Let’s address the elephant in the room. Most students take one half-hour lesson per week about 47 weeks of the year. In addition to this many students will practice once or twice per week for less than an hour, if they actually practice at all. If all you were looking for was being like everyone else, thanks for coming by, have a great day! Once per week lessons really are the bare minimum if you want to be successful, and it will take a long time. They say that it takes 10,000 hours to master any skill. If you spend 3 hours a week, every week, you will master your instrument in a little over 64 years. And to be real the hours spent practicing will be less efficient than the hours spent with a teacher.
Despite the great instruction, a student is receiving in their lesson and instructions for that week’s practice. Students can actually reinforce incorrect habits while practicing at home. When the student is with a teacher it is easy to correct bad posture, fingerings, diction, breath support, etc. but without the eye of a trained expert, these issues could be reinforced during practice time. Most students don’t know how to practice. At Manuel Creative Arts Academy we work hard to educate our students on how to practice so that they are able to get the most out of their (once per week) lessons. Talking about how to warm up, an effective order to practice, goal setting, and so much more. When students don’t know how to practice they will sit down with their instrument and play through their music a few times, maybe repeat a section that was hard and then call it a day; this type of practice routine will get you there eventually but not quickly.
Truly best? A lesson every day. Lessons would work very differently with everyday lessons. When lessons are once per week it is a race to work with students on their basics, techniques we’ve been working on, new techniques, artistry, and repertoire. With more frequent lessons the teacher is able to introduce new material periodically while working with the student the other lessons in guided practice sessions. Now let’s be real. Music lessons can be expensive and having multiple lessons a week certainly adds up quickly. Having a lesson every day is not something that most people can afford. The number of lessons a week will be determined by your goals and what is feasible financially. Think about how frequently you participate in other activities like Dance, Soccer, going to the Gym.
What do you want to do? Do you simply want to play a song, are you looking to learn a skill, do you want to be a concert pianist? These goals will help determine how many lessons a week you should do. If you are just looking to learn one song to an adequate level you won’t need as many lessons. If you are wanting to develop your skills and become proficient on your instrument see if you can’t take 2-3 lessons a week (even trading 1-hour long lesson for 3 half-hour lessons). As with everything you will get back what you put in. If you commit to music education you will develop your skills, if you only jump in half way you won’t likely get the results you desire.