What Is Included in a Lesson Fee?

Probably the two most frequently asked questions that I get as a music teacher and business owner are:

1.  What are your qualifications as a teacher?  and…

2. How much do lessons cost?

Last week I posted on teacher qualifications, so today we will talk about what is included in a lesson fee.

Cost is often a deciding factor as to whether or not a student signs up for lessons, and rightly so. being a music teacher is my full-time (and only!) job, and I put a lot of consideration into the fees I charge for lessons each year.  I have to consider being fair to my customer, but also to myself and my employees.  I’ve had people tell me I charge too much for lessons, and I’ve had people tell me I charge too little!  At J. Brooks Academy of Music, I believe we have priced our lessons to reflect the quality of teaching we provide, but also that makes them affordable for families.

Bottom line, the customer needs to get the best value for what they are paying.   We strive to jam pack our lessons full of value!   That means we hire teachers who are qualified, we run studio contests, and we use top quality teaching material.  It also means that there’s a lot more going into lessons than just 30 minutes once per week with a teacher.  Consider the following benefits that come along with the lesson fee each student pays.

1.  Teacher prep time

We spend time each week preparing for our students, selecting repertoire, finding games to enhance the concepts we are going to teach, correcting theory, and coming up with a strategy that will make the lesson engaging and exciting.  This all happens outside the 30 minute lesson time, but it is still very valuable work done by the teacher.

2.  Free recitals

Twice a year we provide opportunities for students to perform at recitals.  The recital isn’t “free” for us, but we believe that each student should have equal opportunity to perform and invite as many guests as they like.  Cost should never be a factor in taking students away from a recital opportunity!  That’s why we provide them free of charge :).

3.  Professional Development

Many of our teachers are continuing their education as musicians.  Some are in the process of upgrading their RCM qualifications.  That involves still paying for their own lessons and for examinations.  Some of the teachers attend workshops and seminars throughout the year.  This often involves travel and workshop fees.  Many of our teachers are involved in musical groups in the community such as choirs or bands.  Again, most of those things require not only a significant amount of time, but financial support as well.  These types of professional development ensure that we stay on the top of our game as teachers!  Learning never stops, and we want our teaching to stay fresh and relevant, and to be full of new ideas all the time!

4.  Studio contests and rewards

We often provide opportunities for our students to be rewarded for their efforts.  This usually comes in the form of a contest with a prize at the end.  We also make sure we go the extra mile for each student during the lesson and always reward exceptional progress sometimes with stickers, candy, and other incentives.  Hard work should be rewarded!

5.  No registration fee!

Many studios charge students a yearly registration fee on top of the regular lesson fee to cover a lot of the extras we’ve just mentioned.  At the Academy, we never charge a registration fee.  What you see is what you pay!  No hidden costs.

We are thrilled to be able to offer so much more to our students than just a 30 minute lesson once per week!  And, since we’re talking about money in this post, music lessons come with the extra benefit of no HST in Ontario, and parents can now use music lessons as tax deduction for their children.  All the more reason to sign up for a music lesson today :)!

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