Music has always been an important educational tool, but the allure of the piano has captivated millions of people for centuries now. Unsurprisingly, students signing up for piano lessons form a goodly number at most schools and institutions. These lessons can vary anywhere between $40 and $70 for every session, and here are the factors which determine how much a teacher will charge you:

The First Criterion is Your Tutor’s Experience

piano instructor
Image Courtesy of Flickr

You could hire a teacher who has been teaching thousands of students for over a decade or you could choose the guy next door who teaches a couple of students in his free time. The fees they charge and the quality of education they impart will be miles apart.

Think of when you were learning to drive: sure, you knew how to drive – technically – but you only got better after lots of practice. A tutor who has had a fair bit of practice will know how to guide students better, be able to anticipate problems, and will have experience-backed guidance to provide. All of which can be extremely beneficial for your learning.

Experience in performing matters even more!

Performers are artists of another level. Once you get acquainted with an instrument for some time, it is just a question of how much effort you put in. But then, even if you put in a significant deal of effort and get really good, stage performances are a different thing altogether.

A musician who also spends his or her time tutoring students will know the exact dynamics of the stage too, versus one who is a classroom player. They will know the exact way in which sound bounces off the auditorium walls, the way microphones pick up noises, and how to handle the pressure of a live audience. If you’re looking forward to recitals, you should make sure you opt for a tutor with some performance experience.

Reputation is a Ridiculously Important Factor

piano teacher and students
Image Courtesy of One Eye Publications

Piano tutors are unlikely to advertise themselves: rather, their students are their advertisements. When you see a brilliant performance or performer, you’re likely to wonder how they got so good, isn’t that so? A stellar reputation generally implies that your piano teacher has some success with students: but that also means they charge quite a bit for their services. Lessons can range as high as $75 for a 1/hour session, going up to nearly $400 dollars in some places which offer a monthly package.

Questions of Demographics and Location

Another factor that affects costs is the location: in a place like California with its aspiring musicians, performers and show-biz hopefuls, music lessons cost significantly higher than, say, in a Mississippi backwater. In fact, location is such a basic yardstick that cost of lessons can vary as soon as you cross over from NYC to New Jersey: a lesson in NYC for $100 becomes $44 dollars in NJ.

So how much does a piano teacher actually cost?

piano teachers and students
Image Courtesy of Milder Musical Arts

Piano lessons in the United Kingdom are same as what they charge in Australia. The Musician’s Union in the UK recommends a minimum fee of £31 per hour while the Australian Music Teacher association recommends a minimum fee of 68 Australian dollars per hour which is pretty much the same.

In American, no organization is allowed to prescribe minimum fees thanks to the United States Federal Trade Commission. We did a bit of research to get a rough idea. Head to New York or San Francisco and you will be charged a whopping $100 an hour. That is some serious coin! That price could go even higher based on experience, outstanding word of mouth, and superior qualifications. Incidentally, Utah is one of the places with some cheap piano lessons at $10, although most of these so-called tutors happen to have little training or experience themselves.

A Few Last Words

Choosing the right teacher is as tough as choosing the right bride for your wedding if not tougher! Never choose a teacher based on the fees. That should be the least of your concern and should only be considered for budgeting. Listening skill, organizing, performing, planning, writing, reading, and etc. – there’s so much to learn; and having a professional piano tutor by your side makes it easier.

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