The amount of money that you’ll pay for private piano lessons will vary greatly, with one teacher being twice or even three times as expensive as another.
There are numerous reasons for these fluctuations in the price of music lessons: geography, experience, the level being taught, the structure and type of the lessons, even the style of music.
Faced with so many individual teachers, choosing the right piano teacher for your private lesson can be very difficult.
You should take your time to compare prices in your area. But one thing should be made clear: the most expensive teachers are not necessarily the best!
Superprof helps you by doing some of the work for you: here are some things to know when thinking about the costs of piano lessons.
If you’re looking for a piano teacher, it’s likely because you’re already wanting to learn how to play the piano. But in case you haven’t made up your mind to take plunge yet, and before focusing on the costs of private piano lessons, let’s look at some of the virtues of playing the piano.
If you aren’t yet aware, the piano brings many advantages beyond the simple pleasure of playing music.
Perfecting your skills on the piano, like with golf, means fine tuning your precision and finesse.
Learning music (piano lessons, guitar lessons, drum lessons, violin lessons, etc):
Beyond simply playing the piano, knowing how to play this instrument contributes to your overall development as a person.
Alas, the truth about prices is that there are no standards…
Depending on where you live, the cost of piano lessons will be different. If you live in a big city, like New York, Chicago, or San Francisco, your courses will be more expensive.
In New York, piano lessons are more expensive than other cities in the country.
It makes sense; the cost of living is more expensive in New York and San Francisco.
Generally speaking, prices are far from standard. Below is a quick study of prices across America on the Superprof platform.
For each city, we’ve indicated the average price, followed by the price range.
As you look at the prices in the biggest cities in the U.S., you can see that piano lessons are more expensive in cities like TK
When we focus on the range of prices, we have to bear in mind that the private teachers who offer the most expensive lessons are usually the oldest. Conversely, the youngest teachers will have the lowest fees.
The older and more experienced the teacher, the more costly the lessons will be for the student.
There’s a fairly logical correlation between age and cost: more years of experience are important, and and with that experience the student’s quality of play will be augmented, and so the lessons are more expensive.
A twenty-five year old student in a conservatory will hardly be able to get more than $40 per piano lesson. Though his musical training is more advanced than a pianist without a degree.
But he can’t compete, in terms of fees, with a fifty year old teacher who’s been playing the piano for several decades.
The teachers who offer the most expensive music lessons ($75 and up) are those that offer classes to students of all ages, in all musical styles (especially jazz and classical), and at all levels.
These are, of course, the teachers who have more experience on the piano, and teaching, than others.
When you pay for a piano lesson, you’re buying the teacher’s investment in you, along with their education: a pianist with a diploma from a conservatory, who is also a professional concert pianist, a specialist in jazz and classical music, could charge more than $80 a lesson.
Quality costs money!
On the other end of the spectrum, the least expensive teachers (less than $35) seem like amateurs.
These are teachers who highlight their years of experience, who lack educational credentials (conservatory degrees or higher education studies).
The teaching level is also a factor in the hourly cost of private piano lessons.
The higher the level you reach, the more your lessons will cost.
Someone who studied something besides music (business, languages, sciences, etc.) but learned to play the piano through lessons when they were child is more likely to give lessons to beginner pianists (introductory courses).
Another example: Mary, who’s enrolled in a music school in Boston. She’s young, still a student herself, is training for her exams and gives piano lessons for beginners, also offering lessons on music theory.
Her private piano lessons for beginners cost $30 an hour.
Peter, who also lives in Boston, is a very experienced teacher, concert pianist, and professional musician.
He teaches singing and piano at opera houses, theaters, and conservatories all over the country. He claims to be very methodical, a master of the piano and theory.
His costs are clearly higher: $70 an hour.
It’s apparent here that the higher the level of instruction, the higher the costs will be. Piano lessons for beginners are less expensive than private lessons designed to help you develop improvisational skills or deeper understanding of theory.
Intensive courses to help you gain admittance to a conservatory can be as much as $100 an hour.
Depending on your budget, you’ll need to look into these factors.
If you want to learn to play the piano, understand theory, and be able to read music, a younger private teacher, perhaps a student or amateur (essentially a non-professional musician), will likely be enough for you.
On the other hand, if your ambition is to become a pianist capable of playing any style of music, with a high level of skill, look into an older teacher (40-50 years old) with a degree from a conservatory and, ideally, years of piano teaching experience.
On other words, choose a professional.
Before diving into piano lessons head first, you’ll need to ask potential teachers a series of questions.
The cost of your lessons will depend on your teacher’s degrees!
First ask about experience as a pianist. Ask about musical degrees. If they’re a professional pianist, you should know that their lessons will cost at least $60 or $70 an hour.
Ask what musical style or styles they teach and what they consider their own level of play.
If the lessons they offer cost more than $50 an hour, probe to determine what justifies this cost: is it their method, educational program, experience, or style taught (jazz, classical, tango, or all of the above)?
Will they be able to adjust to your level? Assess your own competency on the keyboard: do you already understand theory, arpeggios, piano chords, how to read music — ask yourself the reasons you’re looking to take private piano lessons in your home.
Do they know how to simplify piano songs and how to find simple arrangements?
Ask them to teach you a simple song you like: “Letter for Elise,” “Turkish March,” “Clair de Lune,” a prelude by Bach, etc.
Ask if they’ll be traveling far to give you lessons, and if travel costs will be incorporated into the fee for piano lessons.
Lastly, ask about teaching materials.
Are the manuals and sheet music included the cost of your private lessons, and will you need to pay for other things yourself: a metronome, workbooks, etc.
Since you’ve heard about various online methods for learning the piano, including Bernachon and Colin, ask if they can help you as you try them, as well.
All you have to do is figure out how much of your salary you can dedicate to private lessons, and in a few months, you’ll be a pianist!