You cannot put a price on a good education, but as all of us know, you have to. Prices for music lessons can vary from as little as $5 to hundreds of dollars. The level of instruction that you get in exchange varies just as much. Therefore, the question should not be how much should music lessons cost, but rather why they differ so much.
Degrees, Level, and Experience
Everyone likes a good bargain, but chances are that at a low price, one ends up sacrificing essential qualifications. Some young musicians are naturally talented, but the majority require years of practice and guidance to mature. Moreover, experienced and well-educated teachers will be able to accompany their students through various stages of their education.
This is where degrees come into play. Graduate degrees in music education or performance provide students with all the skills necessary to become effective teachers. Selective programs also ensure that their level is far above average. This is exactly who you want to entrust your child’s education to.
My child only wants to try it out. Why do I need an excellent teacher?
The answer is simple. The goal is for your child to like their lessons. If you think about it for a second, the likelihood of this scenario happening increases with the level of their teacher. Competent, educated, and enthusiastic teachers will be able to motivate their students and keep them interested in music. An underqualified teacher will likely turn them off.
Studio teachers usually run their own music studio directly in their houses. They provide lessons, some do group classes, and concert opportunities through local associations. Prices generally vary from $50 to $150 per 60 minutes, depending on the level of the teacher and where they live. Like any other service, the education level, years of experience, track record, and demand dictate their price.
On the low end, you can expect to find a relatively young teacher, probably fresh out of college or in graduate school, while someone a seasoned teacher with a doctorate and a long waiting list to join their studio might charge considerably more.
Local Lessons Businesses
There is a large variety of lessons businesses that cater to various needs. In-home music companies connect families with a teacher that travels to their homes for periodic lessons. This option usually includes the price of the commute and makes it particularly popular with working parents whose schedules cannot accommodate driving their kids to music lessons. When deciding on a business make sure to check the credentials of their teachers. Most of them employ young educators who can be excellent, but it is important to make sure that they possess advanced degrees.
Music schools have a physical location, or campus, where teachers see their students. Prices differ greatly based on the area, and often a higher price is a reflection of higher real estate prices, not necessarily the quality of the teachers. Most educators perform their work as independent contractors and it is not uncommon for them to teach at several schools while having a few private students of their own.
Online Lessons Platforms
Online portals or platforms are relatively new ways of connecting teachers and students. They are primarily designed for freelancers and they tend to offer a relatively inexpensive alternative for more traditional lessons. However, the majority allows everyone to create a profile and start teaching right away. While you can find a teacher that gives lessons to as little as $5 (https://www.fiverr.com is a website that offers all sorts of services for this amount), you should always ask yourself why is it 20x less expensive.
This does not mean that all teachers are necessarily underqualified. Some young teachers often use these platforms to get started and to recruit new students. However, mostly the level is not as high as that of professional teachers. If we ask ourselves how much should music lessons cost, the obvious answer should be “probably not $5”.
Music lessons can be expensive, there is no doubt about it. And parents need to know how much they are comfortable with spending. But they should also know how much are music lessons supposed to cost, or what they might be giving up in exchange for a bargain. If we consider the possible ramifications of selecting one based solely on how much they charge, we might end up picking one that is not equipped for a long-term arrangement. Choosing younger educators might be a clever way to save a little, providing they have at least a few years of experience and at least one advanced music degree.