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Lesson Length Follow Up

Last week, I asked a question to the reader about a good length for guitar lessons.

Several people weighed in. The majority of answers were for one hour lessons.

Cameron Mizell brought home the teacher’s perspective: some students really can’t do hour lessons. I’ve found this to be true as well. It can be a number of things that determine this. The biggest factor being practice habits. If a student doesn’t practice, lessons can be very scary. The result is a lesson of review, and a (at least partially) annoyed teacher. Now imagine doing that for an hour. For other students it’s more about their ability to focus.

What really struck home for me were GuitarVlog’s thoughts. How much time, in a lesson, is really devoted to playing/learning the guitar. It’s certainly not the full time. In a thirty minute lesson, I spend at least 5 minutes waiting for the student to set up, then chatting about how the week of practice went. Then there’s clean up time at the end, and more talking with a quick review of what the lesson went over. So perhaps 30 minutes of actual music-related time is enough. At the same time, I do think that the bit of socializing that every lesson entails is just as important as the focused time itself.

It’s a rough line to walk. I know that there is a lot of socializing in my lessons. I’m okay with that. I still learn quite a bit. But the lesson varies from week to week. Some weeks are extremely focused, others not so much.

It’s important to evaluate what’s working. Many times, without realizing it, the student does steer the lesson. If they come in a chat it up for the entire time (and I’ve had students that do that), that’s what lessons will be. In the same way, a student should be able to ask a teacher to try different lesson arrangements, and see what works best for both parties.

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