blog_post_2015_nov_16If you’ve been thinking about starting electric guitar lessons, then two of the most important decisions you need to make are…

  1. What electric guitar teacher to choose.
  2. What guitar lesson frequency to have once lessons begin.

The thing I find interesting is that some guitarists will invest a lot of time searching for the right guitar teacher for them, but take very little time on selecting a guitar lesson frequency that’s going to be the most suitable for their unique situation.This often causes them to choose a guitar lesson frequency that’s inappropriate, and this causes them to progress at a much slower rate than they’re capable of.

To help you avoid this problem I thought it would be a good idea to talk a little about guitar lesson frequency, and how to choose the frequency that’s best for you. Let’s get started…

Understanding Guitar Lesson Frequency

As you might have guessed, the term guitar lesson frequency refers to how often you see your guitar teacher within a given time-frame.

Although different guitar teachers might think about things differently, I like to break down lesson frequency into four discrete categories…

  • Weekly guitar lessons. This is when you have a lesson with your guitar teacher every week. So over the course of a year, you would have 52 guitar lessons. (This is assuming that neither yourself or your teacher cancels a lesson).
  • Fortnightly guitar lessons. With this lesson frequency you’d see your guitar teacher every two weeks. This means that over the course of a year, you’d have 26 guitar lessons. (Again, I’m assuming that no lessons were cancelled).
  • Casual guitar lessons. With this lesson format you’d see your guitar teacher on an occasional basis—usually when you feel like you’re ready for another lesson. Because how often you see your guitar teacher would entirely depend on you, the number of guitar lessons you’d in a year could vary greatly. (I have some casual students that I see almost every month, while others I might see only a couple of times a year).
  • Multiple guitar lessons a week. In this case you’d see your guitar teacher two or more times every week, so over the course of a year you’d have at least 104 guitar lessons.

How Guitar Lesson Frequency Affects Your Progress

With everything else being equal, increasing the frequency of your guitar lessons will always result in faster progress. This is because of three main reasons…

  • Increased periodic feedback. If you see your guitar teacher on a more regular basis, then this will allow them to give you periodic feedback more times each year. This regular feedback will make it less likely for you to develop any bad habits, and will also mean that you’ll make improvements to your playing at a much faster rate.
  • Increased guided practice. The more times you see your teacher each year, the more guided guitar practice you’ll be able to do. This alone can result in a huge speeding up of progress. (This is because guided guitar practice is one of the most valuable things that can be done during a guitar lesson).
  • Increased motivation for practice. For many guitar students, knowing that they’re going to see their teacher soon motivates them to practice harder. So if you see your teacher on a very frequent basis, you’ll feel a very strong urge to work hard before the next lesson. On the other hand, if you only see your guitar teacher on an occasional basis you probably won’t feel this same feeling of urgency to practice.

What Are Your Goals?

Before you decide on a specific guitar lesson frequency, it’s a great idea to think in depth about your goals. This is really important because you need to choose a frequency that’s congruent with your goals. For Example: If you have no aspirations of ever playing guitar at an advanced level, then fortnightly or casual lessons would probably be adequate. On the other hand, if you’re very serious about getting good, then weekly lessons or multiple lessons a week would be a much better choice.

How Fast Do You Want To Progress?

As I mentioned earlier, a high lesson frequency will allow you to progress faster than a low lesson frequency. So if you want to progress at a very fast rate, then choosing to have at least one lesson a week with an excellent teacher is essential. Fortnightly or casual lessons probably won’t be frequent enough, unless you are very disciplined, and also have a lot of natural aptitude for playing guitar—but even if you are very disciplined and naturally talented, attending lessons more frequently will still produce better results than attending lessons infrequently.

Balancing Cost And Progress

While there’s no denying that seeing your guitar teacher as frequently as possible will always give you better results, guitar teachers are running a business. In other words, they’re obviously not going to teach you for free.  🙂 Not to mention the fact that excellent guitar teachers will often charge significantly more than the average teacher.

This means that, unless you have an unlimited supply of cash, you need to take into account the financial investment you’ll be making. While you might want to see your guitar teacher multiple times a week, it might not always be financially viable…

Example: Three Guitar Lessons A Week

Over the years I’ve had numerous students that chose to have three lessons a week. (As you’d expect, they were all very serious about improving, and wanted to progress as fast as possible).

While doing three lessons a week will always produce better results than only once a week, it’s going to cost a lot more—at my current pricing (as at 16/11/2015), doing three lessons a week would cost $180 a week. For some people $180 would be easily affordable, and wouldn’t negatively impact their lifestyle too much. But to others, $180 might simply be beyond their current means.

So which lesson frequency should you choose, if multiple lessons a week is beyond your current budget? I’ve found from my experience that weekly guitar lessons is a nice compromise between cost and progress—it’s affordable for most people, and will definitely allow you to progress much faster than if you decided to go with fortnightly lessons or casual lessons.

Reducing Guitar Lesson Frequency

If you’re on a limited budget, then one strategy you might consider is starting lessons with a high lesson frequency, and then cut down to a lower frequency. For Example: You could do weekly lessons for the first six months of lessons, and then cut down to fortnightly lessons.

I’ve found that this strategy works really well for students that can’t afford a high frequency of lessons over the long-term. While it’s not as ideal as continuing to have a high lesson frequency, it definitely produces far better results than starting with a low lesson frequency from day one.

A Few Last Words

After choosing what guitar teacher to take lessons from, deciding on how often to see them is the next most important decision you need to make. But if you take into account your goals, how fast you want to progress, and your budget, then I have no doubt that you’ll be able to choose a guitar lesson frequency that works well for you. 🙂

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