April 27, 2022

About the Author: Stefan Joubert

Founder of S&C and master guitarist. He loves teaching guitar and believes everyone can learn to play!

Many students that are new to studying their instrument with a tutor often ask themselves the question of if they should learn in a small group or 1-1 environment. This can be a challenging decision for those who have never had music lessons before, but there are many important things to consider before deciding on what the more suitable option is.

two guys playing the guitar

Advantages of 1-1

1-1 lessons are probably the most popular way to learn an instrument and for good reason. In this environment your tutor can focus all of their attention on you and your playing, meaning there won’t be any other factors in the lesson that will divide the teacher’s attention away from you. This can also be a great way to really build a bond with your tutor over time, which is important to keeping you motivated. This will also mean that you won’t have to share the time in your lesson with other students, resulting in any spare time at the end of the lesson being designated to your own specific questions that you may have from the session rather than other questions from another student that you may already know the answers to.

group of guitarists

Advantages of Group Lessons

Group lessons provide a unique experience to learning an instrument that can be hard to come by for many students who are just starting out on their musical journey. This format will likely be attractive to a certain type of student, perhaps one that already has a little experience under their belt but is looking to branch out and meet other aspiring guitarists at a similar level in a relaxed social setting. Many students will hit a point in their playing where they know a few of their favourite songs and have learnt some scales, but really want to meet other people to jam with! This is an awesome way to improve your overall musicality, and is also a lot of fun! This is perhaps the major advantage over the 1-1 lessons, since the experience of jamming with multiple people in the same room is something that can be very hard to experience at home when you are practicing, or even in 1-1 lessons with just yourself and the tutor.

man playing the guitar

Disadvantages of 1-1

This leads in to talking about a disadvantage of the 1-1 format, and that is the inability to meet other players of a similar ability level. 1-1 is great for those wanting to focus in on their own playing and to improve on their specific goals, but for those wanting to branch out and jam with others of a similar level the 1-1 format can sometimes feel boxing since they only have themselves to compare to. Many of my students in the past have started out with 1-1 lessons, to then moving to group lessons after a year or so in order to improve their skills of playing with others, and to also meet some buddies to jam with!

guitar lesson

Disadvantages of Group Lessons

As we have now discussed the group lesson format is great for those students wanting to branch out and jam with others, but may not be a good idea for other types of students. For those just starting out and who need constant attention from a tutor the 1-1 format is likely the best option, as the teacher will be able to focus solely on you to ensure that your playing is as good as it can be. It can be quite daunting for a student who is just starting out to be thrown in to a group lesson with a few others who have been playing for a while, and can feel like you can’t keep up with the group. This is not how you would want your lessons to start out so a 1-1 format is always good in this case. The same can be said on the opposite side of the coin for students who have been playing for a while and are placed in a group with a complete beginner student who may need more of the attention from the tutor throughout the session to bring them up to speed. This can become frustrating since you will want to be spending more time jamming with everyone rather than waiting for a lesser experienced player to learn the core fundamentals of the instrument.

So if you’re still thinking about how you want to undertake your music lessons, think about all of the scenarios we have just mentioned to decide what format is best for you, and also how you learn. There is no right or wrong answer, and even if you start learning one way there’s no reason why you couldn’t change things up later down the track! Just make sure that you are enjoying your time in your lessons and are getting the most out of them!

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