Piano Lesson Rates: How to Find The Going Rates

How do I find out the going piano lesson rates of teachers in my area?

Q&A with Kristin Yost and Wendy Stevens

Answer #1 by Kristin Yost

Some teachers think that their piano lesson rates should be kept secret, and I completely disagree. If you are a member of a music teacher association it should be relatively easy to find out the average rate by calling the president or fellow members of your association and just asking. However, you have to keep in mind level of experience, what kind of achievements that particular teacher has and education. If fellow teachers are unwilling to give you that information, I would call and pretend to be a prospective student and be my own Private Investigator! The best advice I have for you on this is if you don’t like what others are doing in your area, change it.

Answer #2 by Wendy Stevens

I wanted to answer this question as well because our local association recently did a survey to find out the piano lesson rates of teachers in our city and surrounding areas.  We asked a lot of questions in the survey including the area of town, education, experience, etc. that might affect teachers’ rates.   What we found was that
besides the degrees possessed by teachers*, all the other factors didn’t seem to matter what teachers charged.  What we found was that everyone just did their “own thing” and didn’t really base it on their experience, education, results, offerings, etc.  When I compared what I charged with someone who had similar qualifications and experience, I found that the other teacher was charging a significantly lower piano lesson rates than I did.  Yet, I am not hurting for students and this teacher was not hurting for students.  So, I say all that to say, even if you do find out the rates of teachers in your area, that doesn’t mean it is a fair rate for you.

What is helpful in determining what your piano lesson rates should be is calling other professional organizations to find out what they charge.  For example, call the popular dance studio in your area and find out what their rates are for their classes and for private lessons.  Call your swimming club (not your local Y as they are subsidized by private donations and also charge a monthly fee) and find out how much they charge for 30 minute private lessons.   Call your local baseball team league (again, not the ones that are governmentally subsidized) to find out how much they charge and then keep in mind they are not giving private lessons.

What you’ll probably find is that piano teachers notoriously undercharge for what they offer and for what their qualifications are.  As Kristin said, YOU are the CEO of your company and I would add that YOU are the one that can set your own rates so that you do not feel overworked, underpaid, and under appreciated.

It is only professional and fair to other teachers who are trying to make a living off their piano lesson rates that you charge a fee that is competitive with other teachers as well as other activities (dance, etc.).  But, you should keep in mind that what is fair to YOU and your family is of utmost importance as this will help you be a contented and happy teacher.  When you are content and know that you are being paid fairly for all the things you do, you can take your focus off of money and put it where it needs to be: on the student.

Read more in the Dollars and Sense Q & A category.  Send your Dollars and Sense questions, as well as questions about piano lesson rates to Wendy.

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