The benefit of learning in small groups

1.  Music is learned more quickly when playing in groups.  The world's best musicians credit much of their learning to playing with other musicians.  B.B. King learned gospel music on the guitar while playing in church.  Eddie Van Halen played in bands throughout high school with his brother, Alex.  

2.  Students are exposed to a real-life musical situation every week.  Professional musicians usually play with other musicians; you see them in rock bands, symphony orchestras, string quartets, Hawaiian music trios, and much more.  It takes practice to play in a group because listening and rhythm skills need to be refined.  Imagine a basketball player practicing for years with a private coach in an empty gym but never playing a game in his life.  Although that player will develop individual skills, he will be far behind the other players when he finally is put in a game situation.  With our carefully developed curriculum, our students learn to play like real musicians.  They learn the interplay, the give and take, and non-verbal communication required to play music with other musicians.  In a group of the student's peers, all of the students must learn to support each other and that is a more realistic playing situation.

3.  Playing music is a social activity.  Learning to play an instrument takes hard work.  The teachers at 7th Fret understand this because they have spent many hours alone in the practice room in college and graduate school.  This practice teaches self-reflection, discipline, motivation, and the benefit of hard work.  But, the real payoff for any musician is playing with other musicians, making friends through music, and achieving higher musical goals together.  Playing music together motivates musicians to get better!  It's no secret that many of our students stay in guitar lessons for many years, some as many as kindergarten through high school!  

4.  What about private instruction?  Are you saying it's bad?  Not at all, private instruction can be very beneficial.  Every teacher at 7th Fret studied for years with private instructors, but as students, we also played in ensembles either formally structured as a class or put together groups on the side.  We feel students, when they are young, should be exposed to group playing for the reasons already mentioned.  Private instructors can be a valuable part of learning once students have developed musical skills and personal drive to take advantage of what a skilled private instructor has to offer.  Some of our advanced students take private lessons in addition to their group lessons, but many have benefitted by staying solely in our group curriculum and these students have gone on to do quite well as music majors in college.  Our small group instruction combines the benefits of private instruction (individual comments, corrections, and advice) and ensemble experience.

© 7th Fret Guitar Studios 2016