top of page

Being a self-employed music teacher – how much should I charge for my music lessons?

You are a musician and want to offer private music lessons? In this case, you have full control over your pricing – excluding certain market limits, of course. And exactly at this point, many musicians ask themselves the following question: How much should one charge for music lessons as a teacher?

my first music lesson as a teacher
The first lesson – how much should I charge?

Private music lessons – is it really in demand?

There is hardly any other educational sector where private lessons are more in demand than music. Many musicians already work as teachers in addition to their studies. This job then usually becomes either their main profession or provides a second source of income.


Since public music schools are often unable to meet the entire demand, private music lessons are definitely in high demand among impatient parents as well as students who are eager to learn an instrument. And those who don’t want to wait any longer for a place in one of the popular courses are therefore happy to turn to private teachers. This is where you come in.


Who determines the prices?

As a self-employed teacher, you set the prices for your lessons. This requires some calculations, which we will discuss later. In general, the pricing policy of our platform is based on the guidelines of the SMPV (Swiss Music Pedagogical Association). In addition, if you are still studying, you must indicate this in your profile. Please note that we will not approve teachers with prices that are too low, so feel free to use our price calculator if you are not quite sure how much to charge.


Our platform gives you great flexibility in pricing and allows you to set your own prices for each learning environment (for example, in-studio or at the student’s home).

getting started, become a cello teacher

How do you set a good price?

The business side – in other words, the billing – definitely has an impact on your teaching, as there are two main factors at play here:

  1. your own value as a teacher

  2. the value of your relationship (student and teacher)

We will explain both aspects in detail here.


1. What is your value as a teacher?

Once you start teaching music, you will ask yourself the question: What is the value of my teaching? Many people answer this question more on an emotional level, leading to the following statement: “I don’t want to be too expensive.” This is understandable, but sometimes not necessarily justified. After all, when someone wants to learn a new skill, further their education, or teach their child something, they are not necessarily looking for the cheapest offer. Such a person is aware that they are not at a bazaar where they can bargain hard. On the contrary, they are instead looking for a qualified teacher – in other words, the “best deal.”


If someone can’t afford or doesn’t want your price, there are always subsidized offers from music schools. So, with a comparatively higher price, the prospective student will assume that this cost makes up the value of your lessons. There are a number of teachers who advertise their cheaper prices with rather moderate success. Because the fact is, as soon as the price goes up significantly, the number of inquiries increases. Moreover, if you offer your lessons at too low a price, it usually has a negative effect on the relationship with your students, as they may get the impression that the lessons are of less quality. However, if your price is reasonable, people might not even ask themselves this question. We will explain this in more detail in a moment.


Above all, you should remember that you want to support yourself with your music lessons. So, make a list of your fixed costs and think about what you pay for rent, electricity, telephone, internet, insurance, etc. You also have to take your teaching materials into consideration. By adding a certain amount for vacations, which you want to be able to save from your income, you will have a realistic number. Be sure to add some variable costs to this estimate, as well as expenses related to your teaching job, such as social security for freelancers, insurance for instruments, liability insurance, etc. We can also provide you with an overview of your teaching costs, which should certainly be included in your pricing.

teach online or in person

Potential fixed costs for music teachers:

Expenses

Rent for studio

Accounting and annual financial statement

Electricity / water / repairs

Memberships of associations (such as SMPV)

Contents insurance for studio

Advertising your lessons

Phone plan

Maintenance and usage of your instruments

Your own website

Instrument insurance

Instrument

Music app or software

Wifi in the studio

Hosting and domain of your website

Car for home visits

etc.

Potential variable costs for music teachers:

Expenses


Public transport tickets for home visits

Taxes

Food on the road

Microphones, camera, lights for online lessons

Sheet music for students

Laptop or tablet for online lessons

Social security charges (AHV)

Inventory in your own studio

2nd pillar (pension fund)

Training and further education

3rd pillar (private pension plan)

etc.


learning notes with music students

Another important factor is the stage of your career as a teacher:

  • Are you an aspiring teacher?

  • Are you a musician?

  • Are you already a professional teacher?

  • Are you perhaps both a musician and a professional teacher?

Of course, lessons with a professional and established teacher cost more than lessons with an aspiring teacher.


You should also consider whether you teach at your own place, in a studio, or at the student’s home, as this may result in additional costs for a studio or travel expenses. Of course, travel expenses will increase the price, but your students will gladly pay for this service, and if someone requests the teacher to come to their home, that person will also factor this in.


Furthermore, you should consider the number of students you are able to teach per day/week/month. How many days per week do you want to work as a teacher? This is particularly important if you want to combine it with your own concert schedule, meaning that the number of lessons should be properly planned in advance.


When it comes to the number of lessons you can give, you should also take into account that your students may spontaneously cancel their lessons. This is not convenient, but experience shows that if someone has not practiced or has done so poorly, lessons are more likely to be canceled. At Matchspace Music, teachers are automatically paid if their student has canceled a lesson less than 24 hours in advance. Our teachers, on the other hand, can cancel lessons at any time and reschedule if something comes up.


You should also keep in mind that there are school breaks, during which children and teenagers are more likely to be absent from lessons. Although there are no set vacation times on our platform, experience shows that it is especially slow in the summer, seeing as many families go away during this time. However, you should be able to maintain your usual standard of living even during these times.


The price and your social conscience

You may ask yourself whether people can afford the price you have just calculated or whether you are excluding those who have fewer financial means. However, you can’t really judge anyone’s economic situation from the outside. Also, no one can expect you to give away your time for free. This may sound harsh at first, but it is a practical tip. Of course, we want our platform to enable people to take music and instrumental lessons. For example, our prices for children are 20% lower, which not only improves your competitive advantage over public music schools but also gives children access to music lessons. These standards are recommended by the SMPV.

read music notes

2. What is the value of the relationship with your students?

As a music teacher, you present much more than perhaps a math tutor. In maths, it’s about a subject that revolves around school grades, which may or may not be important at the moment. With you, however, it’s about nurturing a private talent or perhaps even starting a professional career as well as promoting a cultural asset. Of course, you can’t get paid for the entire course upfront, but if you get paid after every single lesson, you will switch from the role of teacher to that of business partner each week. This can disrupt the vital relationship between teacher and student. Thus, you can easily argue why you are charging for larger periods of time. Here, we are referring to at least whole months, or even lesson packages. Starter packages are very small, so students can easily pick up lessons. Once you have developed a relationship, you can offer larger subscriptions, of course.


There are several advantages to this:

  • reliable income and expense: The student knows the upcoming costs, while you have a reliable source of income without having to worry every week whether you will have enough money.

  • Commitment regarding your offer: If you collect money in advance, it is clear that you will provide these lessons. This establishes a mutual commitment between you and your student. Something that has already been paid for is unlikely to be canceled due to unwillingness or lack of practice. On our platform, subscriptions are paid in full and paid out to the teacher after each completed lesson. If not all lessons have been taken within the specified time, the remaining amount will be paid to the teacher.

Set up clear conditions

You may have the impression that music is all about enjoying your passion. That’s true, but it’s also about securing your livelihood. So, make sure you are transparent and set down your rules in writing. This will save you and your students embarrassing questions and unpleasant haggling in case of canceled lessons. Have a clear set of rules and communicate them before you begin teaching. This settles the business side of things right from the start so that you can then focus on what you both care about: the music.


If you ignore the economic aspect of your work, it will only lead to problems. Therefore, first, make sure that the situation is clear and then focus on the relationship with your students.


If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. In addition, you can find answers to the 20 most important questions here.


Comments


STUDEN EN-min.png
TEACH EN-min.png
INSURANCE EN.png
INSTRUMENT EN_New-min.png

Sign up to teach today

bottom of page