10 ‘Horribly’ Expensive Mistakes Families Make When Paying For Private Music Lessons

by | Nov 15, 2022 | Homeschool Music, Musical Activities For Kids, Online Piano, Piano Lessons for Kids, Unschooling Music, Unschooling Piano

I’m sure you will all agree with me when I say that music lessons can be very expensive for the average family and one of the reasons many families tend to forgo the cost. 


But in the same vain, I don’t think that you will agree with me if I said that one of the main reasons that music lessons are expensive is because, many families unknowingly make a variety of mistakes, when registering their kids for music lessons. 


Read on and let me explain the common mistakes I have seen, and tell you how you can reduce the cost, by eliminating those mistakes. 


Not Focusing On One Instrument

This is a big one, simply having kids learn a variety of different instruments can run up costs. These costs range from the investment in different instruments, the investment in different books and material and much more. 

The easiest way out of this is to have the entire family learn one instrument, instead of each child learning a different instrument. 


Buying Instruments For Each Age Group

Yes, this is actually an expansion or a result of the previous mistake. For instance, with instruments like ukuleles there are several sizes and the simple act of having to upgrade the size of an instrument can result in continuous costs. 

So what is the solution to this? 

Either focus on learning an instrument that doesn’t require continuous age related upgrades, or wait until the child is old enough to handle a standard size instrument and then start music lessons. 


Insisting On Studio Lessons

While there are many benefits to learning music in a studio environment, such as the ability to participate in concerts and recitals and have access to professional level instruments, the costs for studio lessons can be very high. 

Studios have many overheads to cover such as rent, utilities, equipment leasing or depreciation costs, maintenance, support staff salaries and much more.

Often these costs can make up 30% or more of your actual tuition costs. 


Not Looking At Rent To Own Options

While many parents look at purchasing instruments as an investment. 

What if a child losses interest in that specific instrument, and does not want to learn it? 

If it is a small inexpensive instrument like the recorder, it won’t be too bad on the pocketbook, however, if you’d purchased a guitar or a clarinet for instance, the costs could sting. 

So what is the solution?

Rent-to-own. Many instrument stores allow this and so do some music schools. 

Not sold on this idea, then you should read my post The Number One Reason You Should Not But Musical Instruments.

Now this may not be viable with all instruments like the piano, however, there are ways to get around that problem as well. Read my post Desperate To Learn The Piano, But No Piano/Keyboard At Home?


Not Planning Ahead For Materials

This is another big one. When registering their kids for music lessons, most parents only take into consideration the cost of the monthly lessons. 

What really trips them up in the end however, are the other costs that spring up over time, like the cost of books, annual registration costs, family membership costs, class reschedule costs etc. 

Granted, you may not have heard about these costs before, and the music studio your kids attend may not have these charges, but there are many studios that do charge these in fact. 

So don’t assume that these costs don’t exist. 

Before committing to the next semester or year of classes, sit down with the teacher and go over all the expected costs, fees and don’t be shy to ask for reductions, discounts or simply for the elimination of some of those costs. 


Not Being Involved

Research, time and again has continued to indicate that parents who are not involved in their kids education are bound to see lower success rates in their kids. 

This is no different when it comes to music. 

Many different music methods such as the Suzuki method and others, tend to encourage the active involvement of parents in their kids musical education for this very reason. 

Furthermore, it can also be stated that parents who are not involved in their kids’ musical education are likely to end up spending more money than those that are actively involved. 

Still not sold on this idea?

Don’t know how you can be involved in your child’s musical education? 

Then, you definitely should read my post 3 Reasons Why You Should Be Involved In Your Child’s Music Education


Insisting On One On One Classes Instead Of Group Classes

Often parents tend to think that musical education can only be gained through private one on one classes. 

Again, I’m here to tell you that nothing can be further from the truth. 

Really, there are many instances in which group classes are shown to be far more useful for kids learning to play an instrument than one on one classes. 

So what can you do?

If your kids are currently registered in one on one classes, then this is the time for you to rethink and start researching why group classes may be a better fit for your child, when compared to one on one piano classes. 


Not Supplementing The Learning

Focusing totally on the one on one face to face teacher, and expecting the music teacher to fulfil all teaching needs, will result in additional cost. 

This is because there are many aspects of learning music that do not require a face to face music teacher. Thus, if you are not open to supplementing your kids’ music lessons with online music lessons, then you are going to be a lot more likely to reduce the cost. 

So what are some of those aspects that can be supplemented through online learning? The basic foundational skills, such as learning the different notes and reading music notes for instance, music theory are some such aspects that can be learned online. 


Ignoring Online Piano Lessons Totally

Going further on the point I made above, this is a big one. 

Simply stating that online piano lessons are mediocre or won’t work, without a thorough understanding has cost many parents huge sums of money in the long run. 

Therefore, what I suggest is that you do your own research with an open mind and draw your conclusions on both and decide if online piano lessons can help your child. 

Don’t know where to start? Or no time to research? Then you will definitely like my posts that I wrote both for and against online piano lessons. Read both and draw your own conclusions, based on the personality of each of your kids. 

6 ‘Must Know’ Reasons Why Online Piano Lessons Are Not For Your Child

4 Benefits You May Not Have Known About Learning Piano Online


Not Practicing

Kids who don’t practice the piano and review what they have learned often take twice as long to learn the same material, when compared to other kids who practice. 

Often this results in the music teacher having to repeat the same lesson again and again. 

You will no doubt agree with me when I say that in such instances, when the teacher has to repeat the same lesson over and over again, because of the lack of practice, as parents you are just paying for practice time and not for your child to learn new material. 

If your kids don’t like to practice, and haven’t progressed much, you can definitely imagine how much money you’ve wasted by providing them with music lessons that are actually glorified practice sessions. 

So what then is the solution? It’s staring you in the face. 

Get your kids to practice. 

Don’t know where to start or how to do it? 

Then you should read my posts where I discuss different aspects of practice. 

9 ‘No Fail’ Tricks For Happy Practice With Multiple Ages, 

3 ‘Absolute Must Know’ Tricks To Have Your Kids Begging For More Piano Practice, 

5 ‘No Fail’ Ways To Make Piano Practice Fun.

3 ‘Surefire’ Ways To Make Your Child Want To Practice The Piano


Bonus – Not Looking For Cost Efficiencies

This is another huge area. 

Like everything else in life that you pay for, whether it is groceries, insurance or mortgage rates. Look for efficiencies, discounts and shop around. 

Here are some ways in which you can increase cost efficiencies and thus, reduce the cost of music lessons. 

– Double Time – Yes, instead of having 30 minute lessons once a week, ask for 1 hour lessons bi-weekly and ask for a 10% discount. If the teacher visits your home, it can result in reduced transportation costs for him/her, costs which can be passed on to you. 

– Music Theory Online – This way you are only paying the music teacher for actual instrument playing lessons, and can make the learning faster. 

– Classes Every Other Week – Instead of weekly classes, have bi-weekly classes and use the time to review work that is learned, practice, practice, practice and try to review work ahead of the class and be prepared. If you do this, you will be amazed at the progress your kids’ are making with less music lessons and at half the cost. 

– Family Discounts – If you have more than one child learning music, then definitely request family discounts. 

– Older Kids Teaching Younger Kids – Simply having older kids help younger kids in the family with practice, and helping them prepare ahead for the next lessons, will result in your kids progressing really fast through their music education. 

– Not Going To The Same Studio – By going to different music studios rather than one, costs can skyrocket as it is not possible to request for family discounts etc. 


So what do you think of these horrible mistakes? Has your family made these mistakes and has it resulted in high costs for you? 

Comment below and let me know which of the above has cost you the most and what you are going to do differently in the future. 

Karen Cadera

Karen Cadera


Mom, Teacher, Minimalist, Zero Waste Enthusiast, Multi Pod.

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Homeschool Mom

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Stay At Home Mom

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