Signing up for music lessons near you and learning how to play a musical instrument has several physiological, academic, socio-emotional, and financial benefits. Research conducted by Sam Houston State University suggests that every $1 spent on pre-college private music lessons results in a $0.11 music merit-based scholarship. It is also estimated that schools with music programs have at least a 17% higher graduation rate than schools that do not have music programs, and students involved in high-quality music programs reportedly score higher on standardized tests than students that are not involved in these programs. Likewise, at least 70% of people involved in music attribute their current level of personal fulfillment to this involvement. Other benefits of participating in music lessons near you include increased muscle development and improved motor skills, increased discipline, improved social skills, and generally feeling good about yourself.
Whether you wish to find good music lessons near you for yourself or your kids, it is necessary to make sure that the school you choose is qualified to professionally teach music and help you meet your pre-determined goals. The under-listed questions can help you ensure that the music school of your choice conducts its business in compliance with relevant industry standards:
Are You Licensed, Registered, or Certified?
While there are no specific licensing or certification requirements for individuals that provide private music lessons, music teachers that wish to be employed in public educational institutions in the United States are generally required to obtain mandatory state-issued licenses and certifications. The requirements for obtaining these licenses and certifications vary by state, but they typically involve earning a bachelor's degree, passing a state-administered assessment examination, completing an approved teacher preparation program, and passing a background check. To get the best out of your music lessons, it is advisable to always hire a music teacher that has met all relevant state-mandated requirements for music education in your locality, regardless of whether or not these lessons are intended to hold privately. Contact your state's department of education or consumer protection office to find out the specific requirements that have to be met by music teachers in your state of residence. You should also request proof from your intended music teacher that these requirements have been duly met, and verify this information with the relevant licensing and certification authority.
In addition to ensuring that your intended music teacher is properly licensed and certified, you should also look out for membership in professional associations. Hiring a music teacher that is a member of a professional association gives you a measure of assurance that your music lessons will be handled proficiently and in line with a stipulated code of conduct. Some of these associations also provide continuing education and voluntary certification opportunities for their members that validate the music teacher's individual qualifications and specialization in a specific field of music or musical instrument. Examples of reputable professional associations that music teachers in the United States belong to include the National Association for Music Education, the Music Teachers National Association, the International Society for Music Education, and the Association for Technology in Music Instruction. Note that you should always request proof of membership from any music teacher that claims to belong to a professional association and authenticate this with the respective association.
How Much Do Music Lessons Cost?
Music teachers in the United States generally charge an average of $30 - $50 per lesson for 30-minute lessons. However, some music teachers may charge hourly, weekly, and even monthly rates. Note that the specific cost of signing up for music lessons near you is dependent on several factors, some of which include:
- The length of the lessons
- The specialization and expertise of the music teacher
- The location of the lessons
- The musical instrument you wish to learn
- Your current level of experience
- Your geographical location
You can cut down on your total costs when signing up for music lessons near you by doing the following:
- Get estimates from at least three music schools: before concluding on a particular music school or teacher, it is advisable to shop around for prices and get a fair idea of the average cost of music lessons in your locality. This way, you do not end up paying more than you should for your music lessons.
- Ask about discounts: find out if the music school or teacher of your choice offers discounts on music lessons. Some common discounts typically offered by music schools and teachers include family and sibling discounts, multiple instrument discounts, and package discounts for booking multiple lessons. Likewise, some music schools and performing arts centers offer sliding scale fee options and scholarships on music lessons to students from low-income families. Note that you may have to meet certain eligibility requirements before you can access these scholarships.
- Consider group and online lessons: you can save money on music lessons by attending group lessons. These types of lessons generally cost between 50 75% of the normal rate for private or one-on-one lessons. Similarly, some music teachers also offer online lessons, which typically cost less than in-person lessons and are another good way to save costs on music lessons.
- Check out college music students: you can save on your total music lesson costs by checking with the music departments of any universities or colleges near you for music students that may be offering music lessons. If available, these college students generally offer lower rates on lessons than more experienced music teachers.
- Have a clear idea of your goals and do not hesitate to ask questions: having a clear idea of your reason for signing up for music lessons near you ensures that you only pay for classes that are beneficial towards your pre-determined end goals. Likewise, asking questions on issues that you are unclear about also helps you determine the right lesson schedule or duration that would best suit these goals.
What Are Common Music Lessons Expenses?
When signing up for music lessons near you, it is important to inquire about expenses you may incur that are not covered by the cost of your lessons. You should always discuss these additional expenses with the music school or teacher that you intend to sign up with and have a clear idea of what they entail to avoid any misunderstandings after you begin your lessons.
Some common expenses associated with music lessons that are not typically included in the cost of the actual lessons include:
- Musical instrument costs: before you can begin any music lessons, you need to have a musical instrument. The cost of these instruments varies, with smaller instruments like recorder and ukuleles generally costing less than larger instruments like pianos, saxophones, and cellos. Some music schools offer their students the option of hiring these instruments, and the cost of doing so is primarily dependent on the music school in question as well as the type of instrument to be hired. Note that if any musical instrument you hire gets damaged while you are using it, you may also be required to cover the cost of any required repairs to this instrument.
- Music books and related materials fees: when you sign up for music lessons, you will typically be required to purchase music books and other teaching materials that are related to the musical instrument you wish to learn. These materials can cost you anywhere between $5 and $100 for each item.
- Performance/Participation fees: many music schools and teachers offer their students the opportunity to perform at events like home concerts and recitals. Depending on the nature of the activity in question, you may be required to pay a participation fee, and this can be as low as $2 - $10 or as high as $50 - $200 per event.
- Home lesson fees: music teachers generally charge additional fees for home lessons to cover their transportation costs. These home lesson fees will typically cost you an extra $5 - $15 on top of your usual music lesson fees.
- Musical instrument maintenance fees: if you decide to buy your musical instrument instead of renting it, then you will be required to maintain this instrument. For example, string instruments will need new strings over time, while brass instruments may need their valves or mouthpieces replaced or fixed. The specific maintenance actions required, as well as the cost of doing so, typically depend on the musical instrument in question.
- Cancellation fees: Some music schools charge fees for cancellation notices that are not provided within a specified timeframe. While these fees are usually a percentage of the standard music lesson cost, some music schools may charge you the total cost of the canceled lesson.
Who Will Do the Work?
Before paying for any music lessons near you, you should always find out who will be teaching your lessons and make sure that this individual is a good fit for you and your specific needs. Verify the music teacher's qualifications and level of experience with the musical instrument that you are interested in learning. Discuss any individual needs that you may have, such as a particular style of music that you wish to learn, how much practice you will need based on your current level of ability, and how your progress will be measured. It is also a good idea to find out if the music teacher is up to date with the latest music-related research and how committed and passionate they are about teaching music.
What Qualifications Should a Music Teacher Have?
Music teachers that wish to be employed in public schools and other educational institutions are usually required to have a bachelor's degree in music, music education, or any other related field, complete an approved teacher preparation program, and obtain state-issued licenses and certifications. However, these requirements are not mandatory for music teachers that are employed in strictly private settings, and these individuals are typically employed based on a combination of their level of education, experience, and skills, as well as their reputation in a particular music specialty.
Some music teachers obtain voluntary certifications from organizations like the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards and Music Teachers National Association. These certifications indicate that the music teacher has attained additional proficiency in a specified area of music or music education. Music teachers that also wish to indicate professionalism may do so by becoming members of associations like the National Association for Music Education, the Association for Technology in Music Instruction, and the International Society for Music Education.
Will You Provide References?
It is common to get referrals on good music lessons near you from sources like friends, family, colleagues, and even online search engines. After confirming the qualifications, lesson costs, and your suitability with the music teacher that is referred to you, the final thing to do is request references on past students or customers from this teacher. Asking for references is a good way to get first-hand reviews and testimonials on the music teacher that you wish to work with and reputable music teachers will readily give you this information. If your intended music teacher cannot provide you with the contact information of at least three past students, or if these past students have mostly negative opinions about the teacher, then you should consider this a red flag and look for a different teacher.
Alternatively, you can utilize platforms like Google Review, Yelp, and Better Business Bureau to get opinions, testimonials, and reviews on your intended music teacher as well as other music teachers near you.
Quick Facts about Music Teachers
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Expert Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about Music Lessons
What Instruments Do You Offer Lessons For?
Many music schools typically offer lessons in a wide variety of instruments. These include pianos, violins, violas, string bass, guitars, flutes, clarinets, bassoons, brass, cellos, fiddles, flutes, French horns, harps, oboes, organs, percussions, trumpets, trombones, saxophones, tubas, synthesizers, woodwinds, harpsichords, and several more. Nonetheless, before signing up for music lessons near you, you should confirm that the music school in question offers lessons in your preferred musical instrument.
What Age Is Best to Start Music Lessons?
Music lessons undertaken to learn a musical instrument should ideally begin between the ages of six and nine. However, infants can partake in informal music activities such as musical games and listening to songs and musical instruments soon after birth, while more formalized lessons aimed at developing skills like identifying musical instruments and melodies can begin at the age of three.
Are Music Lessons worth It?
Yes, music lessons are worth it. Signing up either yourself or your kid for music lessons has numerous benefits, some of which are:
- It improves cognitive abilities
- It enhances spatial intelligence
- It improves auditory skills
- It teaches discipline
- It builds resilience
- It helps build a strong sense of community and boosts social skills
- It promotes teamwork
- It leads to better emotional development
- It helps reduce stress
- It provides a good creative foundation
- It increases your feeling of self-worth and makes you a happier person
What Is the Easiest Instrument to Learn to Play?
Musicals instruments that are generally considered the easiest to learn are:
How Much and How Often Should My Child Practice?
Many music teachers generally recommend that their students practice regularly, for an average of two to three hours a week. These hours can be split into 20 minutes every night, six days a week. However, if your child is unable to meet up with this schedule, then they can also consider breaking it up into 30 45 minute practices every day during weekends and 15 20 minute practices on three weekdays.