7 ‘Hidden Costs’ To Beware Of When Registering Your Kids For Music Lessons

by | Nov 17, 2020 | Homeschool Music, Musical Activities For Kids, Unschooling Music

Often when parents register their kids for music lessons at a studio, their only concern is the monthly costs, convenience and if the studio is known to be good. 

Unfortunately however, many parents find themselves ambushed by hidden costs, that are over and above the monthly fees, they thought that they will be paying. 

This not only makes music lessons very expensive, but also puts a significant dent in the family budget, one which, often leaves a very bad taste in the parents’ mouth, so to speak. 

So what exactly are these hidden costs? 

In this posts, I detail some of the many costs that I have seen through the years. 


Family Membership/School

There are quite a few music studios that I know of that charge a membership fee for students attending their studio. 

They say that this is due every year, and may provide a family discount. 

Sometimes they also state that this can be a lifetime membership, so you pay once and don’t have to pay again. 

My advice is, always beware. 

You can pay the lifetime membership because it is cheaper, but what if your kids don’t want to learn music anymore, or if you want to change music schools? 

Most probably you won’t receive a refund, so think before you pay. 


Annual Registration

Besides the registration fee you pay at the start, there can be an annual registration fee, that you need to be aware of. 

If you have more than one child attending music lessons at the same studio, then request a family discount. 

Also if you have been attending the same studio for many years, ask them for an annual registration waiver. 

On the other hand if you are new to the school and are unsure if your kids will continue, try to request a waiver in that case as well. 


Cancellation/Penalties/Late Fees

When you are signing up, often studios budget for the entire year, counting your kids as students for the foreseeable future. 

Therefore, if your kids want to drop out in the middle of the year, there is likely to be cancellation fees and penalties. 

So, make sure to ask about such fees before you sign up. If you are unsure that your kids will continue throughout the entire year, then bring up the concern and ask and get it in writing that there will be no cancellation fees or penalties, if you stop mid-way. 

Furthermore, ask about the late fees etc. In these uncertain times anything can happen, and there can be an occasion on which, you cannot make the payment in time, in that case, ask the school if you will you charged a penalty? 

It’s best to gain an understanding of this information up front, before making any commitments. 

And do your best to ensure that you will not be charged any of these fees. 


instrument Upgrades/Rentals

Music schools may ask you to upgrade your kids instruments on a regular basis. 

This is one big cost that guitar and ukulele parents don’t think about. 

Likewise, if you are renting the instruments from the school, there can be significant cost increases when upgrading from one instrument to another. 

Also if your kids lose interest midway and drop out, you may not be able to simply walk away from your instrument rental, rather there can be penalties and fees attached to it. 

So make sure you read the agreements before you sign on the dotted line. 

Also don’t be afraid to ask these questions and get very clear answers. 


Exam And Competition

Most parents want their kids to face music exams and participate in recitals and music competitions. 

However, they often don’t realize there can be costs attached to these that they didn’t anticipate at the start. 

Besides, exams and competitions may require extra practices and classes, which also can add up to the cost. 

So again, ask about these things if you are unsure. 

Even if you are sure, it is best to always ask again so you know what to expect. 

Also, do your best to find ways to mitigate or reduce these costs where possible. 


Equipment, Facilities Fees

Some studios are known to charge an annual fee for the use of their equipment and facilities for weekly music lessons as well as competitions and exams. 

Often these costs may not be apparent at the start, and in some cases it may be framed to indicate that you only pay once, when in fact it can be added to the monthly tuition, or fall due annually, or when your child is preparing for a music exam or a recital. 

Asking about these fees upfront and being honest that such costs make music lessons unaffordable for your family may help you get a discount. 


Resource Fees

There are many occasions on which, music studios want you to purchase materials and books from their store. 

Sometimes, even if you have older kids who used the same books and can pass it down to your younger kids, the studio may make it compulsory that you buy new books and resources. 

These costs can all add up pretty fast. 

So make sure you ask and are able to avoid such unnecessary costs, before you register your child for music lessons at the studio. 


Have you come across any other costs that are not covered here? Please let me know how you have got around paying these costs?

Karen Cadera

Karen Cadera


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

My daughter loved the games, but there were also worksheets and videos. The weekly lesson plans were complete, and I never questioned what I should be doing next.

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Homeschool Mom

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