Amongst all the kinds of guitar class’s you can find, a very common one is the Group Lesson. You can enter almost any school and you can easily find a group lesson available. Usually the duration of the class is the same of a private tuition but instead of being by yourself with the teacher, you share your time with at least one more student. It is evident that this kind of lesson is a sort of compromise to give access anyone to a teaching class for a reduced fee. But are we completely sure that this kind of solution is really good for the student? Are we sure that in the long term the student will have learnt at least in a proportional way to what it spent if compared with a student who takes private tuition’s?
Cannonball Rag (K. Jones) – performed by Federico Chianucci
According to our personal experience group guitar lessons are rarely worthy, and usually we advise our costumers against it. Unless there are particular situations, sharing a lesson with another student is inevitably going to affect the personal learning process. It is not a matter of the ability of the teacher or of the skills of the students. The problem is that any student is different from the others, and any student could benefit the most only from a lesson specifically tailored on him. But not only that, the fact that two students are different means the one will benefit more than the other from the lesson, and after one week of practice one of the students will be likely ahead in terms of skills developement. This inevitably leads to attend the next lesson in a situation not ideal, because the teacher will have to face two students at a slight different level. The only solution will be try to focus on the weakest student in order to make him recover towards the other student. It is simple to understand that this formula is going to penalise the best student, because he will have to wait for the other one, and the weakest one as well because he will be likely pushed over his learning limits in order to recover as soon as possible.
Completely different situation is the one related to what we call jam session. Jam session is another definition very often abused in the music environment. Jamming together means literally playing together in order to share as much as possible in terms of creativity and fun by means of improvised solos, vamps on tunes, chords progressions and songs. It is more than evident that to properly jam it is not enough being a beginner or intermediate, it is necessary to alreday have a good confidence with the instrument and the playing technique. Many music schools instead promote jam session classes as a sort of alterative learning method to the traditional one. Even in this case we have to disagree with this idea of teaching, mainly because to really get the most from a jam session it is necessary to be at least above an intermediate level. This is the reason why here at the Fingerstyle & Classical Guitar Studio we tend to organise jam sessions classes only when the students are advanced enough to really benefit from it. Very often it is wiser waiting a little bit more instead of risking to get the students frustrated by an interaction with other musicians which could potentially damage their self esteem and the learning process itself.