As a fulltime piano teacher, one of the most common questions I get asked by parents is whether students should enroll in group classes or have private tutoring.
As an experienced piano teacher, I’ve seen both sides. I know what it’s like. I think I may best be able to best offer my advice.
There are pros and cons to both sides and the answer ultimately depends on what the parents needs are, as well as the students’.
By the time you finish reading this article, hopefully you will become equipped with enough knowledge to make the final judgment.
It is without a doubt that for dedicated piano enthusiasts; private classes are the most beneficial for children looking to become professional musicians.
Having the undivided attention of the instructor whose making sure that the student is developing all the right habits is the best way to learn and avoid pitfalls.
Learning to play the piano at a young age is like learning anything new.
They are a young sponge and the foundation needs to be properly established. Without the foundation, everything will fall apart. When students develop bad habits at the early stages of their piano careers, those bad habits become very hard to break. Some may never break them.
For example, if students develop the incorrect fingering position at a young age, they will have a much harder time to break that bad habit later on. Habits such as hand posture and hand tension needs to be formed early on and bad habits need to be broken immediately if they are looking to become lifelong piano enthusiasts.
Having the undivided attention is a safe and guaranteed way that the students are developing their core foundation skills properly.
The biggest benefit, besides learning to play the piano, is the emotional and social development of the child. With technology so rampant and the attention span of our children getting shorter and shorter each year, it is imperative that the child learns how to stay focused and in the moment when performing their day to day tasks.
Group classes help students in developing more than just Piano skills; they learn how to properly integrate themselves into a system that has values and principles that are beneficial to the development of the child.
Humans are naturally social creatures. It is a proven fact that students who don’t learn how to socialize in a group settings will have a hard time connecting with their peers as they get older. Having a safe peer group of dedicated students who are motivated towards the same goal is one of the most rewarding experience a parent can give their child.
For starters, finding out if your child has passion for music is the first step. There is no point in forcing a child to develop in ways he doesn’t want to learn. Having a group session is a easy way to gauge if your child has interest in the first place.
The social and emotional benefit of a child learning in a group setting is one of the biggest reasons why parents start with group classes first.
Children are like sponges and they soak up everything we give them. If we set them up in the right environment to both learn and make lifelong friends, then it’s a win-win.
Our suggestion is to start off with group classes first and if your child has additional interests in learning or is progressing faster than other students, then it’s time to take him or her to the next level.
Group classes offer the safest way for both your child to feel out the piano and at the same time have a better feel for the fundamentals of music.
For private classes, once your child has mastered the foundation and wants to take their learning to the next level, have them book a private class with a reputable piano teacher in your local area.
There are a couple factors one must consider.
Private classes are more expensive but benefits of 1-on-1 tutoring is the absolute key to learn at an accelerated rate. Group classes offer more overall value for the dollar and high level tutoring teachers will give the proper attention to all the kids in the group.
More often than not, if the parents see that their student is ready to take it to the next level, then the parents will naturally invest time for private classes.
Having the option to be flexible and open is why we recommend starting off with group classes.
Reputability of the teachers also matter. Not all musicians can teach and not all teachers can play music. It takes a special blend of people to really muster the courage and teach your child the right way.
Private tutoring vs group tutoring is also very dependent on the financial factors.
The biggest benefit that parents or students will receive when enrolling in group classes is the opportunity to “see if they like it”. Enrolling your students into a group class will help make it more clear whether piano classes is for them.
If you’re only looking to dip your feet in piano lessons, you must also factor in the cost of buying personal keyboards and seeing if your child is actually passionate in playing the piano.
Our suggestion is to enroll the student in group classes first. See if they like the safe environment that we at Piano Lab can provide. If the student likes the nice friendly environment, then he or she will make progress towards building lifelong friends and musical skills.
Sending your child to piano classes is a personal choice. Each parent will have many different reasons why they want to send their child to take piano classes. Both options are good and will develop your child in ways you never imagined.
Regardless of your choice, you need to choose your piano tutor wisely.
Choosing the right tutor is important.
First thing you have to do is to make sure that you’re working with a qualified instructor. Playing the piano is one thing but teaching is another. Musicians who are amazing at what they do aren’t always the best at teaching that skill to others.
They are so unconsciously competent that they have a hard time explaining something that comes so natural for them.
All Piano Lab instructors are qualified and have been thoroughly vetted for quality purposes.
We undergo continuous training and constant education to both improve on tutoring skills and musicianship.
One thing is, we see many smart parents document their child’s lessons.
Keep a written journal and try to record (ask for permission first) so you can review everything once you get back home.
Recording lessons is so important because you can take the lesson with you forever.
Going back and hearing how the song is played correctly will help you keep up to date with the track.
Remember, group piano classes are not just for learning the piano. It’s a way for students to safely interact with their peers while learning the principles that will help guide them for life!