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  • O. Q. Johnson, President, CEO

Private Music Instruction Versus Group Music Instruction

Private Music Instruction Versus Group Music Instruction At Music Instruction For All Learners, Inc. we pride ourselves on our one to one music instruction approach. There has always been a debate on which is better, group instruction versus private instruction. Coming from both side of the coin, I've come to learn that private instruction is far more the best choice. Why, because as this article written by Sage: Private music lessons provide better student growth." As a young student many years ago I remember taking private piano instruction, and I also remember taking group brass instructions in high school and college, so there is a great difference. As you check this article out and browse through our Facebook page, you do the math and tell us what you think. If private better for you? Private music lessons help you meet your personal goals When you study with a professional private music teacher, you’ll receive your teacher’s full attention and focus for the entire lesson. You will benefit from lessons that have been planned and tailored to your specific needs, goals, and learning style. You will progress swiftly and easily because classes are made just for you. You’ll make steady progress toward your personal goals. You’ll feel proud and accomplished. And you will develop your skills quickly. Awesome! Group music classes can’t offer that kind of individualized instruction. Why? The teacher usually follows a predetermined lesson plan and must balance the needs of many students who may have different abilities, learning styles, goals, or ages. Private music lessons provide better student growth Different students learn and function socially in very different ways. These differences can be especially wide between children 4-15 years old, or between a 20 something and a retiree. It’s rare to have a class of students that have the same needs and learning style, so group class teachers must compromise. They balance each student’s needs to needs of the class as a whole. Imagine that one student is struggling with something the rest of the class finds easy. The teacher can help him while the other students wait, or the teacher can go on because most of the class is ready, leaving the struggling student behind. Neither is a good solution, but that’s a common problem in a group class. None of these are issues in private lessons, making them the best choice for you if you are looking to make quick and easy progress toward your goals. Students who take group classes to learn an instrument often form bad habits because they don’t have personal, individual attention. Mistakes go unnoticed and uncorrected. Private lesson are private Many new students are not confident in their skills and don’t want to play music in front of others just yet. Group classes can be intimidating for these students. Private lessons offer the chance to work on music comfortably until you are ready to play in public or in front of others. This removes the pressure some may feel at the beginning. Group music lessons provide better social experiences There is something to be said about being part of a group. You can gain a sense of belonging when you do a group activity with others. That can be fun and rewarding. You may also be motivated by your peers in the class. Private lessons are not able to offer that sort of social experience, because they are one-on-one. So if you just want a fun experience, to meet some new people or try something new, then group classes might be your best bet. Just be aware that these classes are not great at helping you develop your skills on your instrument. I’ve seen many students from other programs develop some really bad habits in these group classes, only to have to relearn a lot of things later on. If you want to learn to play, take private lessons. If you are in it for the social experience, then give a group class a try. Fun! Group music lessons teach some skills that private lessons can’t What if you have already developed the ability to play an instrument to some degree? In that case, you may be interested in learning how to advance your skills by playing in a band or learning to improvise. Private lessons can help you prepare to be in a band or improvise, but you’ll have to actually play with others to really develop those skills. If you can already play an instrument, then I would highly recommend taking group classes to learn performance skills like playing in a group or improvising. Just be sure that you have already developed your technique with private lessons enough so that you can concentrate on playing with others, instead of worrying about how to play your instrument. You will be much more comfortable this way. What about the cost? I also get many questions about the difference in cost between private lessons and group music classes. Do private lessons cost more per hour? Yes. Does that mean you get more for your money? Absolutely not. It’s apples to oranges because it depends on your goals and what you want to get out of your lessons or classes. Say you want to learn guitar or piano or voice. In most cases, a private lesson with a qualified teacher is going to cost about twice as much per hour as a group class. In other words, a 30-minute private lesson costs about the same as a 60-minute group class. So, for the same price, would you rather have a 30-minute lesson with your teacher’s full attention and a lesson plan customized for you? Or would you want a group class for 60 minutes follows a scripted lesson, provides little individual attention, and doesn’t well incorporate your personal goals. Of course, you’d want the private lesson because it will help you reach your goals faster. On the other hand, if you want a social experience or to learn an ensemble skill, then private lessons won’t give you that. Even if you hire the most expensive private teacher on the market, he can’t conjure up other people for you to learn with or to improvise with. You actually need other people to work and practice with. In this case you’ll want to take the group class that helps you meet your goals. Sage

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