Beginner's Guide To Music Lessons

New to Online Music Lessons? Here's What to Expect in Your First Free Lesson

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Rose Park

2/13/24 • 4 min read

When you look for online music lessons with live teachers, you’ll notice some lesson platforms offer a first complimentary lesson to try out. But many aspiring musicians, including you, might wonder, “What am I expected to do in the lesson?”

It’s natural to be curious about things to bring to the first trial lesson, questions to ask the instructor, and even how to set up the virtual meeting.

Here’s a complete guide to getting ready for your first online music lesson.

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How does the free online music lesson work? What am I expected to do?

When you sign up for the complimentary trial lesson, you don’t have to pay anything upfront. Trial lessons typically last 30 minutes.

Once you start the trial lesson, the teacher will introduce themselves briefly and ask some questions to get to know you and your musical goals. Share your background, any challenges you’re having with your instrument, and what songs or methods you’ve worked on before. This helps the teacher personalize the lesson moving forward. After the quick intro, you’ll jump into the “learning” part.

Piano beginners will likely start with the first pages of a method book to go over the basics – posture, hand position, finger placement, etc. If you have prior experience, talk about your pieces and techniques to get tips on improving.

For instruments you have to assemble, like flute or violin, put it together ahead of time. This allows more time for the actual learning during the trial. The teacher may ask you to play a piece and then work with you on posture and techniques to help you improve quickly.

For singing trial lessons, students can expect a focus on proper singing posture, breath support, and finding your comfortable range. Tell your instructor your song interests so they can suggest good vocal warm-ups and practice methods.

Near the end, the teacher will summarize and explain the next steps if you wish to continue the lessons. Some lesson websites may require rescheduling fees if you miss or need to adjust the trial lesson.

How the teacher will navigate screens

Your instructor will show the details of finger orientation (if the instrument uses hands) through toggle views, which alternate between multiple screens from the teacher’s side. You’ll get a close-up look at their hand movements, making it easy to observe and mirror their technique.

Some teachers will also share their screen to display the method books or exercises you’re both using. By working through the same materials together on a shared screen, you and your teacher can stay in sync. This synchronous approach will help you understand concepts and ask questions while on the exact same page of material. The screen sharing makes it feel like you’re truly learning side-by-side.

How can I set up the lesson online?

For the best online music lesson experience, make sure you have a few key things ready at home:

  • Your instrument, properly assembled and tuned
  • A stable internet connection – aim for at least 25 Mbps download  and 3 Mbps upload speed
  • A laptop or computer to connect to the video call


When you sign up for a free trial, you’ll get a confirmation email or text with all the details, like the meeting link and trial time. Before your trial, do a quick test meeting to check everything’s working well. And if you want better audio, try using an external microphone to improve the quality.

For video chat platforms like Zoom, you’ll need to download and install the desktop app or sign in through the browser. Zoom is known as the top choice for live online music lessons, thanks to its optimized audio settings for musical instruments. At Lesson With You, we exclusively use Zoom for our online music lessons.

As for Google Meet, its best feature is its accessibility. You can join the meeting from Google Meet, Google Calendar, or Gmail, and you’re even able to use it without a Google account.

New to Online Music Lessons? Here's What to Expect in Your First Free Lesson​ - Lesson With You

Can you actually learn an instrument online?

Absolutely! Online music lessons have become very popular thanks to their convenience and affordability compared to in-person lessons. Many teachers who give lessons in person also offer online lessons now. This means students can search for and select a qualified, exceptional teacher from anywhere, on a schedule that fits their life.

We generally recommend online lessons for beginner to intermediate students across all instruments. For advanced students preparing for college auditions or competitions, local in-person lessons may be a better option.

The most important factor in the best online music learning is teacher quality. Look for an instructor with a degree in their instrument and at least two years of teaching experience. With the right teacher, you can absolutely learn and progress on your instrument through online lessons. Their professional instruction, plus your commitment to practicing, will get you to your music goals!

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What are the benefits of online music lessons?

There are three benefits of online music lessons we want to highlight.

1. Convenience

Many music learners appreciate the convenience of online lessons. They like the flexibility to schedule lessons around and the time saved by avoiding travel. Plus, setting up online lessons is simple—all you need is your instrument, a laptop or tablet, and a reliable internet connection.

2. Affordable pricing

Based on our lesson costs article, online music lessons are typically at least 15% cheaper than local in-person lessons. This is primarily because the teacher doesn’t need to rent and provide a lesson studio. Certain lesson websites might offer discounts on lesson packages or special family discounts.

It’s important that the lesson pricing they offer is transparent and fair, considering the teacher’s quality and the reviews.

3. Wider instructor selection

Thanks to the internet, you now have access to music lessons from professional teachers worldwide! You can easily look up your potential teacher’s bio, musical background, and performances online. We encourage you to review these information before choosing the best music instructor for you.

What to accomplish in first free online music lessons - Lesson With You

Should online lessons be cheaper than in person?

In short, yes – online music lessons should cost less because both the teacher and student save time. For instructors, online lessons reduce studio rental fees and are easy to teach from home. Students can save time traveling to the teacher’s location and find it simpler to fit lessons around their work or school schedules.

On average, live online music lessons range 10-15% cheaper than in-person across the USA. This cost difference varies by instrument, but tends to be more significant for popular instruments like piano, guitar, and singing. Online lessons offer unique benefits and efficiencies that justify their lower pricing – which is why students can still expect excellent 1-on-1 instruction and flexibility at very competitive rates.

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Should I start in-person and then move to online music lessons?

Absolutely! Starting with in-person lessons and then switching to online is a very common and flexible approach. The key is to maintain consistent lessons over time, regardless of format, to see steady progress.

There’s no fixed rule – you can even go from online back to in-person lessons if your budget, time, and goals align. The focus should be regular practice and the quality of instruction more so than the lesson format.

Here are two (2) tips to remember: first, avoid changing teachers too frequently, as their teaching methods may cause confusion in student’s learning. Second, minimize long breaks between lessons, which can lead to losing technical skills and knowledge faster than expected.

Overall, starting online can help beginners and intermediate musicians establish the basics and continue learning with added convenience. Just be mindful when choosing your instructor and maintain schedule consistency throughout your music journey for great results!

Do every lesson platform offer a free trial?

Not all music lesson providers offer a free trial lesson. We surveyed over 100 teachers across our own site, Lesson With You, and three other major platforms: TakeLessons, Superprof, and Thumbtack. We specifically looked for piano teachers offering complimentary lessons.

Lesson With You offers free trial lessons across all instruments, has a fixed price of $65 per hour, and is a better deal than the three alternatives to be discussed. Each piano teacher at Lesson With You has at least a Bachelor’s in piano, including from schools such as the Eastman School of Music, making the online piano lessons a great value.

TakeLessons doesn’t offer free trial lessons, but they do discount the introductory sessions. They have the most teachers available, but their teaching qualifications vary a lot. Teachers with lower prices usually don’t have degrees in piano or music. On the other hand, teachers with piano degrees charge higher lesson rates.

At Superprof, some piano instructors may give you a free first lesson or a discounted trial. There are numerous instructors offering piano lessons on the site, but most don’t have actual degrees in piano. They might have a few years of teaching experience, but not specialized training in piano pedagogy. The low costs are nice, but most instructors haven’t gone through intensive piano performance programs at the college level.

Thumbtack doesn’t consistently provide free trial lessons, but they offer more than TakeLessons and Superprof do. Their piano instructors tend to be more qualified overall compared to the other two sites. However, Thumbtack’s lesson pricing is higher across the board.

Ready to get started?

Not sure what to expect in your first online music lesson? At Lessons With You, kickstart your journey with our expert team of instructors. Whether you’re a vocalist, pianist, guitarist, or any other musician, this first lesson is on us.

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Rose Park

Rose Park is a graduate of the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University where she studied Piano Performance and Arts Administration, receiving both Bachelor's and Master's degrees before co-founding Lesson With You. As a pianist, Rose was a prizewinner in many international piano competitions and performed at various summer programs and festivals across the United States, Italy, and Japan.