Have you considered teaching preschoolers but you’re just not sure which type of program would be right for you? In this episode, I’ll help you weigh up your options and decide between group and private lessons for your preschoolers.
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VMT 45 – Private VS group preschool music lessons – which is better.mp3 | Convert audio-to-text with Sonix
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You’re listening to episode 45 of the vibrant music teaching podcast. I’m Nicola Cantan and in this episode I’ll help you way up preschool group vs. private lessons.
Welcome beautiful teachers have you been considering adding pre-school lessons of some sort into your studio. I know many teachers want to do this and we talked about this on last week’s episode but you still may have one question lingering in your mind and that’s whether to choose private or group preschool lessons to integrate into your studio. So you’re going to have one student at a time the same way you probably teach already for your other students or are you going to start a group program cause there are pros and cons to each of those options and I’m going to talk you through those different options those different reasons you might choose one over the other. In today’s episode. But first I wanted to give you a sense of what I specifically mean by Group and private lessons for preschoolers. I have a page on my site where I actually explained this to parents and I thought I would just take a few words from there to give you a sense of how I explained this to piano parents perspective piano parents and the difference in my studio. Of course there are many ways to configure Group and private lessons but this is how I do it. So I have many musicians program which is a group program and the intro paragraph on my on my Website says many musicians program is perfect the perfect first introduction to music lessons for your child. This is a no pressure no practice curriculum where we explore music and the piano through improvisation songs and games. OK so that’s my mini musician class and that’s how I explain it or introduce it to parents.
Many musicians are 40 minute classes in my studio but they can vary the meaning musician’s curriculum is actually available to all vibrant music teaching members and you can easily adapted to be anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes each week. Mine are actually 40 minutes long as I tend to move fast so that’s enough time for me and there are four to six students in a class although they could be up to I’d say eight students comfortably and many musicians class if that’s how big you wanted to go. So I have these small group classes it’s not a big class like you would find in the school they’re still getting pretty close attention from me but it is a group of kids together and then the other option I have of preschoolers is Buddy lessons and here’s what I say on the website about that. If you feel your kiddo is ready for a more focused and structured piano lesson experience and buddy lessons might be a better fit buddy lessons are the standard format for most students. I’d go for keys where students spend a portion of their lesson one on one with their teacher and the other time with another student for body time. There’s overlapping time in our lessons allows us to explore more creative activities games based learning and ensemble playing. Then you will find in traditional piano lessons. So I just wanted to make that clear up front because I’m still talking about buddy Lessons for My preschoolers not actually traditional private lessons. However there are distinctions I want to make in this episode will apply to you whether you’re considering you know standard 30 minute one on one lessons or body lessons or some situation like I have in my studio or maybe even partner lessons something a little bit more so shall we a traditional even though it’s not really traditional to do body lessons but a little bit more what people would be expecting from piano lessons vs. a small group format where you have maybe between four and eight students.
So those are the two options at my studio and I provide both but you may want to choose one or the other. So let’s talk through the different options there. The benefits as I see it for private piano lessons for preschoolers for you and the parents I’m covering both here is first of all that it’s more comfortable for you. And I think this would be a big reason for many teachers if you’re used to teaching piano one on one then when you think about moving into pre-school lessons you might automatically want to do that because you’re not used to teaching in a group that seems a little bit scarier and a little bit more outside your comfort zone. And so you’d prefer to teach one on one and that’s totally fine. Another reason that you might have in mind is that you just don’t have the equipment for group lessons. Now I actually don’t think you need any extra recruitment for groups lessons in most cases and the many musicians program is set up so that you won’t.
But for some of you especially considering certain different curricula then you might want to have extra equipment or things that you need extra equipment if you’re going to have group lessons of any sort including group pre-school lessons. The other benefit of private lessons though is that the child will make faster progress. They will for sure. That’s true in any case basically. Now in my as I read from my website in my preschool group lessons I’m not even expecting any practice. So of course the progress is faster in my private lessons where I do expect practice. But even if you do put in a practice requirement into your group preschool lessons they’re not going to move as quickly as private lessons that might may or may not be a bad thing. It doesn’t have to be a bad thing for group lessons to move more slowly but the fact remains that if you’re if a child goes into private lessons they’re more likely to move more quickly through the material. The cons of private lessons for preschoolers are that you absolutely need parent involvement. Now if you get a wonderful supportive piano parent this could be a pro right that they’re really on board with their preschooler learning play music and so they put a lot of investment into it and our dedicated piano parent. But here’s the thing. If that parent is not onboard in that way if they’re not ready to be a practice coach at home. Oh my gosh you’re going to have such a hard time on your hands.
That’s true for any students but it just doubles and triples every time you go to a younger age bracket. So if you’re talking about three or four year olds there is literally no chance of them practicing with any kind of independence. The parent has to be involved and they have to structure the practice. They have to make it a habit every day. But they also have to actually guide the process. So they have to be ready for a proper commitment if they’re going to take on private lessons. The other can of course is that it’s less profitable. As with any private lessons if you teach students one on one you are trading your time for money and there is a cap. There is no doubt about it. You cannot charge infinity for your time. Whereas if you have a group not that you can charge infinity but you can multiply that a bunch of times of course and not have it be priced completely out of the market. So that’s a definite con for private lessons is that it’s not going to expand your income it may expand your available hours but if you’re looking really to get a boost to your income maybe group lessons are the way to go there. And another con is that you still do need to adjust your teaching style. So I talked about it being more comfortable or more familiar to teach one on one with students. But here’s the thing. Many teachers attempt to teach preschoolers in exactly or pretty close to exactly the same way that they teach their other students.
And then they declare that these students are just not ready for piano lessons students as age are never ready. Well they’re not ready for your piano lessons if they’re the same as a seven year old. Of course not preschool class in school does not look like first grade or first class or you know a later stage in their schooling. No course it doesn’t because they’re completely different. There you go at a completely different stage of their development. So my point being if you think that teaching preschool is one on one is gonna be more familiar to you it will be a little bit in some senses but it’s still going to have to be vastly different from what you did with your average age beginners or what you do with your average age beginners. Right. An eight year old and a three year old do not learn in the same way. They cannot have the same lesson structure. You still will need to bring games into your teaching to get up and down off the bench a lot more to be much more open to changing tacks. Way more often and to have strategies prepared so that preschoolers can follow the lesson plan and stay on track and do what you want them to do. So you’re still going to have to go through a learning curve no matter what. OK. Let’s talk about group lessons and what are the pros of group lessons.
Well it’s less pressure for the child and the parent. And this is a big one not just for them but for you. So if you put a preschooler into a one on one situation and the parent is not involved at home or they didn’t really understand what they were taking on it ends up being stressful for all of you because you feel like you need to make progress going forward but you can’t because there’s no practice happening but you don’t really know what to do with the lesson when you’re just repeating the same thing every week because there’s no practice happening and no support at home or not enough support at home. When you have a group situation you can do much more activities and you’re open to this low pressure environment where they’re just having an experience every week and they’re not practicing at home necessarily or I I tend to call many musicians at a low to no practice at home requirement. Right. So maybe they’re doing a few minutes a week or doing little rhymes every day in the car or something but that’s it. So if that’s the situation it’s a lot less pressurized. Break the parents. And for you. All right. It gives you some breathing room because you know nothing is really expected at home and they don’t need to move forward at some lightning plate pace. You have a group of them day together and you can do all sorts of fun activities as a group.
The other pro for you of course is that it’s more profitable right. You can make much more money teaching a group lesson than you ever could teaching a private lesson. You don’t need to charge the same amount you can charge pretty close to the same amount as you would for a private lesson depending on how you want to structure it. And you have four to eight students at a time. So there’s a lot more scope there for making more money. The other pro group is that it’s also more fun for many students at this age. Like I say it’s a lower pressure environment but also the actual experience of lessons might be more fun. Now if you adapt your teaching as I do and as I hope you will for private lessons for preschoolers as well then you definitely can make that really fun. But preschool aged children children in general do really well with other kids around them so that they can interact and learn together the kinds of group lessons then are that you need extra equipment or you may think you need extra equipment. And for some curricula you will for many musicians you actually don’t. So I don’t have anything special for my group lessons that I don’t use in my private lessons. I have to go on as well. I have a piano and a Yamaha P1 or five. Not a fancy keyboard but weighted keyboard set up in my studio and that’s it. If you only have one piano that works too.
I’ve set it up so that it makes sense that way. But you may need more equipment if you’re thinking about choosing some particular curriculum that requires that you may also need a curriculum so that can be a big stumbling block for many teachers. Is that a lot of preschool group programs are actually pretty expensive. With good reason not saying they don’t provide good materials but they’re big programs. They often have a licensing fee an ongoing licensing fee for you to be able to say that you’re using that program and they may have a setup fee as well or they may have just a very large set up and I’m not a licensing fee but it’s normally we’re talking at least in the hundreds possibly in the thousands to get it set up in a lot of cases that I’ve seen. Now many musicians that I’ve been mentioning is my curriculum and that’s inside vibrant music teaching and that’s available to all members no matter what. So you can get the whole curriculum basically right now for twenty dollars because you get into the site for 20 dollars and everything is instantly available. So that doesn’t have to hold you back. It is what has been holding you back that curriculum is there ready to go. Everything is laid out for 40 weeks of preschool classes. And as I say they’re adaptable from 30 to 60 minutes long with all the resources you need there and videos to walk you through it along the way. The only extra thing you need from any musicians is some percussion instruments.
You probably have those on hand just like shakers and stuff like that a piano and then a couple of other bits and pieces scarves. Yeah but all super cheap stuff and only a few things and then we use that for the whole year. The other con of the group curriculum may be that you feel you need more space. Now unless you’re in a very small teaching room I doubt you do need more space to teach a group of four students. If you really think about it if you’re going to use one piano You don’t need space for a second piano. You already have two pianos. I don’t think that would fit in a room that is too small for four preschoolers. Right. So most teaching spaces actually could easily fit a small group class. It doesn’t have to be a massive class it doesn’t have to be a keyboard lab but just a space to sit on the floor together on chairs if you’re not comfortable on the floor and a piano. That’s basically it. Right. So you might be able to fit up to four students maybe you can’t fit eight but that’s still the potential turn four times the amount and have more fun with four students at a time rather than having one on one. OK. So those are my pros and cons. I hope that hearing about the benefits and the drawbacks of each of the options has helped you think this through if you’re considering taking on a preschool program of some sort or some type of preschool lessons in your studio which is right for you will totally depend on you right whether you can see yourself teaching a group whether that’s just too far outside your comfort zone.
And even though you’re going to have to change your teaching style you’d prefer to do the lessons one on one. That’s fine if that’s the case but it remains in your hands. It is your studio it’s your business. So choose the one that feels right to you after thinking these different benefits and cons through which one is right for you. You think about it and maybe you go for both. If you want to check out the page where I explain both my options to parents it’s on the colorful kids site. So there is a link on the vibrant music teaching site on these show notes. So if you go to vibrant music teaching dot.com slash 45 to get taken to the show notes for this episode there’s a full transcript there and some notes and links that I mentioned. I do those for all of the episodes. And in this one I’ll leave a link to my page all about preschool piano lessons. That’s directed towards parents just so you can see the wording there. There’s a lot more than what I read out on the episode. The other reason I think it would be useful to look at that page is that if you’re going to help or both or one or the other you’re going to need to get really clear about communicating to parents why you chose what you chose or why one option would be better and the other or the other option would be better for their child.
OK. So it’s really important that you get that straight in your head in a way where you can communicate it clearly and confidently to parents so that you can get them on board with whichever decision you make. And if you are considering adding either group lessons or private preschool lessons into your studio then you might want to check out a vibrant music teaching membership if you’re not a member because we have the full many musicians program as I mentioned it’s up and running now. We also have the tiny finger take off which is a step by step program for private or buddy partner lessons that will walk you through improvisation and games and all of the stuff that you need to teach preschoolers that the creative stuff and the basically the off the page stuff because you need to get off the page a lot more often with preschoolers a method book is not going to cut it even in a one on one lesson so that walks you through all of these additional devices that you can use to keep your preschoolers lessons exciting and fresh and age appropriate. So check out vibrant music teaching membership if you want access to either of those or both of you want to offer both options for preschoolers in your lessons.
And let me know what you decide. Jump over to the Facebook group at the it’s called the vibrant music studio teachers if you’re not already a member. So jump in there and let me know whether you’re mulling this over trying to choose between the two. Or one jumped out to you straight away as being the best option. Or if through this discussion you’ve decided you’re never gonna teach preschoolers and it’s just not for you.
That’s fine to let me know your thoughts over in the vibrant music studio teacher’s group. And until next time happy teaching. If you’re interested in learning more about teaching preschoolers and groups and you’re listening to this shortly after it went live then I have a webinar coming up which you can get access to by going to vibrantmusicteaching.com/small to sign up today.
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