Guitar lessons – Private v Group

The answer from the majority of guitar students is private tuition is better than group. In fact to many this seems blindly obvious. They argue that getting one on one with a teacher means they get to work on the areas that matter to them most. Being in a group either means waiting around while the slower students catch up or feeling left behind as the advanced students race ahead. While there is definitely some truth to the above argument focusing on private tuition as being the best option this may in fact be wrong and there is a million and one examples of the power of group learning all around.

Firstly lets establish the advantages to private tuition.

  • Personalised –  Your lesson can be tailored to your exact needs. If you want to play a particular song or style your teacher can cater for you and only you.
  • Your pace – The lessons will move at your pace. No falling behind or waiting around.
  • Questions answered – Because you are the only student you can ask questions at anytime.
  • Avoid embarrassment – One of the strongest motivations for private lessons is to avoid embarrassment in front of other students if you haven’t practiced or haven’t understood or are slow to progress.

So what are the advantages to group tuition. I want to begin by discounting the private advantages. 

  • Personalised – This is somewhat overrated. The skills required especially for a beginner are rarely personal. As people we are all much the same. Sure some people will have strengths and weaknesses but a good teacher will be aware and can quietly suggest you focus a little more practice in those areas.
  • Your pace – In this case your pace is not limited by your group. If you are finding the work too difficult or  not challenging enough let your teacher know. A good teacher will usually be aware anyway and will ensure you are appropriately challenged. Guitar is one of those skills that can also be improved. Knowing more is not better. If your class is playing a song you already know well try making an arrangement of the song that keeps you personally challenged.
  • Questions answered – If you have questions and the teacher is busy just have a note pad handy and write down your question for later. Even if the teacher does not get around to answering your question there is always the internet.
  • Avoid embarrassment – In this case go easy on yourself. No two people will progress at the same pace and there are usually good reasons for this. It could be they have previous experience, do more practice, have musicians in the family, play another instrument or have some natural ability. Whatever the reason it really is irrelevant. There will almost always be someone who learns faster and someone who learns slower. Your job is to focus on being better than YOU! If you have a question to ask the teacher and feel embarrassed asking just refer to my last point about writing down the question.
  • Social interaction – Group tuition also offers social interaction which especially among children will inspire them to stay the course. When we make friends doing an activity it naturally becomes harder to give up. We feel less committed if its only ourselves we let down if we give up but of we are part of a team we feel a sense of comradery with our fellow students.
  • Learning from others – We also learn from our classmates. They may be struggling with the same problem you are but manage to find a solution which you can then adopt. Other students can also give you ideas on songs, concerts or websites to check out.

I believe the best solution of all is a combination of group and private lessons. As you can see being part of a group has advantages with little downside but having a few private lessons at times would be the best option of all.

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Guitar Lessons