Ideal number of classes per week?

October 23, 2017, 8:04 PM · Hi,
I am in the process of looking for alternatives to my current study program. Right now I meet my teacher once per week in a 1 hour class and I practice 3 hours daily. 1 hour for scales and etudes, 1 hour and a half for the pieces (or etudes) my teacher asks me to study and last half an hour for free and fun play, to relax. I would like to ask the teachers in if it would make sense to switch some of that practice to a daily class or if daily would be too much and, in that case, what number of classes and hours do you think is more effective. My level is beginner, we are using the Suzuki books and we are in the middle of the second book.

Replies (13)

October 23, 2017, 9:09 PM · One lesson a week is the standard and you are doing an impressive amount of practicing, especially for a beginner. Assuming you are practicing correctly based on your weekly instruction, I don't see an advantage to making a change.

If you were my student and came to me wondering about daily lessons, I might--*might*--consider going to two lessons a week if I had room in my schedule and you were very ambitious with work ethic to match (which it seems you are). But not more than that. You need to learn how to analyze and solve problems anyway--that's what practice is--and you need to have time to drill and incorporate skills as well before any teacher can move on to new techniques. It seems to me that daily lessons would basically be guided practicing, which is helpful with very young children but should not be needed for an adult.

I am a little boggled though at the thought of taking my weekly lesson fee and multiplying by seven (or five). It brings to mind other thoughts, such as private college for my youngest, or maybe a swimming pool.

Edited: October 23, 2017, 9:16 PM · I'm no teacher but also a beginner. I once tried 2 weeks of daily lessons for at least 1 hour each day and that burnt me out. I'll personally cap out at 3x a week. Having lessons more than once a week definitely helped me speed up learning though! I just need at least a day in between each lesson to incorporate what I learned. Everyone learns differently though so I'd say just try out increasing it and see how you feel. You can also try different variations of how many days each week and hours per day. Can always adjust it :)

P.S. Not related to violin, but how did you become a diplomat? Reading your profile sounds like you're living my dream (minus the war) being able to do and afford a ton of activities. I went to the Philippines and it was great being able to take as many lessons as I want without breaking my bank. If I lived there with my current salary, I'll be taking so many activities and hobbies!

Mary, my one hour of lesson here in the US is worth 9 hours in the Philippines :P It's likely similar in Vietnam.

Edit: typo

October 23, 2017, 9:56 PM · Part of your issue is your teacher, yes, who you noted was unhelpful on a previous thread? (LINK)

Find a better teacher. On three hours a day of practice as a beginner, you could almost certainly use two lessons a week.

Edited: October 24, 2017, 6:56 PM · I second Lydia's advice on twice a week lessons if you can get. Again, I'm not a teacher. I had two 30min/week lessons when I first returned to violin and I found it was very effective and this is why: when you have more frequent lessons, you have less chance to keep doing things that aren't correct, which happens to most of us, especially when we start learning the violin. That said, you may have some difficulty working/communicating with your current teacher. This could be a way to see if a new door can open to you if you suggest to your current teacher that you'd like to have more frequent but shorter lessons so that you can be direct and redirect in a more timely manner. Not many teacher will agree to that because it'll mess up their schedule, but it never hurt to ask. Meanwhile, look around and find someone else whom might work with you better.

Regarding daily lessons, if you can get them, go for it! I had daily 30min lessons during one of those conservatory summer boot camps a few years ago. I practiced more than 5 hours/day during the camp. Those daily lessons were great. They were very intense and effective. I literally had no chance to goof off. However, that was boot camp and I'm not sure if I could keep up such intensity of learning on a longer-term basis.

October 23, 2017, 11:06 PM · Thank you all!
@ Mary Ellen: Yes, the main idea behind the daily class was guided practice, especially because at my level I am concerned of doing things wrong and consolidate vices in my playing. On the other hand I know that my main asset for learning is to be able to dedicate all these hours every day and how useful it is to spend thought and practice time in solving the problems. That is also my concern about teacher, as Lydia points out. I don't know up to what point he should be the one telling me how to do it and how much or how useful it is that I try myself.
@Yixi: I would love to do a violin boot camp! I don't think that there are any available in Vietnam but I am sure that there must be in nearby countries like Singapore. I will check them out.
@John: I entered the system by exam. In my case I applied for a position into a country nobody wanted to go because it was in the middle of a war. After surviving it I started moving to some better positions in some better countries (although another entered into a war too). It was very exciting and nerve-breaking in places where you know you were at risk and there were film-worthy stories everyday but currently it is just another office work. And while it is true that the cost of living here is low, for many things (such as violin education and others), you get what you pay for. That's my struggle finding a good tutor.

After reading you, I would like to do two classes per week and have my teacher more proactive into correcting my technique, for example bow control or left hand relaxation. If I cannot find a teacher (this one or other) that would be able to attend twice a week classes, do you think it's sustainable to have 2 different teachers in different days?

Edited: October 23, 2017, 11:26 PM · Carlos, I don't think two different teachers will work very well unless the other teacher is someone that your current teacher knows well and recommends. Otherwise it can be very confusing due to conflicting methodologies and teaching styles, etc. Keep in mind, violin lessons are more like apprenticeship. You are better to follow one "master"/"guru" during each learning period than have two, right?
October 24, 2017, 5:16 AM · 100% agree with Yixi. One teacher unless the 2nd teacher is a direct recommendation of the first, in which case you're in more of a teaching assistant situation. If your current one is unsatisfactory, try to find someone more suited.
October 24, 2017, 6:29 AM · My 2 weeks of daily lessons was taught by two different teachers. I would prefer just one like others have said due to conflicting styles like Yixi said. I did it because no teacher was available to teach me everyday. Prior to that though Ive already had 10 lessons here in the U.S. so I have a baseline and if I notice a difference I would point out and ask.

I asked the two teachers to do different things. One was focused on Suzuki while the other was focused on theory, scales and note reading + showing me how to play my favorite songs which are too advanced for me (but hey it's still super fun to try!).

October 24, 2017, 12:00 PM · I have gone to 2 lessons per week, and it helps, but you really have to be on top of your practice, which it sounds like you are. I think Yixi put it really well.
October 24, 2017, 12:15 PM · If student and teacher are in agreement on two lessons a week, then I see no problem with it. You do, however, need to learn how to notice when your posture is slumping, when your hands are not in the right place, etc. My "teacher" during the week is the mirror or some type of recording device.
Edited: October 28, 2017, 10:28 AM · Imho, There are very few instances in which multiple coaches/teachers would be viewed as anything less than insulting or as opening the door to confusion and contradiction. If possible, have the guided practice coach be a former student of your teacher.
Alternatively, as stated by others, find another teacher.
Btw, jealous of your commitment!
October 28, 2017, 6:19 PM · When I first picked up the violin again I did two lessons weekly....a) because my time to dedicate to practice justified it....and b)....due to all the time I had to dedicate I did not want to reinforce bad habits I may have accidentally started between the one week lesson.

If you are practicing 3 hours a day you should do two lessons a week to keep your self practice consistent, but anything else more than that plus what your already putting in may start to seem daunting over time.

October 29, 2017, 7:51 PM · Thank you all for the suggestion. I have clear now that I will do 2 classes per week but not immediatly. I have to leave soon for a couple of weeks and when I come back I need to rearrange all my non-work activities, not only violin, and see where and when I do what.
@Edward, I wish that commitment would mean improvement but it isn't always so... Nothing to be jealous of.

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