The answer to this question is not a simple as the price tag on the lesson itself. It is easy to look at the tag of a private lesson being $30 for 15 minutes and to say it is more expensive than a group lesson at $20 for 30 minutes, however the math is not as simple as that. Taking loss of time transitioning from student to student and lesson value of observing others performing tasks out of consideration among other factors in order to make the comparison single variant; let’s look at just the number of instructional minutes for your dollar.
Using the above numbers as a reference as well as the assumption that the group contains four students, a 30 minute long group lesson where each student is equally and fully attended to yields 7.5 minutes of individual instructional time. Whereas a 15 minute long private lesson yields 15 minutes. At $20 per group session with a 7.5 minute yield you will be paying $2.67 per minute of instructional attention which becomes more expensive that the $2.00 per minute cost of a private lesson.
This is not to say that group lessons are a worse option than private lessons, both have their roles in the learning structure and carry unique benefits that factor into creating the best environment for students to learn different skill; but don’t simply rule out private lessons as a cost effective solution to skill acquisition based on sticker shock because in many cases private lessons may actually be cheaper.
By Will McMordie