Here’s a ¬†worksheet I created recently to send home with a student after our Introductory Visit or their very first lesson! But the seminar was not about that type of group piano teaching at all — and it was a fun seminar! For most kids, piano lessons are the lowest event on their activities totem pole—but group piano has helped change that! One of my favorite programs from The Mayron Cole Piano Method is the summer program, Blast Off With Piano!© There is a part of me that wants to be just a Blast Off teacher and then send the kids on to other teachers. Since I have been a group teacher, I have seen four other teachers in my area start group piano classes. Mayron showed us how to turn our already-developed piano teaching abilities into group piano teaching skills. One of the greatest benefits about teaching in groups is the ensemble playing the students get to do. It takes four lessons to become good enough on the ensemble to get to play it with the accompaniment disk – and that is the reward!
I teach Blast Off in four days instead of five because so many parents want to go out of town on Fridays in the summer. When interested parents call for summer program information, I send them a calendar and a Blast Off brochure.
And my local music teachers’ association recently hosted a program on group piano teaching. But many of my students were at the same place in their piano knowledge and I found myself teaching identical lessons over and over each afternoon.

A lot of teachers in my association held that outdated viewpoint of group piano teaching, and I was nervous about their opinions of me if I became a group piano teacher.
I realized Mayron was not trying to turn me into a different teacher — she was using my personality and encouraging me to adapt it to my teaching. I make sure that every piano class has at least one ensemble piece that they are always working on. I tell parents that group piano is a wonderful recreation for ADD (attention deficit disorder) children.
Of course, I don’t complete the entire Blast Off booklet, but if the students continue with piano in the fall, we complete it before beginning Level 1-A.
But I do try to find room for ten to fifteen new students a year, and I do that by combining classes.
But I was struggling to get acclimated as a group piano teacher, and my first year of teaching Mayron’s piano method went slowly, I thought. The parents circle three different weeks that they can attend and mark a morning or afternoon preference. And I immediately saw the benefits of group piano instruction as Mayron presented her seminar. The ensemble playing shows what group piano teaching is all about — creating music with other people!
One of their activities during the summer session is to paint on their T-shirts some of the rhythms that they have learned. Just when they were becoming good at their piano playing skills, most of them were quitting piano to join a group activity.

We played theory games and drilled on the notes and rhythms and played our music in ensemble. Oddly enough, a good friend of mine (Doris Schneider, who is now living in Florida) felt the same exasperation in her teaching. And I could see my new group students were thoroughly enjoying their piano classes – but I wanted them to go faster. My beginners this year are playing Mayron Cole’s Western Skies, Autumn Sounds, and Bullfrog Jamboree ensembles. And at that same point in time, we both received postcards from The Mayron Cole Piano Method stating a group piano teachers’ seminar was going to be held in Atlanta. But my frustration with their speed changed in the fall when most of the group students came back after not taking lessons in the summer. These ensembles are great for beginners because the rhythm is the same in each piano part but the notes are different. I already have fifteen kids signed up for Blast Off this summer and fourteen of them are boys!
It’s also a sort of audition for the kids since I can easily tell who really wants to take piano and who can sit through a 45-minute piano class lesson.

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