The Benefits of Group Acting Classes vs. Private Coaching
When it comes to learning a new skill, it is tempting to think that one-on-one coaching from a skilled teacher is the best way forward. However, when it comes to acting, this is not always the case.
While private coaching can absolutely be beneficial at different stages of your career, there is a lot to recommend engaging in group classes.
In this guide, we’ll take a look at why group acting classes should be a component of your learning journey and how to find the right classes for you.
Comparing Types Of Acting Classes
First up, let’s do a comparison of private vs. group acting classes to make it easier to see the differences between the two.
This not only highlights their differences but can help you determine which style is best suited to your needs and stage of your career.
Private acting classes do have a lot to recommend them and can be beneficial in the right circumstances.
During a private acting class, you are the sole focus of your coach. This is ideal if you are seeking to overcome a particular concern or challenge that may be holding you back in your career.
Private classes are also helpful when navigating ongoing auditions as this allows for dedicated time each week to prepare for these. This can certainly help you polish your performance and nail an audition!
Keeping the above in mind, it is easy to see how private acting classes are better suited to established actors seeking to hone their craft, overcome obstacles and secure specific roles.
If you are just starting out in your career, private classes are not going to offer you the same benefits and could actually harm your progress in some areas.
- Dedicated, focused attention from a coach
- Useful for overcoming specific challenges or roadblocks in your approach
- Great for preparing for auditions
- Flexible and can work to your schedule
- Private and allows you to explore your preferred material
- Limits interaction with other actors so harder to bounce ideas and improvise
- Removes the benefit of observation as a learning tool
- More expensive than group classes
- Cannot replace the need for group classes
- Classes tend to be shorter than group sessions
While there are always independent aspects of acting and work that can be done alone, ultimately, group work is where the magic happens.
Not only do you gain exposure to a variety of work selected by the coach, but you also benefit from observing other actors’ interpretations. This exploration of work and how each person responds to it and engages with it, is vital to expanding your skills as an actor.
The opportunity to ‘spar’ against another actor and organically work through dialogue and respond to someone else is something only group classes can effectively provide.
Through group classes, actors learn to observe and reflect on their approach. This advances their ability to acknowledge their challenges, modify their approach, discover new ways of doing things and much more.
- Allows for observation, self-reflection and better growth as an actor
- Teaches you to work with a variety of scene partners
- Equips you with the learning, listening and connection skills needed to work as an ensemble and team
- Promotes community connections and networking
- More cost-effective than private lessons
- Exposure to a variety of actors at all skill and experience levels
- Classes are often longer giving you more time to practise
- Perfect starting place for an actor who is learning but not ready to audition
- Favourably looked at on resumes (often more so than private coaching)
- Less flexible than private coaching
- Can be overwhelming for new learners depending on the size of the class
- Some classes may involve more watching than doing
- Less personalised coaching as the teacher is managing multiple attendees
- May have some repetitious aspects such as content styles, warm-ups and activities to cater to a wider range of skill levels
- If you are working and auditioning, you may not have time to work on or get feedback for that role
Why Group Classes Should Be Your Primary Approach
Ultimately, acting is a team sport. Imagine trying to learn to play the ins and outs of basketball without a team around you. Understanding and locking down the necessary dynamics, the shifting necessities of winning gameplay and even the basic rules would be virtually impossible.
The same can be said for acting. Even a monologue, which can see you on stage alone, in reality, has you engaging with someone unseen. It still requires you to connect with an invisible person or entity and fight for an objective.
If you only ever attend private acting lessons, you lose the opportunity to learn from your team and understand the importance of creating connections.
Your coach may stand in as your scene partner in a private lesson, but this can be a narrow approach. The best actors learn alongside all different personalities and skill levels for a broader, richer learning experience. This is the core benefit and gift that group classes provide to you as an actor.
What If I Have Never Attended A Group Class?
If you have started with one-on-one classes, that’s okay! No matter where you are in your journey as an actor, it is never too late to dive into group acting classes.
All you need is to keep an open mind and be prepared to watch and observe a lot more. We guarantee that you’ll learn more quickly in a group setting as well as have a lot of fun in the process.
You can always combine group classes with one-on-one coaching if desired, but attending group classes should be non-negotiable for serious actors.
How To Choose A Group Class
So how do you choose the right group class for you? There are a few factors that will play into this, some of which have nothing to do with acting itself.
You’ll need to look at:
Where are the classes being held and how easily you can attend based on this? Make sure your chosen school is a reasonable distance from your home or place of work and is easy to get to.
If your class is too far away or poses challenges to get to you’re more likely to skip attending classes if you are tired or busy.
Similarly to the above, choose a group class with a school that fits around your schedule. Make sure you are still able to meet your work/life commitments without creating stress for yourself.
You want your classes to be something you look forward to and not something that makes your everyday juggle more difficult. Otherwise, you’re less likely to attend with regularity.
This will vary between acting schools and some may require upfront payment of a set number of classes over a weekly payment.
If your preferred school is outside your hoped-for budget, it is worth reaching out to them to see if they have any discounts or offers that may help.
If acting is your dream career, keep in mind that these classes are a necessary and worthwhile investment, so budget accordingly.
What method does the school teach? Does the method suit your preferred style and goals as an actor? Does it support the advancement of your career?
Not all acting methods are as highly favoured as The Meisner Technique. Make sure you’re choosing a technique that is preferred by casting directors and producers as this will help you stand out and succeed.
Last but not least, are the group classes you’re interested in well-reviewed? Look at online reviews, seek feedback from other actors you know and see if the school lists past graduates of their classes.
You want a class that blends good technical foundations with adequate practice for well-rounded, engaging and effective lessons.
What If I Feel I Need Extra Help?
If you have been attending group lessons consistently and feel that you require additional support, this is when private lessons can be introduced.
Private coaching absolutely has its place and every actor can benefit from private lessons at some stage.
As covered earlier, private acting classes are simply more beneficial for more advanced actors who have already attended group lessons and need some specific guidance.
They should, however, not take the place of group classes.
Dive Into The Benefits Of Group Acting With The Actors Pulse
At The Actors Pulse, we offer a flexible schedule of part-time and full-time group acting classes.
As the Southern Hemisphere’s leading school for the Meisner Technique, we equip our students with the skills they need to become masters of their craft.
We teach essential foundational techniques alongside engaging practical elements to nurture and develop your unique acting style.
Focused on bringing truth and integrity to your performances, our classes prepare you for a career on stage, television and screen.
Our skilled coaches guide you through every aspect of acting for a well-rounded, enjoyable experience with one-on-one classes also available as needed.
Embrace the many benefits of group acting classes today with The Actors Pulse, call 0414 475 515 today.
Billy Milionis is one of the few Australians to have ever studied under the legendary master teacher, the late Sanford Meisner. Billy has also studied story structure and scene analysis techniques with John Truby and later at UCLA. He has also spent several years doing improvisation in Hollywood with the L.A. Connection. In addition, he trained in the technique of Stella Adler, Practical Aesthetics and Lee Strasberg’s method.