Lesson Lengths – Do 45 Minute Lessons Really Work? (All Teachers)

Lesson Lengths – Do 45 Minute Lessons Really Work? (All Teachers)

I introduced two lengths 60 or 45 minutes lessons. I now have more 45s. I cant figure out if i get more students paying less or fewer students paying more. Would the 45 minuters have gone elsewhere or would they have paid for the 60mins Anyone got similar experiences ?

This is a great question, Eliza Fyfe down in Bristol is convinced that 45 mins works better as you can fit more students in paying a relatively higher per hour price across an evenings teaching. I guess it all comes down to price points and whether the 45 minute lesson is weighted higher per hour than the per hour lesson if that makes sense. So x4 45 min lessons @£25 = £100 and x3 60 min lessons @£30 = £90, means that the 45 min lessons works out better for the teacher across 3 hours teaching.
I also found 45 min lessons worked really well for teenage students (although I know you don’t teach them) as 45 mins was just about the right amount of time that they really concentrated for. I think it might be linked to schools like mine where 50 min lessons were the norm. 
I think the price point thery is correct having two price point gives more options. I am having a higher uptake ot this 45 length. Suitable for beginners too.
Not mentioned is if I can fit in an extra student it means the dreaded cancelations are a smaller percent of lost income.

I tried 45 and 60 mins. To my horror, all the 45s started coming fortnightly instead of weekly as agreed. So I was earning less than before when I offered 30mins. I had to replace 30 min weekly lessons for them and that works but means I need more students which is too stressful for me.
Some actually need 45 and tend to run over 30m for no extra fee. I also tried adults only as I had a lot. Then found I didn’t have enough students and they were constantly last minute cancelling mainly for work. Some paid a cancel fee. Others wouldn’t.
One week 3 of them broke up with their long term partners and gave up as they were depressed.
So back to children too with all its problems. I particularly hate the finger up the nose while playing thing! 
Great insight Diane, it is so interesting to hear how the change in lesson length had such an impact on the behaviour of the students in terms of the frequency of lessons. I found 45 mins lessons really effective for teenage students who were totally able to do more than 30 min lessons, but seemed to struggle in the last 10 mins of an hour lesson…I think perhaps because many schools do 50 min lessons as their standard lesson length time it has trained young people to be attentive for roughly this amount of time!

I tested the market on new students first and it was because they couldn’t afford the fee for 45mins a week that they switched to fortnightly, not the length. I had to offer them the lower price of 30mins before they would come weekly. I also increased my prices only to new students and none of them flinched so I can put fees up for the old students too now. I have several old students at higher levels on 45 mins because they want that regardless of cost and one on an hour a week, which is great because it enables me to cover scales, studies, pieces and anything else, which 30mins doesn’t do. But to answer the original question, yes 45 mins works for me and at least I get paid for the extra 15m.
On the whole, the attendance rate is shocking. This is their hobby, so any crisis and I’m at the end of their list. The Chinese students have the highest attendance rate and standards. They take it seriously and really put in the work.

Since starting 45 minute lessons. I have found they are good for beginners but also I am liking the length for myself. Some students benefit from an hour for more indepth music. I only teach adults and Diane point is what I find. Work / family any thing else leads to cancelations. Also like Diane I can only keep saying 24 hours notice to cancel, but a lot of students dont pay or cancel 25 hours before. You can only push it so far without losing students. Any student with 3 cancelations in a row usually means giving them an off peak time. This type will nearly always continue with eratic attendance and think its perfectly acceptable.

I find that 45 minute lessons are beneficial for students towards the end of grade 3 and onwards. I find more is accomplished as the pieces get more technically demanding. I also start my students on Hanon or Gunther exercises so this is sufficient time. Additionally my singing students prefer a longer lesson as sometimes warmups take 10 minutes. If we’re preparing for a singing exam, Grade 1 students enjoy the longer singing sessions.
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