Teaching with a Pianist: Intro to Swing at the Spotted Cat
A few weeks ago I read reading Glenn Crytzer’s blog post about being bombarded with music in which one of the things he mentions is a challenge for instructors to hire a pianist to play for their lessons.
Lo and behold two days ago I walked into The Spotted Cat in New Orleans to find Giselle Anguizola teaching a beginner swing dance lesson with Brett Richardson on Piano and Paul Tenderloin on Washtub Bass playing music for her students to practice to.
One thing I found interesting is half-way through the class they took a break to grab a drink from the bar or practice what they learned to live music. For a newbie lesson this is great because it lets them socialize with other students and apply what they learned in a realistic environment.
Anyways below is a short summary of what I perceived as advantages and disadvantages of teaching this way:
- Adds energy to the class and makes students excited.
- Great marketing tool. Intro swing dance class with live music, sounds a bit more enticing then just intro swing dance class.
- Prepares students for dancing to live music. (In New Orleans, if you dance downtown this is the norm 7 days a week. So it is especially relevant for their scene.)
- For instructors it can be difficult to give feedback because you are essentially trying to talk over an instrument/instruments several feet away.
- For most dance instructors hiring musicians consistently for lessons is not an affordable expense.