In addition to regular private piano lessons, I taught group music lessons at the West Vancouver Community Centre. Also, I taught Music for Young Children classes. Many parents of children aged 3 and 6 asked me whether they should register their children for group music lessons or private piano lessons.
The following is a list of the pros and cons for group music lessons and private piano lessons:
The Pros for Group Music Lessons:
* Your child is not alone. She can watch and learn from other children. Some children know answers to questions but they may not necessarily want to say the answers during the lesson. They do not have to say the answers aloud. They can let other children say the answers, and that is okay.
* You can interact with other parents, who are also the participants of the group music lessons.
* The group lesson fee per lesson is less expensive than the private piano lesson fee per lesson.
The Cons for Group Music Lessons:
* The rate of progress is slow. You may want your child to make a faster progress but you have to allow other children in your child’s group class to catch up with her.
* It is a general music class. The class is not tailored for learning to play the piano.
* The participants of the group music lesson must follow the rules set by the company, which offers the teaching materials for the group lessons. There must be a certain number of children registered in order to run the group lesson. Otherwise, it will be cancelled. You need to pay for the registration fee and/or administration fee and the material fee in addition to the group lesson fee. Also, if you want to receive a refund for group lessons sometime during the school year, the rules are more rigid and complicated than receiving a refund for private lessons.
The Pros for Private Piano Lessons
* The rate of prorgress is up to your child. Your child can make a rapid progress if she does her homework. If you have a gifted child, then private piano lesson is the way to go. If you have a child with special needs, private piano lessons would be better.
* You can make more specific requests to your piano teacher, such as how many piano pieces should be assigned for homework, when you would like to reschedule your child’s lessons because you need to travel.
* You can decide where you want to be during your child’s piano lesson: sit on a chair beside your child and take notes, sit in the room where your child is taking lessons but just observing the lessons, sit in the waiting room near the lesson room and just listen or leave your child alone with the piano teacher and come back at the end of the lesson.
The Cons for Private Piano Lessons:
* Your child needs to be comfortable being with your piano teacher alone or with you also in the same room.
* If your child is very young and has difficulties separating from you in general, your child may be reluctant to sit on the piano bench all by herself.