Guest post from Jamie of From His Presence
You’ve probably heard that playing a musical instrument can do wonders for your child’s education. It’s true, music builds math and reading skills, confidence, and self-discipline; it provides an avenue for your child to make friends with other musicians and it can open doors for college scholarships.
However, music lessons can cost $60-$100 or more each month, and that can be tough on a family’s budget. Here are 5 practical ways afford music lessons, even when money is tight:
1. Group lessons
Stringed instruments in particular (violin, viola, cello, upright bass) are well-suited for group lessons. Popular string method books for beginners contain exercises that all the instruments can play together, so nobody gets bored.
Group lessons are more fun than playing alone, and playing music with others helps a new string player train his ear to hear correct pitch. Combining funds with other parents to pay for one weekly group lesson is a frugal way to grow young musicians.
2. Outreach programs through The Salvation Army (SA)
The SA is renowned for its ability to train musicians—particularly brass players. The SA community center in my city offers an after-school music program to low-income and high-risk students. Students learn brass, guitar, percussion, and piano.
Not every SA chapter offers music programs, but if yours does and you meet the requirements, you’re not likely to find better instructors anywhere. (Note: I am not affiliated with the SA.)
3. Music instruction programs at city-owned recreation centers
Check with your local government to see if the city recreation centers offer music/arts programs. If they do, these programs will usually be affordable or even free. Common programs include drum/percussion instruction, dance instruction, etc.
4. Music outreach non-profits
The Joy of Music School in Knoxville, Tennessee, offers free music lessons to disadvantaged youth. If you have a similar school in your area, you’re likely to find excellent teachers and help obtaining an instrument there.
5. Local churches with mentoring programs
I play in the orchestra at my church, and we have players of all instruments — drums, guitars, bass, strings, brass, woodwinds, and keys — who are ready and willing to mentor.
If you are involved in a local church, ask your worship pastor if he knows any church musicians who would mentor your child. Even if there is no formal program, you still may find someone who is willing to help. Some churches also will have instruments that you child may be able to borrow.
If your child wants to play an instrument, don’t despair! Try one or more of these options and keep your ears open. You may find music lessons are easier to arrange than you dreamed. (Then, you will just have to put up with the noise of practice!)
Do you have any other ideas for how to find affordable music lessons? Leave a comment so everyone can benefit!
Jamie Rohrbaugh is a wife, financial analyst, blogger, musician, and unlikely worship leader from Chattanooga, Tennessee. She plays piano, viola, percussion, and the Amazon Cloud Player. She blogs at From His Presence about how to live ordinary life in God’s manifest presence.