Do your kids want to take music lessons, but you’re struggling to find extra room in the budget? Don’t miss these great budget-friendly tips to make music lessons more affordable!
Guest post from Lora of Lessonface:
Musical training teaches children much more than just music. Music teaches discipline, creativity, and motivation. It enriches lives, boosts brain function and memory, provides an outlet for self-expression, and strengthens relationships with families and friends.
All of those wonderful benefits can sometimes come with a hefty price tag, though. From purchasing instruments to monthly lessons, it can be easy for your music budget to get out of hand very quickly.
But it doesn’t have to be that way! Don’t let the potential costs of music training put your children’s musical dreams on hold.
Here are 10 simple ways you can cut costs without having to sacrifice great instruction or good quality instruments.
1. Focus on one instrument.
If you have a large family, there’s a good chance everyone wants to learn a different instrument. That means purchasing a different instrument and different books for every child. You will also spend more time and money driving to lessons for every music teacher.
Having everyone start out on one instrument will not only save you money, but it could also help your children’s musical ability in the long run.
The piano is a great place to start and allows children to focus on music basics before learning more advanced instruments.
Unlike other instruments, you don’t have to buy different sized pianos to accommodate every child. Purchasing one single piano or keyboard can work for small beginners as well as full-grown teenagers. Plus, students who have a basic knowledge of the piano generally progress much faster when they learn an instrument with a steeper learning curve, like violin or cello.
2. Double up on lessons.
Having multiple children learning the same instrument means you may be able to have two lessons for the price of one. If children are relatively close in age and around the same musical level, sharing a lesson works well.
Not all teachers will allow lesson times to be shared, but it’s worth asking. Sharing instruction can sometimes cut your lesson costs in half.
3. Take longer lessons.
Many teachers charge less per minute for hour lessons as opposed to thirty or forty-five-minute lessons. It’s a way to encourage students to take longer lessons.
While signing up for the longer lesson may be more costly at first, you’re saving money by paying less per minute. Think of it as buying in bulk.
Consider taking an hour lesson every other week as opposed to a thirty-minute lesson every week. You will be able to cover more information since you’ll spend less time unpacking, tuning, etc.
Or, see if your teacher will give you a reduced rate if you have multiple children taking lessons.
4. Create a group class.
If you can assemble a group of students who all want to learn the same instrument, you may be able to create a group class. Ask your teacher if they would be willing to teach a group of students.
Music teachers all have different policies when it comes to group classes, but if you already have a handful of students ready to learn, teachers will generally work something out with you.
Splitting a teacher’s hourly rate between four or five other students can greatly reduce your overall costs.
5. Research youth orchestras, bands, and group lessons in your area.
Many music schools offer large beginner classes. Instruction will not be as personalized as private lessons, but group classes can be an ideal way to learn the basic principles of your instrument.
You may have to pay for the whole semester upfront, but once you split the cost between all the lessons, you’ll find these courses can save you a lot of money.
6. Consider online lessons.
Traditional in-person lessons can mean extra costs and extra stress.
With today’s technology, online lessons offer the same quality instruction as in-person lessons without all the time wasted driving, sitting, and waiting while your child takes the lesson.
With online lessons you also have a bigger selection of teachers, allowing you to shop around for the best price.
7. Rent to own.
Purchasing an instrument can be the biggest upfront expense that deters many families from pursuing music. However, most music stores offer options that make owning an instrument more affordable.
Ask about renting to own or payment plans. Not all music stores advertise these options so doing some research can really help you save.
8. Buy used instruments.
Consider buying a used instrument or an instrument with blemishes.
But before you pick up that violin at the thrift store or agree to purchase your neighbor’s used trumpet, ask a music teacher for their opinion on the instrument you are thinking about buying. Buying any used instrument might seem like a great way to save money, but you can end up spending more than the instrument is worth on repairs or replacement parts.
If you are interested in buying a used instrument, your teacher will usually be able to connect you with websites, stores, or other students selling good quality, used instruments.
9. Avoid cheap instruments.
While some instruments on online megastores seem like unbeatable deals, these instruments are often of such poor quality that they are completely unplayable.
They can lead to wasted money, wasted time, and wasted motivation.
Shop at local music stores or ask your teacher what they recommend for cheap, beginner instruments. Purchasing a decent instrument may cost a little more upfront, but you will reap many benefits, be able to learn more, and save money in the long run.
10. Encourage regular practicing.
To get the most out of your lesson time, make sure that your child practices regularly.
One of the biggest wastes of money (when it comes to music) is being unprepared for lessons. The more prepared a student is, the more the teacher can teach them—which means more bang for your buck!
Students who make consistent progress are less likely to complain about practicing or want to stop playing after a few months.
Anytime a child starts a new instrument, they are generally very motivated to practice and enjoy playing. Take advantage of this precious time! Encourage children to practice as much as they can. The more progress a student makes early on, the more likely they are to stick with it and enjoy all the rewards that musical training can offer.
Bonus Tip: If you are unsure about all the unknown costs learning a musical instrument might entail, ask a music teacher!
Even if you aren’t currently taking lessons, music teachers are more than happy to talk to you about all the potential costs. They can also give you detailed information about purchasing the best (and cheapest) beginner instruments and accessories.
The lessons a child learns playing a musical instrument can help them for the rest of their lives. Studies consistently show that music helps brain development, motor skills, language, literacy, social, emotional, and intellectual abilities.
Don’t let the potential costs of learning music keep your child from experiencing all of the wonderful benefits music has to offer. Start learning music today!
Lora Gallman has been teaching violin lessons for 15 years. When not playing violin, she enjoys spending time with anything that has wings—including birds, chickens, and airplanes. She holds a Master’s Degree in Music Education and currently teaches online violin lessons at Lessonface.
I second the practicing! If your child is young, it’s worth your time to ask the teacher how you can help your child practice the best. Most kids need to be taught by example how to practice well, and you as the parent are the best one to do that even if you don’t play that instrument.
I have taught plenty of lessons that are basically 30 minutes of guided practice time. That is not the best way for you to spend your money 🙂
Thanks for your insight! So true!! I used to teach piano lessons, and you’re so right! -Meg, MSM Team
As a piano and violin teacher I would agree with most of these. I do agree also that online lessons can be a great tool, however, I have taught both ways and it is definitely not the same. It is so much more clear and personal in person. Just like learning any subject, it is totally possible to learn online but it is not the same when you are in person one on one with the teacher. That being said, the very beginner basics taught as a group is a fantastic approach. Some of learning music is actually hands on, especially when teacher proper holding and posture and finger positioning.
Thanks for your unique perspective and for the great tips! -Meg, MSM Team
Elissa Bishop says
A great online piano lesson site that I just started my kids on a couple months ago is busykidsdopiano.com
They’ve really enjoyed it and we can do lessons whenever they’re ready for the next one instead of cramming to be ready (or being ready and having to wait to move on). Highly recommend for anyone who is interested in online piano lessons. She also has them for adults!
Thanks for that tip!! -Meg, MSM Team