What's the Best Length and Frequency of Music Lessons?

If you've ever been a teacher, you've probably realized that 1+1 does not always equal 2 when it comes to the relationship between time and learning. Here's what I mean...

  • One student takes 30min music lessons once a week and progresses at an average pace.
  • Another student takes 60min lessons once a week and progresses only a bit faster than the first student.
  •  Another student takes 30min lessons twice a week and progresses more than twice as fast as the first student.
  • And still another student takes 60 min lessons every other week and progresses way slower than the first student.

Are you dizzy yet? Can you see how the math just doesn't add up? It's unfortunately oversimplifying things to state that all instruction time is created equal. 

"So," you ask me, "Can you tell me the best schedule of music lessons for my student?" ...to which my answer would be, "Nope." But, I can tell you about real students that I've had over the years that have taught me huge lessons in this area. Hopefully you can learn from these experiences, too, and better decide what's best for your student.

(For privacy's sake, I changed the names of the students.)

Student #1: Sonya B.

Age: 7th grade.

Lesson Length: 30 min.

Lesson Frequency: Weekly.

Sonya was a bright girl who was decently busy in extra-curricular activities. She progressed at a fairly reasonable pace, and she still plays the guitar a bit to this day. Though I think that she was old enough and mature enough to handle 60min lessons - and could have progressed faster if she would have done so - I'm still happy with the way that music continues to play an integral part in Sonya's life now.

Still, if I had a do-over, I would push for 60min lessons with Sonya because of her capacity to thrive in them.

Student #2: Liam G.

Age: 1st Grade.

Lesson Length: 30 min.

Lesson Frequency: Weekly.

Liam was super excited when he first started playing the guitar, and he remains that way to this day. But, with his age and attention span, I often found myself having to use all of my teaching strategies to keep him mentally activated towards the end of our 30min lessons.

Liam taught me that sometimes a student can be totally on fire for music and still shouldn't stretch beyond 30min lessons.

Students #3 & 4: Lydia and Melissa W.

Ages: 2nd and 6th grades.

Lesson Length: 30 min.

Lesson Frequency: Every 2 weeks.

These siblings each had a 30min lesson every other week, which taught me a lot about the impact that infrequency of lessons can have on students. At the start, I would do everything in my power to teach and assign two-weeks worth of material in one lesson, but I quickly came to realize that this was impossible given that after each lesson they were going to have to be completely self-motivated for two weeks instead of one. The result was that Lydia and Melissa, though very bright and capable students, eventually fizzled out due to not progressing quickly enough to stay motivated.

I now never recommend every other week lessons, and I only schedule them when a parent insists on them.

Student #5: Madison M.

AGE: Kindergarten.



Madison is a prime example of the irrelevance of creating "rules" correlating age and lesson length. She was one of my continually fastest growing students, and she seemed to always do well in 60min lessons, even when she was in Kindergarten. Don't get me wrong; I had to employ some serious teaching strategies to keep it that way, but I could not have been happier with how fast Madison developed as a musician with 60min lessons.

Madison taught me that - regardless of age - as soon as a student can handle 60min lessons, they should go for it, because the progress will be dramatically better.

Student #6: Jimmy W.

AGE: 7th grade.



I started teaching Jimmy 60min drum lessons when he was in 2nd grade. For the first couple years, it was similar to pulling teeth every week. But, he just needed to mature a bit. He is now in 7th grade and is far and away the most dedicated student that I have; I teach him drums and piano each for an hour a week, and he takes composition, guitar, and music production lessons from different teachers every week, too. Best part is, he can't get enough of it!

The takeaway here is that when passion and maturity combine, the sky is the limit to what students are capable of achieving in music lessons!

As you can see, there is no one-size-fits-all lesson schedule, but there are patterns and similarities that we can draw on from former students to help us find the best schedule for new students. We recognize the need for a flexible teaching approach at Vibe Music Academy. Sign up for a free lesson today to see for yourself!

- John Gotsis, Owner and Music Instructor at Vibe Music Academy, Hamilton County, Indiana