Poll: how much do you charge for lessons per hour? - Round up if in between choices

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Poll: how much do you charge for lessons per hour? - Round up if in between choices

$10
6
19%
$20
5
16%
More than $100
1
3%
$30
9
28%
$40
4
13%
$50
6
19%
$60
1
3%
$70
0
No votes
$80
0
No votes
$90
0
No votes
$100
0
No votes
 
Total votes : 32

Postby pianoannie » Mon Nov 01, 2004 5:50 pm

Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Editor wrote:I can tell you that, here in New Mexico, there is NO rate that a teacher can charge that some people won't object to or try to get lowered.

The best response to that is usually something along the lines of "I pride myself in providing the very best teaching possible. That requires a great deal of my time beyond that charged for the lessons themselves. I believe my rate reflects both the quality of and my commitment to teaching." That will not convince those who only want the cheapest possible teaching, but, then again, do you really want to teach people with that approach?

John,
I laughed at your comment about some people objecting regardless of the rate! Never thought about it that way. Actually the woman who recently complained about my fee was the first person to ever do so.

I'll admit I don't advertise, but I've had a full studio for many years. Are you totally convinced that having higher rates truly draws higher quality students, or just wealthy students?

And Bill, I LOVE the idea about listing an honor roll in the paper!! Regarding advertising, what methods do you think are the most effective?
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Postby Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed » Mon Nov 01, 2004 6:38 pm

pianoannie wrote:Are you totally convinced that having higher rates truly draws higher quality students, or just wealthy students?

Well, all generalizations are dangerous when interpreted as indicating unbreakable laws. That said, it seems to be true that those who are willing to pay to get the best teacher possible are willing to do so because they care the most about lessons. Of course, there are exceptions to that and there are genuinely well-motivated people who FEEL they can't afford a higher rate. If you want to take a few students in that situation, don't lower your rates (the word will get around) for those individuals. Work out a payment in kind arrangement for home repairs, yard work or anything else you need done in exchange for a PART of the lesson fee. Experience here shows that people treat the lessons as free if you barter the whole lesson fee - and often don't do any of the bartered work.

To answer your question more directly, I don't think wealth has anything to do with it. The key factor is commitment. A willingness to pay a higher fee to get the best teaching is one indicator of commitment to lessons. At least, that's what we've seen here.
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Postby Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed » Tue Nov 02, 2004 8:53 am

Dr. Bill Leland wrote:Many parents will go for cheap lessons "at first, just to see if li'l Oswald will stick with it"--same with pianos: they'll buy a junker from the Want Ads to see if it's going to be "worth it." This is understandable in a way, because they don't know good teaching or a good instrument when they see it ...

Dr. Leland's comment here jogged my memory on a related matter. We have advised teachers to conduct a free mini-lesson for prospective students and their parents. This gives both parties a chance to see if the relationship and the teaching will work. I've often thought that one of the best things a teacher can do in such a lesson is to give the parents and student a good idea of what they should expect from good quality piano lessons. I think if people really understand the difference between good and average lessons (and instruments) they might be more inclined to make a better choice, even if it doesn't happen to be you. Either way, you've done the prospective clients a service.

On a different subject, if your studio and other studios in your area are full with waiting lists, as is the case here, then, by definition, the rates in your area are too low! The market forces are demanding that rates go up to balance demand for lessons. In a "free" market, the price is set at that point at which supply (teachers' time) exactly balances demand (lesson time). That's basic economic theory. It may leave some of us cold to think of it that way, but it reflects the reality of supply and demand. :)
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Postby pianoannie » Tue Nov 02, 2004 8:59 pm

Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Editor wrote:We have advised teachers to conduct a free mini-lesson for prospective students and their parents. This gives both parties a chance to see if the relationship and the teaching will work. I've often thought that one of the best things a teacher can do in such a lesson is to give the parents and student a good idea of what they should expect from good quality piano lessons. I think if people really understand the difference between good and average lessons (and instruments) they might be more inclined to make a better choice, even if it doesn't happen to be you. Either way, you've done the prospective clients a service.

I absolutely agree! I do something very similar to what you suggest. When a parent calls, I encourage them to bring their child in to my studio, to not for us only meet each other, but also to discuss my policies and fees, and for me to do a "mini lesson." I genuinely get excited about teaching a new student, and I think that's obvious to parents when they come in and see me do this intro lesson with their child.

I really dislike quoting my rates over the phone. I prefer a parent come in to see with their own eyes my creative side and my tendency to "go above and beyond." I even show them my piano lessons scrapbook showing fun things we've done such as my keyboard carnival, Sound of Music party, newspaper clippings featuring my students, recital programs and photos, and much more.

I know that price is an important factor for many people, but it's unfortunate when parents let that be the only factor. Just a few days ago I ran into a parent who switched her children last summer from me to an inexpensive (but inexperienced) young teacher. She said that her kids really miss me and that she now realizes that you get what you pay for! It's great when a parent "sees the light"! :) She even asked if I have any openings now, but I had to tell her no.
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Postby Lyndall » Fri Nov 05, 2004 9:03 am

Was she able to compete? You bet. She had a drop in studio numbers (about 15%), but had more than doubled her rates so she came out way ahead. Moreover, those students who left the studio tended to be the least serious ones, while the best ones stayed.

Like Dr Zeigler mentioned, I recently raised my rates (only by $1/lesson mind you, but I was at the higher end of the scale around here at $15/45 min. lesson) but it was enough to cause at least one student to leave (they admitted it). Several others also left this year incl. one family of 3, another of 2, and one other student, but neither of these directly mentioned the fee as being a factor).

Again as mentioned, they were indeed the least serious ones, so I am very pleased that those students quit and/or changed teachers. As a result, I have less students overall even though I gained a few new ones, but I have way less STRESS from trying in vain to motivate students whose hearts were not in piano.
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Postby Lyndall » Fri Nov 05, 2004 9:23 am

Back to my previous post, I guess you could call this 'weeding out' the worst students & it was one reason I raised my rates, or at least one way I justified it in my mind. It's a great method by the way!

Another way I've been trying to make more of my income is actually by doing less prep work believe it or not. I found myself on these forums for an hour several times a day trying to find answers for my students' problems, so I've cut back on that even though I still check them out daily. I still spend lots of time playing through & learning new music for each student, and of course at the music store & I still plan for every student's weekly lesson etc etc.

I also cut back on writing monthly newsletters. I felt like the information was still not getting across to parents because they're even busier than their kids so they weren't reading it or would read it & forgot to put the info on their calendars etc. I hated to not do this anymore because I really enjoyed writing what I thought were useful articles on how to encourage kids to practice, musical gift ideas, reminders of items kids need, announcing winners of various events/contests, photos of recitals/camps etc. I'm not a parent, but this is what I think I would love to get from my child's piano/dance/whatever teacher if I was! Instead, I type up small reminders listing important dates on the monthly bills because fortunately these do get read.

I miss putting ALL my spare time into piano prep because I truly love it, but as my husband pointed out, I'm not being paid for most of it.




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Postby Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed » Fri Nov 05, 2004 1:10 pm

Lyndall wrote:I found myself on these forums for an hour several times a day trying to find answers for my students' problems, so I've cut back on that even though I still check them out daily.

I also cut back on writing monthly newsletters.

Cutting back on participating in the forums may be going too far! :D

On a more serious note, one way to cut time on newsletters, without cutting them out entirely is to do them by e-mail. Both Outlook and Netscape Mail have substantial HTML e-mail capabilities that allow you to have a nicely formatted newsletter, without the cost and extra time commitment of printing and posting the letters. If a parent ignores the e-mail, you haven't wasted money on it. If they need a hard copy, they pay for printing it themselves. :)
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Postby Lyndall » Fri Nov 05, 2004 5:02 pm

No I can't quite give up my forum habit, even if I wanted to.

I agree that newsletters by e-mail would cut my time down some but I know I'd have too much fun designing e-news & would be back to the same problem - spending ALL day on piano (not that there's really anything wrong with this, is there?)

Was that Outlook Express or Microsoft Outlook? Just in case I decide to try one!
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Postby Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed » Sat Nov 06, 2004 1:20 pm

Lyndall wrote:I agree that newsletters by e-mail would cut my time down some but I know I'd have too much fun designing e-news & would be back to the same problem - spending ALL day on piano (not that there's really anything wrong with this, is there?)

Was that Outlook Express or Microsoft Outlook? Just in case I decide to try one!

Depends on which operating system you have and whether you have Microsoft Office. You should have either Outlook Express (assuming you use an IBM-compatible) or Outlook on your system. If you use some other e-mail program, that will work too, as almost all e-mail programs these days have HTML e-mail capability. If you have access to a good set of clip art, some scanned files of any logo-type stuff you use for your studio, those and the e-mail program are about all you need to generate good-looking newsletters.

When travel commitments have put me behind getting Christmas cards out, I've even done those by e-mail! They looked great and I got more responses than I did with mailed cards. The fact that they didn't cost anything to send was a side benefit. :cool:
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Postby 101-1100992658 » Sun Nov 21, 2004 9:52 am

Let's try this again. Hi, I am a new member. I charge $22.00 a 1/2 hour when they come to my studio and $24.00 1/2 hour when I go to there house. I prefer they come to my house as I can fit more people in a day and don't loose time when I driving to each student. I have just started my studio and the rate that I came up with is from research. No one seems to be think this rate is too high. I also, like the idea of 45 minutes because I feel the same way that I cannot seem to get it all in in 30 minutes. I have to watch myself because I tend to run over because I don't want the student to miss an important point or leave feeling confused. I am going to press this point when I have my next inquiry for students over 8. As a child, I can't remember if my lessons were 1/2 hour or an hour. Hmmm, anyway, I also let parents pay monthly or weekly with a discount when they pay monthly of about $3.00.
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Postby Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed » Thu Dec 02, 2004 9:27 am

eastcountypianostudio wrote:Hmmm, anyway, I also let parents pay monthly or weekly with a discount when they pay monthly of about $3.00.

I have heard many teachers talk about giving discounts for paying in advance or multiple students in a household and so forth. I'd like to hear other teachers talk about this, since it impresses me that a professional occupation such as piano teaching should not offer discounts. After all, your time is your time. Do you offer a lesser quality "product" to those who receive the discounts?

I'm not faulting those who do it, just wondering if it really works to bring more students. I'm aware of one teacher who gave various kinds of discounts on an ad hoc basis. She gave it up because it just "never" worked out. Usually, those who demanded discounts ended up not paying her at all for lessons. I'm not suggesting that this situation is typical, but it is the genesis of my question.
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Postby 75-1095335090 » Thu Dec 02, 2004 6:01 pm

I give a "discount" to students who pay monthly rather than weekly. It's not really a discount. I charge them exactly what I want to be paid for four lessons. I charge people who pay weekly more because of the uncertainty of payments (last minute cancellations, forgetting to bring it, etc)

I also offer a package deal to beginner students. It includes 8 half hour lessons, and the necessary books, with the option of a keyboard rental. I charge enough to cover the cost of the books (and keyboard rental, if that option is chosen) and what I usually keep from what I make teaching (I normally invest a certain percentage back into the studio for office supplies, advertisements, instrument maintenance, etc).

The way I look at it, the 8 week package allows potential students to try out lessons before committing. They get to see how I teach and what I expect, they find out if they have enough time in their schedules to practice, that sort of thing. And they seem to like the fact that it's all inclusive.

I like it because it gives me time to show potential students what I can do and what I expect. I also like it because I am still getting paid and there is no out of pocket expenses.

As for other studios, I find most of them offer discounts as an incentive to do things the way they would prefer. I know of two studios who charge extra if you pay cash (they prefer post-dated cheques. If you pay with the cheques, you save $5 per month), whereas other studios charge more if you pay by cheque because of problems with them not clearing, etc.

So, I guess the way I look at it is, decide how much you want to charge for lessons, and charge that to anyone who does things the way you like them done. Charge extra to anyone who doesn't. (Call it the PITA factor.... pain in the *ahem*)
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Postby Honeysuckle » Wed Sep 19, 2007 2:45 pm

I live in Gloucestershire. England. Most teachers in my area charge between about £20 and £25 per hour. I am currently charging £24.
I don't really know what to put here.
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Postby M&m » Wed Sep 19, 2007 3:40 pm

I don't teach but we pay $120 for 45 minutes.

We are in the Southeast.
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Postby Tranquillo » Sun Sep 23, 2007 3:45 am

I dont teach either but I pay $54/hr. - Piano lessons
$50/hr - Singing lessons
I guess price depends on qualifications, experience, credentials and the local area. In another state (in Australia) the average price is $18/hr ... great difference ... !
I've always said to many people ... "I never look for the cheapest teacher, I look for the best teacher".




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