How Long Should a Private Lesson Last? by Eric Branner

Feb 6, 2016

It’s difficult to pinpoint the perfect lesson duration. Some students thrive on a 30 minute slot, others may benefit from 90 minutes of your time.

For me, 45 minutes is the perfect duration for a private lesson. And I bet 45 minutes is the perfect lesson length for 99% of your clients too.

Let me explain my logic here. When I first started teaching, I used to offer 30 minute or one hour lesson slots. It seemed logical — I assumed 30 minutes would suit young students and an hour is enough time for a progressing child or adult student.

I was wrong for both timescales.

It became apparent that 30 minutes wasn’t enough time to settle into a lesson. I like to start a lesson with a technique or warm up, then move onto the previous week’s assignment before introducing new material for the week ahead. I’ll then review the entire lesson in the last five minutes before we wrap up.

It’s an adjustable template, that last five minutes could be spent listening to a high school drama instead of critiquing the lesson! But you just cannot get a quality lesson in 30 minutes.

An hour-long lesson can feel like an eternity. Sure, your best students come into lessons armed with a list of their goals for the week. Most students won’t. And I found the last 15 minutes can really wear you and the student down. Your focus goes and it’s a waste of everyone’s time.

Yes, there are exceptions and you need to be flexible. I do offer 30 minute slots for very young students or families that simply can’t afford a 45 minute slot. I’ll happily teach highly motivated students or those that only make lessons once in awhile for an hour, or even 90 minutes. But 45 minutes is the perfect duration to get the most out of a lesson.

Try switching your lessons to 45 minutes. I think you’ll really like it. My teaching days are based around 2–3 hour teaching blocks. For example, I’ll work in a three hour block, teach four students, then I take a break and teach another four students for another three hours.

To me, that’s the perfect teaching day. No burnout, just quality teaching time with some quality students. Let me know how you like to do it.


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