Parent article: Guitar Lessons 101
How often should you take guitar lessons? Answering this question requires some additional context.
Because the way we learn guitar, music, and even how we educate ourselves generally, is changing, thanks to the internet. When I was growing up, even back in the early 2000s, getting a guitar lesson meant my mom had to schedule a lesson with a fella in town named Rick Bergdoll (he was a fantastic player and teacher, by the way) and then drive me to that lesson, wait for me to finish, then come back and pick me up and take me home.
Doing that more than once or twice a week wasn't realistic for anyone involved.
Today, we can use online guitar lessons to take lessons essentially whenever we want from the comfort of our own home. That means answering our questions should be broken up to account for both scenarios:
How often should you take guitar lessons Based on Format?
- Online Guitar Lessons: Daily or as often as possible
- In-Person Guitar Lessons: Once or twice a week
Once you decide on an approach, the frequency at which you have a lesson is going to be different between the two options. Let's deal with in-person lessons first.
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How often should you take in-person guitar lessons?
The most broadly applicable answer to this question is once a week, though that doesn't necessarily apply to everybody. Here are some variables that might change that number, up or down:
- Age of the student
- Availability of the teacher
- Cost of the lessons
- Length of time of the lessons
All of these variables can have an impact on how often you actually make it to a guitar lesson. For example, let's say you spend an hour or more at any one lesson, which means going twice a week might mean you're covering too much information without enough time to practice in between lessons.
And that's an important point to highlight.
Leave Enough Time Between Lessons to Practice Material
While you should be consistent about guitar lessons, you shouldn't be taking them too frequently. This is especially true with an in-person tutor, because you need time to absorb, comprehend, and practice what they've taught you. If you're getting too much information and you have multiple lessons per week, it won't give you enough time to actually learn the material.
Cost and Availability
On perhaps a more obvious note, the cost of in-person guitar lessons will also have a significant impact on how often you can or should take them. Most 30 minute sessions run in the neighborhood of $36, meaning an hour might fall between $60-$70. This isn't cheap, and it's far more expensive than what you'd pay for any of the online programs (more on those later).
Thus, along with teacher availability, the cost is something that kind of speaks for itself and should be taken into consideration.
Take Longer Guitar Lessons Less Frequently
One thing I recommend that can be helpful and save you some money is to take hour-long guitar lessons, less frequently. This can save you money because a guitar teacher will almost always have their half-hour rate and hour rate. If their half-hour rate is something like $30, ask if they'll do an hour for $45 or $50.
Then, do lessons once a week or every other week, which means you won't pay as more, or as often, and you'll have more time to work on material between lessons.
It would also mean less driving.
How often should you take online guitar lessons?
There are some obvious advantages (and some disadvantages) to online guitar lessons that change a lot about how frequently you should use them. First, let's look at a few of those distinctions:
- Online lessons are always available
- Usually bought for a one-time fee or monthly subscription
- Can be re-watched as often as needed
- Necessitates removing (sometimes entirely) student-teacher interaction
Clearly, that last point is not a good aspect of online guitar lessons. What you gain in ease of accessibility to material you loose in terms of being able to access feedback via an actual person. In my article on the easiest ways to learn guitar, I touch on how this impacts people depending on their learning style.
But, what you gain with the online format is significant, especially if you're a good self-starting, self-motivated type of learner.
Online Guitar Lessons Help You Absorb Information Faster
As I mentioned, most online guitar lesson programs give you access to courses, videos, and content in one of two ways:
- One-time purchase and direct download
- Monthly or yearly subscription with website/streaming access
These programs are basically like Netflix for guitar lessons. This means that you can use them at any point, as long as you're near a phone, tablet, or computer. There's no driving, no small talk, and no scheduling other than your own. This means that you can watch and re-watch material, thus covering ground very quickly. If you need to review something, it's there to go over, so you don't have to worry about leaving a ton of time between lessons.
The Only Format is Far Cheaper
In addition to the added flexibility, online lessons are vastly cheaper than hiring a guitar teacher.
Because a guitar teacher is essentially a private tutor, and private tutors are expensive, regardless of what they might be teaching. It's rightfully the case that they are paid a hefty hourly rate.
Yet it means that online guitar lessons are much more affordable, in addition to being constantly accessible. In other words, whether you access lessons once a week or 20 times a week, the cost to you is low and unchanging. In this situation, it makes sense to take guitar lessons more often to get more out of what you're paying and to progress more quickly.
Accounting for Age
If you're a parent, it's also important to be aware of your child's attention span and how interested they are in learning the guitar. Pushing a child to take guitar lessons too often will likely result in frustration and boredom with the instrument, particularly if you're dealing with a child under the age of 10.
In most cases, I recommend starting a child on guitar at age seven, but being careful to limit the frequency of required lessons.
The Seven to 10 Age Range
For in-person lessons in the seven to 10 age range, once every two weeks is plenty, which you could fill in with required practice time every few days.
The 10 to 16 Age Range
From 10 to 16 you can usually get one or two lessons per week, especially if they start to develop a more genuine interest in the instrument. As a child gets into their teen years, it'll be pretty easy to tell whether or not they've "taken to" the guitar and if they actually want to do it.
Online Considerations for Kids
The online option might be better for kids who are shy or don't like the idea of interacting with a guitar teacher. It also makes the process of taking a lesson easier and more self-driven, meaning a child might be able to participate in a lesson once every couple of days and learn at their own pace.
A Particularly Good Option for Homeschooling
Kids who are homeschooled are great candidates for the online option, simply because they can work it into their daily or weekly curriculum rather easily. 30 minutes to an hour in front of the computer with your guitar is a pretty easy task when all of your education is already happening at home. Plus it gives the parent a break from teaching, which can be refreshing to the child as well.
Conclusion and Additional Resources
How often should you take guitar lessons? I would say, as often as you want, provided you're comfortable with the cost, the practice time in between lessons is sufficient, and your ability to have fun playing isn't being compromised. As I've pointed out here, there are a lot of variables that play into that.
As a general rule, in-person or tutoring-style lessons will average once a week, while online guitar lessons (perhaps in much shorter time chunks) will average once every couple of days.
If you're looking for more guitar lesson resources, here are few related articles that might be helpful:
If you have additional questions about how often you should take guitar lessons, or about the other material I've referenced in this article, feel free to leave those in the comments section below and I'll do my best to help out.