Welcome to Group IlluminatED!

A virtual, on-demand conference for group piano teachers by group piano teachers

Power Up Your Group Piano Teaching
June-July 2024


We’ve gathered some of the best names in group teaching today to offer you vision, clarity, and encouragement in your group piano teaching journey. Scroll to see which sessions each presenter is offering during our 2024 conference (speakers listed alphabetically by last name).

Keynote Speaker:
Christopher Fisher

Dr. Christopher Fisher is a professor, author, clinician, and performing artist who advocates for teaching piano in groups.

Chris wrote what many consider to be one of the most valuable resources in group teaching: Teaching Piano in Groups (Oxford University Press, 2010). It is the only comprehensive group piano pedagogy textbook of its kind.

Chris’s keynote will focus on one of his current passions and topics for research: the parental role in music education.

🎹 The Secret Ingredient for Piano Teaching Success: The Powerful Role of Parents

Have you ever wondered exactly how important it is for parents to be involved in their children’s music experience? Let’s learn together how to unleash the power of the Three Es for parents: Engage, Educate, and Encourage. Learning to nurture our piano parents will ensure success in our studios. You won’t want to miss this keynote!

Dorla Aparicio

🎹 Cultivating a Group Piano Mindset

Dorla knows that a successful group piano program begins with the right mindset. But what exactly is the mindset’s role in establishing and growing a group piano program? This session will allow you to equip yourself with strategies for a thriving group piano environment.

Rebecca Bellelo & Emily Book McGree

🎹 Teaching Beyond the Classroom: Rules for Practicing Effectively and Playing Musically

We don’t have to adopt a defeatist mindset when it comes to the amount of control we have over the practice our students do at home. Learn how to teach and inspire your students in a way that will help them use effective practice rules at home.

🎹 FAQs of Group Teaching: Get Your Questions Answered

Melanie Bowes

🎹 Teaching Technique in Groups

How do you teach technique in a group? Isn’t that best taught one-on-one? Melanie shares her tips and tricks to ensure your group classes have just as much technique prowess as their privately trained counterparts.

🎹 Measuring Progress Against Specific Skills

If you’ve ever wondered how to know if your students are progressing satisfactorily, this session has the answers! Discover appropriate measuring sticks for group student progress.

Sara Campbell

🎹 Using AI to Save Time and Streamline 

Let’s talk about how AI can make your life easier! Join business and marketing strategist Sara Campbell to explore a variety of AI tools that can assist with admin, planning, and marketing – so you can spend more time doing what you really love: teaching your awesome students. 

🎹 Cultivating Loyalty: Key Techniques for Student Retention 

This chat is all about making meaningful connections with your students and their families. Sara will share how you can improve communication strategies, fine-tune onboarding processes, and get those glowing testimonials rolling in — so that you can create an environment where clients feels heard, valued, and eager to continue their musical journey with you. 

Diana Cummings

🎹 Harmony in Education: Nurturing Musicianship, Discipline, Confidence, and Community Building for Teens and Adults

Come learn how to unlock the musical potential of the teens and adults in our studios as Diana teaches us how to explore their creative expression, build confidence in this population, and foster community for a transformative musical journey.

Leah Drake

🎹 Harmonized Chaos: Scheduling Group Piano Classes

Group piano means more students, which is great for income, but more students can also mean more scheduling headaches. Come see how Leah handles her annual scheduling process and builds a schedule that optimizes her teaching time and makes families happy.

With the right techniques and technology, scheduling group classes can be both effective and flexible.

Caroline Fauchet

🎹 Un Piano Pour Trois (One Piano for Three)

Caroline is excited to introduce her unique piano method, Un Piano Pour Trois (One Piano for Three). This method has been specially designed for groups of two to three children who learn to play the piano with a teacher on the same keyboard. If you are interested in trying out group teaching without acquiring multiple pianos, this could be a great place to start.

Christopher Fisher

🎹 The Art of Group Piano Teaching: top tips and best practices for group teaching

A discussion of effective and motivational instructional strategies, recommended curricular materials and resources, and instructional technologies will be featured. 

Jennifer Foxx

🎹 Ready? Set… PLAY! Group Activities that Spark Engagement!

Jennifer will share over 20 of her favorite games and activities that she likes to do in group lessons. These activities will illuminate all of the possibilities to engage your students during class.

🎹 Making the Most out of Your Time with Music Lab Stations

This session has been designed to help teachers learn about and maximize their teaching time when implementing a music lab station. This session will address various key aspects, ensuring that every moment in the music lab is productive, engaging, and stress-free.

Maureen Karpan

🎹 Joy, Jazz and Jamming

Group piano classes offer unique opportunities for getting you and your students off the written page and improvising.  Maureen is excited to share how you can take beginner pieces your students already play and turn them into creative ensembles your students will love to “jam” on over and over again, introducing them to the world of jazz.  For intermediate students, she will show how she teaches Swing Out from Bradley Sowash’s That’s Jazz series, providing you with techniques that you could use with any jazz method or lead sheets.

Marie Lee

🎹 Create a Piano Parent Crash Course

Parents playing piano alongside their child can be a bonding experience and provide valuable support for home practice. Marie will share her own lesson plans and template to help group teachers create their own 4-week crash course for parents who want to learn basic music skills (keyboard geography, rhythms, finger numbers) to support their students. Parents could enjoy your abbreviated course so much that they become your next student to add to your adult group classes!

🎹 Engaging Class Openers

If you’re not intentional about it, it’s easy to let your students set the tone for your group classes. Take your power back with simple, quick strategies that yield successful class environments week after week.

🎹 Play It Again: techniques to review pieces while keeping student focus and excitement

Auto-pilot, be gone! Marie dives deep into her bag of tricks to share the ways she keeps her students coming back for more as they polish up their pieces.

Laura Marr

🎹 Planning and Executing Simple Summer Camps

With ten years of summer camps under her belt, Laura takes us through the process of designing a simple summer camp based on a theme or topic from planning stage to execution. It can be an easy and enjoyable experience!

🎹 Sitting Exams in a Mixed-Level Group Class

Have you ever thought about offering exams like ABRSM or RCM in your studio? Laura shares how she runs mixed exam age and level classes while keeping it all organized and on track.

Rosemarie Penner

🎹 Supporting Students With Unique Learner Needs In Group Classes

Can students with unique learner needs be successful in multi-age, multi-level group lessons? Yes! Learn teaching and admin tips to best support these amazing students.

Mindy Rawlinson

🎹 Free Music for Group Teachers? Yes, Please!

Mindy is composing a commissioned Group Piano Ensemble for Group IlluminatED 2024, which will be given as a free gift to attendees.

Bradley Sowash

🎹 Teaching with Backing Tracks: How to make them and how to use in group classes

🎹 Going Further with Lead Sheets: What both beginners and intermediates can do with lead sheets

Rebekah Trevelise & Amanda Tero

🎹 Using Games to Teach Theory in Group Lessons

Research is showing that by learning via play, students can learn in 10-20 repetitions as opposed to the approximate 400 repetitions it usually takes to create a new synapse in the brain (Dr. Karyn Purvis).

Learn one of the most fun ways to teach music theory to your students: music games! Glean strategies for including music games in your studio and helping students grasp and maintain important music theory concepts.

Leila Viss

🎹 Team Creativity: How to mesh collaboration and creativity in a way that ignites excitement in groups

Whether you refer to your classes as groups or teams, there are tried and true ways to foster creativity together. Come learn from one of the best creative minds out there!

What is an On-Demand Conference?

An on-demand conference allows you to enjoy conference content whenever and wherever it works for you! Group IlluminatED gives you access to 100% of the presentations 100% of the time during the months of June and July. That’s sixty-one days to dive as deep as you like into absolutely stellar content!

Traveling? No problem.

Busy with teaching? No problem.

Life gets a little crazy for a few days? No problem.

Take a deep breath, relax, and grab the content when you want it, when you have the time to enjoy it, and as often as you like.

Hey, group teaching is anything but conventional. Why should a conference about group teaching be?

“…it’s been a rich and steady month to get through all of the presentations, but I really love this approach of “view on your own time”.  I have been taking loads of notes as I view each one.”
Joan Hildebrand (2022 Attendee)

Opportunities to Connect

In-person conferences include perks like meeting like-minded individuals and being able to ask questions of presenters.

We didn’t want to leave this part out, so we’ve created several online live meet-ups at different times during the two months of the conference where you can join in discussions about various aspects of group teaching. Come chat real-time with some of the presenters and other teachers who have valuable viewpoints, and please share yours, too!

These live meet-ups are offered on different days of the week and different times during the day to accommodate different time zones and schedules. We don’t record these calls, because we don’t want to compete with the conference content for your time, but we do provide written notes from each live event that are easier to scan at a glance and include helpful links to the resources discussed during the call.

The schedule for the live meet-ups will be shared with you shortly before the conference begins so you can put those dates on your calendar!

“Great ideas and not as intimidating as other live events I have been part of!”

Elizabeth Melson (2022 Attendee)

Register for the Conference!


We are excited to offer the following payment plans:

The All-Access Pass Payment Plan** is divided into 2 monthly payments of $187.50. One payment today when you register, and the second payment in 30 days.

The Extended All-Access Pass Payment Plan** is 3 monthly payments of $142.00. One payment today when you register, the second one in 30 days, and the third payment in 60 days.

**We are sorry, but coupon codes can not be used with the payment plan option.**


Are you in a tight financial spot? Please apply for the chance to be a recipient of one full All-Access Pass scholarship ($375 value) or one of two half All-Access Pass scholarships ($187.50 value).