Group Music Lessons – are they good value?

Group Music LessonsIndividual vs Group Music Lessons

Group music lessons are an attractive option for parents when their child is starting out to learn a new instrument.  However, each approach has it’s own trade-offs that should be considered before making a decision for your child.

But before going into the detail, the fact is – the #1 factor in the speed of a student’s progression, (besides raw talent), is regular practice at home.

What follows is a comparison of the two approaches to lessons;

Group lessons

Pros

  • Usually enjoyable camaraderie as the students learn with their friends
  • It is cheaper than individual lessons (for the same block of time)
  • A fun way to learn broad concepts, especially at the very beginning of learning an instrument.

Cons

  • Tutors can spend very little time providing tuition to meet an individual’s needs.  Technique issues etc only receive brief attention if the issues don’t apply to the group.
  • Individuals in groups rarely progress at the same level.  When a capability spread develops within the group, the top students aren’t challenged enough and the struggling students will feel discouraged.
  • Controlling the group dynamic can absorb a great deal of time that could otherwise be spent teaching/learning – the impact increases with the size of the group.  Many students are less focused and even distracted in group lessons, especially in the larger groups that have developed a spread in capability.
  • Even though the weekly cost is cheaper, the value for money can diminish as the group size increases.

Individual lessons

Pros

  • The tutor is able to tailor each lesson to meet the needs of the student.  The teacher can address individual issues directly, including detailed instruction on technique – which is critical at the early stages. Poor technique becomes difficult to correct later as bad habits become ingrained.
  • 100% of a tutor’s time is focussed on teaching a student rather than their energy being sapped with ‘crowd control’ activities.  Students nearly always behave better for tutors and they are more focussed in an individual lesson.
  • Tutors will often feel like their contribution and effort is more effective in an individual lesson.  This human dynamic may make for a better teacher.

Cons

  • For parents, individual lessons are more expensive overall, however, the student should receive far more value per dollar spent.
  • Students may miss the group dynamic, however, the student will learn a great deal more about how to play their instrument.

Hopefully this post has provided useful information about the two approaches, however, it would be my strong recommendation to book individual lessons for your child, if it’s affordable for you.