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There are more ways to learn guitar now than ever before, and choosing the right method for you takes some consideration. A question we hear often is how much are guitar lessons? So we have put together some info to start you off on the right note.
Guitar lessons come in several different forms, one to one in-person, online (via webcam), and online tutorials. Each format has its pros and cons, depending on your ability and schedule.
The average cost of each is $40 per hour in-person, $30 per hour for Skype/cam lessons, and $169.99 for a yearly subscription to a reputable online tutorial platform.
For most aspiring guitarists, this decision comes down to time and money. Now that you know the average price of guitar lessons, it’s about finding the right balance of quality lessons, convenience, and value for your money.
To help you make your decision, we are looking at some of the benefits of each lesson type.
Learning to play guitar this way is the most traditional; a student and a tutor get together and work towards set goals. The best thing about learning this way is that you can ask questions and have them answered in real-time.
If your technique is slightly off, the tutor can demonstrate and explain how to fix it. You can, of course, watch videos and copy techniques, but nothing beats combining a demonstration with the right words from your tutor. Another benefit is that a good teacher will know how hard to push a student to maximize their potential.
Tutors get to know their students better face to face, so they won’t hold you back or overload you with too much information. It also motivates you to work harder because you don’t want to show up for your next lesson unprepared.
The downside here is that you have to find a tutor that you can afford and is local enough for you to get to (or for them to reach you). You then need to hope that one of the suitable candidates has a space for you at a time that suits both parties.
It may be the old fashioned way, but it’s still great for complete beginners. Sometimes being left to your own devices too much can slow down your progress.
This kind of online lesson has many similar benefits to real face to face lessons. You get the same real-time question/answer and demonstrate/explain progression. The best thing about learning via Skype could be that you don’t need the tutor to be local.
You could be on opposite sides of the world, in different time zones, so fitting lessons into your schedule should be easy. Skype lessons tend to be slightly cheaper too because there is no travel involved for either person. The tutor can take on more students and afford to charge a little less.
Anything based online is reliant on your internet service provider. While it may be a rare occurrence, your service going down tends to happen at the worst possible times — no internet, no lesson.
Sound quality is another issue, no matter how good an ear the tutor has, listening via Skype isn’t the same as being in the same room.
The massive advantage of using these platforms is the value for your money; it’s undeniable. They have some truly amazing tutors with vast experience in the music industry. Each tutor creates course material in their specialist genre, so finding what you want is never a problem.
In terms of song tutorials, there are thousands, so many you will never run out. The other big plus is that you learn 100% on your schedule without any restrictions.
If there is a downside, it’s that getting one to one tuition is more difficult. You can book one to one lessons via webcam, but it comes with an additional per hour fee. Availability is an issue too; being able to lock down the tutor you want may not be easy.
For example, Guitar Tricks has around three million users potentially looking for one to one tuition.
The online platforms that we mentioned are great; they really are. The amount of quality content that you get access to for an annual fee is incredible. We have no doubt you can progress very far using their lesson plans and tutorials.
However, if you are a complete beginner, it’s a good idea to start with one to one lessons. It just might help you get past that absolute beginner phase a little faster. If you can do it in person, that’s perfect, if not then Skype is a great option.
The reason we suggest this for absolute beginners is that having a tutor there to push you early on is important. If you are working via online platforms at your own pace, it’s easier to be less dedicated and put off practicing.
It’s also tempting to try to run before you can walk with song after song, never really mastering the technique. We must say that platforms like the ones we mentioned do have a very good structure to help you stay on the right track, but it’s still down to you.
Different guitarists will have different answers for this question; it’s about what works best for you. Having said that, there are some common-sense guidelines that you can follow.
First of all, it depends on how much time you have available. If you only have a small amount of time each day, you can still try to create a routine. Spending half an hour practicing each day is far more beneficial than practicing for five hours one day per week. You need repetition to learn techniques properly, not random binge practicing.
The flip side of that is having a lot of time available daily and wanting to cram in as much as you can. That doesn’t always work either; everyone is different, and we can only take in so much info before we hit the wall. Anything after that and you are just going through the motions but not absorbing it properly.
You can argue that there are pro guitarists or high-level students who spend hours on end practicing every day, but they have developed that over time. If you are at that level, then congratulations; if not, then you don’t need hours on end every day.
If you are taking one to one lessons, then once weekly is a good target. That gives you enough time in between to work on what you’ve learned. Try to set a sensible routine that works for your schedule and provides enough repetition to develop your skills.
The short answer is you should continuously be working on both. If you only practice one or the other, you’d be doing yourself a massive disservice.
Scales, modes, and chords are the foundation of making music, and practicing them will help build technique. Technique alone isn’t enough though, making music is being able to apply theory creatively. Many musicians understand theory to a good standard, but a simple jam session goes over their head because they don’t know how to apply it musically.
Alternatively, learning song after song without understanding the theory behind them will lead you down a dead end. For a while, it will be a great party trick, but what happens when it’s a song you don’t know? The answer is not much!
You have to balance the two; that’s the key to developing your sound and becoming a versatile guitarist. It’s also important to make practicing fun, especially as a beginner.
A good way to work is to learn one new song per week and make it one that utilizes the theory you are focusing on that week. For example, if you are working on a 1-6-2-5 turnaround, then learn a song that features it.
You aren’t going to go from guitar zero to guitar hero overnight, that’s a fact. When you are learning new techniques like scales or chord voicings, don’t convince yourself that playing it a few times means you know it. Knowing it is when it’s second nature, on call whenever you need it. There’s no point rushing to get to step two only to forget step one. Take your time, practice smart, and have fun!