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Tips & Tricks: Group Lessons vs. Private Lessons – Which is a Better Way to Learn to Fiddle?

February 2nd, 2015 by Katherine Moller

violin classI offer both group and private lessons through my teaching studio. Which is better? Well, as with so many questions, it all depends on what you want from your lessons.

Group Lessons – Pros

  1. Social aspect – It can be nice to learn in an environment where you get to interact with other people instead of in a vacuum on your own.
  2. Learning from others – Sometimes in class someone else will ask a question that you might not have thought about, but that helps you out a lot.
  3. Struggling with others – It can be good to see other people struggle so that you know you are not on your own. This is not easy, and no, everybody else is not finding it easy.
  4. Competition – Sometimes seeing the others in the class working hard to get ahead and encourage you to practice harder yourself.
  5. Encouragement – Generally in my group classes I find that the students encourage each other and act as cheerleaders for their classmates.
  6. Learning to play with others – It is one thing to be able to play a tune on your own, but another completely to play it with others!

Group Lessons – Cons

  1. The group speed – When you are learning in a group you have to go at the speed of the group. If you are excelling, you will have to slow down to the speed of the group. If you are struggling to keep up, you may not be able to take the time to perfect a skill before the class moves on.
  2. Lack of individual attention – Because of the number of people in the class, you won’t get individual attention and may not get some of the detailed instruction that you could get in private lessons.

Private Lessons – Pros

  1. Individual attention – In private lessons you get all of the attention.
  2. Learning at your own speed – If you need more time on a certain skill, you can take it; if you have perfected a skill, you can move on.
  3. Learn what you want – In a private lesson you can have more input into the material that you learn, in consultation with your teacher.

Private Lessons – Cons

  1. Isolation – The big con to private lessons is that you are on your own with your teacher for lessons, and then on your own to practice. There is no interaction with others.
  2. Always playing alone – To me one of the great joys of playing music is playing with other people. This is not something that you can learn in private lessons.

So what are you looking for in your lessons? Either way can be a great way to learn, or possibly a mix of the two. Happy fiddling!

photo credit: Pictures by Ann via photopin cc

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''Celtic fiddle with a classical twist:
the heart and soul of afiddler, the artistry and finesse of a classical violinist.''