A frequent question asked by my guitar students concerns the lessons themselves – how often should their guitar lessons take place? In an international city like Paris, a lot of my guitar students are ex-pats or international students. With hectic work or school schedules and frequent international travel I understand that finding time for lessons and practice can be a difficult task. So when trying to decide on your lesson schedule, the question comes down to this…
How much time can you realistically make in your life for guitar lessons and regular practice?
The answer to that will determine both your lesson schedule and how fast you progress.
It’s important to point out that the more regular practice you can do, the faster your playing skills will develop and the more enjoyment you will get from your instrument. Each lesson will introduce new music or techniques and practising them is vital if they are to become a useful part of your knowledge.
So, bearing that in mind let’s talk about the common options for scheduling your lessons.
The fastest and most efficient learning will happen with weekly lessons and regular practice. The people who can do this will see the fastest improvement in their playing skills. Daily practice would be preferable but even 20 minutes of focussed practice 3 or 4 times per week will make a big difference.
Lessons Every Two weeks
Some people will find it difficult to schedule a lesson each week or make enough time to practice between lessons. For these people a two-week schedule is a more manageable compromise between regular lessons and a busy life. But the more time there is between lessons, the more difficult it is for people to stay focused on their goals. It is very important to maintain the two-week rhythm and regular practice between lessons if we are to make consistent progress.
Lessons three or more weeks apart
In my experience, people who take lessons three or four weeks apart are less likely to practice regularly and far more likely to forget or skip lessons. For this reason I discourage students from regularly scheduling lessons more than two weeks apart. However, some people can maintain a long-term focus on their guitar-playing goal. If you think you are one of those people, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me!
Of course some people are determined to learn even if they don’t have much time for practice or guitar lessons. As an extreme example, I once taught a student whose busy work schedule meant that she was almost constantly travelling. She was unable to do any practice or playing between lessons, which were often three or four weeks apart. Her progress was very slow but she loved her guitar lessons and found them very worthwhile nonetheless.
Multiple lessons in one week
Sometimes people ask for two (or more) lessons in one week. Some people think of this as a kick-start at the beginning of their lessons with me. The advantage of this approach that new students can avoid developing bad habits with more frequent oversight from me. For more advanced players we can cover some material in more detail while the previous lesson is still fresh in their mind. The disadvantage is less time to practice between lessons. Note also that two or three lessons in quick succession is not a substitute for practice time.
So, to recap, lessons every week or every two weeks are the best option for the majority of people. If you want to go with a longer schedule, it is vitally important that you maintain that schedule (and convince me that you will). But whatever schedule suits you, you must make time for regular practice if you want to make progress and get the most enjoyment from your instrument. There are no shortcuts – time spent with the instrument is the only path to progress and counts far more than anything you might think of as natural talent.
If you have any questions, or want to book some guitar lessons, contact me here.
Also see these links for more info about my guitar lessons and practising.