When do you hold group class?

Christine said: Jul 16, 2012
Christine Goodner
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Suzuki Early Childhood Education, Viola
Hillsboro, OR
68 posts

Hello fellow teachers . . .

Having recently left a school program (where group lessons were not held) and striking out full time in my own studio this fall, I am curious what days & times have you found to be successful for holding group classes? Any input you have on how you first added group to your program’s schedule would be really helpful.

Thanks in Advance!

Christine Goodner

Studio Website: Brookside Suzuki Strings

Blog: The Suzuki Triangle

“When Love is Deep, Much can be Accomplished” ~ Suzuki

Brenda Lee Villard said: Jul 16, 2012
 
Suzuki Association Member
Cello
Edina, MN
27 posts

Fridays after school….least amount of conflicts and better than Saturday mornings (which is what it was at the school I worked at for 17 years.) Babies start around 3:30 and the book 2 crowd goes about 4:30, books 4-6 about 5:30 and teens at 6:30. Done by 7:45. I run groups from September through March 1st or so…..done by the time spring breaks roll around.

Laura said: Aug 1, 2012
Laura Mozena
Suzuki Association Member
Violin
Palm City, FL
105 posts

We hold our classes on Saturdays twice a month.

Pietra Brady said: Aug 21, 2012
 Violin
5 posts

In our community we have tried the idea of holding group classes on the day our local youth orchestras have their rehearsals. There are pluses and minuses to this option. On the plus side, as your students advance to the point of joining an orchestra, it’s an easy transition for families and their hectic schedules, and they appreciate that. The downside is that once kids join the orchestra, we lose them in our group classes. Still, we figured we couldn’t expect these families to commit to music events three time a week (private lesson, group class and orchestra rehearsal).

Connie Sunday said: Aug 22, 2012
Connie SundayViolin, Piano, Viola
667 posts

Every Saturday morning, before Saturday private lessons begin (I teach throughout the week, as well). I have a hard time getting people to show up all the time, which is a shame because we learn a lot during the group lesson. It’s more like a small chamber orchestra rehearsal and we also review a lot of theory issues.

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Barb said: Aug 22, 2012
Barb Ennis
Suzuki Association Member
Cello
678 posts

Last year when we started our group class I polled my students/parents. Sunday afternoon was the day that got the most votes, in fact it was the ONLY day one student could come. Last year we only held them once a month.

At the end of the year, I had several say they hoped we wouldn’t have them on Sundays next year! And the student whose parent lobbied for Sunday the most? He only came twice the entire year!

Looking at after school for kids and a morning for adults this year, 2- 3 times a month, occasionally gathering all together.

Barb
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Lauren said: Aug 23, 2012
Lauren Lamont
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
Edmonds, WA
33 posts

I have struggled with this for 4 yrs. My experience is that group class students stay engaged and drop much less than those who dont make group I have group class about twice monthly. I hit on a time that seems to work best for families in my area. I have a lot of little ones so eves isn’t good. I tried Monday eves—nope, scanty attendance. Sat morns- a little better but conflicts with soccer-big around here. Sat afternoon was the same conflict, as was Sunday afternoon. I finally started holding them Sunday Late afternoon, starting at 5pm & going till 6:30, back to back, inot so late as to cut into Sun eve time which I believe is kind of sacred family time. This has worked best for the last 3 yrs. I do have the Bk 4 grp meet Fri afternoons at 5:30 for 50 mins. Is a small group/ensemble & they like that time.

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Karen said: Aug 25, 2012
Karen Walls
Suzuki Association Member
Violin
Indianapolis, IN
16 posts

I hold mandatory group classes once a month, always the last Tuesday of the month at our church. The group classes are in place of the private lesson. I rarely have students miss. If they do miss, they still are charged for the group lesson. My students all look forward to this once-a-month time to spend with their friends. I charge for the price of a regular private lesson, but they get 1 1/2 hours of group time. I spend 45 minutes in the book repertoire and 45 minutes in theory.

I give my students choices when they reach their End of book recital. A lot of my students like to do theirs at group lesson time. So some months, we all listen to someone’s accomplishment before getting into our group lesson work. That person than receives their trophy and I find it very motivating for the younger students.

For the December group, we are going to do a play down and parents are welcome to stay (most drop off and leave. Some do stay and listen in, however). We will also play some Christmas duets and group carols together.

I find this arrangement gives me once-a-month free time, as I get all the lessons done for that week at group. I’ve done this for several years and it has worked well for us.

Karen Walls
Indianapolis Suzuki Academy
Instructor of Violin

Karen said: Aug 25, 2012
Karen Walls
Suzuki Association Member
Violin
Indianapolis, IN
16 posts

Forgot to mention that we meet 4:30-6 pm, the last Tuesday of every month. It’s after school, but before dinner and the parents are very eager to do this. I believe the 1 1/2 time involved where they can drop off and run errands is a huge factor to this working. Perhaps not ideally Suzuki, but it does work, the kids love coming, and we learn a lot! Sports practice has not been an issue for this time.

And, I have a small studio of 13, so I do believe those with larger studios do have much more conflict with activities.

Karen Walls
Indianapolis Suzuki Academy
Instructor of Violin

Patricia Maria Aguilar Moron said: Aug 26, 2012
 Violin
Monterrey, NL, Mexico
2 posts

Enviado v

Patricia Maria Aguilar Moron said: Aug 26, 2012
 Violin
Monterrey, NL, Mexico
2 posts

Enviado v

Mikaela said: Aug 29, 2012
Mikaela CashViolin, Viola
28 posts

Christine—I suppose you could say that I am in the process of adding group classes to my studio, because my schedule is still not the ideal Suzuki schedule. I always have an end-of-the-year group class before recital, and this year I did exclusively group classes in the summer. It was a resounding success, as everyone was ready for something different, it kept them playing in a less intense way, and the children were motivated to practice more than they would have with just private lessons because they had peer pressure in addition to teacher and mom pressure. This also freed up my busy summer a bit too!

Karen, I love your idea of doing group class instead of private lessons once a month. That is doable for me. I’ve heard the idea before, but now I’m seriously going to consider implementing it for the next term. Thanks for sharing!

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