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#1766564 - 10/07/11 05:58 PM How much you like to get paid?  
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How much you like to get paid?
I am considering hiring some new piano teachers who like to pick up a few students in my studio. I am having an office with grand piano and a lot of teaching aids. I will be supplying the students and overhead expenses. I wonder who much I should pay the teacher who willing to teach for me?
Would you consider……
90% owner (which is me) and 10% contractor (the teacher who work for me)
80%/ 20%
70%/30%
60%/40%
Or
50%/ 50%?
I am trying to ask piano teachers which one you think is reasonable for both myself and the contractor piano teacher who will work for me? I do not want to undercut someone who work for me and at the same time I do not want to put my business in danger either.
Thank you.


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#1766587 - 10/07/11 07:18 PM Re: How much you like to get paid? [Re: bzpiano]  
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Originally Posted by ezpiano.org
Would you consider……
90% owner (which is me) and 10% contractor (the teacher who work for me)

How about 100% for you, 0% for the teacher? Then you can bring back slavery.


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#1766590 - 10/07/11 07:31 PM Re: How much you like to get paid? [Re: bzpiano]  
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I like to know what is considered fair among piano teachers.
I am not intended to bring back slavery.
I will also offer teaching guidance to new teacher.
Thank you for your input.


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#1766593 - 10/07/11 07:40 PM Re: How much you like to get paid? [Re: Gary D.]  
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Originally Posted by Gary D.
Originally Posted by ezpiano.org
Would you consider……
90% owner (which is me) and 10% contractor (the teacher who work for me)

How about 100% for you, 0% for the teacher? Then you can bring back slavery.


LOL! Nice. laugh

To the OP, % doesn't really matter. What matters is real numbers. So what is your fee (100%)? If you charge $250 for a half hour and the teacher gets 10% ($25), then your percentages are pretty reasonable. But if you're looking at $20 and paying a teacher $2, forget it.


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#1766596 - 10/07/11 07:44 PM Re: How much you like to get paid? [Re: bzpiano]  
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Thank you Morodeine
I am looking at charging $25 per half hour from students.


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#1766606 - 10/07/11 07:58 PM Re: How much you like to get paid? [Re: bzpiano]  
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I noticed that you don't have the option of 40/60, or 30/70, where the teacher gets the majority of the money.

What does an average teacher in your area, let's say someone with little experience in teaching but has a bachelor's degree or equivalent certification, or someone with some experience but no degrees? Around here my guess would be they'd charge $18-$20 for a half hour. At your current rate of $25/half hour at best you're going to pay your teacher $12.50, and at your worst %, $2.50 per half hour. Neither of which I think is reasonable to pay, especially since the teacher is doing most of the work. Yes, you have overhead to cover, instruments to provide and maintain, but that will not double your overhead and you will gain much more from adding more students.

In a 40/60 scenario, the teacher would get $15.00, which is getting more reasonable for someone with no teaching experience just starting out. You'd be making $10 per student in that situation, and if the teacher has 20 students a week, that's $200/week which should more than cover the additional overhead costs.

Last edited by Morodiene; 10/07/11 08:00 PM.

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#1766646 - 10/07/11 09:46 PM Re: How much you like to get paid? [Re: bzpiano]  
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Morodiene:

Thank you.

I am sorry I have not include 40/60 to 90/10 not because I won’t considered it but somehow I just stop at 50/50.

smile

Looks like 40/60 with $10/$15 is a good range. I will use this percentage. However, I do not think I will have 20 students each week for new teacher, maybe maximum 10 because I am still teaching majority of the students.

I like to ask how many of you who work in music store have this kind of good percentage of 40/60 wages? How about you Morodiene? I realize that you just moved and start all over again in FL?

I know that music school around me is charging $30 per half hour and give teacher only $12 per half hour, that is 60/40.


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#1766653 - 10/07/11 10:00 PM Re: How much you like to get paid? [Re: bzpiano]  
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Originally Posted by ezpiano.org
Morodiene:

Thank you.

I am sorry I have not include 40/60 to 90/10 not because I won’t considered it but somehow I just stop at 50/50.

smile

Looks like 40/60 with $10/$15 is a good range. I will use this percentage. However, I do not think I will have 20 students each week for new teacher, maybe maximum 10 because I am still teaching majority of the students.

I like to ask how many of you who work in music store have this kind of good percentage of 40/60 wages? How about you Morodiene? I realize that you just moved and start all over again in FL?

I know that music school around me is charging $30 per half hour and give teacher only $12 per half hour, that is 60/40.


I am not currently working at a studio. For now I teach some of my students via Skype, and I teach some out of my home and some I go to their homes. I haven't worked at something like that since I began teaching. I'm not opposed to doing it, but I would want to get paid what my experience and degrees have earned me, too. So expect to get a beginner teacher.


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#1766717 - 10/08/11 12:06 AM Re: How much you like to get paid? [Re: bzpiano]  
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33 per cent owner: 67 per cent teacher is the best I've heard of.

#1766734 - 10/08/11 01:03 AM Re: How much you like to get paid? [Re: bzpiano]  
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Since this question is being asked, what is the so-called norm or market rate paid to piano studio teachers? Is it 50-50? So is 50-50 considered a reasonable rate?

#1766739 - 10/08/11 01:11 AM Re: How much you like to get paid? [Re: bzpiano]  
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Originally Posted by ezpiano.org
Looks like 40/60 with $10/$15 is a good range. I will use this percentage...I like to ask how many of you who work in music store have this kind of good percentage of 40/60 wages?...I know that music school around me is charging $30 per half hour and give teacher only $12 per half hour, that is 60/40.
Well, I haven't had any direct experience, but I'm pretty floored by these figures. They just seem so low, both the percentage breakdown (your proposed 40/60) and the actual fee. Even $15 per half hour for the teacher - described as "good"? I know I'm in a different part of the world, but gee ...



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#1766741 - 10/08/11 01:13 AM Re: How much you like to get paid? [Re: currawong]  
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Originally Posted by currawong
Well, I haven't had any direct experience, but I'm pretty floored by these figures. They just seem so low, both the percentage breakdown (your proposed 40/60) and the actual fee. Even $15 per half hour for the teacher - described as "good"? I know I'm in a different part of the world, but gee ...


Welcome to America! Those figures are common.


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#1766746 - 10/08/11 01:38 AM Re: How much you like to get paid? [Re: AZNpiano]  
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Welcome to America! Those figures are common.
frown

On the plus side, printed music is cheaper over your way. smile


Du holde Kunst...
#1766793 - 10/08/11 07:47 AM Re: How much you like to get paid? [Re: bzpiano]  
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A local music store charges teachers $5 per half hour. So one student in half hour lessons would cost the teacher $20 per month. The teacher sets her own rates and knows how much the store will charge.

A problem with this is for a teacher with say 15 students ends up paying $300 per month in rent for an inferior space (too small, not sound proof, digital or not so great piano.)

#1766806 - 10/08/11 09:08 AM Re: How much you like to get paid? [Re: Overexposed]  
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Originally Posted by Ann in Kentucky
A local music store charges teachers $5 per half hour. So one student in half hour lessons would cost the teacher $20 per month. The teacher sets her own rates and knows how much the store will charge.

A problem with this is for a teacher with say 15 students ends up paying $300 per month in rent for an inferior space (too small, not sound proof, digital or not so great piano.)


Yes, I agree. I used to pay $2 per student, and it was pretty much an honors system thing. This was when I first started out so I'm sure it's more now, but even if it were $5 per student, that is much more reasonable and the teacher can set their price to cover their overhead.

Something that I was trying to say but I don't think it came across very clearly before is that for $15/half hour, if that's what the teacher gets paid, expect to get teachers that aren't very experienced or that do not have any degrees. I was approached by a teacher in the area here in FL to teach at her studio and was first told a similar rate, and I said I couldn't possibly work for a rate I charged when I first started out 13 years ago and before I had finished my bachelors and my masters. She was able to give a bit more, but I do think the whole concept is flawed.

If the teacher is an actual employee and you pay payroll taxes for them, then $15/half hour is fine. But presumably this teacher would have to pay the full 15% of their income in their taxes, not have unemployment benefits, etc. Plus since they are working out of someone else's space, they cannot deduct for teaching out of their home (a portion of their rent.mortgage, taxes, and utilities), nor can they even deduct the "rent" charged for working there because there is no official "rent". So it's not just what they're getting paid that's a problem but what they are unable to deduct.


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#1766814 - 10/08/11 09:31 AM Re: How much you like to get paid? [Re: Candywoman]  
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Originally Posted by Candywoman
33 per cent owner: 67 per cent teacher is the best I've heard of.

That's about right. That's what I am getting now, and am very satisfied with it. You CANNOT pay teachers less than that. I had worked in such a music school before, and the drop-out rate for teachers are often. Most teachers leave, once they are more established and know they can get better rate by going privately themselves. You have to find a percentage that makes the teachers willing to stay and work for you, and you providing security of place, overhead, and etc. After all the investment you put into educating and training the teachers, you want the teachers to be happy and continuing to work in your studio. Moreover, with such a low percentage that you have in mind, you will only attract fresh college students, who, in general, have little experience in teaching. Your studio will not thrived on such teaching, unless you only want to focus on the beginners' market, which is already quite saturated in Orange County area. My advice is for you to pay your teachers well above the going rate in Orange County, and your teachers will be happy to stay and work for you. (I know it may sounds scary from your stand point, but I have lived in OC and LA area; thus, I know what I am talking about)


JN
#1766842 - 10/08/11 10:58 AM Re: How much you like to get paid? [Re: bzpiano]  
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Originally Posted by ezpiano.org
I do not want to undercut someone who work for me and at the same time I do not want to put my business in danger either.
Thank you.


I think the math is up to you. Look at the revenue it will generate, then look at how much you can budget for employee wages, then see if it adds up.

Start with the business plan, not with what people think they're worth. You may find that you can only afford $10/hour for the teacher, in which case nobody will want to work for you and it's not a viable option. Or you may find that you can afford $30/hour for wages, in which case you might get a few good teachers interested.

You'll also need to figure out what the tax implications are. It may change depending on how your business is structured and whether or not you'll consider the teachers to be employees or independent contractors. And by the way, if the employees are independent contractors, then you can't tell them what to charge. You can charge them studio rent and whatever, but they set their own prices. (This is how the store I work for operates.) If the teachers are your employees, then you can set the wages but you will also be responsible for payroll taxes.


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#1766855 - 10/08/11 12:04 PM Re: How much you like to get paid? [Re: bzpiano]  
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One local music store charged teachers $3 per student, per 30 min lesson (so roughly $12 per month). Teachers rented the studio space; they charged their own rate and were not considered employees of the store. I think if you, the store owner, are giving the teachers a paycheck each month, then you have more paperwork because these teachers are employees.

I think it's much easier the other way; teachers charge what they want, pay you rent, and they take care of their own taxes.


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#1766942 - 10/08/11 03:55 PM Re: How much you like to get paid? [Re: bzpiano]  
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In figuring the math, you also want to be as specific as you can with other ideas you have.

Are you sure you can provide enough students for another teacher? I've taught at studios who promised this, but could not deliver. Advertizing or finding my own students would be a factor in how much I was paid per lesson, as well as taxes and health insurance (some of us are single!).

In addition, think carefully about offering training to teachers. Most teachers I know want to do things their own way. Are you expecting to have teachers who use a certain method that you have devised? What strings will be attached to your offer? Will teachers get a pay raise when they reach a certain level of mastery? To be honest, I have learned quite a bit from my colleagues without the expectation...well, that's just it. What is the expection? Just lower pay?

Will the teacher have their own policies? In my state, independent contractors cannot be treated as employees. This means that they determine their own fees, their own hours, their own policies, and cannot be told what to teach or how.

Will you secure a place for recitals under your studios name?

The best arrangement I've ever had was to rent out a studio, complete with it's own piano (including maintenance), closet, couch and chairs (mine) for a flat monthly fee. It was up to me to bring in students, and I was motivated because the greater number of students, the greater my profit. There were many advantages to this arrangement, as the owner did rent out space for recitals and I paid only a percentage. I set my own tuition and policies. We followed a code of ethics with regard to the possibility that students might want to switch teachers. The only way I would do this is with the express request from the other teacher.

I agree that you will need to make this arrangement attractive to keep teachers. And you have the choice of whether to keep them or not.

Last edited by LeaC; 10/08/11 03:57 PM.

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#1766957 - 10/08/11 04:40 PM Re: How much you like to get paid? [Re: Kreisler]  
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+1. I agree with Kriesler's post.

Keep in mind that many music schools have high instructor turnover rates, as teachers can usually make more teaching in their private studio. In order to attract and retain good employees, you will need to pay at or a little bit above the market rate for your area, and form a development plan to grow the teacher's knowledge and abilities. It may be beneficial for you to pay for their memberships in local teachers associations as well.

If the the teacher ends up working full-time, he/she may also be looking for insurance benefits, which can be expensive for a small business.


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#1767045 - 10/08/11 09:24 PM Re: How much you like to get paid? [Re: pianoeagle]  
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Originally Posted by pianoeagle
+1. I agree with Kriesler's post.

Keep in mind that many music schools have high instructor turnover rates, as teachers can usually make more teaching in their private studio. In order to attract and retain good employees, you will need to pay at or a little bit above the market rate for your area, and form a development plan to grow the teacher's knowledge and abilities. It may be beneficial for you to pay for their memberships in local teachers associations as well.

If the the teacher ends up working full-time, he/she may also be looking for
insurance benefits, which can be expensive for a small business.

I have a couple of reactions here:

1. It sounds like the teachers should be independent contractors. That frees the owner from paying taxes, benefits, and less paperwork, too. Property insurance - premises insurance - would cover most liability issues for both teachers and students while at the studio.

2. The music store example is somewhat reflective of the fact that the store has more economies of scale than the owner of a small studio. The piano lesson room takes up space, but that space would otherwise be for storage, some inventory, etc. The small studio's purpose is ONLY to provide space to rent for piano lessons. Much less flexibility in covering one's overhead or providing alternate revenue producing opportunities.

3. Because of #2 above, it would seem more difficult for a single proprietor to create a competitive split of student fees. Having said that, I would think that 2/3 should go to the teacher. Afterall - without that teacher and the students, the owner doesn't make ANY money at all. The trick here is volume and maximum use of lesson time - the owner's only revenue stream.

Just some thoughts.

Doug


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#1767087 - 10/08/11 11:34 PM Re: How much you like to get paid? [Re: bzpiano]  
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I teach for a studio one day a week and they pay me $13 and charge $34. So it's possible, but not good for building good will. I know I am worth a lot more than that (the other 4 days a week I charge $30) and so I feel taken advantage of and very much resent my employer. I don't think that is a good situation for either employer or employee.


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#1767110 - 10/09/11 12:38 AM Re: How much you like to get paid? [Re: ToriAnais]  
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Originally Posted by ToriAnais
I teach for a studio one day a week and they pay me $13 and charge $34. So it's possible, but not good for building good will. I know I am worth a lot more than that (the other 4 days a week I charge $30) and so I feel taken advantage of and very much resent my employer. I don't think that is a good situation for either employer or employee.
Neither do I. I sure hope you're talking about $30 per half hour, though! I know you're in a different part of Aus to me, but still...


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#1767113 - 10/09/11 12:44 AM Re: How much you like to get paid? [Re: bzpiano]  
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Yes sorry, all those amounts in my previous post were per half hour. I just recently raised my rates from $27.50 to $30. Only had one person question it (she thought she should get a discount since her child has 2 half hour lessons/week) but she came around once I explained that there are people who pay $34 per half hour lesson for lessons from me with someone else setting the rates, and that I am charging less than the minimum suggested by the MTAQ ($31) so I thought my rates were reasonable. I won't be putting up with the music school crazy pay after this year. Just got too attached to the students I have there to give them up.


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#1767143 - 10/09/11 02:22 AM Re: How much you like to get paid? [Re: bzpiano]  
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I'm just wondering on why someone (a teacher) would come in someone elses studio to teach and get less than what is worth? I mean all piano teachers have a piano at their home, and I doubt that most students (except the amazingly gifted ones) are browsing teachers that only own a Steinway grand as one of the reasons to chose them. :-/ So... why?

#1767147 - 10/09/11 02:41 AM Re: How much you like to get paid? [Re: bzpiano]  
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The reason I first started teaching in someone elses studio was because I *didn't* have a piano in my home. I lived in an apartment so I could only have a top notch digital piano, and I didn't feel comfortable charging money for lessons on that (plus noise issues would have been a problem anyway).

It's also a foot in the door. If you have a lot of piano teachers in your area, it's a way to gain experience fast (these studios, despite being very bad value, find it easy to get lots of new students) and get your name out there by riding on an established businesses coat tails.

I have thought that down the track I would like to employ an up and coming piano teacher (probably a piano student at a conservatorium) and help out someone who was in my position. It would be a good way to share your skills, and make a few extra bucks.


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#1767148 - 10/09/11 02:44 AM Re: How much you like to get paid? [Re: bzpiano]  
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Tori: How about going to the students houses? I do that constantly here in Greece (since one of the main advantages for parents with private teaching is that they don't get to lose time driving back and fourth)... Of course you would have to suffer the bad pianos at each home, but on the other hand you get on a closer relationship with the parents/family and you gain lots of experience with that...

I just don't like people hurting 'an industry' like that... I mean if someone charges 70$ per hour (and rightfully so) and someone else comes in and decides to low ball at 10$... That's destructive for the whole music community (and believe me in media composition this is happening only too often (due to bedroom composers who've downloaded tons of software (sometimes worth more than 20,000$) and offering ridiculous prices for their services.)).

#1767150 - 10/09/11 02:58 AM Re: How much you like to get paid? [Re: Nikolas]  
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Orange County, CA
Originally Posted by Nikolas
I'm just wondering on why someone (a teacher) would come in someone elses studio to teach and get less than what is worth?

I did that several years ago as a favor for my MTAC colleague. That, plus I had some holes to fill in my teaching schedule.

I got myself out of that situation. Now, one of my closest friends is being sucked into the same dilemma. It pains me to witness someone--having much higher credentials and more teaching experience than I--getting paid a fraction of her worth.


Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member
#1767212 - 10/09/11 08:40 AM Re: How much you like to get paid? [Re: bzpiano]  
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 265
john f Offline
Full Member
john f  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 265
thailand
I could never afford lessons in the U.S. Simply too expensive. I started playing clarinet in public school at age 10 and from then on music became my lifelong hobby. I played around with an old piano, organ. Had an accordion once. But always wanted to play piano. In spite of my desire I could not afford to take lessons. When I retired I went abroad where I could afford to live on my income. You guessed it - First thing - I took piano lessons from a professional entertainer who taught me to play the songs as he did. He provided the scores. If I needed more, technique, etc he taught me as we went along. I learned to play fast and enjoyed learning. A three hour private lesson in my home every Wed morning for a cost of 500 pisos. That's about $22 for three hours of lesson. The 500 pisos for three hours work was just less than the average working man made per day at the time. His comment to me was - better to work and eat than have no income and be hungry. I know you teachers in the U.S. spend a lot of money getting your education and you have to live too, but, look at the other side of the coin. Most people in the U.S. cannot afford piano lessons. Many of them cannot even afford a roof over their head and food to eat. Just my 2 cents.

Now I live (retired) in Thailand in a village and teach poor children for free. Only cost to them - miss three lessons in a row and good-bye. No interest - no lesson.

#1767251 - 10/09/11 11:47 AM Re: How much you like to get paid? [Re: john f]  
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 1,269
dumdumdiddle Offline
1000 Post Club Member
dumdumdiddle  Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 1,269
California
Originally Posted by john f
I know you teachers in the U.S. spend a lot of money getting your education and you have to live too, but, look at the other side of the coin. Most people in the U.S. cannot afford piano lessons. Many of them cannot even afford a roof over their head and food to eat. Just my 2 cents.


Huh? Not sure where you're getting that info... it's not true.

The US is a huge country and while there are certainly places where there is poverty and people are struggling, I don't agree with the blanket statement that "most" people cannot afford piano lessons. It depends on where you live and what the economy is like there. Lessons in large metropolises are much more per half hour than in smaller towns (say in the midwest).

I am always amazed at how much families spend on sports clubs for their kids, eating out (even fast food can be pricey), frequenting Starbucks, etc... I have had students whose families were experiencing tough times financially. Many of them choose to economize in other areas rather than drop piano.


Music School Owner
Early Childhood Music Teacher/Group Piano Teacher/Private Piano Teacher
Member of MTAC and Guild
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