Group Classes

Using YouTube During Group Classes

YouTube_logo_standard_whiteAt my monthly group classes (we call them “Piano Parties”), I like to begin the class by showing an inspiring or humorous video on YouTube.  In the past, I’ve shown:

Last Saturday, I showed my students a video by Zach Heyde.  Zach Heyde is a college student with a passion for composing/arranging.  In this video, Zach and his friend, Frank Tedesco, play Zach’s duet, “Sleigh Ride Duet Fantasy.”  


I remember seeing this video for the first time last year at Christmastime.  The duet must have caught the eye of Alfred Publishing, because a few weeks ago, I found the sheet music at my local music store!  I could not resist buying a copy.

Before playing the video, I told my students about Zach, his YouTube channel, and about how the Sleigh Ride duet got noticed by Alfred.

I usually pull up the videos on my iPad Mini.  The screen is not large enough for everyone to see, so I walk around the room as it plays and encourage everyone to listen carefully.  (Nowadays, it is not difficult to mirror the screen of an iPad or iPhone to a TV — but we don’t currently own a TV!)  Sometimes, we discuss the form of the piece as we listen.  

As we transitioned to the next activity, one of my beginner students came up to me and asked: “Ms. Joy, can you find a duet for me and Sam to play?  Sam comes over to my house a lot.”

Sam is a brand new student with only two lessons under his belt.  I was so touched by my student’s request!  Now I need to hunt through my duet books for something appropriate for two early beginners.  🙂

Hooray for inspiring students!  YouTube is a great tool for teachers.

Safe Use of YouTube

The only bad thing about using YouTube with students is the fact that noone can control the ads and related videos that are shown before or alongside the video you intend to watch.  To avoid potential problems, I pull up the video and enter the full screen mode before students arrive.

Another option is a website called that allows you to view YouTube videos on a clean, uncluttered page.  Before class, just paste the url of the video you want to share into the prompt at  SafeShare will then generate a new url that leads to a safe and clean way to show the video.

Let me know if you know of other inspiring YouTube videos/channels to add to my list!

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7 thoughts on “Using YouTube During Group Classes”

  1. Love using inspiring videos in group classes. Thanks for sharing the safeshare way – this will be great! While listening, we often fill in these listening sheets to discuss form and composition techniques used to make the music sound exciting, flowing, etc. ( Since we use these for regular listening assignments it really helps them share tips for listening with each other too!

  2. I just recently discovered your blog and just love all your fun teaching ideas! Another fun pianist to add into your Piano Party viewing rotation is Victor Borge! I’m not sure if you’re familiar with him, but he’s a fantastic pianist/comedian. I highly recommend “The Page Turner” and “Hungarian Rhapsody”. Also check out Igudesman and Joo’s skit, “Rachmaninov had big hands”!

  3. THE 5 BROWNS is another great view………you can find their performances as well as google them for their history.

  4. Hi Joy, this is Zach Heyde!!

    I wanted you to know that I just stumbled on this blog and am so delighted to hear that your students received Frank and my arrangement so well! I really appreciate you going out of your way to talk about this piece, it really means a lot 🙂

    Since that video, Frank and I have continued making all kinds of duets–we recently finished an arrangement of Greensleeves…
    … and have created Stems Up Sound, a site where we regularly upload solo and duet music.

    If you’d ever like to chat, feel free to shoot us an email! Love the work you do on your website; you offer great resources to piano teachers and music enthusiasts alike!

    All the best,
    – Zach

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