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Re: Need to raise my fees (thinking ahead)
re22 #2219564 01/23/14 03:58 PM
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Originally Posted by re22
Where I live there are not enough piano teachers to meet the demands. There is no shortage of finding students either. All the teachers I know wish only to teach 20-30 students. There are a few that do more and I know one that has over 70+ students and is an AMAZING teacher.

That might be just the people you know. Most suburban areas of California are saturated with piano teachers, if the MTAC directory is any indication. I highly doubt every single piano teacher in your area has 20-30 students or has a full studio.

I'm not pressuring you to charge what your colleagues in MTAC are charging. But it is a matter of courtesy not to charge substantially lower. My branch has a few dinosaur teachers who are still charging rates from 1964. It makes getting students all that much more difficult for me and other teachers under 40.


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Re: Need to raise my fees (thinking ahead)
AZNpiano #2219589 01/23/14 04:31 PM
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Originally Posted by re22
Where I live there are not enough piano teachers to meet the demands. There is no shortage of finding students either. All the teachers I know wish only to teach 20-30 students. There are a few that do more and I know one that has over 70+ students and is an AMAZING teacher.

That might be just the people you know. Most suburban areas of California are saturated with piano teachers, if the MTAC directory is any indication. I highly doubt every single piano teacher in your area has 20-30 students or has a full studio.

I'm not pressuring you to charge what your colleagues in MTAC are charging. But it is a matter of courtesy not to charge substantially lower. My branch has a few dinosaur teachers who are still charging rates from 1964. It makes getting students all that much more difficult for me and other teachers under 40.


I am not as experienced as they are or as great as they are so I didn't feel charging a similar cost was fair. I felt I was not worthy of such a things. Plus I still don't have that degree under my belt.

Its ok to charge less as long as its not crazy less, yes?



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Re: Need to raise my fees (thinking ahead)
Peter K. Mose #2219590 01/23/14 04:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Peter K. Mose
This is one of those interesting self-employed piano teacher situations that got out of hand, so to speak. For whatever reasons, Re has been undercharging wildly for her expensive SF locale, and now needs to make amends. Unlike many piano teachers, she actually has more than enough students, and proposes giving herself a 19% raise next season. Obviously she is fearful that she will lose some students in doing so, despite the encouragement of some parents.

One idea - while usually frowned upon - might be to implement two different rates. Go ahead and raise your fees to $75 next September for your continuing students, but any newcomers should pay substantially more - at least $100 and maybe $120 would be my suggestion, based on your numbers.

Then your continuing students will have one further year in which to get ready for another big jump in their own tuition, so that less than 2 years from now everyone will have the new same rate structure. But there is no need to charge so little for newcomers next fall, imo. They don't care what you currently charge.

P.S. By all means get used to raising your prices more often, perhaps yearly as John suggests.


I was actually thinking of charging the new students a much higher rate...thing is I don't want to take on any more students haha. I really want to increase several of my students lessons to 45mins.

I'm going to sum up some courage and get with the raising my prices just a little yearly. I *really* don't want to have to make a huge hike but I realize for myself and my colleagues I really need to.


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Re: Need to raise my fees (thinking ahead)
re22 #2219593 01/23/14 04:39 PM
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It SEEMS that you are WAY under the going rate for your area, which may be why you have so many customers and so many enquiries.

I am nearly 40 miles out from Boston (small town) and I think $75 a month would have very good appeal here.
Heck, $18.75 a lesson in 4 week months, $15 a lesson in 5 week months ?
I think around here you would be in danger of being viewed as too cheap to be any good (-:

Disclaimer; I am not IN the music business or "industry".


Summary: Yes, DO IT !
Plan B Round it UP.

Re: Need to raise my fees (thinking ahead)
AZNpiano #2219596 01/23/14 04:41 PM
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Originally Posted by re22
Where I live there are not enough piano teachers to meet the demands. There is no shortage of finding students either. All the teachers I know wish only to teach 20-30 students. There are a few that do more and I know one that has over 70+ students and is an AMAZING teacher.

That might be just the people you know. Most suburban areas of California are saturated with piano teachers, if the MTAC directory is any indication. I highly doubt every single piano teacher in your area has 20-30 students or has a full studio.

I'm not pressuring you to charge what your colleagues in MTAC are charging. But it is a matter of courtesy not to charge substantially lower. My branch has a few dinosaur teachers who are still charging rates from 1964. It makes getting students all that much more difficult for me and other teachers under 40.


I'd like to mention why I have been charging so little. When I started piano it was a "hobby" and my teacher and her daughter (who's a great teacher too) sent me business and suggested I start charging around $11 per lessons. I'll be frank it was just for fun and I didn't have much guidance. The students that started with me did it for "fun".

For the past several years I have worked really hard to be a great teacher. While I studied and worked hard as an instructor I didn't keep up on the business end. It was only 2 years ago I charged by the lesson and if the student didn't come they didn't pay - total rookie move!

Its my own fault and I guess I just need to accept that I will probably lose some of my studio so I can get things running better.





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Re: Need to raise my fees (thinking ahead)
R_B #2219602 01/23/14 04:50 PM
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Originally Posted by R_B
It SEEMS that you are WAY under the going rate for your area, which may be why you have so many customers and so many enquiries.

I am nearly 40 miles out from Boston (small town) and I think $75 a month would have very good appeal here.
Heck, $18.75 a lesson in 4 week months, $15 a lesson in 5 week months ?
I think around here you would be in danger of being viewed as too cheap to be any good (-:

Disclaimer; I am not IN the music business or "industry".


Summary: Yes, DO IT !
Plan B Round it UP.


Aww you're so kind! Than you blush

I'm positive that price is not my main factor (well I sure hope its not!). All my interviewing parents tell me they came to me after seeing how happy their friends and how motivated the children are.

This just tickles me so much its probably the reason I took so many students. I love working with children and when I meet a family that clicks I want to work wit them.

I think its time I just learned how to say "no" I'm not taking any new students lol!


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Re: Need to raise my fees (thinking ahead)
re22 #2219657 01/23/14 07:10 PM
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Originally Posted by re22
I know I'm undercharging and at the same time I don't want to tick of the parents.
Reasonable parents should not be ticked off at having to pay reasonable fees for piano tuition.


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Re: Need to raise my fees (thinking ahead)
re22 #2219773 01/23/14 11:42 PM
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Originally Posted by re22

I'd like to mention why I have been charging so little. When I started piano it was a "hobby" and my teacher and her daughter (who's a great teacher too) sent me business and suggested I start charging around $11 per lessons. I'll be frank it was just for fun and I didn't have much guidance. The students that started with me did it for "fun".

For the past several years I have worked really hard to be a great teacher. While I studied and worked hard as an instructor I didn't keep up on the business end. It was only 2 years ago I charged by the lesson and if the student didn't come they didn't pay - total rookie move!

Its my own fault and I guess I just need to accept that I will probably lose some of my studio so I can get things running better.



It's OK, teachers have to start somewhere, and new teachers should charge less for their lesson, and of course, we make mistakes along the way that we learn from. That's a part of the reduced fees as we become (hopefully) better businesspeople as well as better teachers.

Think of it this way: you are not dismissing any students, they are dismissing themselves. I bet you can pick the ones who will leave, too. That's OK, especially if you can give them a strong recommendation for another teacher in their price range. Sometimes, the student is looking for a change or to quit, but they like you so much they keep coming. Then the rates go up and they have to increase to 45 minutes, and that gives them an easy way out without hurting your feelings.


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Re: Need to raise my fees (thinking ahead)
re22 #2219851 01/24/14 04:39 AM
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You may also want to raise fees, but not all at the same time. Start with the families you want to get rid of first. If they are willing to pay the higher fee, then everybody's happy. If not, you have one fewer headache.


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Re: Need to raise my fees (thinking ahead)
re22 #2220172 01/24/14 03:53 PM
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Only $12 increase per month, I am sure most parents are fine with it.

Re: Need to raise my fees (thinking ahead)
re22 #2221513 01/27/14 03:20 PM
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If you have a massive waiting list then you are not charging enough. I think that's Eco 101.


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Re: Need to raise my fees (thinking ahead)
re22 #2222212 01/28/14 11:44 PM
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I think you should go up to $100 per month.

I'm not sure why experienced piano teachers want newbies to charge less than the average. The result is that the beginner teachers get an inordinate number of piano students. If the newbie teachers are good, they should get more money; they can buy better pianos and work towards financial security and professional improvement.

If they are not good, they end up taking all of those students and turning them into "transfer students" needing rehab. This makes the lives of experienced piano teachers more difficult, especially when they could have benefited from having those students earlier. The newbie teachers could have used more time to study music, and could have done so if their rates had been higher. The children deserve more attention being given to their individual cases.

Re: Need to raise my fees (thinking ahead)
dumdumdiddle #2222409 01/29/14 09:23 AM
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Originally Posted by dumdumdiddle
If you have a massive waiting list then you are not charging enough. I think that's Eco 101.
Excellent point. I don't have a waiting list, and I think having one is a rather bad idea. I guess it makes one feel good knowing they've got people "waiting in the wings," but really one's turn-over rate shouldn't be so frequent that they'd get a call within a few months. It happens to us all, but I haven't had a waiting list in years. If I can't schedule a student I refer them elsewhere - why make them wait?


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Re: Need to raise my fees (thinking ahead)
re22 #2222415 01/29/14 09:30 AM
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Holy crap. I pay my teacher ~$400 a month. I pay an additional ~$250 for my daughter.

It didn't faze me because I am spending between $480 and $600 on my other daughter's violin lessons. $85 for an hour and a half of piano was pocket change compared to $120 for an hour of violin.

While living in Europe I spent 50€ an hour for violin lessons.

When she was little and she didn't have the teacher we have now, we paid $35 for 45 minutes, until we moved away for the year. After we moved home, she changed teachers to one who does not take beginners and started paying $90 per hour, and then after he retired, she was referred to an orchestra member who teaches her now and she charges $120. We fill in with her former student and she charges $70 an hour. We are likely to start seeing the fill in teacher more regularly because as much as we love the other teacher, she really only takes students who are going to conservatory (indeed, most of her students end up at Curtis, like the former student we would start seeing more) and my daughter is not really interested in that, at least at this point.

But as for my piano teacher, she does come to us (we go TO the teacher for violin), but I also know when she teaches and accompanies at a ballet studio which happens to be quite close to our house, so when we schedule our lesson times or makeup lesson times, I always make sure our lessons are before or after her time there so she's only five minutes away. Otherwise it's a 20 minute drive each way for her.

Re: Need to raise my fees (thinking ahead)
dumdumdiddle #2222470 01/29/14 11:26 AM
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Originally Posted by dumdumdiddle
If you have a massive waiting list then you are not charging enough. I think that's Eco 101.

A waiting list of clients can be created artificially. I know a teacher who can only teach 15 hours a week due to family obligations, so her "waiting list" was created to make her sound more desirable. And then there are teachers with 70 students plus a waiting list of 30 because of their networking skills, not their teaching ability.

The great majority of parents are truly clueless when they are out hunting for piano teachers. It is a common misconception that the best and most capable teachers are the ones with the most students.


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Re: Need to raise my fees (thinking ahead)
re22 #2222478 01/29/14 11:34 AM
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
A waiting list of clients can be created artificially. I know a teacher who can only teach 15 hours a week due to family obligations, so her "waiting list" was created to make her sound more desirable. And then there are teachers with 70 students plus a waiting list of 30 because of their networking skills, not their teaching ability.

The great majority of parents are truly clueless when they are out hunting for piano teachers. It is a common misconception that the best and most capable teachers are the ones with the most students.


I would agree with this. I play piano and it STILL took me two tries to get a teacher who could teach. It's not always clear. And what the parent discusses with the teacher about teaching methods and approach is not always what ends up happening and this is how you get almost a year into lessons without realizing that very few of the things you assumed were happening were really happening. For a while, I thought it was my kid. I'm definitely one of those parents who does not instantly blame the teacher for their own child's shortcomings. And while my child is not perfect, I'm capable of understanding where the child's shortcomings end and where the teaching was supposed to be.

The teacher we left had a waiting list a mile long. The teacher we ended up with had plenty of room on her roster and was eager to teach. One teacher went through the motions, the other actually teaches. And it ain't the one with the waiting list.

Re: Need to raise my fees (thinking ahead)
re22 #2222612 01/29/14 02:47 PM
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Thank you all for your input.

In regards to my "waiting list"

- It is real and it has fluctuated from 1-20 students at a time. I don't loose students (on occasion I fire a student), I simply gain new time for new students participate. In my area we have a lot of schools with early release days.

- Families on the waiting list choose to wait. I do offer other teachers contact information if they want lessons ASAP. All families have met me and had a 1-2 hour interview and choose to wait. I think my longest was a family that waited 2 years.

I think what I will do is increase to $75 per month and everyone gets a 40min lesson and all future new students will be charged $100 per month. I will slowly increase current students prices up yearly so its not such a shocker.

Last edited by re22; 01/29/14 02:47 PM.

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Re: Need to raise my fees (thinking ahead)
Morodiene #2222616 01/29/14 02:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Morodiene
Originally Posted by dumdumdiddle
If you have a massive waiting list then you are not charging enough. I think that's Eco 101.
Excellent point. I don't have a waiting list, and I think having one is a rather bad idea. I guess it makes one feel good knowing they've got people "waiting in the wings," but really one's turn-over rate shouldn't be so frequent that they'd get a call within a few months. It happens to us all, but I haven't had a waiting list in years. If I can't schedule a student I refer them elsewhere - why make them wait?


I try and send them elsewhere but many will call back in 6 months. They seem to want to wait *shrug*


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Re: Need to raise my fees (thinking ahead)
TwoSnowflakes #2222618 01/29/14 02:50 PM
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Originally Posted by TwoSnowflakes
Originally Posted by AZNpiano
A waiting list of clients can be created artificially. I know a teacher who can only teach 15 hours a week due to family obligations, so her "waiting list" was created to make her sound more desirable. And then there are teachers with 70 students plus a waiting list of 30 because of their networking skills, not their teaching ability.

The great majority of parents are truly clueless when they are out hunting for piano teachers. It is a common misconception that the best and most capable teachers are the ones with the most students.


I would agree with this. I play piano and it STILL took me two tries to get a teacher who could teach. It's not always clear. And what the parent discusses with the teacher about teaching methods and approach is not always what ends up happening and this is how you get almost a year into lessons without realizing that very few of the things you assumed were happening were really happening. For a while, I thought it was my kid. I'm definitely one of those parents who does not instantly blame the teacher for their own child's shortcomings. And while my child is not perfect, I'm capable of understanding where the child's shortcomings end and where the teaching was supposed to be.

The teacher we left had a waiting list a mile long. The teacher we ended up with had plenty of room on her roster and was eager to teach. One teacher went through the motions, the other actually teaches. And it ain't the one with the waiting list.


Thats really sad and I'm happy your childs new teacher is an amazing teacher! smile

In my area all the teachers I know are not interested in more students and thus we all seem to have a waiting list.


EDIT: sorry I thought I got them all the above posts into 1 post!

Last edited by re22; 01/29/14 02:52 PM.

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Re: Need to raise my fees (thinking ahead)
re22 #2222654 01/29/14 03:55 PM
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Originally Posted by re22

In my area all the teachers I know are not interested in more students and thus we all seem to have a waiting list.


We're not going to move there, but many of us are fascinated to know where this Elysium is located. A place where studio music education flourishes? Which SF suburb is it? And how long has this been the situation?

Last edited by Peter K. Mose; 01/29/14 04:07 PM.
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