You’re ready to set out on your musical journey and you want to have lessons. Great! You won’t regret it, that’s for sure. But where do you start? What type of music lessons should you choose?
Maybe your kids can learn at school, or maybe they should get private lessons instead. Which is better and what are the implications?
Or if the violin or cello lessons are for you or another adult, what are the options? Maybe you’d consider online lessons via video? And, then what do they cost, and what can you expect to get for your money?
So, let’s go through this one by one...
What do Music Lessons (specifically Violin / Cello Lessons) cost?
Writing from the United Kingdom (UK), we can only comment on the going rates here at the current time, early 2022. But this should serve as a good indicator of music tuition prices overall.
Whole Class Lessons (Primary): Usually Free, with instruments provided by the school.
Lessons at School:
Group Lessons: Approx £6 - £8 for 15 mins (shared between 2 to 4 children)
Individual Lessons: Approx £12 - £16 for 15 mins (one child only)
Private Lessons / Online Video Lessons (Adults or Children):
£13 - £18 for 25 / 30 mins
£25 - £35 for 50 / 60 mins
We should once again caveat these figures by saying that all these prices will depend upon a number of factors, not least of which is your location within the UK. Prices in London, for example, are generally higher than in North Wales or Lincolnshire.
So lets take a look at the most common types of music lesson options:
Kids Music Lessons:
Skip straight to Lessons for Adults
Learning at school:
It is likely that your primary or secondary school works with an external company to provide instrumental lessons to pupils. Sometimes these companies are private enterprises and sometimes they’re local council funded operations. Either way, this is the most common starting point.
Whole class lessons: (Primary)
Some primary schools offer whole class instrument lessons as part of the weekly lesson plan. We have seen whole class ukulele lessons, cornet lessons, guitar lessons and hand percussion lessons too. This is a great introduction to the concept of learning music, although it’s not ideal for much more than that. But it does allow you and your child to explore musical avenues, risk free.
Lessons at school:
Usually available both in Primary and Secondary, these school lessons will usually be administered by an external company, contracted to deliver lessons during school time. Most schools will offer a certain availability of lessons for the most popular instruments such as violin, cello, clarinet, flute, guitar, drums etc, and the more demand there is from pupils, the more lesson times will be available. So the likelihood of harp or bassoon lessons in school is low.
At-school lessons will generally be available in Group Lessons (2 to 4 per lesson) and Individual lessons (1 on 1). The timeframe of the lessons can vary, but most usually the group lessons will be 15 of 20 minutes long when shared between 3 or 4 pupils, and the individual lessons will be 10 to 20 minutes. The cost of these will vary depending upon the company and part of the country, but as you’d expect group lessons are cheaper, but arguably not as impactful.
Group lessons are fine if all 3 kids are up for it and attentive, but if you’re paying £6 a week for a group 15-minute lesson and one of the other kids is not especially attentive, then it’s not necessarily money well spent.
However, it may be a great introduction to music lessons, and a way of checking commitment levels and your child’s desire to progress. Plus, it’s cheaper, and that can be very important.
Group lessons are also a great way of encouraging more reluctant or shy children to give it a go. Having a friend or even brother or sister alongside them in a lesson may be just the thing they need to convince them to try something new.
Individual lessons at school will be more expensive, but it does confer quite a few advantages, the biggest of which is that the teacher will be able to devote all their time to your child without distraction. You’ll therefore see the most benefit in the shortest possible time. They’ll rattle through their grades much faster this way, and even if that’s not a particular concern, they’ll likely just enjoy it more.
Private Music Lessons / Peripatetic Music Tutors:
Employing the services of a private teacher is without doubt the best way to go, if you can.
Learning privately, you will likely have a longer lesson, as the assumption would be that of more commitment from the outset, but that longer lesson will cost a little more than a school lesson. Although, when looked-at on a minute-by-minute basis, 30 mins with a private tutor will be cheaper than 10 minutes of lessons at school.
You’ll also have flexibility of location too, and likely more flexibility of lesson time and duration.
If you want to start off with 20 minutes for a 6-year-old, that’ll be fine. Then perhaps increasing to 30 minutes once they’re a few years older, and once into teenage years an hour-long lesson will be appropriate. All this can be assessed by your private teacher and things adjusted accordingly.
As an adult however, even as an absolute beginner, a 50 minute / 1 hour lesson is a good idea. As you’ll be committed to the process and pay attention for longer periods, you’ll gain so much more from a more intensive teaching for this length of time. You’ll also have more questions than a younger learner, so this time period allows more opportunity for the two way communication which is essential to a great learning experience.
One of the other major advantages of private music lessons (whether Violin, Cello, Piano lessons etc) is that you will likely travel to the teacher’s house or their teaching studio, and in doing so, you can be sure of the quality of equipment that they have available; the availability of a music stand; a quiet location without other kids or schoolteachers walking through the room. Plus, you or your child gets their undivided attention too… and that’s always a good thing.
Online Video / Zoom Music lessons:
Writing this at the end of 2021, as we are, zoom lessons have become somewhat of a regular feature in our lives, and they have proved themselves very useful indeed. It’s still arguable that in-person lessons are better whenever possible, but sometimes they’re just not.
Some of the advantages to online lessons:
- No travelling for either yourself or the teacher. More time to learn.
- You may well feel more at home in your own environment, and some adults and children find this approach helpful if they’re perhaps a little shy or have particular needs.
- Your learning and practise environment is completely within your own control.
- You can learn from literally anyone, anywhere in the world: Fancy a lesson from a Russian virtuoso? That’s no problem online, and cheaper than a flight to Moscow every week.
- But you will need to be more disciplined in your approach, as the pressure on you will arguably be lighter than meeting face to face.
Learning from YouTube?
Fast becoming extremely popular in pretty much every area of expertise, learning via Youtube videos can be very fruitful indeed. There are countless string players who have uploaded great lesson series for all standards of player.
You can also complement regular face to face lessons with a bit of YouTube learning too. Searching for ‘Easy Christmas songs for Violin’ or ‘Learn Ed Sheeran for Violin’ will result in a whole bunch of options. It’s never been easier to learn an instrument!
Here at Hidersine, we’re very proud of our collaborations with several professional educators and the resulting suite of Violin, Cello and Double Bass technique videos that are available on our channel. These videos help explain a number of the most commonly taught playing techniques from Basic bow holding to Pizzicato to Spiccato and far beyond.
Check out the free HIDERSINE TECHNIQUE VIDEOS here.
- Younger kids can get the learning music bug from group or individual school lessons which are easy to access and are delivered in small, weekly chunks.
- Once a little progression is made, if at all possible, find yourself a good local music teacher who you and your kids connect with.
- Adult learners should go ahead and find a local teacher. Again, find someone who ‘gets’ you, and tell them what you’d really like to achieve. Then you can work towards to goal together.
- If travelling is an issue for you, or if time pressure is too great, then go for the Online Video Lesson option. You can still make great progress this way, but it does require a little more self-discipline.
- And don’t be afraid to learn from YouTube. Anyone who knows more than you is worth listening to… and it adds variety, and that, apparently, is the spice of life.
If you've now decided that you or your child are definitely going to get some Music Lessons, how can you ensure you get the very best results?