Am I Charging Enough for My Music Lessons?

By: Blink Lesson

Like most music teachers, you have probably asked yourself, "Am I charging enough for my music lessons?" Here are some things to consider:

What do Others Charge for Similar Lessons

Knowing the market rate for music lessons in your area is one of several key factors when setting prices for your studio.

Before you call around to get an idea of what others charge for teaching your instrument (or voice), understand exactly what you are selling. Do you teach beginners, advanced, or both? Are you an accomplished local musician who maybe play in the symphony or top-notch gigs? Most importantly, are you already in high demand. All this should factor in.

One great way to gather info is to write out some questions about rates to ask some parents/students you trust. For example, think of parents that would not feel weird with you asking: "If I upped my rate my $5 a lesson, would that be a big deal for you think it would detract people?" You'll need to weigh doing this with how in-demand you currently are, and how much current students/parents like you.

Know Your Expenses

In the end, it's about making more money, not charging more. If you are spending too much on your business, you'll never be able to charge enough to make a good living.

An important question to ask is, "What is the real cost to me of providing a music lesson?" If a student is paying $35 for a lesson, what does that actually mean for your take-home pay? The key here is to be realistic about all of the costs associated with providing that lesson and then decide what you're willing to accept as fair compensation.

For example, if you're renting an office space downtown, you may have no choice but to charge $65 per hour in order to make enough money just to cover your rent. However, if you work out of your home and spend only $25 on materials and utilities each month, there's room in your budget to be more flexible on price.

Write down all of your expenses related to teaching music lessons, including music materials (paper, pencils, printing/photocopying), electricity for lighting/heating/cooling/instrumentation/etc., utilities (Internet), Administration time outside the lesson (Lesson preparation; Communication with students/parents; School liaison; Lesson planning & assessment; Report writing; Invoicing & payments; Music purchasing, Software, etc.). You might also consider factoring in some sort of small allowance for wear and tear on musical instruments over time.

Where do You Teach?

The location of your music lessons is an essential factor to consider when setting your rates.

First, if students come to you, you can teach a lot more than traveling to them. If you travel 15-20 minutes both ways to a student's house, you are losing the time it could have taken to teach 1-2 other students. You must figure this in your rate, along with the cost of travel.

The visual appeal and quality of your teaching space (studio) can be a big factor for some students and especially parents. If you teach rock guitar and have a lesson space filled with cool instruments and equipment, a lot of parents will be impressed and feel you are worth a high rate. But, that feeling is not universal. Some parents and students will not care about those things.

In any case, where you teach must factor into what you charge, especially if you are renting a space. If you can't pay your rent with the revenue you bring in, you won't be teaching very long.

What is Your Student's Music Experience Level(s)

It is usually a mistake to charge the same rate for all students. That said, teaching beginners can often be harder than advanced students. Still, much of the equation comes down to how rare you're expertise and abilities are.

If you tech beginners to intermediate students, you might need to focus on building things that differentiate your teaching. For example, you teach a specific (better) method no one else does in your area. You have many reviews of how good you are at teaching completely new students. You can charge more if students and parents are convinced you are one of the best at teaching beginners.

Typically, an advanced student is going to need an accomplished musician as a teacher. Sometimes there are contexts where the teacher does not need to have the exact same technical ability, but they have to know how one would get there. In any case, if you have what it takes to teach advanced students, you need to charge more, but you can't just ask for more. You must be able to explain why it's worth paying more for your lessons. Your website and any other marketing materials must reflect quality and that you are worth it.

Online vs In-Person Lessons

Are you teaching online or in person? You might have a preference for one or the other. The student might have a preference for one or the other. Don't assume that your students all fit into your preferred category. Some teachers only offer online lessons, which suits them fine. Other teachers prefer to do their lessons in person. Decide which path is right for you, but be open to both options.

Whatever you decide, don't assume one or the other should demand a different rate. That said, online lessons have a setting just as much as in-person, and a better setting can mean a higher rate. If your answer to doing online lessons is just using Skype or Facetime with a lousy mic, don't expect students and their parents to be impressed. Use a professional system, like Blink Lesson or others, designed for online music lessons. Have a high-quality setup on your end and clearly explain what students need, in terms of equipment, to make the lesson a success. If you do those things, you can charge more, because you look and feel like you deserve more.

Do You Have Credentials?

It might sound crazy, but some people believe a year of guitar playing, after being self-taught, qualifies them to teach guitar. When determining your rate, you need to consider what you're qualified to offer as a teacher.

Is there any kind of certification or formal education involved in learning the instrument or style you want to teach? Do you have any training in teaching itself? These are essential questions to ask. In the end though, its about more than your credentials, it's how you present them and communicate why they matter. That will help potential customers understand why you are worth it.

Do You Know Rare Music Genera or Technique?

Now that you've considered all of your *unique* traits, it's time to think about how you can use them to boost your pricing. If you have a special music style or technique that is rare to find, people will be willing to pay more for the opportunity to learn from an expert.

For example, if you specialize in teaching a specific type of guitar technique that has only been mastered by a handful of players worldwide and is not often taught in music schools, then people will be willing to pay higher rates for lessons. The same goes for experts with unique approaches. If you have developed an innovative way of teaching music theory or some other aspect of musicianship, this will make your lessons stand out from the crowd and allow you to charge more.


A lot goes into setting pricing. Don't be afraid to make adjustments as you go, but not too often. Start with what you need to make and work backward. Understand your business expenses. Know your worth. Know the market rate in your area. Most of all, don't be afraid to charge more if you've set up an amazing music lesson service.