Innovative Weekly Group Bassoon Lessons – Part 1

90 minutesI live in an area where there are usually one or two bassoonists per high school and one or two high schools per town. Most of my students have to travel at least 30 minutes one way to get to bassoon lessons. Combine the driving distance (and associated cost) with the cost of lessons, and too many parents were deciding that bassoon lessons weren’t worth it. Talented and motivated students were missing out because they “lived too far away”. (Although how many of us traveled much longer distances to our lessons? Hmm.)

I had to get creative. I came up with a plan to teach three to four students during the same 90 minute block. Students were able to carpool (thus lessening the driving issue), and lessons cost less because I was teaching fewer hours.

So far I have only tried this with one group of students—four boys who all attended the same high school and played at about the same level. Here is a rough outline of how we originally planned to spend the 90 minutes each week:

  • First 15-20 minutes of each class were for making/fixing reeds
  • Next 10 minutes were for group warm-up/scales (led by me)
  • Each student got a 10-15 minute one-on-one lesson with me to work on solo literature
  • When not working with me, students used my reed tools to work on reeds, work with my ipad theory/history lab, rehearse duets/trios with each other, and/or do individual practice
  • Final 20-30 minutes were a group masterclass

Sounds pretty good, right? Stay tuned for part 2 of this story to find out how it really went down.

 

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