Last week, I blogged a little about my first “Piano Party” – the first of hopefully many more group classes I hold for my students! On Friday, I held our 2nd Piano Party for October.
I was so glad to observe my students greeting each other by name as they arrived. They recognized each other from the camps I held this past summer and from the previous piano party. Piano study can seem like such a solitary endeavor, but having group classes can help make it less so (which can be very motivating for some students). I am so pleased to see one of my goals for group classes already being met!
Anyway, let me tell you about how our group class went on Friday:
I took Heidi N.’s advice (she left a great comment here) and planned an activity for the students to work on as the others arrived. I decided to set out Musical Jenga. I made my Musical Jenga game a long time ago, but haven’t had many opportunities to use it yet. My students, fortunately, LOVED playing this game. I am so glad I put beginner and more advanced concepts on each block, so that students at various levels can still play the game together.
Next, we assembled a composer lapbook about John Cage.
I haven’t added the John Cage lapbook in the Color In My Piano shop yet — but I will soon! I have to tell you now, though, that of all the lapbooks so far, John Cage is my favorite one. :) Even though his music isn’t popular among all audiences (a couple of my students definitely didn’t care for it), Cage is nevertheless both a fascinating and important avant garde composer to study! I want my students to be aware of the experimental and contemporary music styles within the realm classical music just as much as with the old stuff. :)
I really enjoy Cage’s works for prepared piano, and a few of my students did too. 4’33” boggled their minds a little at first, but they seemed to understand it after my explanation. I think kids are often more open-minded than adults about Cage’s belief that “all sound is music.” :)
My students enjoyed chatting about Cage and his music (which I played from YouTube) as they assembled their lapbook. We had a lot of fun!
I had a few more games planned, but assembling the lapbook took up most of the hour (I’d say it took us 45 minutes). Normally, I will hold my group classes on Saturday mornings for an-hour-and-a-half, to give us more time. Last weekend, though, an obligation arose in my schedule so I moved it to Friday 4:30-5:30pm. Because it was so close to dinner-time, I kept it to only an hour. Oh well, I can use those games I planned next time! :)