Group Classes, Music History

My October Piano Party

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!  🙂

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