Group lessons for keyboard or piano - yamaha music - experiences or thoughts?

(7 Posts)
LtGreggs Tue 16-Feb-16 09:30:34

I have two DS, 9 & 7, been having piano lessons (individually) for about 18 months / 12 months respectively. They are around grade 1 ish standard. We have a piano at home.

Their teacher is no longer able to teach (due to bad health). So I'm looking at options for what to do next.

Neither of them is a super-keen musician, but they like it ok & will practice if I prompt them. They are not going to be concert pianists (!)

One option is to give up - but they are not asking to give up, and I think it will be a good, enjoyable skill to develop - so would like to find a good way forward.

There are a few piano teachers locally - but they are quite grade-focussed, 'serious musicians'. So I'm lucky to have them as an option, but I'm not sure that's the best fit for the children.

There is a yamaha music centre in town - they do group lessons on keyboard or piano (though not much piano info on their website). All their chat is about having very engaging lessons with the end goal being to produce 'good jobbing players' - I think that's exactly what I want as an end goal.

Does anyone have experience of learning piano or keyboard this way? Thoughts on pros / cons?

Also I know piano & keyboard not the same - and people ask about using a home keyboard with piano lessons. But what about the other way around - home piano & keyboard lessons?? (because I'm wondering if quicker progress to 'songs' etc on keyboard might be more rewarding, while still including the understanding of harmony etc that will give 'general muaicianship')

Mistigri Tue 16-Feb-16 09:51:00

Can you do a trial lesson?

I imagine this will focus more on contemporary music and keyboard skills so it really depends what music your children like to play and what their interests are.

As a general rule I would say that piano skills transfer easily to a keyboard, but that the reverse is much less true, so if they want to be pianists you'd be better finding a piano teacher with a flexible, non-exam focussed approach. You may find that some piano teachers are delighted to have a parent approach them with musicianship and enjoyment rather than exam passes in mind.

Ferguson Tue 16-Feb-16 17:47:05

Keyboard 'lessons' will not really work on a piano - acoustic or digital - as the 'keyboard' left hand will normally be sustained chords, or even single sustained notes, with the keyboard's sophisticated accompaniment generation producing the 'backing'. The piano left hand needs to work quite hard at producing a suitable backing, whatever genre of music is being played.

Is it a conventional 'acoustic' piano that you have? Do the children also have access to a versatile Keyboard?

It is nearly forty years since I had any experience of Yamaha music schools, when my wife was learning electronic organ, and I was teaching myself from Kenneth Baker books. We often attended their student concerts, and the quality of performance varied considerably, but probably more due to the effort and concentration of the student, rather than the quality or thoroughness of the teaching.

Group lessons are probably a good social activity, and some children will enjoy them, though others may find them frustratingly 'mediocre' if they sense they could learn much more from good individual teaching.

These days there are very many tuition schemes and books available, and also a lot of on-line demonstrations and tuition sites (though quality varies a lot), so for a student prepared to put in real effort a teacher may not be essential, to make 'average' progress on undemanding material. Obviously though, for serious 'Grade' progress, then a good professional teacher would be required.

absolutelynotfabulous Thu 18-Feb-16 10:18:20

I don't know anything at all about Yamaha schools and bow to Ferguson's extensive knowledge on that subject, but I have taught some group keyboard lessons and my general observation is that group lessons work better if the objective is to produce music as a group, rather than to produce individual instrumentalists, if that makes sense. It IS fun, though.

It may be an idea to have a look at some of the material that's around (Rockschool have a keyboard and piano syllabus). I wouldn't discount the usefulness of grades, either, yet: Grade 1, for example, is fab for getting to grips with technique.

There is, incidentally, a "Practical Musicianship" option (I think) available which may actually fit your bill perfectly.

LtGreggs Fri 19-Feb-16 20:16:55

Thanks all for the help. I think I'll book for what they call an 'assessment lesson' and ask a lot questions, plus also phone a couple of the piano teachers to hear their thoughts on a 'general musicianship' approach.

Actually we could also try out one term of yamaha without having to commit to it forever - might be inclined to do that if there's a waiting list for the piano teachers.

jellycanwait Fri 19-Feb-16 21:07:52

my dc is currently taking Yamaha jmc (the course for 4-6 yr olds). Initially I was very sceptical - especially at the price of £11 for an hour lesson in a group of 10. But actually it has been really good - they've made friends with the other children and the class moves on together so if a child finds a piece tricky eventually they will just move on and so never have to perfect it which might be frustrating for a very young child. Also there are yearly concerts which are fun.

absolutelynotfabulous Sat 20-Feb-16 09:36:02

jellycat that sounds great. Actually, I think £11 an hour sounds perfectly reasonable, given that the going rate per hour for a one-on-one lesson is £31.

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