Games, Group Classes

Piano Party Success!

On Saturday, I held a Piano Party for my students.  It was basically a group lesson and rehearsal for our Spring Recital which is coming up in a few weeks.  Most of my students have never met each other, so this was a good opportunity for them to learn a little about each other and to share their pieces.  I’d like to hold group lessons more regularly now that I have enough students to do so…..so this was a good start!

Here’s what we did:

  • We started by introducing ourselves to each other.  Then I expressed how excited I was for them all to be here.  (My philosophy is that if you want your students to be excited about being there, than you’d better show some enthusiasm yourself too!)  :)
  • Together, we completed the Performing at the Piano worksheet which discusses performance etiquette and more. 
  • Then, each student played their recital piece.  I had arranged all the chairs closely in a circle around the piano, to make it seem like more of a group sharing event and less of an formal performance.  I placed each performer’s score on a music stand where the rest of the students could watch and follow along if they liked.  I made comments between pieces — asking the performer to share something specific about their piece, how much they practice each day, or how long they’ve been playing piano.   I wanted it to be interactive and exciting, so I tried to make sure everyone learned something about either each performer or each piece.  We also made sure every student bowed properly.  :)
  • To make it easier for the younger students to pay attention as the others play (I have a lot of 5 and 6 years olds), I created a listening sheet for them to complete with a dry erase marker.  I’ll be sharing the pdf soon.
  • After the recital rehearsal, we had snacktime.  A couple of the parents generously offered to bring goodies, so we had a wonderful spread of fruit with yogurt dip, a veggie platter, and some cookies.
  • With only about 10 minutes left, we only had time for one music game.  Out of the games I had prepared, I chose a Team Rhythm Dictation game.  We moved to the carpet squares on the living room floor and I divided the students into two teams.  Each team received a set of rhythm value cards (I’ll share the pdf later this week) and a bell.  (I got the bells from a couple of games I found for $2 each at Goodwill: Bunco and Pit.)  I announced the time signature, clapped a 2-4 measure phrase, and then the teams worked together to notate the rhythm they heard.  When they felt they had it correct, they rang their bell, and I checked their work.  If they didn’t have it right, both teams continued trying until one of them got it correct.  I checked not only for correct rhythms, but also for the barlines, the double barline, and the time signature to be in their proper places.  I kept points for each team.  It was great to see the older and younger students work together as a team, and my students LOVED this game!  (Click here to read about downloading the rhythm value cards.)
  • Before they left, my students unanimously agreed that our next Piano Party should be an hour-and-a-half instead of just an hour, so we can have time for more music games!

I am quite pleased with how our Piano Party went!  I wish I had photos to share, but although I had my camera ready nearby I didn’t once think to take any pictures!  I was too busy having fun and being the teacher.  Next time, maybe I’ll ask my husband to come out from hiding and take some photos for me.  :)

8 thoughts on “Piano Party Success!”

  1. I love the excitement of group lessons and also have found that using a listening worksheet during performances helpful. At my last group lesson performance added a new twist and had students vote on their “erase boards” (worksheet with sheet protectors) after each performance what element they think the performer did the best at. After a brief discussion at the beginning of what to listen for they chose from the following: Dynamics, Stage Presence, Articulation, Continuity. It was great to hear them giving positive feedback to each other and see them listening more intently during the performances too.

  2. Joy, Music N 44 Soul did our first recital party last year for our winter recital ..But reading your post gave me a few new ideas for our next one which will be in July. The party really does break the tension of performing not only in front of the other students but it also build confidence for their recital in front of family and friends.

    Thanks for all you do.

    Kevin L Wafford

  3. You gave me the idea last year to have a Piano Pizza Party two weeks before our annual recital in June. My students LOVED it. Many told me it made the recital less scary because they had already played their pieces in front of a group of their fellow students.

    We are having it again and my students are already looking forward to it. Thanks for your great ideas and blog!

  4. I’d love to start incorporating piano parties into my teaching schedule. I’m thinking of starting with a quarterly event rather than a monthly one for now. I’m curious, how long are your piano parties? 1 or 2 hours?

    1. I currently hold them for an hour-and-a-half. Next year, I am thinking about splitting into two groups and holding them each for one hour. We’ll see. :)

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