Learning to play an instrument can be one of life’s most rewarding experiences. Playing music has the potential to make you, and everyone around you, feel better. People from many different backgrounds can bond over a particularly moving tune.
In addition to the social benefits, learning to play guitar can improve muscle memory and cognitive thinking. Playing helps you improve concentration and retention while building confidence as you achieve incremental goals. Music also is known to be a stress reliever and playing the guitar can be therapeutic. More middle-aged adults are learning guitar as a way to cope with stress. The act of playing also helps you build and maintain strength and flexibility of your hand and wrist.
Now that you’re ready to learn, you may wonder, how much do guitar lessons cost? There are several ways to take lessons, and the price varies for each. The teacher’s experience, your location, whether you buy lessons one at a time or as a series of classes, and your skill level can all affect the price. Depending on your goals and your prior knowledge and budget, there are several options to choose from when signing up for lessons. Consider the following options for taking guitar lessons.
Many budding musicians take individual music lessons. Classes typically range from 30 to 60 minutes. Prices vary depending on the length of the class and the musical skill level of the teacher. A college student typically does not charge as much as a professional musician with credentialled playing history.
How much do guitar lessons cost? The average cost for individual lessons from reputable guitarists is around $40 per half hour and can range from $20 to $60. Typical beginning sessions last for 30 minutes, once per week. When choosing a teacher, it’s helpful to choose one with a skill level that you can work up to without being so far ahead that you’re paying professional rates before you’ve learned the basics. You may be able to negotiate discounts if you book multiple lessons in advance. Local music stores can often make teacher recommendations.
The cost per lesson may increase as your skill level improves. Once you’ve reached the level of your instructor, you’ll be ready to find someone with more experience to help you continue to advance. Some instructors have a specialty that can demand a higher hourly rate.
In-person lessons can seem more intimate than other options. You may have the opportunity to build a deeper and more expansive relationship with your teacher. Although private tutoring sessions can be more expensive types of lessons, they are frequently used for those who need the additional accountability factor of making a commitment and paying for the time.
The location of the class can also impact the price of the lessons. It’s typically more expensive for the tutor to come to your home. To save on the cost of travel time, you can go to the tutor’s studio to take the music lessons. The cost of holding classes at a music store may be partially covered by the store as part of a marketing budget, possibly costing less than other types of personal lessons.
Many guitar students are working with teachers from around the world during Skype sessions. By taking away geographical barriers, you can learn professional and international guitar techniques no matter where you live. The cost of Skype lessons varies greatly depending on the skill level of the teacher. Some may be as low as $7 for a half hour session from a beginning-level teacher. For an experienced tutor with a professional music background, the average cost for a 60-minute class is over $50, and you can expect to spend anywhere from $20 to $180 per hour depending on the tutor.
To lower costs, some students choose 45-minute sessions at around 22 percent less than an hour-long class or 30-minute sessions that cost around 43 percent less.
Free guitar lessons are available on YouTube or other online sites. With no personal relationship with a tutor, however, you are responsible for personal motivation and follow-through. Tutors may also record podcasts to offer lessons for different levels of play. Since you don’t have the opportunity to ask questions, some lessons may be challenging to follow.
Online lessons are available from beginner through advanced levels, and for acoustic or electric guitars. You can learn general playing skills or focus on a specific style of play such as blues, reggae, jazz, classical and more. Skill-based online courses are also available to perfect techniques such as playing lead guitar, speed playing, reading music, singing with the guitar, and rhythm training.
You can also learn to play specific songs by watching and practicing with online videos. Other video training sessions are offered by professional musicians who have played with internationally known bands. Depending on your preferred genre of music, you can find a guitarist with the expertise to help you improve your skills.
Some online lessons may be offered live, while others are prerecorded for use at your convenience. You may also join Facebook groups to interact with others who are learning how to play the guitar.
Particularly for beginners, group lessons can be cost-effective and fun. Learning to play with a group also provides the opportunity to meet people who have a similar passion and with whom you can share the musical journey. Many classes are segmented based on age and skill level and can run from three to twelve people per half-hour session. The cost frequently runs at approximately 75 percent of the cost for an individual class. Some adult education programs at community college or neighborhood centers may offer low-cost lessons.
Workshops are offered for musicians of different ages and abilities. A workshop can also be a way to offset the cost of individual lessons. Many workshop sessions last from two to six hours and may have as few as five participants. How much do guitar lessons cost? Costs often range from $50 to $150 for the workshop.
Workshops may be targeted to only one style of music, level of play, age, or gender. Some musical instrument stores will offer free introductory workshops as part of their marketing efforts. You may want to check a free beginner’s workshop before investing in instruments and accessories.
Intensive two- to-five-day retreats offer the opportunity to put an intense focus on your guitar skills for a few days. Although these multi-day sessions can run from $700 - $3,500, most include accommodations and food during the events, but travel to the retreat location is extra. Because you receive several hours of teaching throughout the retreat, the average cost per hour can be very reasonable. Some retreats cater to specific levels of play, while others offer something for everyone who attends, regardless of skill level. Retreat organizers often invite professional musicians from widely known bands to host some of the sessions, adding some star power to the experience.
For those who want to self-teach, videos, books CDs, and DVDs are available. Webcam classes can range from $20 to $50, or $5 to $10 to learn an individual song. Self-teaching materials can often be found from between $6 to $50. You can also conduct web searches for specific information when learning to play, spending time rather than money.
You may want to join a guitar club in your area. These clubs are often free or very low cost and can provide you with the opportunity to practice and play with other people. Clubs may also invite tutors to give one-time lessons to the entire group.
In addition to lessons, new guitar players should also factor in the cost of buying or renting a guitar. An acoustic guitar is the least expensive option and can cost as low as $100 at a big box store, although this may not be the quality of instrument you want for the long term. Electric guitar starter packs typically cost around $200, including guitar, amp, cable, picks, tuner, extra strings, and an instructional CD or DVD. For those who are serious about pursuing their musical interests, upgrading to instruments and equipment that start in the $500 range is an option. It’s also tempting to purchase some of the numerous guitar accessories available, such as a capo, guitar tuner, additional strings, straps and special cases. Music and books can also cost anywhere from $25 to $100 and above per year.
It’s time to graduate from playing “Guitar Hero” to playing a real guitar. Unfortunately, over 80% of students who start studying guitar quit while still in the beginner stage. To increase your odds of sticking with the training, shop around to find the right teacher and method for taking classes. Particularly in more populated areas, there are many tutors with numerous skill levels and specialties. As your skills expand, you can add other types of learning opportunities, or change tutors to learn focused or more advanced skills. Enjoy the benefits that come along with learning to play guitar in addition to the ability to make beautiful music for yourself and your friends.