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Hello! I need lots of help with teaching a larger group.
#2370025 01/05/15 10:42 PM
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Recently I was invited by a local music store to give an hour lesson to a larger group (fifteen kids, I believe) of complete beginners for the most part -- 5 to 7 year olds.
I have mostly taught children older than the age of 8, and not many of them were complete beginners. I'm a bit intimidated by the group setting too. What would be a good lesson plan to keep them motivated and interested? Thank you -- any suggestion is greatly appreciated!

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Re: Hello! I need lots of help with teaching a larger group.
albumblatter #2370034 01/05/15 11:38 PM
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It might help us to know how many pianos these 15 kids will be using/sharing. Also, is it just a single, one-off session, or a semester class?

Re: Hello! I need lots of help with teaching a larger group.
albumblatter #2370040 01/06/15 12:09 AM
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I'll contact my manager -- she hasn't specified how many pianos there will be.
This is a one off session at a local church for the little ones.

Re: Hello! I need lots of help with teaching a larger group.
albumblatter #2370133 01/06/15 08:08 AM
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This isn't piano teaching, it's classic classroom management, at an age where they are super enthusiastic and have zero attention span.

I love that kind of challenge!

But you have to change your mind set.

Your goal is engagement and fun, not education. You have to hook them as fast as you can, and run with it.


gotta go practice
Re: Hello! I need lots of help with teaching a larger group.
albumblatter #2370295 01/06/15 02:56 PM
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I am not sure how this won't be a piano teaching.

Re: Hello! I need lots of help with teaching a larger group.
albumblatter #2370366 01/06/15 04:59 PM
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Tim is right, just teach 'em all a song. Preferably a duet, complete with singable words. And work out a dance step or two. It sounds like great fun.

Re: Hello! I need lots of help with teaching a larger group.
Peter K. Mose #2370385 01/06/15 05:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Peter K. Mose
Tim is right, just teach 'em all a song. Preferably a duet, complete with singable words. And work out a dance step or two. It sounds like great fun.


Teach a duet to 15 kindergartners, mostly complete beginners in one session?

God help you.

Re: Hello! I need lots of help with teaching a larger group.
albumblatter #2370418 01/06/15 07:09 PM
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I was hoping this board would be more helpful, but thank you, I guess.

Re: Hello! I need lots of help with teaching a larger group.
The Monkeys #2370438 01/06/15 08:07 PM
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Originally Posted by The Monkeys
Originally Posted by Peter K. Mose
Tim is right, just teach 'em all a song. Preferably a duet, complete with singable words. And work out a dance step or two. It sounds like great fun.


Teach a duet to 15 kindergartners, mostly complete beginners in one session?

God help you.

My impression is that Peter has a sense of humour. I've notice that in a few posts.

Re: Hello! I need lots of help with teaching a larger group.
albumblatter #2370450 01/06/15 08:32 PM
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If you can keep them from wrecking the entire church, consider it an accomplishment.


Regards,

Polyphonist
Re: Hello! I need lots of help with teaching a larger group.
albumblatter #2370596 01/07/15 08:24 AM
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Kids at this age love games and they love competition.

They hate being yelled at but their behavior is super easy to control with distraction and redirection.

They have no attention span for lectures. Don't even try to talk.

When you do talk use simple statements and don't explain them. You lose them immediately. Pay attention. NO, PAY ATTENTION! Your mind can drift when a 15 year old is droning through his scales, but if you do that here you may wake to find yourself tied to the organ pipes and the kids doing clown makeup.

The last time I did this for a preschool (it was an orientation to orchestral instruments, not piano though) I started by getting the group to help me set up and assemble, making sure I did things obviously wrong that they could giggle over and help correct, I played nursery rhymes and gave prizes for the first to recognize them (this is going to be a problem because kids no longer hear nursery rhymes growing up, but you're in a church so you can do combination religious songs and Sesame Street), I handed out rhythm instruments and got them involved accompanying.

I don't know if they learned anything but I had a GREAT time!

Your goal is that when the parents come to pick them up, you hear kids running to the car screaming "Mommy, Mommy, guess what we did!"

Oh. Learn their names. Not essential, but a huge benefit.


gotta go practice
Re: Hello! I need lots of help with teaching a larger group.
albumblatter #2371093 01/08/15 10:25 AM
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Tim is very much on my wavelength, and much more explicit and helpful. But I meant what I said: teach a song that's quite simple, with two people at a keyboard (or three) and use some physical movement/dance steps for those who don't have access to a keyboard. If the traditional words are too dorky, write your own. Appoint someone to be the conductor, and teach everybody how to conduct.

Dalcroze and Orff folks do this sort of thing with little kids all the time. They're not all magicians or brilliant teachers. You'll find your own way. If it flops, it flops, but the chances are good it will fly and they'll love it.

Better to have two songs/projects, to fill an hour.




Re: Hello! I need lots of help with teaching a larger group.
TimR #2371252 01/08/15 03:47 PM
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Originally Posted by TimR
They hate being yelled at but their behavior is super easy to control with distraction and redirection.

Hmm...I wonder what my school's principal would think about this...


Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member
Re: Hello! I need lots of help with teaching a larger group.
albumblatter #2372362 01/11/15 02:01 PM
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Is this just ONE lesson? You can't teach them to really play a song in one lesson for an hour. But you can do this:

1. Differentiate between 2 and 3 black key clusters on the piano, and high/low on piano.

2. Singing! Have all the kids gather around your piano and sing some fun songs like 'If You're Happy'

3. Is there room for a circle dance? How about 'Hokey Pokey'?

4. Get some velcro strip by the yard and lay out 2 lines on the floor. Have kids 'be' line and space notes.

5. Will you have some rhythm sticks or tambourines available? You can easily teach them a simple pattern of 'tahn tahn tahn rest' (3 quarters and a rest) drawn on the board that they can then tap their instrument to as an ostinato while you play 'Lightly Row' or some other little song.

6. Have them sit on floor and sing 'Where Is Thumbkin', using a proper piano hand position, to teach hand shape for piano.


Kids this age like to move. They are very social and love getting together with other kids their age. Make it fun! Don't give a lot of verbal instruction and change activities every 5 min or so.


Music School Owner
Early Childhood Music Teacher/Group Piano Teacher/Private Piano Teacher
Member of MTAC and Guild

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