Updated 8/23 10:11 p.m.

Frequently asked questions for the Virtual Piano Forum

How many students do you expect to have in the class?


The class size will ultimately depend on how many students register. I’m very open to creating a junior high section and a high school section if I have enough interested students. I think that I would cap one section at 6-8 students, possibly 9 or 10 at max.




How will you manage having a large group?


I’m considering alternating between small group sessions and large group sessions. I may divide the class into smaller class groups that will meet for half the number of classes, then for the other half we could have the larger group. For example, if I have a class enrollment of 8 high school students, maybe 4 of the meetings would be all 8 students that I would meet for one hour altogether one week, let’s say Tuesdays 4-5, and the other 4 meetings would be two different class times of 4 students per group, maybe Tuesdays 4-5 and 5-6 for example. Then students would have more performance time and individual attention in smaller groups but could still benefit from observing and meeting several students in larger groups. An example schedule could look like this: Sept 1 - trial class (everyone) Sept 15 Class A (4 students) 4:00-5:00 Class B (4 students) 5:00-6:00 Sept 29 Full class (8 students) 4:00-5:00 Oct 13 Class A (4 students) 4:00-5:00 Class B (4 students) 5:00-6:00 Oct 29 Full class (8 students) 4:00-5:00 Nov 3 Class A (4 students) 4:00-5:00 Class B (4 students) 5:00-6:00 Nov 17 Full class (8 students) 4:00-5:00 Dec 1 Class A (4 students) 4:00-5:00 Class B (4 students) 5:00-6:00 Dec 15 Full class (8 students) 4:00-5:00




Do students need to perform a new piece each time?


No, students are absolutely welcome to bring in a piece more than once! It is good for the class to see how students progress with their pieces, and it is good for the performing student to receive feedback about how to continue progressing, or affirmation that there is, indeed, improvement!




Can students just perform portions of pieces?


Yes! This is another important thing for students to be able to do freely in a low stakes environment. They are welcome to play just sections that they are working on. This also allows students to see one another's learning process as it might help inform their own.




Will you be providing feedback to the students?


Yes, I will be workshopping with the students and providing feedback in places that I think will be helpful. I will also have students give each other peer feedback.




Can a student attend just once sometime during the middle of the term to perform as preparation for a recital, audition, or festival event?


In short, the answer is no. The purpose of the group is to foster a sense of community and comradery in which students can get to know one another over time and learn to be more comfortable with one another. Consequently, I am not offering a drop in option for this course.




What if I am interested but can't afford the full price?


Please talk to me. I am working on sources and options for financial aid, so if a student is interested, I will try my best to accommodate.




What if I am interested but can't attend the dates you initially proposed on your website?


I am wholly open to changing the dates and class meeting times depending on students' schedules. Especially if we do small group divisions, I am willing to accommodate the schedules of each particular group of students. We will just have to communicate closely about it.




Will the performances take place live over Zoom? Or will students have to video record themselves each time?


For the purpose of minimizing the time commitments for this class, I am thinking about having students present their pieces primarily over Zoom (or perhaps an alternative platform that I'm researching currently), but I would be open to occasional video recording submissions that could be uploaded for students to view before class so that we can discuss the performance live and then workshop live, too.




What other time commitments are there? Will there be homework?


I am trying to keep the work for this class to a minimum. It is meant to be a supplement to students' private piano lessons with their private teachers. As I will be working with students from different studios, I intend to support teachers in what they are already doing with each student and just be a helpful voice to the students in the process. Therefore, I am not anticipating students having to do much more than what they are already doing to prepare for their private piano lessons. There may be small projects such as watching a particular video performance of a professional or a peer and making one-two sentence comments, but students do not have to worry about having to do any extensive written assignments or be expected to learn any additional pieces for this class.




Will there be a culminating project or final recital?


If students and teachers are interested, I may have the students submit a video recording to me that could be the same recording they may have submitted for other performances such as recitals and festivals, and we could have a compilation of these videos to present as a final performance.




What if I missed the trial class? Can I still enroll?


Yes! If there is a large number of students who miss the first trial class, I might set up a second trial class. Otherwise, I would be happy to interview you in person (online) to discuss whether or not this class would be appropriate for you.




What if I cannot attend one or two classes but can attend the rest?


If a student learns about the Virtual Piano Forum after the start date or has conflicts for one or two classes, I am willing to make an exception, but in order to create a sense of consistency for the classmates, I expect students to attend every class if they are enrolling. There will be no pro-rating of tuition if a student misses a class.




What might a typical class look like?


I will attempt to create a performance schedule as we go so that students know when they should expect to present something in class, particularly in large group settings (see previous question for elaboration of small group and large group structure). In each one hour class, I plan to work with at least 3-5 students on their repertoire. They will perform for the class to hear over zoom, and students will then be encouraged to provide feedback for their performing peers. If needed, I will workshop with a student on a passage that could use attention but will provide feedback that will be helpful for their consideration as they continue to polish their pieces.




How might large group and small group classes differ in structure?


(see previous two questions about large group management and typical class structure) In large group settings, there may be slightly more preference for presenting pieces in completion with a little bit more emphasis on trying to give a performance. Small group settings will provide time and opportunity to work on small sections in a more intimate environment.




Will other teachers be allowed to observe the class?


At this time, my intention is to limit the zoom participants to students only. The reasoning is that I think students may act or interact differently if their teacher is in the room, and I want to create an environment that is of a more relaxed energy and an atmosphere of trust and comfort cultivated over time and consistency.

I want to emphasize, however, that I am more than happy to dialogue with teachers about what and how their students are doing in the classes as I understand that they would like to make sure that their students are receiving quality information. Please feel free to reach out with any concerns.
It may be possible that a class might feature a guest teacher, but as this class is still in the early stages of experimentation, I will have to see how things turn out first before making any of those decisions.





FREE TRIAL CLASS

 

TUESDAY, SEPT 1, 4:00-5:00 p.m.

Check out the first zoom meeting for free with no obligation of commitment.

Contact me and I will be in touch with you about details for the trial class. If you are unable to attend the trial class but are interested in possibly enrolling, please let me know and we can work something out.  

If you have any other questions or would like to register, please reach me through my Contact page and subject your message "Virtual Piano Forum." Alternatively, you can email me at andrewphampiano@gmail.com. 

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