This article was ghostwritten for LessonRating.com. It is written in American English.
A fair question to ask yourself when you first decide to learn the guitar is how many lessons you can be expected to take before you’re deemed proficient. Naturally, this will vary from person to person and it’s worth considering that some people will be more naturally musical than others. But you mustn’t let this put off in any way. It’s much more important to ask yourself another question: how often should I have guitar lessons?
The first question is harder to answer of course, but if you consider both questions together, it becomes easier to come to a solution of some sort. It makes sense that the more frequently you have your lessons (and of course, how often you practice), the fewer lessons you’ll need in total to reach a level that you’re happy with. If you’re concerned with the number of lessons you’ll need, perhaps due to budgeting or because there is a deadline you need to keep to, I would definitely recommend trying to have a minimum of one lesson per week of at least one hour in duration.
If you can manage two per week, this would be even better but any more than that and you risk stymying your progress with fatigue and stress. Lessons can be intensive and a little nerve-wracking, particularly in the beginning, so rather focus on some quiet practice if you feel you want to spend more time than just two hours a week on the guitar. Less time between lessons can be good but too little can also mean not enough time for practice which is an exceptionally important aspect of the learning process. You’re less likely to practice after one lesson if you know there’s another coming up the in the next day or two.
It can also help to have two shorter sessions per week, rather than one full hour, so it’s worth asking your potential teacher if they offer shorter lessons for a lower fee. Even though the duration is less, this will help because the time between your instruction will be shorter so the things you learn are more likely to stick.
Of course, some guitarists are completely self-taught and while this works for some people, it will not suit every temperament. To teach yourself requires an immense amount of self-discipline and practice and even then, most autodidactic guitarists have bad habits that can negatively affect their playing. If you can’t take lessons with a teacher face to face for some reason, there are many helpful articles and videos online to get the ball rolling in the meantime. At the very least, they will help you learn hand positioning, posture, and some basic chords so your fingers can get used to the strings.
As for the original question of how many lessons you’ll need; this is a question best posed to your teacher after you’ve had a few lessons. They’ll need to know your original proficiency if any, your natural talent and how much time you’re spending practicing on your own. Once you’ve had a few one on one sessions, he or she will be able to gauge roughly how many lessons you’ll need but also, what sort of schedule will work best for you in order to learn quickly but also effectively.
Suffice to say, there is no solid answer to the question. No teacher will be able to give you an exact figure but even so, as they work with you, they can let you know how you’re progressing which can help you estimate the total figure based on how many lessons you’ve already had with them.
Ultimately, your lessons should be fun and enjoyable so try not fixate too much on the end goal. Many musicians would argue that there is no proverbial finish line because playing an instrument requires constant practice, no matter whether you are a beginner or fully proficient. Even professional musicians will still take lessons from more experienced teachers including those who themselves are music teachers.
If you commit yourself to your lessons and do you best, this will help you achieve your goals more swiftly but don’t forget to have fun along the way. Playing the guitar is all about enjoyment and feeling, so if you find you’re in a rush to learn, take as much time as possible to practice as frequently as you can and become comfortable with your instrument. This will help make your playing more relaxed and will, in turn, make the music sound even better.