Let me just start off by saying I fully believe in playing several instruments. As international school teachers, we expect our students to speak a minimum of two languages, but we know students who speak three or four quite well. Why not with instruments?
MFI has a 'Just Play' system in which students in a class rotate through instruments on the exact same song. Let's say you have a class of 24 students and your instruments are voice, chair drums (more on that in another post!), ukulele, keyboards (more on that in another post!), bass, and guitars. You are going to have four students on each section. The experienced guitarists will simply be given chords; beginners will have sponges placed in their lowest three strings and will play with simplified fingerings. The keyboardists (and note, these are kids who may not know how to play piano!) will be given crib sheets that show root position chords. On the screen, they'll see an animated lead sheet. As the students are learning the piece (discussing its structure, use of chords, improvising solos, etc.), the teacher keeps swapping groups. "Everybody move to the group beside them and play those instruments!" This gives the kids a foundation on all the instruments found in the room, improves their listening skills because they always have to be focusing on the chord changes on their new instrument, and keeps them from getting complacent ("Sorry. I only play bass.")
Here's an explanation of how it works:
"Yes, Amy, but what if you get 5 drummers in one group?" Well, that's a comment for the next blog post. See you next week!