Playing the piano is almost always a solo endeavour. But it shouldn’t be this way. We thought, why not have a Keyboard Orchestra program?
Group performance for pianists? How cool is that!
It seems like a strange idea at first, we know. But the way it works is very simple and very, very effective.
Approach 1, Group Piano:
We have up to 5 piano keyboards in a room. Our students practise under the guidance of an experienced teacher with headphones on. They usually work on the same pieces at the same time. When the teacher is satisfied that they had practised the piece enough time, they ask the students to take off their headphones and try the piece, first one by one, then together, as a group. After each performance the students give each other feedback. Collective learning at its best.
For this approach to work, students are matched by level of proficiency on the piano, from complete beginner to more advanced keyboards skills. this approach is extremely suitable for motivating students to play the piano, since a lot of the practising takes places actually in class instead of at home. It also gives pupils a greater confidence because they are surrounded by their peers all the time and they get commended by their classmates and the teacher.
Approach 2, Keyboard Orchestra:
The second approach is for a group of piano students to use the keyboards to learn special arrangements of pieces provided for them by our teacher. It could be a cover version of a hit song, or a transcription of a piece for other instruments, even a whole orchestra. Each student plays a different part and they work as a truly chamber music group, each with their own role.
This approach requires a bit of experience on the keyboard, so it will be suitable for pupils who have had some piano instruction already. They are also grouped dependant on their level of skill, so not one student would feel overwhelmed or left behind by their peers being more advanced.
I believe in using the entire piano as a single instrument capable of expressing every possible musical idea.Oscar Peterson