This is a continuation of our early article “Invest In Learning Guitar – How Much Does It All Cost?”. Reading the previous article would provide some context to this week’s article on group guitar lessons.
Today we’re going to explore how group guitar lessons can be beneficial for you and your child. This does contradict a little bit of what I said in the previous article, but it merely provides a different perspective after some experience teaching guitar last year. This article will be split into:
- The most common group guitar instructional model
- The strengths of group guitar lessons
- The limitations of group guitar lessons
Group learning on guitar can vary in structure. The most common practice is working on one piece of music together, and segmenting the students into different teams. Each team has a specific part of the music to read and play, andthe end outcome is usually an ensemble performance.
The most common way of teaching group guitar situations is through direct instruction, that is:
- The teacher teaches at the student through demonstrations
- The teacher references notes on the fretboard that correspond with the sheet music, and the student copies through kinaesthetic learning.
The teacher-learner relationship is structured, so expectations are clear; however, the learner relies upon muscle memory recall of information. It is important for the teacher to teach the student how to apply their understanding at home.
The strengths of group guitar lessons include:
- An opportunity for collaborative learning – especially in ensembles playing different parts
- A social experience to meet new people
- An opportunity to lead and follow group exercises
- Convenience – this is the main reason why people would want to enrol in an academic context
- Price – most affordable option for parents.
The limitations of group guitar lessons include: Harder to differentiate learning tasks, and develop individual learning strategies
- Less focus on freedom of choice, and more focus on classroom outcomes
- Possibility of distraction
On the last post, I attached a financial snapshot of a group guitar program at school. Here’s a refresher.
Financial Snapshot #1 – School Music Program:
One term (instrument pre-purchased)
2-person or more group lesson (30 min)
-> $17 / lesson x 10 weeks = $170
Lined theory diary
Guitar Instrument From Store
TOTAL = $288.80
The up-sides are that guitar ensembles are usually free to join and attend – although, there may be a selection process for some schools.
If the purpose of guitar lessons is for the student to develop a holistic sense of guitar music, then group guitar lessons are a great option to start with.
You may like to consider the following before you sign up for any group guitar program:
- Has your child had any prior ensemble experience?
- Examine your child’s technique and what they can play – for example, if they know too much rhythm and not enough lead, then it is time to explore other options.
- Does your child thrive in a social learning context?
- What is the attention span of your child? How much they can absorb and concentrate can vary in individual and group contexts.
I hope this post has shed some light on the group vs. private lessons debate.
There is no right or wrong answer, and I hope this helps in keeping your options open.
Here’s to more guitar classics,
Justin and Team Rock