This is one that crops up pretty frequently with me as I receive inquiries about lessons. From the teacher’s point of view, giving fortnightly lessons to students can be a good chance to see how they fly on their own for a little while – whether developments have been made in the playing, technique, musical development and so on or whether the gap between lessons is too large at a given stage in a student’s development.
For some teachers, providing fortnightly time slots can prove to be problematic from a simple time allocation and income point of view. There are certainly ways around this however, for example all my fortnightly students come to me on Tuesdays – some come one week, some come the next, alternating the weeks, which actually works pretty well from my perspective.
So it can definitely work for the teacher. But what about the student’s point of view? What’s “better”? Weekly or fortnightly lessons?
Weekly the way to go
In my own learning it has always been weekly lessons, so I may be accused of being biased when I say that weekly lessons, if practical, affordable and feasible for the student, is most definitely the way to go. Talking from my own personal experience of receiving lessons, the seven day interval really helps keep you on top of your game and pushing forward – any shorter timeframe than that probably doesn’t give you so much chance to soak in and synthesise the lesson, give things a whirl and make some developments for yourself. Any longer than that, particularly on a regular basis, can restrict progress a little.
But fortnightly can work
I’m not saying that folks that only do fortnightly lessons will never progress. Far from it – I have students that come on a fortnightly basis who are going great guns. And part of that comes down to the attitude and the application of the student when they’re at home practicing. Those that are highly intrinsically motivated to learn and to practice usually do pretty well with the fortnightly sessions. It can certainly have its benefits for the student, particularly financially, if they’re juggling other responsibilities in their life, or are travelling a considerable distance to attend a lesson. It can also be viewed a good developmental opportunity, particularly for more advanced students, in tutoring themselves and asking themselves key questions for their own development, rather than relying on the teacher.
Absolute beginner? Go weekly if you can
I do find, however, that particularly with absolute beginners or folks reasonably fresh to learning music or learning the guitar the gap of a fortnight can be rather a large one. At the very early stages in learning, the regular and consistent contact with a teacher can be crucial – no, scratch that. Is crucial. With two weeks between lessons, if a bad habit, misunderstanding, confusion or point of frustration creeps in after say three days of practicing the student still has another 11 days of either practicing something incorrectly, ineffectively or allowing confusion and frustration to build up. With weekly lessons, however, that time would be significantly reduced to only four days until the next session with the teacher. That’s a whole lot of time saved in development and progress in learning to read or developing a technique.
My advice? If you can, go weekly.
- Teaching The Guitar – Lesson Number One (classicalguitarnstuff.com)
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