10 Expenses to Budget For When Taking Music Lessons
by Meri Dolevski-Lewis
There are a number of expenses that one must budget for when someone is about to start music lessons for a student. Here are the most common expenses.
1) A good quality instrument. For pianos, plan on spending at least $1200 for a new good quality digital, up to $2000 for a used quality upright, and at least $3500 for a good quality new upright. Good quality student grade flutes and clarinets are usually $450-650, saxophones and oboes are about double that. Used good-quality flutes and clarinets are about 1/2 the cost of a new one, a used saxophone or oboe usually is around $800-$1000. I strongly advise against renting an instrument, but finance the instrument if you need to.
2) The cost of lessons for 3-6 months. Some teachers charge by the quarter, and even if they don’t (many charge month in advance), if you have a 3 month buffer you can use it just in case major unexpected expenses comes up, as students who end up enjoying music lessons often find it disheartening to quit music lessons. In many major cities, the average lesson fee is approximately $150-$200 a month.
3) Music books. Students up to the intermediate stages of study should factor in about $60-$80 of books a year per student, some teachers charge this fee upfront. Intermediate students should fctor in up to $150 for books; advanced students $200-$300.
4) Instrument equipment. Reeds, ligatures, mouthpieces, strings. Factor in about $100-150/year for these expenses.
5) Music stand. All music students should have a music stand (yes, even pianists, especially if thy learn other instuments or accompany students on other instruments), a good quality portable one is about $10-$15, while the sturdier professional ones are usually between $50-$75.
6) Exam, audition, and competition fees. Students up to intermediate should factor about $100/year, intermediate, up to $300/year, and advanced, at least $500/year.
7) Ensemble fees. Some high level ensembles are expensive to play in, some of them here cost $300-$500 to be a member per student.
8 ) Instument upgrades. Once students are playing at a solid intermediate level, sometimes the instrument they started on will not suffice in quality, such as the fact that good quality plastic clarinets, while suitable for the beginning stages, do not develop the student’s airflow and expressive possibilities.
9) Instrument maintenance/repairs. Acoustic pianos should be tuned at least twice a year,where I am, a good tuner is usually around $90-$150. Most orchestral instruments need minor maitenance about 3-4 times a year (usually a key adjustment on woodwind instruments for example.), and repairs will usually be needed about 3 times a year (usually to replace a part of an instrument that is breaking, or has broken apart.
10) Supplemental instruction. Although growing numbers of teachers are teaching other music subjects that apply to all musicians, there are some teachers who do not, and you may need to budget for the cost of music theory courses, for example.