Pay your music teacher! Music lessons are not cheap. There, I said it. I know that from experience. But I have also learned that, for the most part, you get what you pay for. Not always true, I know, but most of the time it is. When you want quality, it costs you. And you should want quality for the music lessons you pay for. Granted, a beginner does not need a symphony-level instructor, but you should expect quality from your child’s music teacher. And that means you pay for it. Now, I’m not going to tell you where to come up with the money to pay for your child’s lessons, but I want to help you understand what determines the price your music teacher charges, and how he/she expects to be paid.
Your Music Teacher is a Professional
First of all, understand that a qualified music teacher has put in a lot of time and effort to become qualified. The teacher probably started practicing at a very young age and put in countless hours of practice before he/she even started college! Many music teachers studied music in college – they could have been performance majors, music education majors, or pedagogy majors. They put in the time and effort to be prepared to teach your child. Your music teacher is a professional, and he deserves to be paid as a professional.
Factors that Determine the Cost of Music Lessons
What determines the cost of music lessons? First, your location plays a role in the fees a teacher charges. Teachers in urban areas often charge more than teachers in more rural areas. Competition is greater in cities, living expenses are often greater in cities, studio space rental fees are usually higher in cities. Remember, your music teacher is a small business professional. This is her job. She must pay expenses, taxes, insurance, etc. Secondly, your teacher’s education and experience help determine his/her pay scale. The greater his experience, the more he is justified in charging for lessons. Usually a music teacher will study the market, get a feel for reasonable lessons charges, and try to set a comparable rate.
Frequency of Payments
How or when does my child’s teacher expect me to pay? Good question. When I was in grade school, I remember walking to my piano teacher’s house after school, handing her a $5.00 bill, and sitting down to take my lesson. Things have changed since then! Some teachers still ask to be paid each week when a child comes to a lesson. Others request to be paid monthly (number of lessons in a month multiplied by the amount per lesson). Many other teachers operate on a term or semester basis. They will calculate how many lessons are in the given term, how much per lesson, then give you a total amount you owe for the term. They may expect you to pay for the entire term at the beginning of the term, or half at the beginning of the term and the other half at the midpoint of the term. Usually, paying your music teacher by check makes it easier for them to keep their records correct. Some will even take credit cards.
Cancellations and Missed Lessons
What about missed lessons or cancellations? Be sure to discuss this with your music teacher when you start lessons. Each teacher or studio has its own policy. Find out what it is and keep a copy of the studio policy. Some teachers will work with you to reschedule in case of sickness or emergencies. Some build an extra lesson into their studio term. Others will reschedule if the teacher misses a lesson, but not if the child skips the lesson. It is your responsibility to know the teacher’s policy. Don’t expect the music teacher to make exceptions just for you.
Pay the Music Teacher
Finally, most importantly, pay your music teacher promptly! Remember this – your child’s music teacher is teaching because she loves to teach and see children learn, but this is still her job. She has bills to pay, expenses to meet, and she is depending on your payments to meet those expenses. The teacher still must pay her bills on time whether you have made your payment or not. So, pay your child’s music teacher with a smile!