- 01. Scout The Competition: The Piano Lesson Market
- 02. Setting A Price According To Your Skill Level And The Quality Of Your Lessons
- 03. Take Your Students' Profiles into Account
- 04. Rates Will Vary Depending On How You Find Your Students
- 05. Group Lessons
- 06. Qualifications Of The Teacher
- 07. How Many Piano Lessons Do Students Need?
- 08. Online Piano Lessons And Courses
- 09. Finding Piano Lessons That Give The Best Value For Money
Giving piano lessons is something that is, for a private teacher, very gratifying. If your lessons are effective, you'll quickly start receiving direct praise from your students or their parents.
This type of feedback helps fuel a teacher's motivation because it acts as reinforcement, reassuring that the instruction being provided is good.
But for pianists who decide to start teaching the instrument, there's one hurdle to overcome — one that's difficult and full of uncertainty — in the form of setting the rate for a one-hour piano lesson.
It's certainly possible to teach the piano for free, to lead a friend or a family member to play.
However, we'll ignore that scenario in this article in order to focus on private teachers who want to increase their monthly take-home amounts or live exclusively off of piano lessons they give.
Giving lessons on an instrument like the piano thus has its commercial side: you need to sell your private lessons on the market, get your piece of the pie by creating a method, an educational approach, something desirable:
- The opportunity to learn about music theory and the scales; classes for beginners; a variety of styles (jazz, classical, rock, pop)
- Set at a price that isn't prohibitive but not too absurdly low
- With the ability to adapt to students of any age or level
- And focus on listening to your students' needs
Below are some ideas from the Superprof team to help you set your rates for your private piano lessons.
Scout The Competition: The Piano Lesson Market
Before settling on a price for your piano lessons, first, you'll need to look into the going rates for private piano lessons.
Without doing this research into your competitors, you risk pricing yourself out of the market.
When we think of giving piano lessons at any age, we often envision private lessons. Whether in a music school or in the student's home, always private. There aren't really alternative jobs for teachers of musical instruments - it's hard to give group harp lessons or find new ways to play a piccolo. The question is not how you teach, but where - in a school, or as a private tutor from home.
But be aware that private piano lessons (similar to violin, guitar, drums, or singing lessons) cost an average of $50 to $60 an hour.
There are disparities according to regions and the level being taught: teaching the piano is a very technical endeavor, and according to the quality of the classes, the rates will change.
Here's a quick look at the average hourly costs of piano lessons in the US:
- New York: $75
- Boston: $70
- Chicago: $60
- Miami: $55
- Houston: $63
- Seattle: $50
- San Francisco: $72
- Los Angeles: $68
- Washington DC: $66
If you give in-home lessons, you perhaps already know that it's not a very standardized business. There are no minimum education qualifications or set prices in place.
Nevertheless, it's best to align your rates with your competitors if you want it to be easier to find your first students.
There's also the question of value for your skills.
Your playing level, the quality of your lessons, your target group — beginner pianists, intermediate, or advanced... these are all factors that are going to determine if you situate your rate at high end or low end of the range of costs in your area.
Follow this easy road map to become a tutor.
Setting A Price According To Your Skill Level And The Quality Of Your Lessons
It's difficult to estimate a price based on abilities.
Your skill level as a piano player
If you have several years of experience playing the piano and have mastered the techniques, meaning you can give lessons on scales, theory, coordination exercises, right and left hand dexterity, the chords, playing entire songs, across a variety of styles, then you don't need to be shy with your rates.
Accurately assessing your own skills when you want to teach a musical instrument is very important in terms of setting a fair price for your capabilities.
Like anything good, quality has a price. Don't set the cost high based on principle, just to earn some money. And be willing to be flexible according to a family's budget, but don't set them too low or you'll be underpaid.
Making money from teaching courses on the piano to students is also a way to offset the cost of your own training process.
If you have only five years of experience playing the piano, you can't charge a rate similar to a private teacher who has thirty years of experience on the keyboard.
Your rate depends on the quality of your piano lessons
By the same token, these rates also depend on the method you use to teach piano: establish a proper musical training program, along with supporting materials, that teach:
- fun approaches to the scales
- music theory
- how to read music, the notes (A, B, C, D, E, F, G) and keys, sheet music
- hand (and foot) coordination
- correct posture
- different approaches to different styles (jazz, blues, and classical are harder than pop)
- how to work on harmony, fluidity, and other nuances that pianists must interpret for themselves
Even better: offer your first lesson free.
All of these things can help you get you going in the market, where you can change your prices later.
Find out how to plan your piano lessons in five easy steps!
Take Your Students' Profiles into Account
You won't be paid the same way for beginner students wanting to learn to play the piano from scratch and those who are already musicians.
Your rates will also be higher if a student wants to take intensive lessons to prepare for an audition or entrance exam at a conservatory or university program.
Lastly, if you're giving private lessons in your students' homes, you need to factor the travel costs into your hourly rate.
The level of instruction
According to the type of private piano lesson you give, you'll offer different rates. The higher the level of the student, the more you earn.
For teaching private piano lessons to beginners, set your rate around $40 an hour, maybe less. Clarify that it's for children ages 3 to 10.
This level of instruction is east. Private lesson for beginners is meant to introduce the player to the piano:
- learn the scales
- learn to read notes
- tackle the chords
Any pianist with a few years of playing experience can give introductory classes to young children. Whether you're a jazz piano virtuoso or not, you can still teach those wanting to get started on the piano.
If you give lessons on jazz piano to musicians wanting to take their musical training to a higher level or increase their chances of getting into a conservatory, advise them to take intensive courses.
This will mean more demanding lessons, more effort, and in the end, more costs for the students.
To prepare a student for an audition, we estimate that a reasonable rate, on average, is around $65 an hour: not too low, but not too high.
The importance of travel costs
When you're a private teacher, you have to carry the costs of traveling to your students' homes.
Meaning that if one lives on the other side of town or further, you'll spend time commuting and money on gas and possibly tolls.
The location obviously factors into the hourly rate of your private lessons, but if you're a great teacher and mobile on top of that, the family should appreciate this fact, and you'll be at a competitive advantage.
So calculating the costs of getting yourself to and from your students' homes and raising it accordingly is a key factor in determining your rates, but don't go crazy adding to the fees.
Rates Will Vary Depending On How You Find Your Students
The last factor to consider as you evaluate your hourly fee: the way you meet your students.
As an independent, freelance piano teacher, there are actually quite a few ways you can find and enroll new students (online, through your network, references from music schools, etc.). And it's important to remember these ways of finding students as you determine what fees to ask for.
You will likely charge less money to a friend's five-year-old daughter, for example. You might lose some income, but you'll keep a friend, and that friend will be more likely to tell other friends about your skills as a private teacher.
And when teaching supplemental lessons to students at conservatories or music schools, you want to keep your rates in line with the other private teachers the school refers students to, so you don't price yourself out of the market or ruin the relationship.
Lastly, with platforms like Superprof, you need to understand that you're being put in direct competition with other teachers and so need to offer fair prices, especially since they're bringing students to you.
But remember, in the end, it's up to you to determine the best rate for your piano lessons — before you start them.
Now discover everything you need to know about being a piano teacher...
Whether you're a student looking to enroll in piano lessons, or a tutor interested in teaching the craft, it's wise to do some research about the cost of the endeavor before starting.
Roughly speaking, piano lesson rates range anywhere between $40-60 for 30-60 minutes of tutoring in most of America.
But, the specific price varies significantly according to your region and state; hence, we would advise teachers to research before setting their rates.
This fluctuation exists because of where you live, keeping in mind the cost of living in that area and how expensive it is.
Do your homework on the cost of other piano teachers in your area before deciding what to charge for piano lessons.
Naturally, the most expensive places for piano lessons are California and New York. But if you go to the middle of America, you're far more likely to find piano lessons for less than $60/hour of tutoring.
Remember, finding a good piano teacher is like finding a good plumber or mechanic. You need someone who knows their craft but will also charge you less than the others.
Keep reading as we discuss the specific of piano lesson pricing:
If you're a student concerned about the high prices of piano lessons, group sessions are an easy way to save some money while learning how to play.
Since there are more students per lesson, the teacher usually charges less. In addition, many community centers tend to offer group piano lessons year-round.
Students looking to sign up for group lessons should make sure they can adapt to the group's constraints.
The lower price would be a waste if they can't commit and end up leaving them mid-session. Also, not all students are accustomed to learning in a crowded environment and require one-to-one coaching.
Group lessons are also beneficial for teachers who prefer teaching piano lessons to a combined class instead of one-on-one tutoring.
As opposed to teaching individual students, which means devoting a lot of time to each lesson, teachers can prepare lessons for the entire group in one go.
Also, for those short on time, group lessons are much more feasible and cost-effective.
Qualifications Of The Teacher
There is no hard and fast rule to determine prices for piano lessons. As a teacher, you have the liberty to set your prices.
However, remember to charge close to your competitors' fee structure while also considering the going rates for piano lessons in your area.
Most online tutoring sites and platforms will mention the teacher's qualifications and experience. Both these credentials can also help you determine your ratings online, so it's a good idea to clarify your past work and educational background when signing up.
Teachers who have been teaching piano for a living are expected to have the necessary qualifications to back up their work. But that also grants them the liberty to charge higher rates for their services.
Furthermore, people teaching piano lessons on the side or beginning their teaching journey can get away without having the necessary qualifications but, this will be reflected in their fee structure.
Experience matters in the world of music, and it comes as no surprise that the more experienced a teacher is, the higher their charges will be.
How Many Piano Lessons Do Students Need?
It's natural for students to ask how many lessons they will need since most piano teachers charge per session.
Even if that isn't the case, it's still pertinent to know how many piano lessons will be required to get to a certain skill level.
If students practice on their own after your lessons, they could find themselves playing melodies after just 20-40 hours of piano lessons.
However, for students aiming to achieve a classical skill level, they might need years of lessons and practice to reach there, which is why most choose to train with a tutor.
But if we begin calculating the entire cost, things can get a bit problematic. For example, if someone pays $50 for one lesson, taking one class per week, that amounts to $2600 in piano lessons.
Therefore, it's not surprising that people seek cheaper piano lesson options that offer the best value for money.
Also, how much you charge depends on your students' skill set. Hence, prices for teaching beginner piano lessons will differ from advanced range piano classes.
Additionally, classes that offer just preliminary piano training will charge less, while those that train students in classical melodies will be on the higher end of the price spectrum.
However, students should not look at it as a permanent cost. They can take breaks between lessons and even practice independently while taking a hiatus from piano classes.
As they get better, they will become well-suited to practicing different techniques independently and, as a result, require less help from teachers.
Online Piano Lessons And Courses
Online piano classes seem to be the trend these days; students prefer to sign up for remote lessons rather than risk their health with in-person courses.
Online piano classes are conducted over a video-conferencing platform like Skype or Zoom, and they allow students and teachers more room to tailor the course according to their needs.
Some teachers might find these classes difficult since they're quite different from conventional teaching routines and require tech support, such as:
- MIDI capabilities
- High-speed internet
Also, there is the added cost of investing in these tech resources if you don't have them around, dissuading students and teachers alike.
In addition to online tutoring, online piano courses are also a popular option for learning piano these days.
With online courses, students don't have to deal with a teacher directly. Instead, they will be following a set of recorded lesson plans designed for remote learning.
Furthermore, most music schools tend to charge exorbitant piano lesson rates for beginners and intermediate students alike.
In contrast, online piano lessons are usually more reasonably priced than in-person lessons, and students can expect to pay around 20-25% less.
For students looking to save money, opting for online courses in place of online or in-person tutoring is a no-brainer.
But the downside to such tutorials is the lack of clarity. Each teacher has their techniques and methods of teaching, and trying to follow multiple tutorials can leave students feeling confused.
Online courses and tutorials can provide the necessary piano knowledge, but they're generalized and not customized to suit individual needs.
Those looking to learn piano as a complete novice will usually seek the services of a piano teacher.
Finding Piano Lessons That Give The Best Value For Money
It is hard to determine the cost of piano lessons, which are dependent on many different factors. As we mentioned, a general standard price for most piano lessons is $40-60/class anywhere in America.
Still, you can identify the cost of classes in your area by doing some research.
When looking for piano lessons, students aim to get value for money. But that means compromising on the quality of the class.
A better way to save costs is online piano lessons. Teachers save up on commuting costs, and students can schedule more lessons per week and get more value for their money, which is why the trend for online classes seems to be rising by the day.
Also, students are far more likely to find online tutors who fit within their budget and schedule than conventional piano schools.
Not only are online piano lessons more cost-effective, but you can also decide your schedule and teach at your own pace.
Therefore, whether you want to schedule lessons on the weekends or in the evenings, online piano lessons are the way to go!
Also, thanks to Superprof, piano teachers no longer have to register with music schools to seek out students.
Superprof lets students and teachers from the same area connect and decide their learning schedule by themselves.
Make a profile on Superprof, find tons of prospective piano students, and start your career as a piano teacher today!
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