How Much are Piano Lessons? | The Ultimate Guide

By: Sara Chatalbash

Owner | Teacher


When potential students contact me, one of the first things they want to know is, “How much are piano lessons?”.

Since there are so many variables that go into piano lesson prices, it’s pretty hard to give you a set price to expect, but I’ll do my best to explain some of the piano lesson pricing factors that go into the final price you see.

Choosing a piano teacher is a lot like choosing a car.

how-much-are-piano-lessons

With so many different brands out there, there’s a wide range of prices. You have the company who makes the car and you have upgrades that you can add to your car (ex. heated seats, sunroof, backup camera).

So your final price really depends on the brand you choose and the upgrades you get! In this analogy, the company who makes the car is the music studio (Guitar Center, Sam Ash, etc.). The upgrades are the lesson length, the teacher’s experience and where the lessons will take place (your home vs. at their studio) etc. 

If the average person sells their car within the first few years of owning it why do so many people choose to get so many upgrades?

It’s because most people want to get what they want on the first go around so they don’t have any woulda, coulda, shouldas in the future. With a piano teacher, you ideally don’t want to have to go find a new studio after a few years because you get sick of your teacher or you outgrow them so this is a decision for the long haul.

This means it’s even more important to make the right decision the first time and make sure the studio you pick will provide you with enough room to grow into the pianist that you want to be, be able to teach the genres that you’re interested in, and have a teacher you meld with who teaches each student how they learn best. 

Learning an instrument is very personal and requires you to connect with your teacher so you get the most out of your lessons. Picking the right instructor who checks all the boxes the first time is critical to ensure you reach all your goals and learn correctly. Because of this, you should choose a teacher that checks all your boxes today as well as continues to check all your boxes into the future. 

Unfortunately, many potential students only focus on the initial price of the lessons and look for the cheapest price, therefore sacrificing lesson quality, customer service and teacher experience, which inevitably leads to regret— you’ll either outgrow your teacher or they will have you mimic them (learn by rote) so you sound like you are playing piano, but you don’t actually know what you’re playing so you go home and are totally lost, frustrated and confused.

What Affects the Price of Piano Lessons:

  • Business’ overhead
  • Lesson location (in-studio vs. at your home and city)
  • Lesson length
  • Your skill level
  • Education level of teacher

Business Overhead

Depending on where the piano studio is located (big box store v. in the teacher’s home), prices of lessons can vary. Companies that have storefronts and many employees will have high overhead costs that will, in turn, be passed down to you as the consumer. Your lesson cost will include what it takes to pay rent, pay the instructors, pay for insurances, etc. Studios that are held in teachers’ homes don’t have those high overhead costs and so your lesson costs reflect those savings. 

Location

Depending on the studio, piano lessons can be taught in the student’s home in person or online, in the teacher’s home, or in a music studio.

Where you take lessons is up to you, but not all teachers and studios offer all options so make sure you find that out early so you get what you want. Teachers who travel to the homes of each student will have additional travel costs included in their rates or added as an additional cost per lesson, whether they’re an employee at a music studio or have their own private studio.

This additional cost can be anywhere from $10-25 per lesson so it’s usually more affordable to travel to your teacher than the other way around.

If you travel to your teacher for lessons, you’ll have a high-quality instrument and extra resources provided for you at their location, which ensures you learn properly. If you take lessons in your own home, you’ll be learning on your own instrument so it’s important that you have a solid setup at home with a proper instrument. Either way, it’s a responsibility to have a quality instrument at home to practice on in between lessons as well.

Lesson costs also depend on the city you’re in, too. Monthly prices will be lower if you’re in a suburb or rural area without much competition and the cost of living is lower. If you live in New York City where there are tons of competing studios on every corner and the cost of living is expensive, then expect monthly lesson rates to reflect that.

Lesson Length

Lessons can last from 30 minutes to 60 minutes and their per lesson/monthly rates are set accordingly. Private 1-1 lessons usually have 30 or 45-minute options for beginner/intermediate lessons, which isn’t a lot of time to learn, but those on a budget may like the option. Group lessons are normally longer and may be a bit less expensive, but it depends on the studio. Lab lessons have multiple students in the same class, but students learn independently with headphones with the teacher and work at their own pace on their own music, not as a group. Group and Lab lessons are no less effective than private lessons to learn the piano. If you’re going the private lesson route, then expect prices to be a bit higher because those teachers can only spend that hour with one student and can only make so much money per hour that way. 

Students Skill Level

A lot of studios charge more if you’re an advanced player because you require a more skilled and educated teacher and those teachers cost more. There are often specific lessons for beginners/intermediates and children (usually between 30-45 minutes long) and then a separate program and price for advanced lessons, which are 60 minutes long and you may have to audition for. 

Education Level of Teachers

Many piano teachers are highly accomplished musicians with degrees, years of teaching experience, and performing experience. What these teachers charge will reflect this life expertise and education. They’ve spent years of their life honing their skills and paying for education and they will charge what their many years of work are worth. If Teacher A went to music school and has a degree/s in performance and education, has been professionally taught to play, has years of teaching and performing experience and Teacher B does not have a degree in music/education, is self-taught, cannot play advanced music, and has only played piano as a hobby, you’d expect to pay Teacher A more, right? More often than not, you will see lower lesson prices as well as free intro lessons from teachers who are less experienced and educated because price is the only way for them to compete since they cannot offer the same/more education and experience. When it comes to education, you want to look at more than just the price. You may spend less money on the cheaper option, but you’ll pay in the long run by developing bad habits, not reaching your goal and eventually having to find a new teacher.

As you can see, there are many things that can affect the cost of your piano lessons and depending on which lever you pull, you will get a different price for lessons. However, if you inquire about lessons here, I’ll make sure to answer all of your questions so that the things that are most important to you are front and center. 

What’s the Cost of Chatalbash Lessons’ Piano Lessons?

The cost of my piano lessons is $249 per month for one-hour, weekly lessons. I teach kids teens and adults For comparison, Grace Music costs $328 per month and NY Musicians Center costs $304 per month for weekly lessons. I don’t have high overhead being that I teach from my home so I pass the savings directly to you. I also graduated from the Crane School of Music on piano, which is known as one of the best music schools in the country. I have 25 years of playing experience and 13 years of teaching experience. I also only teach piano so my knowledge is concentrated. I don’t split my time between trying to teach other instruments and I don’t just teach beginner-intermediate piano or just children like most other teachers so you get the benefit of a lower price and the highest quality teacher. 

How Does Lab Lesson Tuition Compare to Other Piano Lesson Styles?

Lab Piano Lessons

Tuition for lab style lessons is most often less than private lessons because teachers can see multiple students within the hour instead of just one. The lower tuition doesn’t mean the lessons are lower quality or the teacher isn’t as good, it simply has to do with the amount of students we can see in a set period of time. Lab lessons are different than group lessons because you wear headphones and are not learning as a group at all. Every student is learning what they want to learn at their own pace and level. You don’t have to keep up with anyone or play with anyone either. Nobody hears you and you don’t hear them. You get 1-1 teaching and are given the privacy to practice what you just learned on your own. You’re able to learn songs in their entirety before going home since lab lessons provide you with an entire hour to learn and practice, as opposed to most beginner private lessons that only give you 30 minutes. Lab lessons are also proven to see students progress 33% faster through their lesson books than private lessons. 

Private Piano Lessons

Everyone thinks that the only way to properly learn how to play the piano is with private lessons just because that’s the way it’s always been done, but it’s really not the only way. Private lessons are priced higher because the teacher can only meet with you for that entire hour or 30 minutes. They don’t have the opportunity to make any more money than that so they need to price those lessons higher to make a living. If you are taking lessons at a store then private lessons will also reflect those overhead costs, as I mentioned earlier. Yes, you do get a ton of attention for that whole lesson, but it’s actually doing yourself a disservice by relying so heavily on the teacher to be listening and problem-solving for you. You’re not learning what to do when the teacher isn’t around all week when you’re trying to practice nor are you getting practice time within the lesson to finish songs before you go home. Everyone thinks they or their child needs all that attention, but they don’t. We don’t learn 1-1 in school, sports, dance, the arts, etc. so why piano?

Group Piano Lessons

Group lesson tuition is often lower than private lessons and may even be lower than lab lessons in some areas. Group lessons are not to be confused with lab lessons because in group lessons, you ARE taught as a group. Everyone is taught the same exact thing and you have to be at the same level as everyone else. You need to keep up with the class and often play in front of or with the other students in your class. Classes are normally grouped by age as well so your child would be with others their own age. Group lessons are pretty much exactly how you learn in school and tend to be very limiting when it comes to learning what YOU want to learn and going at your own pace that’s comfortable for you. 

Other Potential Piano Lesson Costs:

  • Registration Fees:
    Many studios charge an upfront, yearly/semester registration fee (can be anywhere from $20-50) to cover music/lesson books, recital fees, supplies, materials, etc. 
  • Recital Fees:
    This cost may cover things like renting a venue, food/drinks, decorations, awards, favors, a DIY project, etc. It can range anywhere from $10-25, depending on the cost of the venue and how much the studio wants to cover.
  • Music/Book fees:
    If the studio doesn’t charge a registration fee, then that means you’ll just pay for books, materials, and music as you need them. Either your teacher will provide them for you and send you the fee for reimbursement that month, or they’ll have you get it yourself. This can range from $2-30 depending on the cost of the music/books and how many you’ll need. Sheet music for a one-off song is usually only a few dollars per song to purchase and sometimes certain music can be found for free at no charge to you. Typical lesson book: Adult Piano Adventures All-in-One Piano Course Book 1: Book with Media Online Typical sheet music: Sheet Music Direct
  • Purchasing a Keyboard:
    You’ll need a quality instrument to practice on at home and this may seem like a project to find one so let me help you. It is highly recommended that you have either an acoustic piano or a digital piano with 88, fully-weighted keys to learn properly on. Any keyboard that has less than 88 keys or has semi-weighted/non-weighted keys is doing yourself a huge disservice and you will be holding yourself back so budget a few hundred dollars minimum for a good instrument. The less you spend, the lower the quality of the instrument so good teachers will never recommend you get low-tier instruments. Higher-end digital piano: Yamaha YDP144 Arius Series Piano Middle tier digital piano: Yamaha P45. If you look on Facebook Marketplace or OfferUp, you can find keyboards and pianos for very cheap or sometimes for free.
  • Notebook/folder/bag:
    You’ll need a notebook of some sort to write your assignments down in each week and for your piano teacher to make notes in and perhaps you’ll want to keep your loose music organized in a folder. If you’re traveling to lessons, you’ll want to keep everything in one place and sheltered from getting blown away, dropped, or getting wet from rain/snow so you may want to have a bag dedicated to keeping only your music things in. Notebooks and folders normally go for $1 per item at the dollar store or a few dollars on Amazon, Walgreens, Walmart, etc. Tote bags work really well to transport things from home to your lesson (can be found for as low as $5), but really any bag is fine. Sometimes you can find these items for free online in your neighborhood. As long as it helps you stay organized, pick whatever you like!
  • Metronome:
    Metronomes help you keep a steady tempo and work on rhythms so you may want to invest in one since most teachers use them. They’re pretty inexpensive and can be found even on Amazon. Premium metronome: Boss DB90 Budget metronome: Kork MA1BL. There are some free metronomes on apps as well.
  • Piano tuning:
    This one only applies if you have an acoustic piano at home. It’s recommended that pianos be tuned about twice per year to keep it in good condition and sounding beautiful. If you practice hours a day, then you’ll need tunings more often than twice per year; maybe once a semester. Typical tuners charge about $100-200 per visit to tune pianos in New York, but can vary by location so be sure to check the Piano Technicians Guild website for the most qualified tuners and technicians in your area and their prices. Based on the condition of your piano and how often you tune it, it could be more costly. Find a Registered Piano Technician Here

So in Conclusion, How Much are Piano Lessons?

As you can see it depends, there are a lot of variables and add-ons that affect the true cost of your piano lessons. Just make sure that whoever you choose as your piano teacher checks all your boxes, that you won’t outgrow them, and they’ll make you the happiest in the long run. To make things easier for you, I made a checklist: “5 Critical Questions to Ask to Make Sure You’re Getting a High Quality Piano Teacher.” Please, use this checklist even if you don’t choose our studio as the place you want to learn piano. At the end of the day, it has to be the right fit for you!

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