Disclaimer – I know this won’t work with all siblings, but if you have a couple of little angels or “best friends”, you may discover that the following experiment can work for you too!
On Wednesday afternoons I teach piano to two delightful brothers. Recently, their mom had a baby, so needless to say, things for mom are a little busy.
To help ease the pain (hey… I’ve been there!) I offered to keep both boys in my studio for the full hour so she could have a little break with just the baby. I wasn’t sure what to expect with this new arrangement. Would the younger brother happily read on my studio couch while his older brother learned piano? Would the older brother happily do the same?
As it turns out, the results of my unintentional experiment were remarkable!
Kids Are Social Creatures
Both brothers (granted… very well-behaved brothers) turned out to be very patient. But as you might expect, after about 20 minutes the younger bother would start to get a little antsy.
Did this interfere with the lesson? Quite the opposite!
Rather than make the younger brother sit and squirm, I instead invited him to join in on his brother’s piano lesson. After all, I quite often spend the last 5 minutes of a piano lesson playing a game to reinforce whatever we’ve been learning in lessons anyways, so having an extra player just added to the fun.
I then carried the piano game on for 10 minutes… which also wasn’t a problem because it is not uncommon for me to begin a piano lesson with some sort of game.
Did You See What Just Happened Here?
So, if you’re following along, here’s how this arrangement played out: both brothers received their regular piano lesson. On top of that, because we combined the last 5 minutes of one lesson with the first 5 minutes of the next lesson, each brother actually received a 35 minute lesson, and because we normally play piano games for 5 minutes of every lesson anyways, no lesson time was wasted!
As a lovely addition to this arrangement, the youngest of the two brothers is so determined to “keep up” that his at-home practice time has increased in leaps and bounds as he works to be on par with his older brother. A little friendly competition can do wonders!
Could this work with Non-Siblings?
I love any opportunity to facilitate family music making.
But I also intend to experiment with a few non-siblings in my studio as well. I see it as a win-win. Not only do only my piano students receive an extra 5 minutes of lesson time, but they get to take advantage of all the benefits that come along with learning in a social environment.
There are of course a few obstacles that might derail this experiment… and it may turn out to be more hassle than it is worth, but as the saying goes…
There is no fault in trying and failing, the fault is in failing to try.
Wish me luck 🙂 … and if you are feeling brave, and if you too schedule siblings back-to-back, I’d love for you to give it a shot and let me know how it works out!
Where To Find Games For Your Newly Discovered Lesson Time
These two brothers have been having a blast playing a new game each week from our newest project PianoGameClub.com. If you are looking to engage, motivate, and educate your piano students, all the while having an absolute blast, check it out here!