Group Class Fee

Diane said: Mar 13, 2011
Diane AllenViolin
245 posts

Looking to revise my group class structure and do something fun for summer.

What do you charge for Group Classes?

Do you set a minimum number of kids for enrollment per class?

Do you hire an accompanist?

How long are the classes?

Anything else you would like to add?

Videos of student violin recitals and violin tutorials.

Irene said: Mar 14, 2011
Irene YeongViolin
160 posts

the group lesson of my daughter’s violin is free. teacher charged a minimal amount just to cover the snacks, drinks and venue rental.

Deanna said: Mar 14, 2011
Suzuki Association Member
90 posts

I work for a conservatory so I don’t really set any of these but:

Fee: $80/semester—works out to $10/group class

No minimum enrollment but I like at least 6 kids/class. I have done it with as few as 4 students in one class but that gets difficult if someone is sick or away etc.

Yes, we have an accompanist (this is for violin group class.)

Classes are 30 minutes long for beginners, 1 hour for book 2 and up

Ruth Brons said: Mar 16, 2011
Ruth Brons
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
Livingston, NJ
148 posts

I have had experience with a wide range of Group Class structures over the last several decades.

Many years ago, in a program run by a few cooperating teachers, group classes were provided at no charge for private lesson students AND the teachers volunteered to teach or accompany the twice monthly 45 minute classes. There were teachers who felt strongly that group class was such an important factor, not only with student progress but in motivating students and families to remain in the program, that offering free group class was akin to job security. However, eventually the teachers came to the realization that there is a very strong tie between consistent class attendance and parents having paid at least a nominal tuition.

Twice, when building programs from absolute scratch with only four students, one pair of students came say at 10:00 and each alternately received and observed a 15 minute private lesson. Then the second pair of students arrived at 10:30 and the four had a 30 minute group together, without accompaniment. At the end of the group portion the second pair remained for their private/observe 30 minutes. Students were charged for a 45 minute lesson, but were there for an hour total. Once the program had 8 students the format changed.

Most typically, though, programs charge up to 50% of the prevailing 30 minute private lesson rate for each group class, to cover facility, teacher, class accompanist and recital expenses. One way to regulate the cost is by how frequently the classes are offered: weekly, twice monthly, or monthly. One way to regulate class size is to periodically adjust the repertoire level of the class. A good class size target is about 8—12, although Pre-Twinkle classes are best smaller and an extra pair of hands, from say a high school student assistant, allow for larger classes.

Diane said: Mar 16, 2011
Diane AllenViolin
245 posts

Ruth’s comment: 50% of prevailing 30 minute lesson fee—well there’s some concrete info.
dbmus: What do you get paid to teach a class?
reei818: Do you think the group class teacher should be compensated?

The energy I exude during a group class is high energy.

When I teach an individual my energy level is much lower. If I used my group class energy with a private lesson…the poor student!!!

In my thinking—higher energy—higher fees!

Is that just me? Is it the opposite for other teachers? The private lessons are more draining than the group?

Videos of student violin recitals and violin tutorials.

Deanna said: Mar 16, 2011
Suzuki Association Member
90 posts

I totally agree that group lessons take a lot more energy and planning than private lessons. I do actually get paid more for group lessons than for private lessons. $50/hour for group.
I have group lessons every other week on Saturday morning.

If I was setting it up on my own I would probably have a family rate for group lessons or at least a discount for 2nd and 3rd siblings.

Sara said: Mar 16, 2011
191 posts

I tell my students that group class is included in the monthly tuition. So, if they choose not to attend then essentially, they are paying for something they are not getting. I have a sign up sheet about two weeks before group. Everyone understands that unless I have at least three committed to come, I will cancel. Since I have implemented the sign up sheet, groups have been so much easier! Not only do I have a head count of for sure who will be there, but if I don’t have enough, I cancel and don’t have my time tied up for no shows.

“What is man’s ultimate direction in life? It is to look for love, truth, virtue, and beauty.” Dr. Shinichi Suzuki

Lisa Hansen said: Jul 20, 2011
Lisa Hansen
Suzuki Association Member
21 posts

I recently began doing group classes regularly. I did not charge for them this past year and a half, but will be charging $10 per student per class this year, and the student will be required to pay for each class regardless of attendance.
I do group classes once a month, but not in the 2 recital months.
For kids in grades 5 and below, I choose the repertoire for the semester, and focus on ensemble, technique, music history, theory, etc. For those in grade 6 and above, I do a performance class. Students perform for each other, and everyone gives constructive comments. I have one adult student who attends both classes. Both classes are an hour long, and I do them back to back. I have had advanced younger students whom I had attend the performance class instead of the repertoire class.
I don’t hire an accompanist for either class, although if there is a student playing a concerto for the performance class & needs experience with a pianist, the parent would hire the accompanist to be there. I do the classes in my in-home studio, so I have no extra rental fees, and if people don’t show, I’m already at home.

Brenda Lee Villard said: Jul 21, 2011
Suzuki Association Member
Edina, MN
27 posts

I charge a comprehensive fee per semester and I have 2 semesters. The fee is paid by 9/5 and by 1/20, and it includes 15 lessons per semester, groups (nearly) every week from September to March, 3 recitals for the school year, rehearsal time with the pianist for every recital, my time for the rehearsals and all concerts—-which is 3 recitals and 2 group concerts called Celli Jelli’s. We also do an annual fall weekend Cello Retreat and often times my oldest cello choir has playing engagements both within the state and out of state each year. Other than the rental of the cabin for the cello retreat, the tuition pays for all of that and my time.

I’ve always been advised to not charge for groups separately, so I put the cost into the tuition. This way they pay for it upfront and it is up to them to make that commitment. In return, I offer about 24 groups from Sept-March. I hold my groups every Friday after school and they usually run from 4-8. I have Suzuki style groups for the book 1 and 2 kids, but then I incorporate cello choir into the groups starting by Book 3 on up (plus Suzuki pieces.) My kids love the cello choir and I have little to no problems with the majority of my students attending groups regularly. My pre-teens and teenagers see Fridays as a social time and often times arrive early to hang out with their friends in my office while I work with younger groups. Also, I have “swingers” in my studio who are kids that move from group to group to be part of a buddy system with younger players, or they come in to play the duet parts with the Book 1/2 kids, and sometimes a “swinger” is required to help cover parts in a particular cello choir piece in an older group. They know they are kind of proving themselves and showing that they are ready to move up to a more advanced choir. My “swinger” program is a good reason why I have a comprehensive fee. There is no way to keep track of which kids attend more than one group and who did or didn’t show up.

Our Celli Jelli’s are group “jam sessions” where all kids are present from all 10 books. We do a holiday one in December and turn it into a party (no parents allowed) and I have several pieces prepared where even the littlest guys can join the book 10 players. We then have a huge Celli Jelli in March and that is where we let the parents hear what we’ve been doing all year. Also, there is always a theme—funky hat, costume contest, ugly-sweater contest—last year’s was “Ethnomusicology” and their costumes were from around the world and about the composers we studied and played. It takes about 3 hours with all the playing, showcasing each group, judges announcing winners on the contest, the food, and I always give each kid an award (trophy or gift cards) for their improvements…..”most improved vibrato”, “most improved tone”, “most improved tenor clef”….I have to get very creative! It’s a lot of work for me, but the kids really do love it and they all go all out on their costumes, or whatever the theme is. They invite friends and relatives and the parents chip in donations (and their time) to help cover the cost of having to rent a bigger space and all the food that is made.

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