Music lessons are generally private, one-on-one lessons between a teacher and student. Most students take lessons for 30 minutes, once a week. The price of music lessons can vary in price from $20 per lesson to $35 per lesson. Why such a difference in price?
Private music lessons are comparable to other activities such as karate or dance, but are generally more per hour because the student gets one-on-one attention from the teacher, versus being in a longer class with many classmates who are generally all moving at the same pace.
When researching how much you should pay for your music lessons, it is helpful to consider the factors that play into the differences in pricing around your city and around the country.
Teachers who have experience teaching for many years and with hundreds of teachers will (and should) charge more than a high school student wanting to teach a few neighbors to gain teaching experience. Teachers who have taught for many years will understand the needs of their students, their goals, their learning styles, and their learning needs.
Teachers who have studied with professors in college with advanced degrees and who have acquired advanced degrees themselves, will, understandably, charge more for lessons than those who have never studied music past high school. Remember that while it is tempting to pay less for lessons for your beginner student, in the long run, it will cost more time and money to fix bad habits than to learn the correct skills from the beginning. Beware of any teacher who says "I only teach beginners." Anyone who cannot take you past the basics probably does not have the advantage understanding the long-term journey of music and poor habits will not be corrected early on and may result in frustration and even injury.
Incomes and cost of living vary greatly from Minnesota to California to Iowa. When setting their rates, teachers will take into account the average income in their area and price lessons accordingly.
Expect to pay more for lessons in a music school versus a Community Education program. The reason is most likely due to the things listed above: Community Ed programs want to offer a broad selection of various learning opportunities for their community, including art, gymnastics, karate, pet care, and music. Therefore, Community Ed programs will often let anyone teach--regardless of their experience or education. While Community Ed might be an affordable option to begin with, it is never as serious or professional as a music school that is run by professional musicians who hand-select their music teachers based on their teaching philosophy, techniques, education, and personality.
If you are looking for a quality experience with music lessons, you want the experience to be a good one. You can find music lessons in the basement of a neighbor's home, in the sanctuary of a nearby church, in the back of a dance studio, and even in the music room of your school. There are also teachers who will offer to come to your home. These lessons are often distracting--with mom making dinner, siblings playing nearby, and homework looming. Lessons in a music school, however, will elevate your student's experience to the next level. Parents will have access to professional desk staff that will handle the scheduling and financial questions (without taking away valuable lesson time), and your student will be able to peak in the windows of fellow students taking lessons on a variety of instruments, to be inspired to reach for the next level in their musical journey.
If you opt for lessons with a neighbor or at your church, your options of lesson days and times will most likely be limited to a specific day per week. At a school of music, with dozens of teachers and a wide variety of open hours, you are more likely to find a lesson time to fit your family's busy schedule and that works around your other activities. Another huge advantage is that siblings can take lessons at the same time, on different instruments. This cuts down on driving and waiting time for the parents!
7. You get what you pay for!
I personally hate spending money on a haircut. I often wander into the local chains, hoping to pay only $12 for a quick haircut. I always regret it. The cute, young hairstylists are straight out of beauty school and have no idea how to manage my natural curls. They often just try to "follow" the previous cut without looking at the whole picture. After weeks of frustration, I always end up going back to my expensive, professional hair stylist. The funny thing? That expensive haircut lasts longer and is more satisfying than the cheap one. Music lessons are often the same way! You want lessons by someone with experience and knowledge and skills and who will look at your as an individual with specific learning needs. In addition, when I eat at a fast food chain, I may roll my eyes at the service (or lack thereof), but I realize that it is cheap, fast food. When I go to eat at a white linen restaurant, the staff is amazing and the food is to die for! Remember, you always get what you pay for!
As you research music lessons, remember these different factors as you make your choice! Don't just ask about the price-- ask your music lesson provider lots of questions, so you can make an informed decision!
Jen Hickle, Author
Since I was a little girl playing "school" in the garage with the neighbors, all I've ever wanted to do is teach. I'm passionate about passing on knowledge to other people!