Teaching Group Piano Lessons:
Tips and Techniques

As with anything, teaching group piano lessons has its advantages and its disadvantages. With group lessons, you can teach more students at one time. This is a definite advantage.

Here are some of the things I have learned about teaching group piano lessons for you to consider.

Teaching Group Piano Lessons

Things You Need for Teaching Groups

Space:

To teach group lessons, you need to have a studio or area prepared for such a thing. It needs to be large enough for the class size you have in mind.

You'll also need enough space for activities related to learning music or piano. So keep in mind standing in groups or lines, having the group sit down to learn something together and things like that. 

Another thing to consider is parents. Will they need to wait outside or do you want to have a space for them to be inside picking up students.

How Many Pianos Do You Need?

Try to have at least one real piano. Other students can play on keyboards. Be sure your keyboards are touch sensitive and have a pedal. Hopefully you'll have enough wall sockets / power points for them all!

When setting up the studio, keep in mind how you will teach different techniques and how all of the students will see you while at the piano. 

Materials:

You may also want to get some things to make your studio more like a classroom. By this I mean getting things like a whiteboard and rhythm sticks. Things you will need to teach the students as a group.

Whiteboards For Teaching PianoKids Love Coloured White Board Markers!

Resources to Consider:

  • rhythm sticks, bells, triangles or rhythm instruments
  • a whiteboard (plus markers or erasers)
  • your computer with a projector (depends on your teaching style)
  • pencils, erasers, markers, crayons
  • paper
  • piano learning printouts
  • laminator (so you only need to make supplies once)
  • craft supplies - depends on your teaching style
  • fluffy balls, ropes (for lines), discs (for notes), etc

When planning lessons, it's good to have an idea of what you're going to do. At the same time, it's great to have a few backup resources ready in case things go awry or you have some extra time to fill. 

Logistics For Group Lessons

How will the group of students start?

You may want to have terms or starting times. This way, you can begin a book together and end it together. It also allows for new students to enter the class.

How To Stay Organized:

Organization!

If you're teaching many students, I'd highly recommend a program to help with billing, scheduling, taxes and all the other little details.

The one I like the best is the Music Teachers Helper . It does all that and provides you with a place to post photos, videos, a website and other things. If you're serious about running a studio, definitely take a look. 

Class Size

If you are teaching children, you need to keep the class size small. I would recommend less than 5 students in a class. If parents come to the class, there can be more. Keep in mind the noise level and potential rowdiness of students. 

In teaching group piano lessons to adults, I would also recommend a small group. This is more because adults may want more individual attention and probably they’ll want to hear their keyboard above all others.

Advantages of Groups

In teaching group piano lessons, you can do some things that you can’t do in individual lessons. You can have duets. You can also do fun rhythm activities. You can learn some things more in a classroom style. 

If you have an even number of students, they can drill each other on things like notes. Flashcards would work well in this area. Take advantage of the number and play some fun games you can’t play with only one student.

Group Lesson Preparation

In teaching group piano lessons, you need to be more structured than in private lessons. It’s a must to prepare ahead of time what you will be teaching in that lesson. This way, things will go smoothly and you can have any supplies you need ready. 

When I taught group lessons, I prepared an outline for each lesson. It does take a bit of work but it’s worth it during the lesson.

In the outline make note of:

  • what songs or pieces you'll be teaching or reviewing 
  • new concepts to teach (and how) 
  • concepts to review
  • which activities you'll use to teach and review

Who Are Group Lessons Good For?

I would recommend teaching group piano lessons only for beginners.

Once students start playing more classical pieces, group lessons won’t really work well for them. Instead, at this stage, you can have master classes.

Master Classes:
An Alternative for More Advanced Students

A master class is where students come and play for each other. In the master class, students are encouraged to offer input to help the other students. 

There is one or two teachers there to listen to each piece of music and record notes on how the students can improve.

For master classes, you can also get a teacher visit your area who is either really excellent or an expert in a style of playing. This is a great way to share knowledge around and provide your students with topics you are less comfortable with.

Useful Videos About Teaching Group Piano Lessons

Seeing group lessons can be also very helpful! I've pulled together a few videos (not all with good audio - sorry), to help give you further ideas of what your lessons could look like. 

Beginning Group Piano Class Presentation:

Group Piano Class (Part 1):

Another Group Piano Lesson Example:

Those are the essentials to teaching group lessons. Happy teaching! I hope it goes well for you!

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Top Teacher's Resource:

A really popular resource for piano teachers is this online studio organization tool for:

  • keeping track of students 
  • organizing lesson times
  • track missed lessons
  • take payments online
  • take credit card payments 

To check this out, visit Music Teacher's Helper here.