Group Class
Students Interacting with Each Other


Julianne Carney said: Dec 13, 2010
Julianne Carney
Suzuki Association Member
Brooklyn, NY
5 posts

Hi all,

A parent raised an interesting point: most of my activities in our group classes involve the students doing something along with me, or interacting with me the teacher.

Very rarely do the students interact with each other directly.

I’m curious to hear of activities you all have used where students interact with each other directly.

(Especially stuff that is not about correcting posture, as I think that can get tricky very quickly, as young students are not necessarily adept at knowing when to back down.)


Laura said: Dec 13, 2010
Suzuki Association Member
358 posts

Some fun interactive activities I’ve seen:

  • Play a piece “tag-team” style, with the next person taking the next phrase (works well with something relatively continuous and/or rhythmically simple such as Perpetual Motion, or even scales). Can be done in partners or a larger circle. You can vary it in any number of more challenging and silly ways for more advanced students, such as switching every bar, every two beats, having one person being responsible for every F sharp, etc.

  • Having one person do the bowing while the other person does the fingering (two people sharing one violin)

  • Having one person do a form of conducting/signalling while other player(s) respond accordingly (e.g. for dynamics or tempo)

Ruth Brons said: Dec 13, 2010
Ruth Brons
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
Livingston, NJ
148 posts

I admit the same could be said for most of my group classes as well, although I do try to regularly mix up the format!

Two activities that come to mind are:

  1. Listening exercise: one pair of students stand back to back and learn how to play in unison by really listening to each other, from the breath before the first note and onward.

  2. Focus exercise: Before a solo recital I’ll review the rules on what a solo performer playing from memory can do with their eyes [look at their bow, their strings, their violin, their fingers or the insides of their eyelids]. Then the class pairs off and while one of the pair is playing their solo the other tries to get the performer to look at them by dancing around them and being as silly as can be [while neither making noise nor touching the performer]. Lots of fun, and lots of focus!

Alie said: Dec 13, 2010
Columbus, OH
21 posts

I use a game that was taught to me in group class when I was a child: Have all students take off one shoe. Mix the shoes up and pile them in the middle of the room. While playing a review song together, they must attempt to put their shoe on (without stopping) before the end of the song. They LOVE this! (It doesn’t sound interactive, but trust me, it is!)

Laurel said: Dec 14, 2010
Laurel MacCullochViolin
Langley, BC
120 posts

For early Book 1 students—pairs face each other and play any variation of Twinkle; every time they play open E they shake left hands. Good for getting back to a good left-hand position quickly. You can also add open A to this too.

for more experienced students—have them face each other and play Twinkle, but one must ask questions and the other must answer them!

There’s always Hide The Bow/Rosin/whatever. One student leaves the room. Another student hides their bow in the room somewhere, so that the whole group knows where it is. Student comes back in the room and looks for their bow; everyone plays piano when he/she is far away from it, forte when he/she is close to it. Kids LOVE this! you can also play something slower/faster as well.


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