‘Tis the season for final school projects & tests, outdoor sports, mosquitoes, & trying to convince the kids there is a reason to give full effort until the last day of lessons. It can feel a little like herding cats … in a room full of rocking chairs. Don’t fight the lure of outside! Let’s move from away from the piano with a change of pace. And move to where students want to be … with a group lesson outside!
Ending the year on a positive note
Whether it is with a group lesson or regularly scheduled lessons, this is a great time to change things up. My students know that we will have something every week for the last few weeks of lessons before summer. But, they also know that we will be having a change of pace during those lessons.
One of our first end of year activities is preparing for our student-led conferences. It’s a great opportunity to look at what we have covered this year & all the concepts they have covered. Students tend to forget all the amazing things they have done. Plus, who didn’t like teaching their parents something new? (Or, was that just me & now my students?)
Students become the teacher while I become their assistant. The parents love getting to do a lesson with their child & get a whole new appreciation for the hard work & dedication their child has shown throughout the year.
Then, for our last week we change piano lessons … with group lesson outside!
Why have group lesson outside?
My students have taken a vote. And, they voted that every year we have a group lesson outside for the last week of lessons. That’s right. Piano lessons outside!
How does this change the pace? They get a change of:
- Location: my home instead of their home
- Environment: Outside instead of inside
- Attendees: As much as they like me, spending time with other students from the studio holds a lot of appeal.
- Activities: While we still focus on pedagogically sound concepts, we practice them in a different way than during the rest of the year.
Since we always start with an independent activity at the beginning of our group lessons, I usually choose a worksheet that reviews something my students have learnt or gets them thinking about the topic we will be focused on during our group piano lesson outside.
For whatever reason, theory worksheets & other review assignments are more enjoyable completed out on the deck than at a table. True story.
For ideas on what types of activities would work for a group lesson, read “Let’s Go Outside!“. It also includes a link to a free PDF of pedagogically sound ideas that trick your students into learning & reviewing right to the end of lessons.
How are you ending the year?
I would love to hear from you!
What activities do you have planned … or if you have finished teaching, what did you do those last weeks before vacation?