One of the very first questions a potential student asks me when inquiring about piano lessons is:
“How much does it cost?”
While I expect this question, until very recently, I struggled with how exactly to provide a useful answer. Don’t get me wrong. My fees for lessons are competitive and reasonable. The problem I have is that many potential students do not know how to actually compare different studios’ fees. They don’t understand that the “per lesson” price alone is a tricky standard for measurement. How much I charge per lesson neither tells you the VALUE of that lesson, nor how it compares to lessons from another teacher. Most teachers charge by the hour, which makes comparison a bit easier, but it is also easy to fall into the trap of thinking that this information is enough to make a decision.
Getting What You Pay For
What many do not realize is that there are hidden costs. Where piano lessons are concerned, getting what you pay for is a convoluted business. It might be helpful to ask some questions at this point:
- What exactly AM I paying for?
- What kind of RESULTS can I expect after one lesson (or ten)?
- Are the teacher’s experience, credentials, etc. worth the price they’re asking?
And all this says nothing about the other necessary components — curriculum, sheet music, etc. Are they included in the lesson cost, or do I pay separately? What if I miss a week? What if I miss the entire summer? And the important point with all these questions is to focus on getting to the heart of how much VALUE you are are going to get for the TIME spent in lessons.
Lessons Over Time: The Bigger Picture
So, let’s look at some results. After a year of traditional lessons, most students are playing maybe 4-5 real songs. Maybe more if they have the music in front of them. After three years of lessons, students are almost always playing “easy” level classical music with some pop songs and musicals thrown in, but if you asked them to just sit down and play something WITHOUT THE MUSIC, they’d probably have only 1-2 songs that they truly knew well and could perform musically.
Compare this scenario to an average student enrolled in the breakthrough Simply Music Piano Program. After six months of lessons, students are able to sit down and play 10-30 (or more) songs with both hands. The songs are familiar, mature-sounding, and musically expressive. The student can play blues, pop, contemporary, classical, and even accompany a singer, instrumental soloist or choir. And they can do this without relying on sheet music. In addition, they are able to improvise, and maybe even are composing their own songs for fun.