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Why pay x amount for group piano lessons when I can get a private lesson for half that?
Posted by Robert - Tagged

Because you want nourishment and musical learning, not daycare and not obedience school.

 

For a music teaching business like mine to thrive, three sets of people need to be happy: the teacher, the student, and the student’s parents. Well, that’s not entirely true: students don’t have to be happy. Their parents just have to be convinced that the lessons their child is receiving are good for them, like spinach. And often that’s exactly how this scenario plays out, only instead of spinach they’re getting Twinkies. Non-nourishing fluff that doesn’t last. Or worse, spinach Twinkies that contain real substance in the least appealing delivery mechanism ever.

 

But what if I were to tell you that music students of all ages can receive substantive musical instruction in a way that actually feels good? This, my friends, is why you might want to pay $200/month for group piano lessons with me. So how exactly do $200/month group lessons with Music Foundations keep those three sets of people happy? I’ll briefly describe how it works for each set and then you can decide if what I’m saying sounds reasonable. Like a good Southerner, I’ll put my needs last.

 

Students:

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but if you ask an 8 year old or an 18 year old what makes them happy, they’re probably not going to say an hour one on one with a 50 year old. (I’m not 50 yet but if I say that I won’t have to edit it until 2023.) Kids of all ages enjoy being with other kids. (Even kids who say they don’t, I’ve noticed. Their smiles betray them.) They’re more relaxed. And when they’re more relaxed, they learn better.

What does constitute fun for a kid in piano lessons, anyway? Sitting on a piano bench for a long time learning to move their fingers when their teacher says to move them? No way. Fun is moving to rhythm patterns. Fun is singing songs and tonal patterns. Fun is *gaining understanding*. Kids eat that up. They learn how to move their fingers on the piano for themselves so they can play from their hearts and from their minds.

 

Parents:

Now lets talk about the good folks shelling out the bucks. You don’t mind paying for your child to participate in activities if you know those activities are going to contribute to their growth in a positive and meaningful way. Because growing up is serious business. You’re happy (I think) when your kids can enjoy a comprehensive music foundational experience, and come out the other side with real skills that they can use. With confidence that comes from knowing how to read music. How to create and improvise music. How to make music with others. How to appreciate music that they listen to.

That’s where I come in.

 

The teacher:

You know, when I first sat down to write this, my initial idea was to talk about why I charge $200/month. I was going to discuss how the music lesson market is saturated and there’s no well known accrediting body to ensure that everyone teaching music is qualified to do so. I was going to talk about how the average music teacher salary does not provide for retirement and about how my car is 22 years old with 210,000 miles on it. These things are true, and I do think $200/month is fair for a good music education. It’s comparable with what parents might pay for a month of dance or tennis lessons.

But that’s not what makes me happy. Keeping music alive makes me happy. Watching a seven year old beam with pride because she’s figured out how music that moves in three sounds different than music that moves in two makes me happy. Watching a 12 year old figure out he can play chordal accompaniments in any key makes me happy. Watching a 13 year old learn pop songs by ear makes me happy. Helping a 14 year old play classical repertoire with a beautiful tone in a way that avoids excess tension and feels good makes me happy. Helping a 57 year old play music hands together for the first time makes me happy. Watching kids of all ages *create and improvise their own music* makes me very happy.

I can’t resist wrapping this back around to the earlier points about financial realities. What if that seven year old thrives in music as I have? What if your child thrives in music as I have? What if they grow up to be performers or teachers themselves? I need to know that I’ve created a viable model that they can use that will allow them to fund their retirement, have health insurance, and buy a decent self-driving car. The way I value my services reflects in the way I value my students.

And these are some of the reasons you might give serious consideration to paying $200/month for group piano lessons at Music Foundations.

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