School Music Programs and Private Lessons––What’s the Difference?

Most parents know how hugely beneficial music education is for kids, but it can be tricky for them to know exactly how. Music education takes many forms in the life of a young student. Everything from smartphone apps to online lessons can deepen their creativity and musical comprehension in huge ways. Specifically, parents often have a hard time telling the difference between private lessons and school music programs. Knowing this is important because it will give you the tools you need to best support your young music student. In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about how school music programs and private music lessons are different, and how each form of music education benefits kids. 

School music programs

Music education programs that take place in schools provide kids with an excellent foundation that they’ll be able to turn to for the rest of their lives. Fundamental skills including everything from basic technical proficiency on instruments to music notation are introduced to children starting when they’re very young. School music programs can be anything from elective music classes to marching band. One of the biggest differences, and assets, between school music programs and private lessons is the team-building element kids are introduced to in schools through band programs. Performing in complex group settings gives kids an invaluable understanding of how different instruments come together to create a cohesive piece of music. This helps kids learn to listen, and gets them excited about working with their peers to create and perform. 

Some examples of what school music programs offer:

  • Foundational music education
  • Introductory guidance for learning an instrument
  • Fun music education in group settings
  • Opportunities for group public performance


Private lessons

While many schools primarily teach in a group setting, there are indeed some public, and private school, music programs that do offer more in-depth instruction and customization. Many incredible music educators often go above and beyond to selflessly provide private instruction before and after school. Working one-on-one with an instructor gives kids important benefits that they can’t always get from group programs.   Private lessons allow a child to receive the undivided attention of an expert music educator and are a great supplemental partner to help grow the wide variety knowledge gained through school programs. Think spin class versus working out with a private trainer. They’re both great for your health, just one is geared more towards addressing your specific goals. With private music lessons, kids get detailed learning plans that are tailored to their unique interests, strengths, and weaknesses as student musicians. Something as simple as a child learning how to play a song they love on their instrument can further an interest in music that lasts a lifetime, and private lessons are a great way to make those special connections happen.

Some examples of what private music lessons offer:

  • Further Personalized music education
  • One-on-one relationships with students
  • Fun music education in an individual setting
  • The ability to reinforce and build on music education concepts learned in school

Which is better for my child?

The truth is that both private lessons and school music programs are hugely beneficial for kids. To give your child the most well-rounded music education experience out there, you should consider enrolling them in both. Music taught in schools gives kids a great foundation and the ability to understand music in group settings. Private lessons offer further personalization, with lesson plans to make music more relevant specifically for them. A student who explores both learning opportunities has the best chance at being able to fully embrace music on a long-term basis by making it a part of their daily life. 

Online lessons at Music & Arts

If you have a computer and an internet connection, you’ll be able to give your child an incredible personalized lesson experience from one of Music & Arts’ expert instructors. Their music teachers are university-trained, background-checked, and passionate about helping kids thrive through music. From rock guitar instruction and fun drum lessons to informative music notation and theory guidance, your child will love taking online music lessons with Music & Arts. 


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