Written by & under Finances, Policies and Procedures, Program Development.

The other day I was browsing websites for online piano teachers. I’m hoping to open up my schedule to students online via Skype, so I’m searching for websites that might help me kick-start this practice.

For the most part, I noticed teachers are charging the going rate, which made me happy, but one website really shocked me. I won’t bother to link it here, because I don’t want to give them any advertising at all. The majority of teachers on this site were charging between $11-$20 per hour lesson. This is bad for all of us.

Why? When you grossly under charge your lessons, you may think you’re being extra competitive, but what you’re really doing is driving the overall rate down for everyone.  Thankfully, you can make a really nice living as a private music teacher, and we want to keep it that way.

If you’re just starting out, I understand the need to have competitive pricing in order to get your first batch of students. Some seasoned teachers may even argue that inexperienced teachers should charge less. Well, I slightly disagree. I totally get it if you want to price yourself competitively with teachers in your area. But might I suggest you make your prices no less than $5 of the going rate in your area.

$11 an hour or $20 an hour for teaching piano? What an insult! We spend our whole lives first learning the skill of playing an instrument, then we spend an additional part of our lives learning how to effectively communicate the learning of that skill onto others. I think that energy deserves far more than $20 an hour, don’t you?

So when you’re just starting out and wondering what to charge, a part of you might say to yourself, “I don’t have much experience yet, so I should really charge a lot less than other teachers.” I want you to stop and think about how that might effect other said teachers.

We’ve worked for a long time to earn the kind of money we earn. If you get out of school and start charging $11 an hour, how is that going to make the rest of us look? We need people to take us seriously and respect the work we do. Under charging is bad for all of us.

Now I’ve harped on for a bit about us, but what about you?

How long do you think you’ll be able to take little Timmy whining about his scales for a mere $11 an hour? You’ll probably feel less resentful if you’re being properly compensated for the hard work you’re doing. After all, for that kind of paycheck, you could just work at Starbucks and forget about those parents who “forget” about the lesson and give you a hard time about paying the fee anyway. It would be a lot easier.

If you’re going to teach music, charge accordingly. You, and we, are worth it!