Updated: Aug 22, 2021
So what is virtual studio class? Let’s start with what it’s not.
Less formal, studio class is not a recital. Students who play at studio class bring both polished pieces and music they are not quite finished working on. It’s not the place where you play your piece and then leave immediately. That’s because students benefit by observing each other.
Although students may receive feedback from their teacher, this isn’t really a private lesson either. Some students may talk about their piece and present what they’ve learned to the group.
This is not a Suzuki Book group class. Students won’t be able to play together online at the same time unless they are in the same physical space. Though we can all meet in one (virtual) space simultaneously from anywhere. Parents of students aged 8 or older are encouraged to give their children space to develop independency. (Parents can stream class from another room if they wish).
Students will range in age and playing level. My classes do not focus solely on “the classics” composed by White European men- they are inclusive. We will all play, listen to, and learn about music from many kinds of people by covering diverse cultures and styles.
Studio class is a common part of taking private lessons. The following are benefits I feel are noteworthy (pun intended!).
MOTIVATION TO PRACTICE
Obviously when you have to play in front of a group, that’s a significant motivator for practice. Studio class provides students with a reason to practice that is both urgent and easy to understand. Peer pressure like this exerts a strong pull on teens and adolescents.
Some aspects of music performance are better learned in a group setting and others in a private lesson. Thats why group and private classes need to be co-taught.
Young students who hear advanced players don’t experience feelings of inadequacy, they aspire. On the other hand, advanced students don’t experience boredom listening to beginners— they tend to reflect on their own growth which builds self-esteem.
Music learning has an incredible impact on developing brains. The quantity and quality of research on the effects of music education continues to grow.
Recently, a large study showed students who studied music through high school performed better in English, science, and math. Read about it in Forbes.
We know that music study increases wellbeing, and decreases stress. We know that music making improves cognitive functioning and promotes brain plasticity. Dr. Izbicki goes over some research here in the Scientific American.
So what’s studio class? It’s the step in between lesson and performance. It’s a small struggle that yields incredible rewards. It’s motivation. It’s community. It’s beneficial.