As my adult student walked out the door, she grinned at me and said, "Thank you . . . that was actually fun!" Boom! Success!
She was leaving my first ever Piano Circle for adults. The evening had been a great success -- We laughed. We cried. (OK, not really that).
It was a very fun two hours, where my adult students had a chance to connect with one another over a simple dinner and music theory instruction.
So, are you intrigued? Here is what a Piano Circle is and here is how I did it.
A Piano Circle is my title for gatherings at my house for my students, off hours. Part piano party, part group lesson, it is a chance for students of like ages to come at an additional time, separate from their lessons.
I host three different types of Piano Circles: Piano Circle Adults, Piano Circle Teens, and Piano Circle Kids. Adults meet for two hours on a Saturday night and it includes dinner. The teens and kids each meet on Saturday mornings and those Piano Circles include a snack.
At the Piano Circle, we spend two hours together. There is a theme for the event along with music theory instruction, games, and performance by the students. The topic that I teach on may be review for some students and it may be preview for others, but either way, it is good stuff!
Most importantly, I have four goals for my Piano Circles:
1. Increase MY connection with my students.
2. Increase their connection with one another.
3. Increase their knowledge of our theme/topic.
4. Offer a fun, creative atmosphere that communicated that music is fun!
Let me give you an example of the agenda I have outlined for the Piano Circle Adults I'm hosting in two days (beginning Saturday at 4:00 p.m.):
A. Opening Game: Note Value Bingo (trust me, your adults will like this -- especially if you give away a music book or something as a prize!)
B. Teaching Time: Staff Note Review (me teaching from whiteboard)
C. Mini-Performance (students take turns playing something, anything at the piano for the other adults. The idea here is to help them feel more comfortable with public performance WELL BEFORE the recital).
D. Teaching Time: Accidentals
E. Group Activity: Ear Training -- hearing movement between sharps and flats
F. Mini-Performance part 2
G. Teaching Time: Key Signatures
H. Activity: Circle of Fifths
I. Light Dinner together
See how easy that is? It is a quick evening but a lot is packed in there. My students get a lot of return on their time investment. They are gone by 6:00 p.m. so they have the rest the evening with their family.
Do I charge extra for these Piano Circles? Nope.
It's a win win situation here. I get to know my students better. They learn more music theory, especially things that we might not have as much time to explore during their weekly lesson. They connect more with other like minded individuals -- because, come on, adults who take piano lessons? They are awesome!
So, how about you? Could you try something like this in your studio? You don't have to call it a Piano Circle or split up the age groups. Maybe you just try one big group lesson and see how that goes.
Whether you do a Piano Circle or something else, try to think outside of the piano lesson box for fun and easy ways you can add value to your piano studio. You'll be glad you did.