One of the most common questions parents ask when signing up for music lessons is “What is the ideal length of music lessons for children?” Specifically, should they opt for 30-minute lessons, 45-minute lessons, or 60-minute lessons? In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of each option and help you determine what length might be best for your child and your family.
Regardless of how old the child is, if they’re brand new to the instrument they should start with 30-minute music lessons. For children, this is about as long as their attention span will last and is the length of time they can continuously play when they’re first getting started.
Children Under 10
Regardless of how advanced they are, children under 10 years old may benefit more from 30-minute lessons to match their attention span. This is the most common music lesson length for younger kids and is a great choice when first learning an instrument.
Once a child reaches the pre-teen years, and if they have been studying their instrument for a couple of years, you should consider signing them up for 45-minute or 60-minute lessons. Deciding between 45-minute and 60-minute music lessons often comes down to the family’s budget as the more time available, the more in-depth a teacher can go in each lesson, covering music theory, history, and more detailed practicing techniques. As the child becomes more advanced, you’ll want to invest in 60-minute lessons to really give the breathing room to explore more in-depth concepts. This is because advanced (and even intermediate lessons) have much more material to cover in each lesson, such as technical exercises, and longer and more complex repertoire and abstract concepts relating to movements in the performing arts, historical time periods, and events in history and art history and how they affect the music being studied.
Advanced students, regardless of their age (although typically older than 12), should take 60 to 90-minute music lessons. This allows for more in-depth instruction and practice. Additionally, theory, ear training, and sight-reading become increasingly important as the student progresses, thus requiring more instructional time with your teacher.
According to Joe Ferrante, composer, and concert pianist at the Joe Ferrante Music Academy in Monrovia, CA, “Advanced students should really take 60-minute music lessons or even longer if they can afford it. There is no substitute for that quality time with your teacher each week, it really is an investment that pays off big in the end.”
These are some general suggestions of where you might consider starting, but your teacher will be able to make a more specific recommendation based on your playing level and learning style.
Parents should consider the above when choosing the ideal length for their child’s music lessons, but budget is also an important consideration.
Longer lessons cost more, but they also offer faster progression and more dedicated learning time one on one. Parents should aim to sign their children up for the longest lessons possible within their budget and the student’s attention span (understanding that brand-new beginners and young children will get along fine with 30-minute lessons). If you aren’t sure the amount of time that is right for you, speak with your school or teacher for guidance.
Other Common Questions About Starting Music Lessons for Your Child
Are 30-minute lessons even worth it?
Yes, 30-minute lessons are worth it for young children and beginners. 30-minute music lessons are ample time for young players to develop a strong foundation in the basics of their instrument without becoming overwhelmed with too much material at one time. This is also a more budget-friendly option for many families. Keep in mind that 30-minute lessons can be very effective at keeping a student engaged with music and working each week, so it isn’t always necessary to have a longer lesson if your child isn’t ready.
What instruments can children start on?
Children younger than four can learn the basics of rhythm, pitch & dynamics through percussive instruments. Four and five-year-olds are typically ready to start learning piano and violin, and eventually, drums if they show interest in them. Around age six they can start learning guitar, and once they’re older than nine they can begin learning wind instruments like saxophone, trumpet, and flute.
How many hours should a music student practice?
This depends on their level, but generally speaking, beginners should practice for around 15-30 minutes a day a few days a week. Intermediate students can benefit from forty-five minutes of practice on weekdays, and advanced students should plan on committing one to two hours per day. Ultimately, how much time you spend practicing is up to you and your teacher; they will be able to give you more specific advice based on your goals and needs.
We hope this has been a helpful guide on choosing the right music lesson length for your child and understanding what to expect in music lessons over the long term. Music lessons can be a wonderful and rewarding field of study once the commitment is made to pursue it!
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