This might be a controversial topic for some (well, as controversial as we can get when discussing violin lessons) but its one that’s been playing on my mind for sometime now. Are group violin lessons good or bad or just a little bit of both?

I teach about 16 group lessons a week. The majority of these are in groups of 2, but some consist of up to 4 children. I started learning the violin in primary school in a group with four other children. I didn’t actually have a private lesson until I moved to secondary school.

I have to be honest; most of the time group lessons leave me feeling frustrated. In a group of four students there tends to be one who is dedicated and practices a lot, one who is dedicated but works at a slower pace, someone with ability but does no work and someone who doesn’t practice and falls behind. Lessons turn into an awkward balancing act – not wanting to hold back those who practice and not wanting to make those who work more slowly feel bad for not moving as quickly as others.

Don’t get me wrong. I understand that group lessons, especially in primary schools, allow more children the opportunity to learn a lesson. I also understand that music lessons are costly, so financially group lessons are the best option for some. They are also social and help to build the children’s confidence playing in front of others, but if your child truly wants to develop as a musician, I believe individual lessons to be the way forward.

Ironically, although the idea of group lessons is that more children get the opportunity to learn an instrument, I have found the drop out rate to be scarily high. I believe it’s a vicious cycle – either the children realize they are not progressing as quickly as they want, or feel out of depth because they are moved on two quickly and begin to feel unmotivated and discouraged, stop practicing and eventually give up. Not ideal.

As a violin teacher, I know I am at my best teaching one-on-one. Mastering violin technique takes years of dedication and I believe it’s important that we can focus on each individual student and their needs.

I realise there’s a lot more to be said about group lessons and this post has only touched the surface. Over the next while I plan on spending time studying the pro’s and con’s of group and individual lessons. I’ll keep you updated with my progress!!

Lauren x