While a lot of piano teachers offer group lessons, I only teach private piano lessons.
Now, group lessons do have their benefits. They’re often cheaper for students, more profitable for the teacher, time-saving for the teacher, and the students can learn from each other and make friends who are also interested in piano. But I believe that private lessons have much more to offer, and here’s why.
Any teacher will tell you that 1-on-1 interaction is far more effective for teaching than 1-on-30. That 1-on-1 time gives you the teacher’s full attention, a tailored educational experience, and no wasted time.
Private Lessons Give You the Teacher’s Attention.
As part of the crowd, it can be hard to get the teacher’s attention. You may be nervous about looking dumb, so you don’t ask questions. You may be ready to ask a question, but the teacher moves on in favor of the group. You may be completely lost, and the teacher doesn’t notice your confusion because you’re just one in the group.
With private piano lessons, you have 100% of the teacher’s attention 100% of the time. There’s no one else to distract either of you, so it’s easier to ask and answer questions. The teacher knows when you’re lost and knows to change her approach for your benefit.
Private Lessons Can Accommodate Different Learning Styles.
Everyone learns in a different way. Your learning style might be visual, hands on, fast, slow, careful, ponderous, or you run with the material. In a group setting, teachers have to teach general principles in a way that most students will probably understand. But some won’t get it, and others will be bored because they understood it all 2 minutes into the lesson.
With private piano lessons, your teacher will discover your learning style and adapt your educational experience to fit you. I cannot express just how different all my students are, and I adapt my teaching approach for each student to help them learn in the best way they can.
Private Lessons Avoid Wasted Time.
In a group setting, there’s always an element of wasted time. The teacher might have to repeatedly ask for silence while she’s talking, or answer one person’s question while everyone else waits, or repeat material for those who are confused, or go around and check everyone’s fingerings and form one at a time.
With private piano lessons, you’re the only one who needs attention and supervision. If you have a question, you ask it, and no one’s time is wasted. You don’t have to wait for the teacher to check on anyone else. It’s all about you.
Private Lessons Offer Constant Supervision.
Learning piano is not like learning math, where you can do your homework independently and turn in your worksheet for grading. Playing piano is about sound, form, fingering, hand shape, wrist movement, posture, and all kinds of things that have to be monitored in person. This is hard to do in a group!
But with private lessons, the teacher is constantly supervising you and your form. I’m not limited to 30 seconds or a minute of walking by, checking on a few students at once. I can help you fix errors, then gently remind you again in 2 minutes if you forget, etc. Constant supervision with private piano instruction helps you learn faster and better so that you avoid developing bad habits that you’ll later have to unlearn.
Private Lessons Can Supplement Your Ensemble Experience.
If you’re part of an ensemble, you’re getting a wonderful collaborative music experience. I encourage participation in an ensemble when it’s possible. But, for reasons such as those listed above, your needs may be ignored in favor of the group. You may need help working out a fingering, a rhythm, etc. and the conductor may not have time for you.
Private lessons can supplement your ensemble rehearsals. I have helped my students learn their ensemble pieces and have given them tools and resources to help them perform better in their ensembles as well as on their own.
In my opinion, there’s just no comparison to that 1-on-1 interaction between student and teacher. The time I have with each of my students is special. It fosters a successful educational experience and a personal understanding of each other. That is why I teach private piano lessons.