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How long should lessons be?
#3018265 08/27/20 09:24 AM
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Hi All,

I apologize if this has been asked on this forum before, but there are so many threads it's hard to find specific answers.

Anyway, for a beginner, is 30 minutes enough? It seems like with saying hello and getting out your music book and getting settled, that's a really short period of time for a lesson. However, obviously it is cheaper to go 30 minutes vs. 45 or 60.

So...how long are your lessons and what do you think is enough for a beginner.

Thanks!

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Re: How long should lessons be?
PianoJake #3018268 08/27/20 09:29 AM
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Originally Posted by PianoJake
Hi All,

I apologize if this has been asked on this forum before, but there are so many threads it's hard to find specific answers.

Anyway, for a beginner, is 30 minutes enough? It seems like with saying hello and getting out your music book and getting settled, that's a really short period of time for a lesson. However, obviously it is cheaper to go 30 minutes vs. 45 or 60.

So...how long are your lessons and what do you think is enough for a beginner.

Thanks!

Hi PianoJake, I think you’re right. For an adult beginner, I think 30 minutes is too short. I think that 45 minutes is the sweet spot for me at the moment. Others may prefer 60 minutes though.


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Re: How long should lessons be?
PianoJake #3018270 08/27/20 09:31 AM
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I think 30 minute lessons are for small children who can't focus for any longer than that. Adults should start at 45 minutes minimum.

Re: How long should lessons be?
PianoJake #3018271 08/27/20 09:32 AM
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For a 6 year old beginner, 30 minutes is plenty. For an adult, I would go with 45 minutes to start. I always go into my lessons with plenty of questions to ask...

Sam

Re: How long should lessons be?
PianoJake #3018272 08/27/20 09:36 AM
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Honestly, I have found 45 or 60 minute lessons to be too long for most beginners. I recommend 30 minute lessons for all but the very youngest beginners, with the understanding that we can increase if needed.


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Re: How long should lessons be?
PianoJake #3018283 08/27/20 10:07 AM
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I started as a beginner 3 years ago. My lessons are 30 minutes. My teacher has a serious personality, intense, and gets right to the point. In 3 years she has never said a word to me that's not about piano playing. So 30 minutes is enough. If you get a relaxed chatty teacher and you enjoy the company, you'll have friendly conversation, and you'll need at least one hour.

Re: How long should lessons be?
PianoJake #3018284 08/27/20 10:11 AM
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In general, I think adults do better with 45-minute lessons, whether beginner or not.

But I think it also depends on what you will do (play) at your lesson, so this might be something to discuss with your teacher and see what his/her preference/recommendation is.

At my lessons right now, which are 45 minutes, I usually play a technical exercise to start with, get comments and next assignments, then a sightreading piece, again comments & next assignments, and then we work on whatever repertoire piece I'm working on. 60 minutes would be even better, but I need to be money-conscious as well, so 45 minutes is a good compromise for me.


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Re: How long should lessons be?
PianoJake #3018285 08/27/20 10:11 AM
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Assuming once a week lessons, 30 minutes doesn't quite cut it with adults. 45 minutes is enough.

However, I strongly recommend TWO lessons a week for several months, maybe two, maybe three depending on the individual, for my new students.

Why 2x a week?

Even if you record the lesson, there is a lot to take in and remember. It's important for a teacher to monitor your progress to help you practice "correctly" as opposed to reinforcing bad habits from not learning sufficiently clearly in a single lesson.

So, two 30 minute sessions/week for the first 3 months. After that, 45 minutes can do the trick based on my experience.


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Re: How long should lessons be?
PianoJake #3018291 08/27/20 10:27 AM
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30 minutes for me as a beginner. Sometimes it can feel a bit rushed but overall I don’t think my lessons add enough value to the learning process to be worth increasing to 45 minutes.

Maybe that will change as I get out of method books and onto more advanced material where I assume I’ll need more detailed guidance.


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Re: How long should lessons be?
PianoJake #3018296 08/27/20 10:46 AM
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Several of my beginners (children) do two half-hour lessons a week. And even at that rate there's a lot of forgotten information between lessons.

One of them rolled back to one 30-minute lesson per week during the pandemic, and her progress slowed down quite ostensibly.


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Re: How long should lessons be?
PianoJake #3018301 08/27/20 10:56 AM
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I agree with @seeker having two sessions a week is great. However, for me 30 min is too short because I usually have lots of questions during the lessons and questions that come up while I study and practice. For me 60 min flies by and I still feel I could use more time.

Re: How long should lessons be?
PianoJake #3018308 08/27/20 11:24 AM
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I would love to do twice a week, if I only had the time (and money!)

Actually, what I would really like to do is three times a week: once for my regular lesson, once for a jazz lesson and once for a lesson focused only on Bach.

Having that kind of lesson-schedule would also mean I'd need to add jazz and Bach to my practice menu and probably practice three separate times across the day.

Maybe if I ever get to retire....


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Re: How long should lessons be?
ShiroKuro #3018313 08/27/20 11:46 AM
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Originally Posted by ShiroKuro
I would love to do twice a week, if I only had the time (and money!)

Actually, what I would really like to do is three times a week: once for my regular lesson, once for a jazz lesson and once for a lesson focused only on Bach.

Having that kind of lesson-schedule would also mean I'd need to add jazz and Bach to my practice menu and probably practice three separate times across the day.

Maybe if I ever get to retire....

I actually will be doing 3 lessons a week shortly, just not all on one instrument lol!


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Re: How long should lessons be?
PianoJake #3018314 08/27/20 11:50 AM
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For me, 5 years in, I take one lesson per week for 30 minutes. My teacher is very responsive to questions outside of normal lesson time. I'd take longer lessons if it was cheaper!


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Re: How long should lessons be?
PianoJake #3018430 08/27/20 04:33 PM
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My teacher started me with 30 minute lessons. Then moved me to 45 minutes after 3-4 months and then to 1 hr after about one year. Each change seemed appropriate. After many years of lessons, I still get more instruction in a 1 hour lesson than I can incorporate during the following week of practice. As this thread illustrates, people don't have identical abilities. Take advantage of the fact that piano lessons are a one-on-one endeavor and use that to your advantage by settling into what works best for you, not necessarily what is best for the average person.


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Re: How long should lessons be?
PianoJake #3018468 08/27/20 07:03 PM
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Originally Posted by PianoJake
Hi All,

I apologize if this has been asked on this forum before, but there are so many threads it's hard to find specific answers.

Anyway, for a beginner, is 30 minutes enough? It seems like with saying hello and getting out your music book and getting settled, that's a really short period of time for a lesson. However, obviously it is cheaper to go 30 minutes vs. 45 or 60.

So...how long are your lessons and what do you think is enough for a beginner.
If both you and your teacher are not into chit-chat, 30 minutes is plenty for a beginner.

I've always been a 'straight to business' sort of guy, even when I was a kid (I find it difficult even to chat about the weather, let alone about world politics or sunspots or the Big Bang whistle), and all my four teachers were the same. Even after five years with my third teacher (when I was in high school), she never found out whether I had siblings or whether my parents spoke English.....because she never asked, and I never said smirk . Which was why our lessons were 100% productive and forty minutes was long enough for my level then (intermediate). Prior to that, with my first two teachers, my lessons were 30 minutes once a week. It wasn't until I was working towards my performance diploma with my last teacher that my lessons were an hour long.


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: How long should lessons be?
PianoJake #3018472 08/27/20 07:21 PM
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Each of us needs to make a decision, in cooperation with our teacher, on the length of lessons. You might start out with 30 min and both decide you need longer.

Some of the considerations would be: how much do you practice? Do you feel like there was enough time for your teacher to answer your questions/demonstrate? Are you learning theory? Ear training?

There can’t be a set rule that fits every teacher and student.


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Re: How long should lessons be?
PianoJake #3018819 08/28/20 07:52 PM
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I remember reading that President Lincoln was asked how long a man’s legs should be and he replied “Long enough that, when he stands up, they reach the floor.”

I don’t know if that anecdote is true but it sounds sensible.

So: a piano lesson should be long enough that, when it’s over, you have covered sufficient ground and are able to proceed.

Re: How long should lessons be?
PianoJake #3018856 08/28/20 10:05 PM
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I agree that it has to be tailored to the student’s needs and abilities.

Personally, I think it’s my job to go away and practice during the week what my teacher and I have discussed, and bring it up to a decent standard. Usually that is a tough ask for me because I am a slow learner and I need to spend a lot of time on repetition to master anything. Increasing from 30 to 45 minutes with the teacher is not going to add much value, because it’s my clumsy fingers, not a lack of teaching time, that is the weak link in the chain.

But that could be completely different for a quick learner with a lot of aptitude. Everyone will be different.


Yamaha U1. Yamaha P-45. Yamaha RD-250 (a long time ago). smile
Re: How long should lessons be?
PianoJake #3019045 08/29/20 01:11 PM
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In the beginning when I had lessons with my sister, we went to the same teacher and 1/2h for each 1 after another. 1 would be watching while the other was being taught. Don't think you need more than a good half-hour to learn the C scale or "Mary Had a Little Lamb".

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