Do Group Music Lessons Work?

Group music lessons are very popular these days, both for students (lessons cost less per hour) and for teachers and studios (they can make much more money per hour).

The question is: How effective are they and how do they compare to private lessons?

Let’s look at effectiveness – group lessons can be effective to a point. Some of the benefits are:

  • Low cost of tuition
  • A more social setting
  • Can be a good introduction to some of the basics of the instrument
  • A good choice for pre-school aged students


However, there are some cons:

  • Classes move at a medium level – too fast for some students, too slow for others
  • Groups can equal added distractions – not the best environment for some students
  • Technique can suffer as the teacher cannot work the finer points with each student
  • Enthusiasm can wane as learning is slowed down or not tailored to the student’s interests


Group Lessons Compared to Private

Private lessons have a few drawbacks. The primary ones are:

  • They cost more in the short term
  • Require more of a commitment
  • Probably not best for very young students (ages 5 and under)


Some benefits of private instruction are:

  • Complete teacher attention
  • Customized lesson plans
  • A solid grounding in technique (this is vitally important so students don’t have to correct these problems years later)
  • Accelerated learning – lessons move at the student’s pace and style of learning
  • Students are more likely to practice
  • Students are more likely to stick with lessons
  • Better teacher/parent feedback
  • Lessons work for your schedule


There’s not much one can do about the age issue for private lessons (besides waiting until the child is mature enough for lessons), but the cost and commitment problem is best answered with price versus value.

If you compare the same amount of funds spent on group lessons as opposed to private, the majority of students who take privately will have acquired skills greater than the group class students.

Also, since learning is faster and tailored to the specific student, they are much more likely to stay with lessons and music.

The bottom line is – if you want to save money in the short term, or don’t think music is something your child would ever want to take seriously, group lessons might be the best choice.

However, if you want to get the most value for your money and give your child the best chance to experience music and performance on a more enriching and deeper level, private lessons are key.