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Morgan Piano School hosts four Super Group weeks each school year. Each student plays two pieces at the Mighty Informal Recital, chooses pieces to learn sometime in the future from the Top 40 list of students' favorite pieces and participates in a music topic that is best taught in a group setting. Adults study music topics of their choice in an Adult Music Seminar.


Q: What do you mean by group piano instruction?

A: Using a method of teaching piano that began hundreds of years ago, I provide piano instruction to classes of two to four students who are selectively grouped.

Q: Why do you teach partner and group lessons?

A: I began piano lessons in the traditional way taking private lessons for $5.00 per hour from a dear, elderly woman with blue-dyed hair and glasses. I taught only private lessons during my first five years of teaching until I became associated with Edna Smart, a piano teacher from Beverly. Edna and I taught music classes for children aged four to six years. Each class had up to eight students in it. I was amazed at how quickly students learned from one another and how the children couldn't wait to come back to class the following week. I see the same sentiment coming from classes of students from age four, up to and including adults. In fact, in a college setting, piano labs are the norm, with the professor playing a master keyboard and with each student playing a keyboard.

Teaching piano students in groups addresses a critical problem in learning how to play the piano: isolation. Almost all other instrumentalists perform or practice in groups. In some other parts of the country, class piano is the norm.

Piano students who are in a group setting receive the best of both private and group music instruction. Students learn traditional scales and all styles of piano repertoire plus, ensemble playing, accompanying, composition, improvisation, theory, harmony, ear training, performance poise and music history.

In a private, thirty-minute lesson, it is impossible to cover all of the important subjects that a piano student should study. In a group setting, each student receives individual instruction from many teachers - not only from me, but also from the other students in the class. Students often become fast friends and even get together during the week to practice. They encourage one another, laugh, and gain confidence through teaching and performing for one another.

Q: How do you arrange groups?

A: Groups are arranged according to keyboard experience and age. Most students are allowed to progress at their own pace. It sometimes works well to have two levels of expertise in a class; the less expert players are inspired by the ones ahead of them; and the more advanced players learn by teaching the less advanced students.

Q: Do students "outgrow" your group instruction program? Should some students be taught privately?

A: The majority of students prefer to be in a group setting simply because it is more fun. Occasionally, a student will change to another group for a more ideal learning situation. Sometimes a student will have a special circumstance, and I will recommend private lessons for him. I try to identify the learning experience that is best for the student.

Q: What materials do you use?

A: I use a wide variety of music books, flashcards, games, computer software programs, iPad Apps, websites, audio files and handouts in my lessons. I try to find material that is suited to the specific class and strive to find music that will excite each student. All students in the class receive the same core assignment, and each student chooses his own solo pieces. I encourage students to share desires and goals with me concerning repertoire.