The Underrated Benefits of Group Lessons: How Make-up Master Classes Enhance Student Learning

Welcome to Summer Term! Summer term is always fun— it’s loaded with workshop opportunities, parades, performance events, and more! You may be aware of the changes we recently made to our Make-up Policy and with that, we are so excited to introduce you to our new group lesson experience: The Make-up Master Class. 

Our Master Classes are specially designed to offer every student a chance to make-up a missed lesson, all while giving the students an opportunity to brush shoulders with some of The Piano Place’s most experienced instructors, diving into topics that private lessons often don’t have time for, and learning from their peers as they refine their performance skills in a low-pressure environment. 

We chose the Master Class format for several reasons, but our primary goal was to provide students with a unique opportunity to make-up missed lessons in a way that felt meaningful and productive. While Master Classes are often reserved for students studying music on a University level, the benefits apply to musicians of all ages and abilities. 

First, a Master Class allows students to interact with different instructors in the studio. Studies show that positive experiences with a variety of teachers allow students to learn new concepts in a different way, giving them an added perspective on learning beyond what a single instructor can provide. 

Furthermore, studies show that Master Classes allow students to learn as both an active participant and an observer. Sometimes all it takes is watching another student finally master a difficult transition, interpret notations differently, or play a piece alongside another teacher in order for something to really “click.”  

Additionally, students get a chance to learn alongside other students, which helps motivate them to keep trying and improving. Students thrive on positive feedback from their peers, and are more likely to focus on perfecting their pieces based on what they learn from fellow students. 

Over the years, we’ve noticed that students in private lessons rarely get opportunities to study alongside fellow music learners. Of course, one-on-one instruction will always be an important part of our curriculum, but we also recognize the value of collaborative learning. It’s vital that students see people their own age as role-models, and not just fellow performers at a formal recital. 

To ensure that our Master Classes are as meaningful as possible, we’ve enlisted our very best teachers for the program and provided additional training for teaching in a group setting. We also organize students together with a shared goal, so that the instructor can design a lesson curriculum around the unique needs of each group. For example, some classes may act as a sight reading intensive— going more in-depth on techniques and strategies that allow students to sit down and play an unfamiliar piece of music with confidence. Other times a session might focus on performance skills or improving musical expression.  This is one of the primary benefits of a master class: it allows teachers to introduce a variety of topics they might not be able to teach in an individual lesson due to time constraints. 

We’re looking forward to using Master Classes as a way of transforming student growth in a new way, modeling our program after those used in universities and music conservatories to improve technique and performance skills in a relatively short time-frame. If your student is unable to attend their scheduled lesson, please let studio secretary know at least 24 hours in advance, and they will send you a link and access code to registering for that month’s Master Class. We look forward to seeing your student continue to grow and progress, even after an absence. Thank you for your support, and for your dedication to your child’s music education!

“Music in itself is healing. It’s an explosive expression of humanity. It’s something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we’re from, everyone loves music.”
- Billy Joel
©The Piano Place 2018

The Piano Place