Same age or same level for group lessons?

Cynthia said: Mar 3, 2013
 Piano
Knoxville, TN
2 posts

I try so hard to get all my students grouped according to age and level, but sometimes it’s just impossible. I have 6 year-old students who are playing at an intermediate level, and I have 12-year-old students playing at a late elementary level. When I try to get them together by level, the older students of course don’t want the 6-year-olds there, but when I put them all according to age, either the more advanced students are bored, or the less advanced students are lost. Any suggestions on this? Sometimes it so happens that I can get their ages and levels together, but when I can’t, it’s so frustrating. Would it be better to keep their ages similar, or their levels?
Thanks!

Maria Stefanova-Mar said: Mar 3, 2013
 Violin
Albuquerque, NM
19 posts

I have a colleague who has a similar frustration. She is starting a group class especially for teenagers who are at a beginning level. She schedules the class later on in the evening (after the 6 year olds:) and it seems to be working very well.
On a different thought, having students at different ages/levels and providing opportunities for them to support one another and learn from each other can be very powerful!

Irene said: Mar 3, 2013
Irene YeongViolin
160 posts

as a parent, support same level group instead of same age. fun for different age to play together, and good motivation for those who practise hard. kids who practise daily will be very demotivated, having to same piece over and over again, because others of the same age do not practise, it’s not fair.

Kiyoko said: Mar 15, 2013
 84 posts

I agree with grouping by the same level. The 12 year olds that don’t want the 6 year olds there will learn something by being together. By doing a few activities that help the kids get along regardless of age, it will become less of an issue for the older kids. It is part of the non-music skills that Suzuki method can foster.

Growing up in Suzuki, we always had kids of differing ages in our group lessons. It was actually nice because I developed friendships that spanned age groups. Take that another step further- I was exposed to kids of varying ages, socioeconomic backgrounds, ethnicities, developmental stages, etc. and the one thing we had in common was Suzuki music.

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