How much to charge for lessons?

Julia Bechtel said: Jun 6, 2016
Julia Bechtel
Suzuki Association Member
Violin
Howell, MI
1 posts

I am a violin teacher and my current rates are:

$20 = Half hour lessons
$25 = Hour lessons

I’m taking more Suzuki training and certifications, and I was wondering how much I should raise my rates? What kinds of rates are reasonable for charging? Also, if I teach in a music studio/school, how should we go about raising the rates as a result of this?

Marian Goss said: Jun 6, 2016
Marian Goss
Suzuki Association Member
Violin
26 posts

I think the lesson rates depend on many factors. Is the standard of living where you live high or low? What are other Suzuki teachers in your area charging (with similar training)? I’ve been a Suzuki teacher for more than 25 years and have completed both long-term and short-term training through all of the books. I live in the Midwest and charge $30 for a half an hour and $60 for an hour. That rate may be going up in the fall slightly. Be careful not to sell yourself short. It would be unfair to compare yourself to a local music store teacher or someone who’s had very little training. I also do not charge my students extra for additional contact time such as recitals, extra rehearsals, Community performances. So I believe my fee is Justified in many ways. I do not charge a twinkler feet for making the Box violin. I do not charge my students for photocopies. I buy my own sponges and give them away to my students on an as-needed basis. So I guess it depends on what the students get as well. Good luck!

Marian Goss said: Jun 6, 2016
Marian Goss
Suzuki Association Member
Violin
26 posts

Julia….I just realized that I know you from the Columbus Suzuki Institute! I think you have observed some of my master classes in the past. How is teaching going for you? Are you on your own or are you with a Suzuki program? I wish you the best of luck and look forward to your reply.

Christine Clougherty said: Jun 7, 2016
 
Suzuki Association Member
Piano
19 posts

Hi Julia,

I agree with Marian—don’t sell yourself short. It is hard to raise rates later. I don’t know about the cost of living in your area or the “going” rates, but maybe a few teachers will respond to your post here, and you can call around to various music schools, and perhaps other teachers in your area. I started lower, and what can happen is that families don’t take your time as seriously. So when other things come up, they think first to ask you to reschedule, or cancel on the recital because other activities may have higher priority. It does seem when teachers charge more, the family commitment goes up. My rates are due for a raise, but I will probably wait until next year (currently $30 and $45 for 30- and 45-minutes respectively). If you are at a music school, I think you do have to pass on the costs of renting in your tuition fees. I don’t charge for anything else other than the venue costs for an outside recital (where we have to rent the room). Good luck!

Heather Reichgott said: Jun 8, 2016
Heather ReichgottPiano
South Hadley, MA
94 posts

Also take into account the economic character of your area, and the clientele you want to teach.

Students attracted by a low rate may be the first people in their family ever to take music lessons. They may have lots of time to practice and have room in their lives to play around creatively in music. The families may be very grateful and in your corner forever. Or the parents might themselves be working artists or teachers or creative people who have financial limitations. Or they may just be bargain-hunters who won’t make music study a priority. (You might get a mix.)

Students attracted by a high rate may be very highly committed people with families who recognize quality and are willing to pay for it. The families may be prepared to make music study a top priority. Or they may be overscheduled, stressed-out high pressure prep school kids with parents who think that since they pay your fee, they can tell you what to do. (You might get a mix.)

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