We can’t help but wonder why the default guitar lesson length seems to be one half-hour each week, when a longer lesson, at a more frequent interval, is quite often the accepted default for other types of lessons. It’s hard to imagine that anyone would think that someone aspiring to learn a new language could realistically hope to do so by taking a half-hour lesson, once per week. By the time the student would visit the teacher again, he or she would have forgotten whatever might have been learned in the previous lesson, and practicing the new language on one’s own would most likely iron in incorrect pronunciation and grammar.

It would also be hard to imagine that someone learning to swim, working with a math tutor, learning to paint, or taking writing classes would realistically expect to progress in a meaningful way with a mere half-hour lesson per week. Yet, somehow, the expectation remains that an aspiring guitar player would be able to do so.

Swimming Lessons Are More Frequent Than Guitar Lessons

When I was a boy, my friends and I would take swimming lessons every summer at a beach near our home, as part of the local recreation program that provided swimming instruction for the very beginner (Minnows) through intermediate (Flying Fish) through advanced (Dolphins) levels. Don’t ask me to explain how or why each fish was designated as the symbolic mascot for each level … It was just one of those things that you went along with. Anyway, my point is that the half-hour lessons were given three times a week and progressed throughout the summer, and, while some swimming students did better than others, the opportunity to perfect the various swimming strokes and skills, under the guidance of a Red Cross certified instructor, was available on a basis that made the learning experience more effective, not to mention more fun, than it otherwise would have been if there were only one half-hour lesson per week.

School Language Classes Are More Frequent Than Guitar Lessons

When it came time to choose an elective language in high school – Believe it or not, Latin and Classic Greek were requirements – I opted for German, and it was the accepted norm, not only in my school, but everywhere, that we would be attending the class three periods a week, the obvious prevailing attitude being that to attempt to learn a language would be fruitless, if we were meeting at any greater interval. That being said, the three weekly meetings did little to improve my substandard approach to learning German – to the very obvious vexation of both my German teachers. The point was, and is, that no one could rightfully expect a language student to learn a new language with, for example, once-a-week half-hour lessons.

Is It Really Possible To Learn Guitar With a Half-Hour Guitar Lesson Once Per Week?

I could ramble on with further examples of learning experiences, wherein the acceptable norm for lesson length and intervals would be widely considered to be longer and more frequent than those of guitar lessons. However, instead of citing other such examples, I’d rather ask why we – guitar teachers, guitar students, and parents of guitar students – assume that learning guitar can be accomplished with a mere half-hour per week, or, in the case of more “extreme” guitar lessons, with a one-hour lesson per week.

Language Immersion Schools: A Working Model For Guitar Lessons

Being around someone who is able to do what you’d like to do is, in my opinion, the best way to assimilate the attitude, knowledge, and particular skills of the teacher you’re working with. Institut de Français in the South of France offers immersion courses of one month or longer, wherein the students receive French instruction 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. No other language but French is allowed to be spoken by anyone during the day. The feedback for the school is highly positive, and its effectiveness is legendary.

Compared to the accepted standard of one half-hour per week for guitar lessons, the immersion approach is overwhelming. However, imagine the effect of meeting with your guitar teacher several times a week and going past the artificial limits that a half-hour lesson imposes upon the experience of developing an effective relationship with one’s guitar teacher, grooving, playing guitar, and creating music. While understanding certain budgetary and scheduling constraints, I ask only that you consider an alternative approach to taking guitar lessons that, at the very least, would be certain to provoke and inspire your musical journey.

Finding The Right Guitar Teacher

Of course, it goes without saying that any such immersion experience with a guitar teacher would heighten the necessity of finding the perfect guitar teacher for you, and I can’t encourage you enough to focus on that all-important first step before embarking on any level of guitar lessons, regardless of how frequent and how long the lessons may be.

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