Sue Lewis Music Lessons

Is Group Instruction effective?

I've been teaching for 20 plus years and have effectively used the group approach for beginners for the following reasons:

I can pick out students who are correctly mastering a technique and have them show the class. In this way it's not me demonstrating all the time. Instead of thinking, "I could never be as good as the teacher", they see their peers do it and think, "If he/she can do it so can I!". 

The group setting gives a teacher greater flexibility. I can use many teaching approaches such as pairing up the students so they can take turns critiquing each other as peer teachers. In this way students learn from each other. There is nothing better than teaching to become better yourself. Constantly switching up unique teaching techniques keeps interest and focus.

Students also get to know each other in a social setting, becoming long time friends and fellow musicians long after the class is over.

Ensemble parts can be utilized to add harmonic richness, complexity and interest. Harmony and counter melodies add challenge and beauty to music making. Rhythmic integrity is essential in performing as an ensemble yet much more enjoyable than practicing alone with a metronome all the time. 

Keeping up with ones peers in the group is a great motivator for daily individual practice at home.

Affordability is a big plus. An 60 minute private lesson costs $50 - $100 whereas a 75 minute group lesson is only $20. A great way to try out an instrument without the cost or stress. 

Less student stress. There is safety in numbers. Not everyone is going to make the same mistake at the same time. A students mistakes are not as glaring in a group, yet at the same time, they can follow someone who has it down. 

Group instruction can be very effective for many beginners.  However, I limit the beginning period to no more than one school year consisting of three levels. After that I strongly recommend private individual lessons to progress to the intermediate and advanced levels. More advanced technique can only be passed on from one master teacher to another and so on as has been traditional for hundreds of years. 

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