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Group Music Classes vs. Private Music Lessons

Group Music Classes vs. Private Music Lessons

Group Music Classes vs. Private Music Lessons: Which Should You Choose?

By Ashley Kelly and Dan Emery

Guitar Class or Private Lesson

Photos from Brooklyn Guitar School and Samoa Jodha @plasticarmygirl

So, you’ve finally decided that you want to take music lessons (guitar, vocal, piano, etc.), and now you’re faced with a question: do I take private lessons or group classes? Ultimately, the decision is entirely up to you. However, it is important to weigh the pros and cons of both options, which is why NYC Guitar School is here to help.

First of all, let’s establish that success in learning music (or anything) comes down to some super important fundamentals and see how private lessons and group classes relate to those fundamentals. To succeed you need:

  • Commitment: signing up for a group class or a set of private lessons both allow you to make an upfront commitment of time and money which will help you follow through and learn. Studies show that this commitment is a huge factor in successfully learning!
  • Social Support: in a private lesson, you are encouraged by your teacher, and are responsible to your teacher for practicing and preparing. In a group class, you will experience social pressure to keep up with your classmates–which often can feel really fun, as you learn to play music together and bond around your shared interest. Either way, it is essential to connect with another person!
  • A Step By Step Path For Learning: in both classes and private lessons, you should be following a curriculum which was been successfully used by lots of other people who learned before you. In the group class this path will be more structured and in private lessons it will be more flexible in terms of song choices or speed–but either way you must have a plan!

Since both group classes and private lessons provide a step by step path for learning, social support and an opportunity for commitment let’s now examine the differences between the two.

  • Group social structure: An opportunity for meeting people and making friends. Five or six people who are often preparing for a final class performance together, and who support each other in keeping up with the practice schedule.
  • Group curriculum: At NYC Guitar School, the curriculum has been successfully tested with thousands of students. It is like a “well oiled machine”–it is essentially the same for every student. Each student learns the same songs in class, and the class progresses at the same rate.
  • Private curriculum: Flexible to the pace of the student, and songs can be selected based on the goals and interests of the student.
  • Group social structure: An opportunity for meeting people and making friends. Five or six people who are often preparing for a final class performance together, and who support each other in keeping up with the practice schedule.
  • Private social structure: An opportunity for a coaching/mentor relationship with a teacher. Focused attention from the teacher.
  • Group schedule and pricing: Same day, same time, each week, for one hour, until the class is over. Makeups for missed classes are taken via internet, additional lessons or dropping in on other previously scheduled classes. Lower tuition cost for group programs.
  • Private schedule and pricing:Typically same day, same time, each week for 30 or 45 minutes–but lessons can be rescheduled or cancelled if the student’s schedule necessitates changes.
  • Higher tuition cost for one-on-one time.

EXTROVERTED? If you find yourself to be extremely social, don’t mind being the center of attention, fearless, not worried about others judging you, and aren’t afraid to try new things, group classes are most likely a better option for you!

INTROVERTED? If you find yourself to be more introverted, afraid of being singled out, afraid of failure, and greatly value others’ opinions, private lessons are most likely a better option for you!

Here are some of the pros and cons of both group music classes and private music lessons:

Group Classes:


  • Making new friends
  • A great sense of community
  • Peers to cheer you on/help you in times of confusion
  • An increase in motivation by observing other students
  • Less expensive than private lessons.
  • Typically, a longer time with instructor
  • Positive peer pressure
  • Lowers nerves when it comes to performance time
  • Very concrete sense of progress (ie Class 3, Class 9 etc.)
  • An ideal environment to build confidence


  • Same curriculum for every student
  • Schedule runs whether you are there or not
  • There are other people, even if you’re feeling shy!

Private Music Lessons:


  • You can move at your own pace
  • Exercises, assignments, and techniques are tailored to benefit your personal improvement
  • Flexible schedule
  • Pick up where you left off
  • A “safer” environment for a student who is afraid of being singled out, or is struggling with anxiety and fear of failure.
  • A potentially more challenging and efficient environment for a student who has time to practice intensively and can absorb and master material quickly.


  • Typically higher investment per lesson
  • Shorter time with instructor.

At NYC Guitar School, we offer top-notch classes with a standard, proven structure. Students can make up missed classes or get extra review through video makeups and tutorials. And we offer top-notch private instruction. Either way, you will find our teachers to be friendly, patient, passionate and deeply committed to helping you learn and grow.

Classes? Lessons? The decision is entirely up to YOU. And you can’t fail, because the most important thing is to GET STARTED. See you soon at NYC Guitar School!

As Yogi Berra said,

“When you come to a fork in the road, take it!”

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On to Greatness,

Dan Emery,

Founder, NYC Guitar School

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Dan Emery is dedicated to Coaching Personal Greatness, One Lesson At A Time. He is the founder of NYC's friendliest and fastest growing guitar schools, New York City Guitar School, Brooklyn Guitar School, Queens Guitar School and NYC Guitar School, East, and the author of the Amazon best-selling Guitar For Absolute Beginners and six other books on learning guitar and deliberate practice. He coaches new entrepreneurs through the Entrepreneurs Organization Accelerator program and especially enjoys helping other Educational Entrepreneurs. He has a Masters in Education from Columbia University Teachers College, extensive performing experience as songwriter and guitarist for The Dan Emery Mystery Band, a wife, three kids, a cat and some juggling equipment.


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