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#2047457 - 03/13/13 03:02 AM Recreational Music-making (RMM)  
Joined: Jan 2012
Posts: 2,014
Peter K. Mose Offline
2000 Post Club Member
Peter K. Mose  Offline
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Joined: Jan 2012
Posts: 2,014
Toronto, Ontario
Some of you have become acquainted with the US piano teaching fad called Recreational Music Making (that's the way it is spelled, or sometimes it is abbreviated as RMM). Basically it is group teaching of adult beginners and early-level players, in which the teacher is as much party host and cheerleader as mentor. Fun is the operative word, and home practice or improvement may not be part of the package.

Well, I attended an MTNA session given by RMM facilitator Susan Geffen of Dallas that sounded more intelligent than some of these RMM programs. She leads piano classes at a suburban Dallas seniors' centre. They are confined to a group of 4-6 participants, and she encourages (but does not require) each person to play some piece for the group each week. Sessions last one hour, and of course fly by, given that there are also group musical activities she designs.

The students are all playing different repertoire, and she tries to offer general observations that can be helpful to each. About tempo, perhaps, or addressing basics of expression, or about technical matters like hand position. The classes bond quickly, and people tend to sign up term after term. A course lasts 6-8 weeks, is ongoing, and is subsidized by the city's department for senior citizens.

There's something good to be said for such classes, and I could imagine trying them sometime someday in Toronto, though I don't think they would speak to my present studio of adult learners.

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#2047511 - 03/13/13 07:07 AM Re: Recreational Music-making (RMM) [Re: Peter K. Mose]  
Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 4,390
malkin Offline
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malkin  Offline
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*sigh* Salt Lake City
I took adult group piano through the University music dept. extension. There were about 8 of us, at a wide range of beginning levels. The teacher always brought something that we could play together and gave each person individual time for whatever we were working on. We had recitals a couple times each term where we'd play in a hall with a big old Steinway. For recitals the rule was that the player could do whatever was necessary--start, stop, slow down--anything, but we were not permitted to talk no swearing, muttering, apologizing, etc.

It was great fun.


Having power is not nearly as important as what you choose to do with it.
– Roald Dahl

#2047570 - 03/13/13 09:21 AM Re: Recreational Music-making (RMM) [Re: Peter K. Mose]  
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Posts: 2,014
Peter K. Mose Offline
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Peter K. Mose  Offline
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Joined: Jan 2012
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Toronto, Ontario
Good to hear this, malkin. Was the class offered repeatedly (each semester or term), or just once? Did any of your fellow participants have a regular piano teacher outside of this class?

#2047667 - 03/13/13 12:15 PM Re: Recreational Music-making (RMM) [Re: Peter K. Mose]  
Joined: Aug 2004
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TimR Offline
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TimR  Offline
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Virginia, USA
I've not heard of this fad, but it sounds not unlike the other community groups I play in or sing in. Making music together with like minded people is much more fun for me.


gotta go practice
#2047673 - 03/13/13 12:27 PM Re: Recreational Music-making (RMM) [Re: Peter K. Mose]  
Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 607
Gatsbee13 Offline
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Gatsbee13  Offline
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Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 607
Los Angeles
I just went to an RMM class out here in Los Angeles a last week. it was at a large chain piano store.. teacher was very good and I got the first lesson for free.. its $25 a lesson (for 1 hr), kind of on the expensive side for me.. but I enjoyed my first class and liked the material and the way it was taught. btw im an intermediate level player.

#2047873 - 03/13/13 07:54 PM Re: Recreational Music-making (RMM) [Re: Peter K. Mose]  
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 108
pianogirl87 Offline
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pianogirl87  Offline
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Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 108
New Jersey
I like that idea actually. This would be very good for my older students, but alas, organizing it would be tough to do.


Pianist/Accompanist/Piano Instructor
#2047916 - 03/13/13 09:43 PM Re: Recreational Music-making (RMM) [Re: Peter K. Mose]  
Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 4,390
malkin Offline
4000 Post Club Member
malkin  Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 4,390
*sigh* Salt Lake City
Originally Posted by Peter K. Mose
Good to hear this, malkin. Was the class offered repeatedly (each semester or term), or just once? Did any of your fellow participants have a regular piano teacher outside of this class?


It went on and on. When I joined there were several participants who had been there for years. None of us was taking lessons, although a few past participants engaged the teacher privately and didn't come to class anymore, but they played at our recitals.

I enrolled for three semesters. After that, there was a change in staff and a change in schedule and then I discontinued. After floundering around for a year or so I have landed with a splendid private teacher.

I still miss our funny little class though!


Having power is not nearly as important as what you choose to do with it.
– Roald Dahl

#2048540 - 03/15/13 03:10 AM Re: Recreational Music-making (RMM) [Re: Peter K. Mose]  
Joined: Jan 2012
Posts: 2,014
Peter K. Mose Offline
2000 Post Club Member
Peter K. Mose  Offline
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Joined: Jan 2012
Posts: 2,014
Toronto, Ontario
Great report, malkin. I asked Susan Geffen whether some of her RMM students were turned on enough to also study with her privately. She said several of them have asked her, but they all balked when they learned how much she charges for one-on-one teaching.

It sounds as if her classes are subsidized by the community, so perhaps the participants are not even paying $25 like Gatsbee would be paying. OTH, Plano, Texas is an affluent suburb, so I figured the students would be willing to pay the going rate for individual lessons, even if they are seniors.

I guess once you've had fun and paid next to nothing, it's hard to switch to a different model.

#2048618 - 03/15/13 07:10 AM Re: Recreational Music-making (RMM) [Re: Peter K. Mose]  
Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 7,639
John v.d.Brook Offline
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John v.d.Brook  Offline
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Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 7,639
Olympia, Washington, USA
This is most interesting. Living in a retirement community, I'm sure the possibilities are endless. For those of us used to working one on one, this could really broaden our horizons. Peter, thanks for covering this. A major problem with conventions is that we can only tap a few of the presentations.


"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA
#2052191 - 03/21/13 10:39 PM Re: Recreational Music-making (RMM) [Re: John v.d.Brook]  
Joined: Dec 2011
Posts: 153
gracegren Offline
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gracegren  Offline
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Posts: 153
California
I think RMM could be more than a fad. I actually did a 50-page research paper on the benefits of RMM for adults and older adults. There was a lot of evidence-based research indicating the physical and emotional health benefits of participating in these activities. This is sometimes even used in corporations for the benefit of employees.

I also attended a training by REMO, the drum manufacturer, on Health Rhythms training where we became certified in learning a specific protocol to use using drums and other rhythm instruments. There are physicians and other professionals currently doing research in this field.

It was all very interesting, but, as someone mentioned, difficult to implement. I did implement this at an assisted-living center using hand drums and other rhythm instruments, and there was resistance from some administration, but some of the residents really enjoyed this.


Kawaii ES-110, Kurzweil MPS-20
Jazz, blues, Latin, and a touch of classical and new age.
#2052208 - 03/21/13 11:26 PM Re: Recreational Music-making (RMM) [Re: Peter K. Mose]  
Joined: Jan 2012
Posts: 2,014
Peter K. Mose Offline
2000 Post Club Member
Peter K. Mose  Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Joined: Jan 2012
Posts: 2,014
Toronto, Ontario
So here's your angle to teaching employment, Grace. Go for it! All you need is one administrator on your side, and you're in business. Show them your research paper, and tell them they need to be proactive.

Last edited by Peter K. Mose; 03/21/13 11:29 PM.
#2053264 - 03/24/13 01:15 AM Re: Recreational Music-making (RMM) [Re: Peter K. Mose]  
Joined: Dec 2011
Posts: 153
gracegren Offline
Full Member
gracegren  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Dec 2011
Posts: 153
California
I hear you, Peter, but the reality is that there is little earning potential in this environment, sorry to say. I learned this from someone who tried this route. Would be nice to do this occasionally though. I still have all the drums and percussion instruments. Will need to think about this. I have a lot to think about.


Kawaii ES-110, Kurzweil MPS-20
Jazz, blues, Latin, and a touch of classical and new age.

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