What's Better: Group or Private Piano Lessons

By Georgia Reader

Students may train in keyboard skills by private lessons with an instructor or by participating in a class with other students. Most parents are unable to decide which type of piano lesson format to take for their child. The two types of venues are both effective, and we will show how a parent can decide.

Class sessions mostly highlight lively activities for students that are under the age of six that include playing with percussion toys, learning childrens' songs, dancing and learning short pieces on the piano or keyboard. Some children that are older will be able to spend more class time on the piano, but they also get some skills in rhythm and learning new songs.

Younger children may find private lessons an ordeal to begin with, as they may not have been in a one-to-one teaching situation before. Also, some teachers can be perfectionists and demand lots of practice so they may be impatient if the student does not understand what they are supposed to do. Younger children cannot concentrate for a long period of time and they cannot stretch their hands far on the keys.

Most group lesson experiences and some private piano teachers ask that the parent sits in on the lessons. That way they can observe how their child is interacting and encounters with class activities or private lessons. Even though the parent may not have any musical background, they can get a good idea what is going on and if the lessons are productive for the child.

Students should keep taking the lessons if they are learning and liking the instrument. It does not matter if it is a group or private setting, as long as the teacher works well with children and is adept at helping them learn a musical piece then all is well. Teachers that offer stickers give some students some motivation to get the piece practiced after class is over.

Group lessons can be hard to adjust by some young students because they may not like all the activity that goes on in the classroom. Private lessons provide a calmer atmosphere if the teacher is gentle and understanding with the younger student. Again, the parent should watch their child in the private lesson situation to see if they are learning and understand the musical concepts.

Does your child have friends that are taking music classes or private lessons? You can talk to the parents and the other young children to see if they enjoy the classes and are learning anything about music. An excellent idea would be to take the prospective student to a classroom session, then have a sample assessment or private lesson with a qualified piano instructor.

Remember that the child should look forward to the lessons. It's not a good thing to make them attend the lessons like something they have to do, as they will grow to resent it. Parents should take note and maybe realize that the child may be too young for lessons and as they get older, they may change their minds.

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