During the '60s, as a graduate student, I had the amazing experience of having my weekly applied piano lesson in a group setting with two other piano students. Every Friday, we met for three hours. It was like spelunking into the process of learning about music and life, and burrowing down into yourself along with the camaraderie and support of two friends. What a gift!
So much more is learned, experienced, and then grounded in this kind of setting. We begin somewhat tentatively, get more and more immersed, and then finally resurface to reflect. I am so grateful these two adults are willing to go there with me. No matter what we explore, or which student gets the main focus, learning is occurring for both. One student needed to experience the space between the notes in his Beethoven "German Dance”, so the other student played the same piece, but on the offbeat. It was almost like an echo effect, and it worked. Space was felt. Another time, as one student played the right hand of her piece, the other sightread the left hand. Not only did they have to listen, but again both learned. They also have learned how to effectively comment on the other’s performance, and to offer suggestions on what needs work. So consequently, their listening skills and communication skills have grown immensely. They also play duets. I merely ask a question, and they take off, problem solving and figuring out, on their own, what to do next .
I have been so deeply reminded of the depth, and the power of the group setting for the applied lesson. Again, I thank you Guy Duckworth for that group experience 40 years ago. And thank you Bill and Sherrie for bringing back those memories, and giving me the opportunity to further explore the wonder of group learning.