ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Group vs. Private Music Lessons: Which is Best for Kids?

Updated on April 14, 2017

Should you go the private or group route for music lessons? It depends on you and your kids. There isn't necessarily a right answer for everyone and it can also depend on the instrument. Both of my kids started group piano lessons at Yamaha Music School at the age of four. The nice thing about group lessons is that kids have the opportunity to do lots of ensemble playing. A downside is that groups can move slower than private for kids who are fast learners and too fast for kids who are slow learners. There are pros and cons to both and you have to consider your own set of circumstances.

Consider Your Personal Circumstances

If your child is under age 9 or so, you will have to help them with practice. Are you a procrastinator? If so, group lessons can be great because your child will have to keep up with a class. It can be easier to practice every day knowing a certain amount of material will have to be accomplished for the following week. Are you very busy though? If you're very busy helping your child practice every day may be difficult. An older child can practice without help but keep their schedule in mind.

Your child may need to spend about 20 and sometimes 30 minutes practicing 5 or 6 days a week. You need to determine if that's realistic for you and your child to do. If not, private lessons are self paced. If your child is a slow learner or has difficulty focusing private lessons are also ideal since they will go at the pace of your child. If your child learns quickly, they should do well in a group setting but it may be too slow for some kids.

What is your own level of music knowledge? Early group classes are usually parent participation, so you can learn along with your child if you have no musical experience. It can be harder for an inexperienced parent to learn sitting in on private lessons every week. It's something you should discuss with any potential teachers because a young child will need your help.

Group lessons may be more effective for some instruments than others
Group lessons may be more effective for some instruments than others

Consider the Instrument

Some instruments may be harder to learn in a group setting. My daughter took two months of group guitar but felt like she wasn't learning very much. We now have a guitar teacher coming to our house every week to teach her and it's really exposed the limitations of group guitar instruction. The private teacher takes time to teach her how to hold the guitar correctly so it doesn't hurt her wrist. He shows her the best finger placement for each chord. He monitors each chord change to make sure she's moving her fingers correctly.

When she did group lessons the instructor had all the kids sit around him and showed them everything as a group. He didn't provide individual instruction to each child. She also gets to choose which songs she wants to learn. I could see that she made much more progress with just two months of private instruction versus her two months of group instruction.

Cost of Private Versus Group Lessons

Cost is another huge factor. Private lessons often cost more. In the first Yamaha school we attended private lessons cost $50 more per month than group. For that reason alone, it made sense for me to keep my first child in group classes. However our new Yamaha school has 60 minute rather than 45 minute group classes. So, they charge more for group classes than the previous school did. Their private 30 minute lessons cost just $20 more per month than group. So moving my younger child to private after two years of group classes was an easier financial decision.

Since costs vary by school you'll have to weigh if paying x amount more per month for private versus group is worth it. Contact each school in your area to find private versus group prices. Keep in mind that your child may progress much faster with individualized instruction so you also have to consider if paying less for group with slower progress is worth it. It will all depend on your budget.

The guitar teacher we hire is a college student studying music. His main instrument is guitar. If there's a university in your area they should have an online jobs board for their students. Most allow individuals to post jobs for tutoring. I pay $25 for a one hour lesson. Most private guitar teachers in my area charge $25 to $35 for a 30 minute lesson.

One downside of this is that college students typically won't offer any kind of yearly performance for your kids because they usually don't have enough students or time to put on a performance event. Luckily we have a School of Rock in our area, so my daughter gets the opportunity to do performances with them through their summer camp programs. Look around in your area to find out if your child has opportunities for performances if your teacher can't provide it. If performances are very important to you, doing private instruction through a school may be a better alternative since many offer yearly concerts.

A sample group lesson

Ultimately, there's no easy answer to the group versus private question. You'll have the weigh the pros and cons of each option to decide what's best for you and your child. What works well for one child may not work well for another. You can often move from group to private but depending on the program you may not be able to move from private to group. So, keep that in mind when deciding whether to put younger kids into group programs like those offered by Yamaha or Suzuki. Ask the schools in your area if you can sit in on one of their beginner group classes. Seeing a group class in action can help you make a decision.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Learn Things Web profile imageAUTHOR

      Learn Things Web 

      3 years ago from California

      Thanks Stella. My older child definitely has more understanding of what she learns in private. The main benefit of group classes was the ensemble playing. But there were times she didn't understand what was going on in class.

    • ladyguitarpicker profile image

      stella vadakin 

      3 years ago from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619

      Hi, your suggestions are very interesting and true. I believe in the private method for the best results. I can focus more on that child and give them the full attention they need. I have taught both ways and still believe the private lesson is more productive. Great hub,Stella

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)