Teaching music lessons is a great way to earn a little side money, or even make a full-time living. It can provide flexibility, good pay, and a way to pursue your passion for music on a daily basis. But before you get started, you need to consider a number of things; the first of which is your pay rate.
How much to charge for music lessons? When teaching beginner music lessons, you should plan to charge between $15 and $30 per 30-minute lesson. Meanwhile, for intermediate and advanced level students, you can charge between $30 and $75 per lesson.
Your rate should depend on a variety of factors, starting with your musical expertise, and experience as a music instructor. In other words, the more you know, and the more experience you have, the more you can charge.
But to be honest, that is just the tip of the iceberg.
If you are looking to become a music instructor, here are a few other other important considerations you should take into account.
Location Of The Lessons
When determining how much to charge for music lessons, location should play a major role. And there are two aspects of location you need to assess.
First of all, you need to decide where your music lessons will take place. Will you be driving to each student’s house and teaching them on their home turf? Or, will they come to you? If you decide to drive, be sure to account for gas, wear and tear on your car, and the time it takes you to drive there and back.
You shouldn’t be charging the same rate for students that live down the street, and students that live across town. As your travel expenses go up, so should theirs.
Also, if you will be teaching from a neutral location–such as a music store–you need to factor in any rent or expenses that come along with that.
Secondly, you need to consider geography. Pay rates for music lessons can vary drastically based on where you live. For instance, a music teacher in rural Nebraska probably can’t charge as much as a music teacher in Manhattan.
Though, location and price can get much more specific. Even teaching lessons from one county to the next can change your price. So, will you be teaching in an area of the country with a low cost-of-living, and therefore need to charge a little less? Or, will you be teaching in a highly-populated, urban area where high price tags are the norm?
Location is a crucial element to consider when setting your rate for music lessons, so don’t overlook it.
Researching Your Competition
Part of your quest to determine how much to charge for music lessons should be researching your competition. No matter what venture you step into, it’s always a good idea to know what you’re up against.
Plus, when you are just starting out, it is beneficial to assess what other music instructors are offering, and how you will differentiate yourself. For example, how much do they charge? How many instruments do they teach? What are their credentials? Do they teach young students, or adults? Do they bring added value, beyond normal music lesson to their students?
Knowing your competition is key to your success.
Though, there is one thing I would like to add. You should not base your rate solely on the rate of your competition. In other words, just because a competitor charges a certain amount, doesn’t mean you should. Some music teachers under-price themselves, while others are overpriced.
Your goal in researching your competition, is to learn what others are doing, figure out how you can be better, and in turn, determine the proper price for your lessons.
Materials And Other Expenses
If you’re going to teach music lessons, your students are going to need some sheet music. And if you plan to teach music theory, your students will probably need some work books.
If you plan to provide any of these kinds of materials, you need to charge for them. Materials and other expenses should not just come with your hourly rate; they should be above and beyond the cost of your lessons.
Now, whether or not you choose to put a markup on the materials you provide, is up to you.
Your Teaching Ability
When you are trying to figure out how much to charge for music lessons, you need to assess your expertise in both music and teaching.
Because when you are selling your service to a potential student, they are going to be assessing your ability to teach music, not just your ability to play music. So, what expertise do you bring to the table?
Are you extremely patient with students that struggle to grasp musical concepts? Do you teach in a way that brings the notes on a piece of sheet music alive for your students?
Remember, the best music teachers are not the ones that can play an instrument better than anyone else. The best music teachers are the ones that can teach their students to play an instrument better than anyone else.
Student Experience Level
One of the most important considerations you should take into account when setting your music lesson pay rate, is the experience level of your students. And, while each of your students will have varying strengths and weaknesses, you need to define the type of student you plan to teach.
For instance, if you plan to teach guitar, and your ideal client is an absolute beginner, you shouldn’t charge through the nose for lessons. Whereas, if you have a comprehensive knowledge of music theory, and you plan to teach lessons to college students majoring in music, you can (and should) charge a much higher rate.
The experience level of your students should play a significant role in how much you charge for music lessons.
Training and Education
As with any job, it is important to continually sharpen your skills and improve your craft. This means you should be participating in ongoing education and training.
For a music teacher, that might mean paying for a new instrument, and learning how to play it. Or maybe, taking a course on teaching so that you can better connect with your students. Expanding your knowledge, and improving your musical skill set will only make you better as a music teacher.
Just be sure to account for the costs of ongoing training and education when you set your rate. Your goal is to make a profit, and these kinds of expenses can eat away at your success if you don’t factor them in.
Teaching Multiple Instruments
One of the biggest struggles you will face when teaching music lessons, is finding clients. Depending on your area, and your market size, there just might not be enough students to fill your schedule, especially if you only teach one instrument.
So, if you want to make more money teaching music lessons, then learn to play and teach more instruments. The more musical instruments you learn to teach, the larger your market size will become. It’s as simple as that.
Secondarily, the more instruments you know how to play, the more credibility you will have as an instructor. And with credibility comes the ability to charge more per lesson.
Teaching group music lessons can be a blessing and a curse. On one hand, you can make a bunch of money in a short amount of time. On the other hand, the idea of a bunch of students all clamoring for your attention at the same time (especially if you are teaching group lessons to children) might be enough to make you want to hang up your sheet music and retire.
So, are group lessons worth it? And how much can you charge?
Let me start by saying that not every instrument is well-suited for group lessons.
For instance, (with the exception of keyboards) if you teach piano group lessons don’t make a ton of sense. I mean, if the goal is to make money, and you have to buy 5 pianos in order to teach multiple students at a time, then private lessons are the only logical choice.
However, for small instruments like the guitar, ukulele, flute, violin, or any other instrument a student can tote around, group lessons are well worth your consideration.
How much to charge for group lessons? On a per-student basis, you should plan to charge between 50% and 75% of your private lesson rate. In other words, if you charge $50 for a 60-minute, private lesson, you should charge between $25 and $37.50 per student for a group lesson.
Do You Teach Music Lessons?
If teaching music lessons is your side hustle of choice, we would love to hear about it. How much do you charge? What are some things you have run into while operating your music business? Are there any other considerations we didn’t mention in this article?
Let us know in the comments below!
Do you need a degree to teach private music lessons? No. If you have a strong understanding of music theory, and know how to play an instrument, you can most definitely teach private music lessons. In fact many people without a degree make a good living teaching private music lessons.
How to advertise music lessons? The best way to advertise music lessons is to consistently promote your own website on social media. Additionally, you should talk to schools in your area and provide them with your contact information for students interested in private music lessons.