As a piano instructor, I am very often asked by new students, or parents who are planning to get their kids involved with learning the piano for the first time, would group piano or private piano classes be best for them? I’d like to point out some of the pluses and minuses for both so that you can compare group piano and private piano classes.
Students want the best for themselves, and if the student is a kid, the parents want the best for their kids. But without experience in the field of music, it might be hard to know what would be the best. There are many factors involved, including interest level, financial situation, availability, or if they have an instrument for practice at home. There may be many other considerations, too.
The student, teacher and parent connection in piano lessons.
I started taking piano classes when I was almost five. I don’t even remember my first piano class. My parents used to take me and my sister to private classes once a week. I never knew that I would continue playing the piano for over 25 years. I didn’t know until later in my life that not only was it my dedication, but also that of my parents and teachers plus their patience, motivation, and inspiration that continued to keep the process of learning the piano alive for me.
Unfortunately, in the group class environment this is something harder to be achieved. In group classes there will be at least 4 students, one teacher, and, in the best possible setting, one keyboard per student. However, in my experience it is rarely the case to have one keyboard per student. Many times there will be only one instrument in the room. This setting automatically puts the teacher in a completely different situation than when she or he teaches students one by one. Learning how to play an instrument is a skill and requires many, many cautious repetitions of certain movements that must be supervised by the teacher. This might be hand position, fingerings, or learning specific patterns. In the group situation, the teacher can’t observe and correct all the actions of all the students if there are many instruments. Or if there is only one, then each student will have only very little supervised time. It is also much harder to develop those strong interpersonal relationships between student and teacher (and parents for young students) that is needed to keep the students progressing well.