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#962826 - 08/09/08 12:38 PM Rates....opinion please
pianoexcellence Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/14/07
Posts: 753
Loc: Abbotsford, BC, Canada
I am pondering changing the packaging of my lesson rates for next year, and was hoping for some initial reactions from all of you before I do anything drastic.

Piano lessons $65 per hour (Flexible Scheduling)
Piano lessons $40 per hour (paying by semester, and adherence to policy, No makeups etc). This is unchanged from last year

Here's my thoughts.
- By quoting the higher rate first, the lower rate, which a majority will take, will be confirmed as a very good value.
- Since people are very used to package deals like this (cell phones etc.) I imagine that there will be less asking for makeup lessons down the road, as they have made a choice to go with the more economical route
- Psychologically, when a person is unable to come to the lesson, they can think to themselves "but if I had went with the "pay as you go" plan, I would have already spent way more...It could possibly even make them feel GOOD about missing a lesson.

I don't really imagine that I will sell a majority of lessons at the higher rate...it will be mostly adults, performing artists, and very very busy professionals. The next lesson would be set at the end of the current lesson, and paid for then...it just would not need to be every week.

This just seems like a simpler way to deal with requests for Bi-weekly lessons, sporadic audition related tune-ups, and dealing with adult students like physicians, who get their schedules by the month...and it changes all the time.

I don't know if any one in my area who does this, so I would be breaking ground. I am in a niche market, so I am almost never cross-shopped with other teachers. I'm not actually raising my rate for normal lessons.

Any Red flags pop up in your mind? \:\)
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Jeremy BA, ARCT, RMT
Pianoexcellence Tuning and Repairs

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#962827 - 08/09/08 02:35 PM Re: Rates....opinion please
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7393
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Jeremy, it seems like an excellent idea you have there. I may follow your lead on this.

John
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
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Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#962828 - 08/09/08 03:56 PM Re: Rates....opinion please
Stanny Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/08/06
Posts: 1461
I like your idea too! I haven't had trouble with make-ups to date, but it may be something I might like to do next fall.
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Independent Music Teacher
Certified Piano Teacher, American College of Musicians
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#962829 - 08/09/08 08:24 PM Re: Rates....opinion please
lalakeys Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/05/06
Posts: 286
Loc: Chicago 'burbs
A thumbs up from me,too.

I've noticed that people definitely like choices & options--and putting those options in writing will prevent a lot of misunderstanding in the future.
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Private piano & voice teacher for over 20 years; currently also working as a pipe organist for 3 area churches; sing in a Chicago-area acappella chamber choir

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#962830 - 08/09/08 08:43 PM Re: Rates....opinion please
pianobuff Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 1580
Loc: Pacific Northwest
Great idea!

This coming fall I have one highschooler that has been with me for years and has asked to take just one lesson a month, because of her school load and trying to get a scholarship, etc...

I made an exception and said yes to the one lesson a month. But after reading your post, I should really charge more for this request.

EDIT: The only thing that can make it a problem is if you do get quite a few people wanting this kind of flexible scheduling... It could drive you a little bonkers, but I suppose you could set a limit of how many students you would want to take on at the 65.00 an hour rate. Would this money be paid at the time of the lesson? Or before? Would you make-up the lesson...? Just how flexible are talking about?
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#962831 - 08/09/08 11:41 PM Re: Rates....opinion please
Kreisler Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13797
Loc: Iowa City, IA
I do something similar. In addition to regular lessons, I offer what I call "Coachings" at a higher per hour rate. These are scheduled flexibly, and it's understood that they're mostly consultations - that I don't provide any kind of long-term plan or curriculum. Instead, it's based on projects - like the adult student who already has a particular piece or performance goal in mind, or a junior high or high school student needing some help understanding how to work in their school's jazz band, or someone who's getting ready for a new accompanying experience and wants to be ready, or even another teacher's student who wants an extra bit of advice preparing for a performance.

It's a great idea, and I think if you let people know about it the right way it could be a popular choice.

(Heck, I wouldn't mind taking a lesson or two on that kind of basis - I haven't had a real lesson in years!)
_________________________
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#962832 - 08/10/08 04:15 AM Re: Rates....opinion please
pianoexcellence Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/14/07
Posts: 753
Loc: Abbotsford, BC, Canada
 Quote:
Originally posted by pianobuff:
Would this money be paid at the time of the lesson? Or before? Would you make-up the lesson...? Just how flexible are talking about? [/b]
It would be paid at the end of the previous lesson. A date would be set at that time, and once the lesson is set, it cannot be changed unless proper notice is given.

I guess if a student pre paid for the next lesson, they could just call and say "what do you have this week" and we could work something out.
_________________________
Music is the surest path to excellence

Jeremy BA, ARCT, RMT
Pianoexcellence Tuning and Repairs

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#962833 - 08/10/08 08:59 AM Re: Rates....opinion please
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11724
Loc: Canada
Since posting I've realized that I have totally misunderstood the original post and intention. Rather than leaving my post up it seems prudent to take it down with apologies - thank you for those who stepped in.

Since I'm still quote below:

I had the impression that students who wanted to change their lesson times willy nilly or for legitimate reasons could do so if they paid $65/lesson - I also pictured year long lessons with the only difference being that these people could change their slots whenever they wanted - a fee that I would not be able to afford (65 X 52 weeks) - quite a misunderstanding.

I tied this to the types of students portrayed elsewhere: the ones who skip lessons in order to go shopping and other irresponsible acts: hence "frivolous and dishrag character". (sorry) I did not mean to characterize my fellow students under that umbrella.

The cry of "no makeup lessons for any student under any circumstance" alarmed me.

What seemed highly unfair to me in the picture I had, is that a student who chose to attend lessons regularly and who might be working diligently - i.e. who chose the regular lessons as a prudent choice rather than enticement of a cheaper fee - should then lose the safety net of makeup lessons. If our $65 student was the "shopping spree" type (don't know why I lumped the two together) that did not seem to be fair.

I'm not seeing makeup lessons or even lessons as paid for commodity and therefore a right because of who pays the piper. Rather lessons are something necessary and crucial. There are times when you reach a tight spot that it's a relief to have access to a teacher. Supposing that at such a time a student cannot make it to a lesson because of something out of his control, the idea that an unbendable rule that exists which will prevent him from arranging an alternate time was a distressing thought.

What made it worse, however, was imagining that a student who could afford the higher fee and who was not necessarily commited (if as I imagined this was the shopping spree type) did have that kind of access, while the first student, by choosing regular attendance, was forbidden it.

I don't think I saw anything as it was intended and had a rather distorted picture. Sorry.

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#962834 - 08/10/08 09:38 AM Re: Rates....opinion please
Morodiene Offline
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Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12043
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
My reservation about that choice, is would you have any control over who gets to use that option? What if you get someone who really needs weekly lessons, but only schedules to see you every other week or so? Their progress would be hampered because they weren't taking lessons the way they needed to, and that may reflect badly on you. I'm thinking mainly of beginner adult students who may not have any idea how to practice effectively, but may choose the flexible option because that is easier. Just a thought.
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#962835 - 08/10/08 09:47 AM Re: Rates....opinion please
keystring Online   content
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Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11724
Loc: Canada
My policies are well in place in my mind (translation, but still). I apply these, as well as my priorities and values when I interact with any client. I will quote the same price, deadline, stipulations to everyone but it is not written out as a published document. If I make an exception for someone, I know why I'm doing so, and I will tell them that it's an exception. I rely on human intelligence to know how to be discrete.

This publishing of a policy which is geared at the most irresponsible and frivolous of your students almost seems to create the attitude that you are trying to curb. People who never would have thought of flexibility will now do so. Isn't there another way of going about it?

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#962836 - 08/10/08 01:38 PM Re: Rates....opinion please
saerra Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/28/07
Posts: 842
Loc: Atlanta, GA
 Quote:
Originally posted by keystring:
...
A small perspective:
You are addressing the motivations of what seems to be frivolous hobbyist students with about as much character as a dishrag...

This tears me apart. Your frivolous hobbyist has access to you, but your serious student doesn't.
[/b]
Hey - just wanted to offer another adult-student perspective to balance this out, hope it's not out of place.

Keystring - wow - I felt that was really unusually harsh! I guess we're interpretting the policy differently, because I (also a serious adult student would DOES practice, and would keep the weekly lessons!) didn't read it that way at all.

The policy actually made sense to me, and I wouldn't really worry about it if I were signing up at your studio.

As you said, the concept of "prepaying, buying in bulk" is one we're all accustomed to, and you get better "value" when you're willing to commit.

I guess, technically you could call those students who don't take weekly lessons "less serious" - but I think there are so many cases where people require more flexibility than they can get with a locked timeslot. You already mentioned doctors who may not know their work schedule more than a month out, but anyone who has to travel frequently for work would also fit. And alot of adults DO prefer every-other-week - so they have enough free time to get through their "homework" before the next lesson. I think it's a bit unfair to call them "frivolous hobbyist students with about as much character as a dishrag..." (*ouch!*)!

I hate to think that these people are locked out of the joy of piano lessons just because they don't have the flexibility to do the same time slot every week, or the time to do every week (as opposed to bi-weekly). Or the finances (perhaps someone who studied as a child and wants to return for some "brushups" once a month, and doesn't need weekly lessons).

So, I think it makes perfect sense.

(Keystring - I guess partly I don't think of it as these students have more instant access to the teacher - after all, I have guaranteed access every week, and I assume that if the teacher's schedule were completely full, the flex student might have to put off a lesson an additional week waiting for a spot to fill up. IE as a "regular" student I actually have *better* access, since I won't get bumped for a flex-student!)

My only concerns/questions would be:

- What about students who are on the regular, weekly schedule - and then want to go to flex-schedule temporarily. For example, if they know they're going to be traveling alot for the summer, so want to "take off" of regular lessons to accomodate that, schedule lessons as they can fit them in, and then return to regular lessons in the fall. Just something to think about, so you can deal with it if/when it happens!

- The "no makeups" - would be a little scary to me. I think someone had drawn a distinction between "makeups" (last minute missing lesson) versus "rescheduling" (advanced notice for a conflict). I rarely ask to reschedule, but the school I'm at schedules a "makeup week" at the end of each semester, so I'm covered if something (such as illness) comes up.

It surprises me when I read about a hard line on "no makeups" even for sickness - because I'd think you'd want to *discourage* sick people from coming to the studio, and possibly infecting you. I know if there were no makeups allowed, I'd be really tempted to come anyway, drippy nose and sneezing and whatnot, so that I don't feel like I'm throwing away that $40!

(I understand needing advanced notice, and that *excessive* makeups would be a problem, but... I've really appreciated my teacher leaving a little wiggle room for emergencies and illness!)

Just some more thoughts! Good luck with it!

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#962837 - 08/10/08 04:26 PM Re: Rates....opinion please
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11724
Loc: Canada
[see corrected post above]

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#962838 - 08/10/08 05:36 PM Re: Rates....opinion please
jotur Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 5559
Loc: Santa Fe, NM
Hm. I didn't see any character and motivation of students assumed in the OP that I wouldn't want attributed to me - adults, performers, people whose schedules are varied.

Ever since you started posting, keystring, you've talked about your perception that many(?) teachers don't take adults, and specifically you, seriously. I'll admit I haven't had your specific experiences, but when I read the ABF I see lots of adults who are being taken seriously by their teachers and are working and having fun doing so on classical repertoire, as well as other kinds of repertoire (jazzwee's Autumn Leaves thread comes to mind). Your response to the OP seemed to me to not be justified. Perhaps your personal experience biased your reading of it? It's a thought -

Cathy
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#962839 - 08/10/08 06:34 PM Re: Rates....opinion please
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11724
Loc: Canada
Maybe I did misread the OP. I think it's a cumulative effect of everything I've been reading and the portrait that was emerging in my eyes. And I must admit when a new trend seemed to be emerging with a rallying cry of "no makeup lessons under any circumstances" I found that scary. My apologies to Jeremy.

About my own attitude - hm? I do not think teachers don't take adult student seriously. I do have the impression of a complicated situation and yes, I began with some experiences which also included fellow students I knew privately. I think that a while back I was trying to push the idea that adult students are not homogenous. I was pushing above all that students and teachers talk to each other, that students know themselves before even beginning lessons, and that they make the effort to communicate clearly with their teachers.

Roughly what I'm seeing is this: The path to music, especially classical or tradition, is not easy and it involves a lot of hard work, some of it which does not make immediate sense. The first scenario that happens involves a serious teacher who wants to bring all her students, including the adults, along that path. There is resistance, frustration, students quit, powr plays, switching teachers. Many adults don't want that, didn't bargain for it etc.

Some teachers end up not wanting to teach adult students because of such experiences. Others learn from the experience and create a lighter or different program. One can learn to play a fair bit of music and sound acceptable that way.

The other scenario is the opposite: a serious student who encounters "light" teaching minus what the first kind of teacher is pushing. The teaching might be almost totally toward pieces. One sees the advice (rarely on PW, I'm glad to see), "Give them whatever they want to play and let them have fun." One cannot advance that way. Certain things must be developed in a certain order and relatively systematically. Certain things must be learned.

The problem is that these serious students getting that kind of teaching did not know what they should be learning - there was just a vague feeling that something was amiss, and they couldn't progress anymore. Few of us knew that teachers make choices, and there is more than one way to approach anything, and different goals.

It was not a case of bad attitude, but of a misunderstanding of goals. It took a few years to figure this out, and it involved friends who were sometimes deeply unhappy. The solution came when they did figure it out and when they could then discuss it with their teachers.

In general, what happened is that the teacher assumed an adult student did not want to do the more demanding work and was satisfied doing things as they were doing them. One adult student who first stated different wishes was told "Do you know how hard it is, and what you are asking?" They launched on the new path, and to be honest, the student was indeed taken aback by what was involved, but perservered anyway. The teacher's warning came because she had seen adult students quit or give up music. These friends really did want to go as far as they could, and they were much happier for it. The other side of it was that their teachers were trained professionals, and they, too were much happier working at that level. What I witnessed was the emergence of something akin to joy. I guess that I was overly enthusiastic when I popped into PW last December.

It is when I saw statements suggesting that all adult students had certain goals, that I tried to create an awareness that there are exceptions, and that we represent a very broad spectrum of individuals. It is not a matter of taking a student seriously, but of knowing what the expectations and attitudes might be. When I teach, I also gear that teaching toward such things, and two people being given the same subject matter might be taught totally differently.

Hopefully I've backed off since the beginning, because the world is a tad more complex and I've learned a bit since then. I would still urge students and teachers to communicate a lot, and not to assume anything. What makes it even tricker is that as we progress and gain experience, our goals and outlook might also do a 360, which makes it really confusing.

Repertoire, by the way, is less on my mind than approach.

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#962840 - 08/10/08 07:03 PM Re: Rates....opinion please
keystring Online   content
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Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11724
Loc: Canada
Hm, I'm thinking that I didn't understand the flex-schedule properly. I haven't imagined someone not coming every week, so I imagined the $65 to mean someone who comes weekly but gets to change the time and day any time he wants. So I was seeing $65 X 52 weeks which I simply cannot afford. But it seemed that the only way I could have access to a makeup lesson or extra lesson was if I did pay that higher amount.

If this involves occasional lessons then it is more than reasonable, because constantly disrupted routines on the teacher's part are a head-ache.

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#962841 - 08/10/08 07:30 PM Re: Rates....opinion please
Mistaya Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/29/06
Posts: 182
Loc: Alberta
Jeremy,
I'm an adult student who takes biweekly lessons. I understand the difficulty this poses for busy teachers - but the adult learner is a growing demographic - and we're darn fun to teach too. We practice, ask a lot of questions, are very committed and passionate. I'd be very tempted to take an occasional coaching from you at that rate (would it work over skype \:\) ? However, I wouldn't be able to afford $65/hr. every two weeks. The extra $25 seems a bit of a high premium and I would feel a little resentful paying so much more for the same hour of your time. I would, however, be willing to pay $50/hr. I would read your policy to say that you really don't want to accommodate biweekly students - and that's fine and understandable. Perhaps there will be teachers who will specialize in adult students and find ways to make the scheduling work.

Each profession seems to have its challenges - at least you can minimize the inconvenience by having a comprehensive studio policy. I'm a farmer and our major challenge is the weather and it hasn't been at all influenced by our farm policy \:\) Also, I would not sign on with a teacher who does not offer makeups when serious situations crop up. I have great sympathy for teachers having to deal with trivial excuses - but sometimes life is messy and we can't control everything.

p.s I'm serious about the skype - I have to drive an hour to lessons (each way, uphill, in a snowstorm - a cdn. joke).

Anyway, it's an interesting approach. Let us know how it works out.
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#962842 - 08/10/08 07:31 PM Re: Rates....opinion please
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5943
Loc: Down Under
I see the reasoning behind the two-tier system and I don't think it's designed so much to give an advantage to either, as just to cater for the different situations in a way which is fair.

I actually charge the same rate for regular lessons as for a casual coaching/accompaniment session (vocal & instrumental) (and I do many more of these latter!). But I do allow for some make-ups and rescheduling with my regular students, most of whom at the moment are adults, so I don't have the parent problem. I can do this because I only have a few students - were my student numbers to go up significantly I'd do a big rethink on this. (My fees, by the way, are a bit higher than most of these quoted, but this is probably meaningless as I'm in a different part of the world)

I think the person who thought they'd come every week but chop and change as they like would find they weren't so easily accommodated as they thought... they'd probably be glad to go back to the regularly reserved slot!
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#962843 - 08/10/08 07:52 PM Re: Rates....opinion please
keystring Online   content
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Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11724
Loc: Canada
I do understand the problem with timing and arrangements. I freelance as a translator and there is not one predictable thing in my life because of that. I can find myself working 8 days almost around the clock, or going several weeks with just about nothing coming in. A request for a translation can come in from Europe or Asia at 3:00 a.m. (hence my unusual posting times - if I'm up, I check messages) or any other time. Some people pay me immediately, some in 30 days, some in 90, so my bank account also goes up and down like a fever thermometer.

I do, however, have control over the use of my time within that situation. If I have a 6000 word translation due on Friday, I can decide when to start, when to finish, and I have absolute control over my time in that sense.

Negotiating with clients is unpaid time. The same is true for rearranging schedules of students. I do as much of my client-communication on-line per e-mail. I can answer when it's convenient and I type fast. I can just imagine what it's like to arrange new times with students, and shuffle your students around. It's not just that you have to phone the various parties - you won't be able to reach them right away, they have to call you back to see whether Uncle Albert is scheduled to visit Monday or Tuesday night etc. That's all unpaid time when you could be doing something else. If you have a whole bunch of students doing that, it could really eat into your time.

I do have two students - I drive to their home so it's a two hour commitment once a week. It is a different lifestyle than translating. When it's 8:30 a.m. Saturday morning I have to drop everything I'm doing, be properly dressed, head out the door, arrive, be alert and perky for two hours. I often also prepare teaching material, or am on the lookout for material. The use of my time is immediately impinged. And yes, I have been on the receiving end of time and date changes.

When you are self employed and in charge of your own hours, things can run away on you very easily. Jeremy, your concerns and the problems you are trying to resolve make more and more sense.

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#962844 - 08/10/08 08:44 PM Re: Rates....opinion please
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17786
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
 Quote:
Originally posted by Kreisler:
I do something similar. In addition to regular lessons, I offer what I call "Coachings" at a higher per hour rate. These are scheduled flexibly, and it's understood that they're mostly consultations - that I don't provide any kind of long-term plan or curriculum. Instead, it's based on projects - like the adult student who already has a particular piece or performance goal in mind, [/b]
I too think the two-tiered, higher price flexible option is wonderful, and I especially like Kreisler's offering of "coaching" sessions. That is exactly the kind of lessons I would be looking for, i.e., finding a coach to help out in mastering a specific piece or skill.

I'm not sure how many people you will have take advantage of the flexible scheduling, Jeremy, but I sure would. Good luck with it. \:\)
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#962845 - 08/10/08 08:59 PM Re: Rates....opinion please
pianoexcellence Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/14/07
Posts: 753
Loc: Abbotsford, BC, Canada
 Quote:
Originally posted by Mistaya:
Jthe adult learner is a growing demographic - and we're darn fun to teach too. We practice, ask a lot of questions, are very committed and passionate. [/b]
I love to teach adults. I have a large number of them. I love being able to reason with them and explain the purpose of everything. Kids sometimes don't care..."just tell me what I need to do to get first class Honors". I do not enjoy teaching in the "just do this" method.
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#962846 - 08/10/08 09:00 PM Re: Rates....opinion please
pianoexcellence Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/14/07
Posts: 753
Loc: Abbotsford, BC, Canada
 Quote:
Originally posted by currawong:
I see the reasoning behind the two-tier system and I don't think it's designed so much to give an advantage to either, as just to cater for the different situations in a way which is fair.

[/b]
I thought long and hard about the difference in price. I believe that this is the price that makes either option seem reasonable to me as the teacher.
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#962847 - 08/11/08 01:27 AM Re: Rates....opinion please
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11724
Loc: Canada
Considering the extra work involved, Jeremy, now that I understand what it's about, it also seems reasonable to me.

You are not saying, are you, that your regular $40/lesson student is not allowed to ask for an additional lesson (additionally paid for) here and there if the occasion warrants it? That is part of what I understood under that policy and it's the part that left me feeling insecure.

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#962848 - 08/11/08 07:45 AM Re: Rates....opinion please
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5510
Loc: Orange County, CA
 Quote:
Originally posted by pianoexcellence:
Piano lessons $65 per hour (Flexible Scheduling)
Piano lessons $40 per hour (paying by semester, and adherence to policy, No makeups etc).[/b]
Wow...is that the going rate in your area?

I guess living in Southern California gives me the excuse to charge more. One of the more reputable piano schools in my area raised its rates to $80/hour, and then the more active private teachers followed suit. My rates aren't quite that high yet, but it is nice to work where the glass ceiling is high.

It is interesting to see a 2-tiered payment system, but I do question the need for that. I do get calls for "coaching" lessons or "tune-up" lessons before competitions, but my first question is always, "Is your teacher okay with that?" In the event that it is the teacher who sent the student over to me for that one lesson, I do charge the same rate as my regular students--I just schedule the special lesson at my convenience.
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#962849 - 08/11/08 09:24 AM Re: Rates....opinion please
Morodiene Offline
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Registered: 04/06/07
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Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
The local music conservatory charges about $31/half hour, and my prices are much less than that here, and I'm not considered cheap, either, compared to what others charge. Every area is different, but I know that if someone in say, Chicago makes $50,000, that is roughly equivalent to making $32,000 here because the housing costs are much less here.
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private piano/voice teacher - full time
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www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#962850 - 08/11/08 11:02 AM Re: Rates....opinion please
John v.d.Brook Offline
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Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7393
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
AZN, what interests me is not so much the $65 for "coaching" sessions or lessons scheduled only occasionally, as it's about the same as Seattle. What surprises me is the $40/hr for your tuition paying students. I would have thought your rate would be closer to $50/hr.

John
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#962851 - 08/11/08 01:07 PM Re: Rates....opinion please
Betty Patnude Offline
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Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Yes, don't forget to value the results you get with your students as a factor of your earning power. If you support MTNA student activities in your local chapter, attend workshops, seminars, conferences, master classes, this certainly sets your private music teaching program above those that offer less opportunities to their students.

A once or twice a year recital is absolutely minimum compared to all the possibilities there are to expand your musical influence on your student body.

It bothers me, and always has that beginning teachers start their prices at the place where the experienced teachers with good reputations have arrived. There is no limit to the amount that "wanna be" teachers are able to charge highly while offering little. I wish the users of our services would wise up to these situations.

When I started in 1971 my half hour price was $6. And, I have ridden the increase up to present rates. Over the years many of us have reluctant to eliminate anyone who would profit from lessons because of the cost.

Respectfully,

Betty Patnude

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#962852 - 08/11/08 02:06 PM Re: Rates....opinion please
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17786
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
 Quote:
Originally posted by Betty Patnude:
It bothers me, and always has that beginning teachers start their prices at the place where the experienced teachers with good reputations have arrived. There is no limit to the amount that "wanna be" teachers are able to charge highly while offering little. I wish the users of our services would wise up to these situations.
[/b]
It's the marketplace that sets the rates, Betty, and experience plays a much smaller role. I had the unpleasant experience this past year of a brand new assistant professor in my field being hired in my department at a higher salary than I am making now after 21 years of dedicated service. Sucks big time, all around. But there's no use getting all bent out of shape, because that's the starting salary we have to offer these days to hire somebody.

Similarly, if the market is supporting $40/hr lessons, or $60, or more, then so be it. Do you really think a new teacher should be charging only $6 simply because that's what you were paid when you started out? ;\)

I am not trying to argue that there should be absolutely no differentiation for teaching quality; in other words, a master teacher should and probably is able to charge all the traffic will bear. But I'm guessing that for the typical piano teacher offering lessons privately primarily to children and/or nonprofessionals, there's fairly rapid convergence to a market rate that is relatively stable in a given geographic area. I'm sure piano*dad could explain it all much better (and more accurately) than I.
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Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
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#962853 - 08/11/08 04:22 PM Re: Rates....opinion please
John v.d.Brook Offline
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Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7393
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Monica, I believe your analysis is quite good. The market will tolerate some differentiation among teachers of differing quality, but not very much. Most parents, while having the best interests of their students at heart, and willing to bend over backwards for them, haven't a clue as to what constitutes good teaching and what doesn't. They lack the musical networking where they can learn who is top notch, who is good, and who is mediocre. It's simply not the parents' fault, and most of them resort to the "price" indicator. If most of their shopping is "cost conscience" then this is the mode they are in when shopping for a teacher.

Put it another way - what are the parents experiences with teachers? Primary, if not exclusively, the classroom. They gag when they learn what a classroom teacher receives "per teaching hour" (not what they receive per working hour, but per hour that they are working with students in the formal classroom session). [Aside - I have fun with a teacher one time, when she complained about my rates. I asked her to add up her total teaching time - time she was in formal session with her class, not extra time, which all teachers, music teachers included, work with students needing extra help, etc., nor prep time, but actual bone fide teaching, and to divide her annual salary plus all benefits, including employer's contribution to SS, by that number, and pay me the same. When she figured it out, I never heard another peep from her.]

Once we can get a student in the door, we can educate the parent, and help them understand why our studio is a better opportunity for their student. And of course, help the student along swiftly and correctly.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#962854 - 08/11/08 04:43 PM Re: Rates....opinion please
pianoexcellence Offline
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Registered: 08/14/07
Posts: 753
Loc: Abbotsford, BC, Canada
Trust me...I know the rates are low here.

I am at the high end of the spectrum...but the spectrum is very limited.

On the other hand...I am working from a waiting list, so I will be raising my rates.
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Music is the surest path to excellence

Jeremy BA, ARCT, RMT
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#962855 - 08/11/08 11:01 PM Re: Rates....opinion please
AZNpiano Offline
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Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5510
Loc: Orange County, CA
 Quote:
Originally posted by Betty Patnude:
It bothers me, and always has that beginning teachers start their prices at the place where the experienced teachers with good reputations have arrived. There is no limit to the amount that "wanna be" teachers are able to charge highly while offering little. I wish the users of our services would wise up to these situations. [/b]
Betty: I feel exactly the same way about several of the "music schools" around here. I'm not exactly a super-experienced teacher, but I'm quite progressive in my teaching.

John: I think you misread my post. My rates are higher than $50/hr, and they're going up come September. I do have to deal with a couple of local teachers who haven't changed their rates in 20 years (they still charge $40 and have students lining out the door \:\( ).
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#962856 - 08/11/08 11:31 PM Re: Rates....opinion please
Morodiene Offline
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Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12043
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
 Quote:
Originally posted by AZNpiano:


John: I think you misread my post. My rates are higher than $50/hr, and they're going up come September. I do have to deal with a couple of local teachers who haven't changed their rates in 20 years (they still charge $40 and have students lining out the door \:\( ). [/b]
Nothing beats the lady I heard about in this area a few years back: she was charging around $7 per lesson and she would either sleep or sip at her nipper bottle while the kids played!! Sometimes you really get what you pay for.
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private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#962857 - 08/12/08 06:28 AM Re: Rates....opinion please
Chris H. Offline
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Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2919
Loc: UK.
 Quote:
Originally posted by pianoexcellence:

Piano lessons $65 per hour (Flexible Scheduling)
Piano lessons $40 per hour (paying by semester, and adherence to policy, No makeups etc). This is unchanged from last year
[/b]
You are of course entitled to charge what you like. I think the idea is a good one and the lower price is good incentive to sign up for a regular lesson slot every week. However, I do think the difference in price is too much. As a new student I would see it that you don't really expect anyone to go for the flexible rate as it is almost 70% higer than the lower rate. Therefore it is not really much of a choice. By opting for the lower rate you are saying that there can be no flexibility at all right? This could put some people off.

I understand why you would plan your rates in this way and I agree in principle. I do work in a similar way but the one off fee is only a little higher than the standard fee. Most of my students pay tuition and come every week at the same time. I have one adult who pays each lesson and is not always able to come. I arrange them around my regular students and usually put them at the end of the session. Individual appointments for accompanying, consultations etc. are at the slightly increased hourly rate.
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#962858 - 08/12/08 07:15 AM Re: Rates....opinion please
AZNpiano Offline
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Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5510
Loc: Orange County, CA
 Quote:
Originally posted by Morodiene:
[QUOTE] Nothing beats the lady I heard about in this area a few years back: she was charging around $7 per lesson and she would either sleep or sip at her nipper bottle while the kids played!! Sometimes you really get what you pay for. [/b]
Morodiene:

I'm not talking about that kind of teachers. There are at least two experienced teachers in my area who are still charging $40 per hour--and they're old enough to be my mother! I charge quite a bit more than they do, and thus I've lost students to them (more than the transfers I got _from_ them). They also produce dozens of competition winners each year (as did I, for the past two years). These teachers can be called "market-breakers."

The President of our MTA was dead-on when he called out these "market-breakers" in his presentation at last year's convention. Legally, these teachers are free to do whatever they want, but, economically, their actions do have a negative impact on their colleagues living in the same community.
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#962859 - 08/12/08 09:16 AM Re: Rates....opinion please
Morodiene Offline
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Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
How true that is, AZN. Really, all independent music teachers are responsible for knowing what others are charging and keeping up with the markets. The ones who should charge less are the new, less experienced teachers. I had started at a low cost when I began teaching, but I would give myself incremental raises. The problem was, my increments weren't keeping up with the market, and before I knew it, I was priced way too low. Then I had to make a huge increase in cost. I lost a few students, but I wasn't really growing in numbers before, and now that I have increased, I'm getting more. I don't know if there's a direct correlation, but I have to believe that the right pricing in a given market will be ideal for business. Not too cheap to make people question and to weed out those who are only looking for a good deal, and not too expensive that I'm the highest priced teacher in the area.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#962860 - 08/12/08 09:47 AM Re: Rates....opinion please
Akira Offline
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Registered: 07/27/07
Posts: 1645
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
[perspective from a non teacher]

I think its the marketplace and the perception of value that determines what price one is able to charge.

Marketplace. If you taught in Beverly Hills, I strongly suspect you could get away with charging a lot more than, say, if you were to teach in Harlem. One neighborhood is virtually all millionaires, the other is not. Of course, this is an exaggeration, but markets differ from state to state and city to city.

Perception of value. You could buy a handbag for $8 at Wal-Mart, or you could spent ten times that at Coach. One has to implied prejudgements of cheap, inferior quality, non durable, mass produced. The other brings with it the complete opposite, in addition to upper class status, stylistic. These prejudgements may be true or false, but are in the buyers' minds a perception.

If you create a perceived value as to why you are unique amongst your peers (i.e. your local competition), you can get away with charging more, provided the market will bear the price. Pricing strategy also depends on how full your plate is. If you have 40 students, you can afford to charge a little more. If you have two students, its a little different story. How will get the other 38 by charging a premium over your competition?

You must examine what you are offering, how that makes you different from the other teachers, what others are charging, then set you pricing strategy.

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#962861 - 08/12/08 10:12 AM Re: Rates....opinion please
keystring Online   content
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Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11724
Loc: Canada
A broader perspective, if I may. In my own professional organization's code of ethics, undermining each other through unreasonably low prices is a breach. Internationally it's happening with disastrous consequences. In 1982 as a novice I offered translations at .10/word, and in 2008 agencies have sprung up that get untrained "translators" to work on mega-projects at .02/word or even under .01/word. The market is drying up. I folded once this year and accepted a cheapo-job --- result: $300 are owing me some place between Mexico and India, and that's part of the money that I use to pay for eggs, housing, and ... lessons.

When you work for low pay, you have to do more work in order to earn enough, and the quality of your work suffers. In the teaching world I imagine that you would have so many students that you suffer exhaustion and burn-out. There is also a difference between the teacher who plans lessons, goes over notes ahead of time, and prepares in some way, as opposed to someone who gets a method book and flips through it from page 1 - 25, and in a lesson says "wrong note, play B instead of F" and thinks that's teaching.

Supposing, to exaggerate, that Teacher A prepares an hour for every hour he teaches, and charges $60/hour - effectively that's $30/hour of actual work. The teaching itself is more effective and produces something, because of that preparation. Teacher B does the book-flip thing, and charges $45. For his actual work, he is more expensive. For what he produces, ditto. If you receive next to nothing, then even $5.00 for nothing is expensive. If you are engraining bad habits through careless or wrong teaching, that is VERY expensive, because you will need an expert teacher down the line to fix it, and nerves of steel.

2. The "marketplace" says that a good teacher will be able to charge a high fee, and will therefore charge it. A bad teacher will not get students unless he entices them with low fees.

3. Your market consists of society. Our society in North America has an ongoing trend whereby the affluent are becoming more so, and the poor are becoming increasingly poor. You are finding an abundance of students, to the point of waiting lists, who are willing and able to pay high fees. Essentially this drives fees up all around.

If you follow this further, it means that logically good teachers will become increasingly inaccessible to students of low income. Your demography will consist of the upper echelon, which incidentally is also the group that will have multiple activities going competing for the time spent on yours - soccer, ballet, or piano? The poor student who may be grateful for this one, single, activity will never enter your studio.

If all studios are full to overflowing with waiting lists, and if these sweet dears who are excellent teachers will offer lessons at a lower rate, might that be a safety net for the low income dedicated student? Might this not better than for him to be totally locked out, or trapped into the only thing he can afford, a bad, cheap teacher? In too great a number these teachers will take the students of the more expensive teachers and drive down the rate. Why are they, I wonder?

The reality of the way our world is currently set up would suggest the following: developing musicianship currently is not dependant on will, dedication or ability, as much as it is on economics. If a student cannot access a teacher (or instrument) the rest of it is moot. That is just how it is.

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#962862 - 08/12/08 06:39 PM Re: Rates....opinion please
musiclady Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/19/05
Posts: 431
Loc: Toronto, Canada
Hmm, I think the young teachers who have the courage to charge what some of the experienced teachers are doing the right thing, I think it's because many people of the younger generation are raised on the idea that it's good to have money.

Although I am a fairly young teacher (30 end of this month), I charge around what the experienced teachers charges (and in some cases more than what some of my colleagues more than twice my age are charging), besides teaching clarinet and piano lessons, I also provide instruction in ear training, sight-reading, rhythmic training, music theory, and ensemble coaching. A fair number of my students have achieved really good results, last spring I had a clarinet student who competed in a National competition, a number of my students earned 90% or better on the Royal Conservatory of Music exams (RCM), Toronto, a couple students play in symphony orchestras (I have an 11 year old RCM Grade 6 level clarinet student who plays in the high school level orchestra, and a 16 year old who plays in a regional orchestra his parents drive him about 40 min one way to study with me! Some of my students have won scholarships and performed in masterclasses, I actually want to charge more than I do, especially considering that I have an onsite pianist at my student, use quite a bit of technology (I record students on video to help them learn about some issues in their playing I need to point out)...and I'm charging $129/month for 45 min lessons or $159/month for 60 min lessons, plus a materials fee. There's teachers who charge a lot more, and teachers who charge a lot less, but I need to watch my student numbers, I'll be teaching at least 20 in September and still need to have time for practicing for various concerts, auditions, and exams plus theory study.

Meri
_________________________
Clarinet and Piano Teacher based out of Toronto, Canada.Web: http://donmillsmusicstudio.weebly.com

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#962863 - 08/12/08 10:44 PM Re: Rates....opinion please
John v.d.Brook Offline
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Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7393
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Good for you. I wish some of the old biddies, oops, excuse me, experienced elder teachers, in our community would learn from your example! Thanks on behalf of the other teachers who are trying to earn a decent income.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#962864 - 08/13/08 12:18 AM Re: Rates....opinion please
Mistaya Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/29/06
Posts: 182
Loc: Alberta
My children and I all take lessons. We have never yet quibbled about rates and have paid whatever the teacher that we wanted to study with was asking. The major determinant was finding a good fit. I've paid anywhere from $30/hr to $60/hr, depending on the situation. My earlier comment to Jeremy was related to the price difference ($40 vs. $65) for coaching. In our area, teachers with masters degrees or those who experience good relationships and results charge around $40-50/hr (some more). I know of one fellow who offers coaching at $60/hr - an excellent teacher with a PhD and college position. As a parent and student, I am willing to pay for your expertise.

The other side of the coin is that many don't have that luxury. There is a lady in our rural area who has minimal qualifications and who knows that she's underpriced. She does this because there are many who have difficulty affording lessons and/or have a number of children. She serves a specific market. She is also very good with young children and they stay quite motivated and have fun. Our area doesn't have enough piano teachers and she fills a niche - she's much appreciated.

I think the major problem is that some people don't place as much value on music education as they do on sports, acquiring gadgets, etc. For a child to play hockey in our area costs an enormous amount and people don't bat an eye. You and I know that you're worth a living wage, but you can only charge according to what members of the community value. Who can rationalize what hockey/basketball players earn?

Many of us value you highly. Your best predictor of being over or underpriced is the number of students on your waiting list (without taking advantage in under served areas - like mine:)
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#962865 - 08/13/08 12:23 AM Re: Rates....opinion please
Betty Patnude Offline
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Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
When I said that my first fee from piano lessons was $6 per half hour, I was not advocating that anyone start at that level today.

A piano teacher who has been through college to major in music is certainly entitled to charge what other professionals charge in teaching.

We do know though and have met the ones who have little preparation, with a hobbyist slant to music and stay just slightly ahead of their students. There have been some strong disagreements when they post because they do laugh at us who have a few more ethics, standards, responsibility to our businesses.

That is the kind of situation I bemoan where the parents and students have no idea of what they are buying or what the results might be.

I love that youth continues to be choosing music as a career and that a good living can be made by the many contributions these new and younger teachers can make.

I also remember the times we discussed fees and studio policies in our music teaching chapter. Everyone was concerned that their prices would be disclosed - so the group did it by writing on small paper and turning their answers in to be read and later tabulated to the questions that had been asked. Everyone received anonymity.

Twenty years later I think the Q. and A. over the same subject would be handled the same way.

John, you are cracking me up, you know you and I are the same age this year, and if I get to be an old betty, there are a lot of other people I know in the same boat.

Isn't retirement simply the fact that you are tired two nights in a row? Well, I've had that problem since I gave birth to my children many years ago.

My very best wishes to Meri the musiclady! It's nice to meet you!

Betty

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#962866 - 08/13/08 02:36 AM Re: Rates....opinion please
AZNpiano Offline
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Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5510
Loc: Orange County, CA
 Quote:
Originally posted by Betty Patnude:
I also remember the times we discussed fees and studio policies in our music teaching chapter. Everyone was concerned that their prices would be disclosed - so the group did it by writing on small paper and turning their answers in to be read and later tabulated to the questions that had been asked. Everyone received anonymity. [/b]
Betty--

If we did that at our MTA branch, there'd be a wide spread ($15/hr - $100/hr). But I'd be interested to know where the median rate lies.
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#962867 - 08/13/08 06:20 AM Re: Rates....opinion please
keystring Online   content
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Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11724
Loc: Canada
We've run into a situation in regards to discussing our fees over in the translation corner. Apparently US law prohibits price fixing. The one US-based site (like PW) will not allow professionals to name their fees and compare them because of legalities. The American professional organization doesn't discuss fees either. But on the other site, which is Canadian-based, we do discuss fees, and there is a published survey in graph form of what percentage of people charge a given fee. My Canadian professional organization (sort of like the MTNA but with a lot of differences) does have a survey and statistics.

Is any of this of use when translated into private music teaching terms?

Btw, we are also fighting a trend in which the customer tries to impose his wishes on the professional: what the fee structure should be, how it's administered, what tools should be used, and how the professional should be working. We have a large number of untrained people who are being exploited and buying into that trend. It makes it hard for those of us who are actually trained professionals to maintain our standards, enforce the procedure we've been trained into that we know works, and even to have a market in the marketplace, since they are also offering super low rates, impossible results (all of which impinge on quality). We're running an ongoing "education" of customers and would-be translators, and it seems to be a losing battle. With the Internet, an American firm might negotiate with a German firm and hire an Indian agency that hires a Mexican translator, both in countries where the cost of living is lower, and neither subject to the ethical standards to which I must adhere. How do you compete with that? At least your "market" (students) are in your neighbourhood.

I hope it's ok to post this as a non-teacher, and to offer the cross-comparison. If it is utterly unhelpful and is cluttering the thread, let me know.

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#962868 - 08/13/08 10:24 AM Re: Rates....opinion please
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17786
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
 Quote:
Originally posted by Betty Patnude:
A piano teacher who has been through college to major in music is certainly entitled to charge what other professionals charge in teaching.[/b]
I agree completely with you on this statement, Betty. Knowledge and competence are, imo, more important determinants of teaching rates than is simple years of experience. I've seen enough deadwood in my colleagues to have a healthy skepticism regarding mere years of experience as an index of quality. However, my earlier comments were in response to your statement a few posts above that, where you said:


 Quote:
Originally posted by Betty Patnude:
It bothers me, and always has that beginning teachers start their prices at the place where the experienced teachers with good reputations have arrived. [/b]
I hope you can see how this is really a different sentiment, and one that I wouldn't agree with. It appears you have changed your mind about this issue as well, given your later comments. Flexibility is good. ;\)
_________________________
Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica

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#962869 - 08/13/08 10:40 AM Re: Rates....opinion please
John v.d.Brook Offline
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Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7393
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Keystring, you wrote:
 Quote:
Apparently US law prohibits price fixing.
This is true, but piano teachers are not engaged in Interstate Commerce, so the US law doesn't apply to piano teachers. States may have a similar law, but not all do. Many teachers' organizations, rather than aggressively defending teachers, take the easy way out, and avoid the subject.

And comparing prices is not price fixing, as have many court cases held. Shoppers from Safeway visit Walmart and Target, specifically to compare prices, and Target pricers visit Walmart and Safeway for the same purpose.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#962870 - 08/13/08 10:48 AM Re: Rates....opinion please
keystring Online   content
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Loc: Canada
A novice teacher might have unjaded idealistic enthusiasm, an ability to see each student uniquely with fresh eyes, the memory of her own student days not far away (or current) enabling her to identify with her students. She may have far less students and so more time to invest in each one. What I imagine as ideal might be having access to an experienced teacher as a kind of mentor.

We translators constantly run into someone wanting to break into the profession for the first time and asking about rates and how to get customers. The first advice is to make sure that you have enough training in all aspects of the field (including business management, as per John). Secondly, to charge close to what an experienced veteran charges, but be prepared to work three times as hard, take four times as long, and consider it a learning period. Quality should be the goal from the beginning, not: I'll charge less because I will produce a lower quality. Similarly, a student deserves good teaching from the beginning, no?

Would it stand to reason that if a new teacher took a lot of time to prepare lessons, whereas an experienced teacher has a lot of it already as well honed routine and would take less time, the new teacher could also offer quality teaching? Plus, with the opportunities of networking that exist nowadays the teacher would have a lot more resources at her disposal.

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#962871 - 08/13/08 10:59 AM Re: Rates....opinion please
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11724
Loc: Canada
 Quote:
Originally posted by John v.d.Brook:
[QB] Keystring, you wrote:
 Quote:
Apparently US law prohibits price fixing.
This is true, but piano teachers are not engaged in Interstate Commerce, so the US law doesn't apply to piano teachers. ...
I'm putting it forth just in the remote case that it is an issue, because of our discussions. Over in our corner we were trying to get a handle on what reasonable fees might be, so that translators were talking to each other, in the same way that teachers are doing so over here. Somebody said "Whoah, you can't do that, because of American price-fixing laws." We: this isn't price fixing blabla... and "we're not in the U.S.". Some lawyers got on board and said US law was international law and it got hairy. We have Canadian agencies charging their customers .30/word and others trying to pay .005 (yes, half a penny per word) etc. etc. --- and then we're told that we should not discuss what the norm could be. The reasoning is that professionals are getting together to agree on one fee. Some say that is monopoly or price fixing.

When you shop around, you're doing it as a consumer. When Walmart, Sears and Staples get together to decide that toilet paper will be sold for $2.50, that's price fixing.

In the Canadian professional organization there is a survey with results published on-line, where we can see what our colleagues are charging in freelance translation, and in what percentage. Our code of ethics states that we must not undermine our colleagues through humungous unreasonable discounts. We must also guarantee quality work, not misrepresent ourselves (similar to the MTNA), so there is a relationship of quality and price.

I think some of this might be pertinent or helpful to music teaching, which is freelance, which is why I'm sharing this.

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#962872 - 08/13/08 11:19 AM Re: Rates....opinion please
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12043
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Keystring:
There's a fine line between price fixing and pricing yourself within a given market. Everyone prices themselves within a given market if they want to stay in business. That's not getting together and deciding "we'll charge this amount", it is "what will the consumer pay for a given service?" Comparing one's prices with a teacher of equal experience and credentials is perfectly legal, moral, and actually a good thing for everyone involved. A beginner teacher should charge less because they do not have experience. When I was a beginner teacher, I did things that perhaps weren't the best pedagogically, and learned from that experience. I also learned to run a business, often the hard way. Still, I think I was a good teacher and my students then enjoyed their lessons as they do now. I just have more experience and credentials, which caused me to increase my rates. I still did not want to price myself out of the market or be the highest in the area, so I found out where that ceiling was by investigating what others charge. That is different from all the teachers getting together and saying "this is what we'll all charge." The former is simply smart business practice, whereas the latter skews the market by dictating to the consumer what they will pay no matter where they go.
_________________________
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Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#962873 - 08/13/08 11:25 AM Re: Rates....opinion please
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11724
Loc: Canada
Morodiene, I agree. I am simply passing on what has come my way in a similar situation by the remote chance that the same argument will be made by somebody somewhere. En masse international discussions are a new phenomenon. We've had lawyers getting into the fray. One of the questions was area of jurisdiction of the hosting forum: our main one is based in Canada, the other one in the U.S. None of us thought of these things until it was pointed out.

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#962874 - 08/13/08 02:36 PM Re: Rates....opinion please
Fillanzea Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/17/05
Posts: 26
Akira, not that this takes away from your main point, but Harlem is no more than 20 minutes on the subway from some of the richest parts of New York (And Harlem itself is gentrifying pretty quickly, actually). A good piano teacher in Harlem could probably charge close to as much as one in Beverly Hills.

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#962875 - 08/13/08 05:45 PM Re: Rates....opinion please
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5943
Loc: Down Under
 Quote:
Originally posted by keystring:
Secondly, to charge close to what an experienced veteran charges, but be prepared to work three times as hard, take four times as long, and consider it a learning period. Quality should be the goal from the beginning, not: I'll charge less because I will produce a lower quality. [/b]
I think you've hit this one on the head, ks. And it's the same in the area in which I mainly work. I spend days getting my fingers around some deadly difficult piece and charge the soloist roughly the same as one of my more experienced colleagues who (because he's experienced) has played this work before and put in all the hard yards. We're both aiming for quality, and delivering it. It's just that it might take me longer and more effort to achieve it. And similarly with someone who is less experienced than I am. I have no problem with them charging the same as me, if quality is the aim and they are doing what is necessary to achieve it.
_________________________
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