 2019 - 08:47

I hope this is the right place to post this question, which is aimed at teachers. Mods please move if not.

 

So, a music school local to me runs group lessons; however in their case, group means 2 people, and the lessons are 30 minutes long.

 

I just wondered how teachers on here feel about managing a session with 2 (adult in this case) learners, who may be at different levels. Is it feasible to teach effectively in this situation? The instrument in question is violin.


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#2 Norway

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Posted 10 February 2019 - 10:49

I teach keyboard to groups of 4 junior school children of different ages and abilities in 20 minute sessions. I'll normally do a very easy warm up activity which they can all do together and after that they are all on different pieces (short ones!) which I arrange for each child according to ability. That way noone gets bored or left behind. Obviously individual lessons would be better, and grade exams are way off the agenda, but they do learn to read music and play simple pieces.


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#3 Aquarelle

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Posted 10 February 2019 - 11:16

I have never found group teaching with children to be a problem, but I do have the advantage of being a trained class teacher as well as an instrumental teacher. so for me a group of two or three for instrumental teaching  is a lot easier  (and a lot less physically tiring)than a group of twenty-five plus for class music.  I simply use the same sort of techniques for keeping everyone occupied all the time. However the group (or pair) does need to be at least roughly of the same level, able to co-operate with one another and to progress at roughly the same rate. I think it is probably a little more difficult with adults who may be more demanding and less patient with other members of the group. It is probably easier with string or wind players  than with pianists unless you have at least two pianos.

 

The advantage for pupils is that shared lessons normally cost less and if the participants get on well  together can be stimulating. The disadvantage for the teacher is that such lessons  often require more preparation than individual lessons.


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#4 jmcellist

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Posted 10 February 2019 - 12:02

I have taught strings in groups of up to 5 (primary age children) and it can be great fun, especially where the pupils are used to working together, taking turns and listening to each other constructively. They do need to be at a similar level to get the most out of a shared lesson and with adults and older children I like to give individual lessons, plus orchestra/chamber music as separate activities to develop ensemble playing.
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#5 Norway

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Posted 10 February 2019 - 13:52

Definitely agree with Aquarelle about the amount of planning involved, but it is definitely worth it (and I'm a bit sad and need to get out more because I actually enjoy it!) unsure.png . In accordance with sheet music OCD, I now have a file of arrangements in vocab controlled order, with an index showing which pieces include which notes and rhythms etc. Group teaching made me come up with an alternative curriculum and this has been useful for my private pupils too. smile.png


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#6 JimD

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Posted 10 February 2019 - 15:10

Thanks for the replies - they've given me a bit of insight into how these work from the teacher's point of view, which is exactly what I wanted.

 

To give full disclosure smile.png I did actually sign up to try these out and had my first lesson on Friday. I came out with very mixed feelings, though obviously one lesson is not enough to decide if it's for me or not, especially as I was nervous and it took half the lesson for my bow to stop shaking!

 

Although I've been teaching myself for almost 5 years, I've managed to get to the stage where grade 3 pieces are quite 'doable' and I'm staring to tackle grade 4 pieces. However the student I'm paired up with has been playing less than a year and is still working on grade 1 pieces. On Friday we worked on the same piece, with me sight reading it. 

 

Despite what I thought was quite a hectic lesson, I thought the teacher was very good, and I came away with several technical things to work on.

 

If all the lessons are to be based on grade 1 pieces I don't think I'll continue with them, though it sounds from the replies that isn't necessarily the case.


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#7 SingingPython

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 13:52

It sounds like, if the teacher knows what they are doing, you can probably use this pairing for a period of time to help solidify anything in your basic technique that might have been overlooked through self-teaching.  Maybe after 3, 6 or 12 months you might need to be matched with someone else.

 

Technical issues are always best tackled in music that is easy for you to actually play - if you hold that thought, and keep working on more advanced stuff yourself as well, you could get a lot out of lessons focussed mainly on grade 1 material at first.  Good luck, hope it goes well.


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#8 JimD

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 16:05

It sounds like, if the teacher knows what they are doing, you can probably use this pairing for a period of time to help solidify anything in your basic technique that might have been overlooked through self-teaching.  Maybe after 3, 6 or 12 months you might need to be matched with someone else.

 

Technical issues are always best tackled in music that is easy for you to actually play - if you hold that thought, and keep working on more advanced stuff yourself as well, you could get a lot out of lessons focussed mainly on grade 1 material at first.  Good luck, hope it goes well.

 

Thanks. That makes a lot of sense; it's no good trying to fix technical problems on tricky pieces.


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