Tips for getting the most out of private lessons?

Hello friends! I finished up Josh’s course about a month ago at this point and decided this week to sign up for some online private lessons from my local music shop.

This will be my first private music lesson. Does anyone have any tips/insights on how to get the most out of private lessons?

Thank you!



I would recommend the following.

Set as many clear goals as you can.
It’s best if these cover everything from short-term, smaller/simpler goals to 5-year-plan / life goals.

When a teacher has an idea of the immediate and long term desires of the student it makes it WAY easier for us to stay focused and aim for what matters.

I’ll teach the same material to most everyone, but if I know someone is into Rancid and not Jazz, then I’ll make sure to introduce the appropriate Rancid/Punk song to apply major scale work, rather than the corresponding material in Jazz land.

If you have a list of questions that you can keep every time a bass question comes up, that’s always handy too.

A list of songs you want to learn is great as well.


Just make sure the instructor does not waste your time going over things you already know. At $50/Hr for private lessons you don’t need to be paying for something you do not need to know.

Also, if you get an instructor that only seems to want to impress you with what he can do remember, he’s doing this on your time and, you are paying for it. MOVE ON :slightly_smiling_face:

You could check out the the 50 Song Challenge on the forum and on the discord server, it’s kind of like an extension to the B2B course. IMHO


I had a bass coach fore several months, and we would start Evey session with a quick recap of what we had covered previously, and then whatever “homework”, he had given me.
He had an agenda of sorts, but always allowed me to tell him what I felt like I needed from him. It was a great experience, because we always focused on what I needed and not so much what he wanted to teach me.
I suggest you go to each session with loads of questions and goals for that session.


It’s always good to keep a notebook handy at all times and write things down you are not sure about :+1:


I don’t think he’s taking lessons in 1997.
I thought everything cost more up there @Celticstar :upside_down_face:

NYC you do not get out of an hour lesson under $100


Really. The $50/hr was before COVID, not sure about now but still $100/hr.
No wonder my free guitar/ukulele and theory lessons are such a hit :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

It’s too bad there is not a site for free lessons on Bass, like there are for guitar, such as :+1:

UPDATE: I just talked to my local music store and they confirmed a cost of $25 per 1/2 hour for music lessons.

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Thanks folks! I’m not sure what I want to get out of the lessons besides “getting better” so I think that means I need to do some soul searching. Keeping a notebook on hand is a great idea.

Thankfully the lessons are only $60/hour. I was surprised!


When I took mine, they were $50 for half hour, and $100 for an hour. I chose the hour lessons because the coach is 30 miles from my house, so wanted to get the most out of the commute.
I eventually upped it to 2 hour sessions.


This is the very reason I suggested taking a look at the 50 Song Challenge.

There is no cost and you will get the music score and a backing track with the Bass removed for complete songs. By the way, it is not a challenge in the true sense of the term. You are not competing with others, it’s more of a self challenge and there are no rules that state you have to do every song or have to meet any deadlines.


There is no replacement for a face to face, interactive coach.


This sounds like a great thing to do alongside the 1 on 1 lessons!


Holy crap Pam that could add up really fast at $200 a visit.

I have to say that I really think that that is a rip off for teaching people music and I wonder how many people have just quit because of the cost of lessons. That is why I do what I can to promote music for free. For me, it has gotten to the point that I cannot take on any more new students, except for theory, which is done in a classroom setting.

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Not sure I agree with that.

Of course everyone learns differently, and at different speeds, but you can pick up a lot at jam sessions for a lot less money. :slightly_smiling_face:

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I’ve seen higher priced one on one lessons. I got my money’s worth, and I am completely satisfied.


And that is the main thing. :+1:

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Jam sessions have their place in the learning curve (if you can even find one), but they have little in common with one on one lessons. Even classroom learning is nothing like having a private coach as I did. Yeah, I could have paid a lot less for a group lesson, but I preferred a private coach, and it was well worth the money.

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@RoyB after completing the B2B course I found starting the 50 song challenge useful.

I’ve recently started Mark Smith (Talking Bass) courses online.

It’s different from Josh but well structured and pretty reasonably priced at $70. I got it on sale awhile back.

I’m doing the Bassic Fundamentals course which is a nice addition/ recap of the B2B course plus material that was not covered by Josh.

There are quite a few on this forum who also take his courses.

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If you can’t find a jam session start one. I did and within a year it turned into 3 local jam sessions a week and an additional on once a month 2 hrs drive away. :slightly_smiling_face:

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I would suggest waiting then.

Each time I have gone to a private instructor without really knowing what I wanted to work on I have been bored to tears being given their normal lessons. I always compare this to going to the doctor and not knowing how to tell him what your symptoms are. You will get a general exam vs. a cure for what ails you (or your bass playing).

I think this is one of the beautiful things about all the online instructions, it gets you to a point where you know what you want to go deeper on and work on. You will know when that point comes. And when you do start, don’t feel bad about calling an audible and shifting directions. It’s your time.

I would suggest continuing with either talkbass or Ari Cap (see this thread Beyond Badass!) until you start to form a few "I would really like to work on x, y, zs’.

First though, what are your goals?
Play covers, join a band, write your own music, just look cool and pick up groupies?
What type of music do you want to play - jazz (theory&improv), metal/rock (pick work), funk/slap (slap work)?
Do you want to work on posture and hand position?
Sight reading?
Keeping a groove?
Ear training?
Smandl technique?

One you have a list, go forth and find an instructor.
Without a bit of a roadmap sketched, you may find yourself less motivated than more.

Also, FWIW, don’t be afraid to take a lesson or two and then move on if you are not feeling it. I had a sax teacher once early on who was a broadway pit guy. They are super technically accurage and he was cramming that down my newbie horn. I could barely play vs. come in on the right 32nd note in tune. Find someone you feel like you could shoot the $hit with for an hour, then don’t actually do that, it gets expensive :upside_down_face:, but the relationship is key too.

alternatively, If you really don’t know what you want, have a lesson or two here and there from some folks and maybe you will get inspired.