There are two main stages of learning to play an instrument. Mechanical Learning, and Content Learning.
Mechanical learning is; ‘How do you play this specific instrument?’. Content learning consists of; ‘What can be played?’.
Private lessons are best for the mechanics of playing. The beginning player needs a great deal of attention because developing consistent mistakes is very easy and happens very quickly. Developing consistently great playing is just as easy, which is why students should play slow enough to prevent mistakes from occurring.
Classes allow for far greater creativity in applying concepts of music and playing. Many students are in great need of time spent with other players of similar abilities and interests for both motivation and new perspectives.
You are familiar with the phrase: ‘Two heads are better than one’, right?
Way back when, musicians would meet at someone’s house and learn together. These musicians would spend hours trying different ideas on arranging, improvisation, and composition.
When we are learning creative concepts of music, it is important to receive feedback and different ideas on how we can apply that which we are learning.
The ideal journey for every student after learning how to play one or two songs, is a mix of private lessons for specific problem areas in the mechanics of playing, and classes/programs for new content or new application of previously learned content.