Deciding Between Private or Group Lessons

August 1, 2017

We are frequently asked our opinion on which is better between private or group lessons. The short answer is that there is no one right answer. But the reality is, there are benefits to your child’s musical and overall development in both. And many times, when kids participate in both, we’ve seen it have an extraordinary impact on their love of music and their progress as a musician.


Private lessons by nature gives the student the one on one attention to focus on honing the craft of playing their chosen instrument. It allows them and their instructor to work on the skills appropriate for their age and their specific level of musical development. It also allows them to go at their own speed, so if they struggle with a particular skill, they can spend added time overcoming those hurdles without feeling pressure from anyone else. Ultimately building their confidence in themselves and their abilities.


Where a band environment is more aligned with play-based learning. Playing with peers is fun. The focus is on learning to play the songs more than learning the technical skills. And, they learn how the multiple instruments and parts to the song all work together.


Playing in a band fosters a spirit of camaraderie among band members. That camaraderie also instills a positive peer pressure environment where the student wants to personally achieve to the level of the rest of their band mates. That motivates each band member to persevere through any challenges because they want to achieve the level of performance for the betterment of the band.


One way to think about it is like team sports. Take baseball for example. In baseball, kids learn to work together as a team. They learn that a team is only as good as its weakest player. Players cheer their teammates on to deliver for the team. A baseball team practices as a team so they know what to do if the ball is hit to them and they learn how to work together, picking each other up when they fail, celebrating when they succeed.


In baseball, many players who love the game and want to continue getting better, are also likely to take private lessons. Maybe they take hitting lessons, or pitching. Or, maybe they want to put in added work to hone their skills at a particular position like catching. So they work on blocking pitches or throwing out baserunners. In turn, as they get better at their craft, it then gets applied in the team environment ultimately improving the team, too.


In music, it’s exactly the same. Private lessons offer the student a chance to work on the skills required to make progress on their instrument. And playing in a band gives them a chance to apply those skills in a fun environment, building something together with their band mates, their friends. When that happens, the shared sense of accomplishment among band members provides fuel to keep getting better, further fostering their love of music.


At Rock School, we are avid believers in the benefits of both private and group lessons. We don’t think there is a right or a wrong between the two. But we do think there is a significant value and have witnessed positive results for kids who do both private lessons and play in a band.


If you’d like to discuss more about what’s best for your kids, please feel free to give us a call or talk with us next time you’re in Rock School.