Meri’s Musical Musings

Random Thoughts on Music, October 7, 2009

Posted on: October 7, 2009

Tips on finding money to pay for lessons:

Make sacrifices in order to afford lessons. Cable and internet can cost a fair chunk of change, if you can live without out (believe me, you get used to it pretty quickly)  you could have the money for a couple of lessons a month. Sell any recent model video games systems you have, and even the games. Bring your lunch to school and/or work, instead of eating out. Switch to a cheaper cellphone plan, like most prepaids are less expensive than monthly. Cut down or eliminate movie rentals from the video store.

Apply for a scholarship. You could have a well-off friend or relative sponsor you for lessons. See what’s available through the school, the professional  musician’s association, the government, or independent organizations such as Musiclink.

Offer to help the teacher in exchange for lessons. There are a lot of things that go into running a music business, there are some tasks I would love to have an assistant for, like post flyers, mailbox delivery, do mailings, work as a page turner.

On teachers who only offer a quarterly, semester, or yearly option…

Some of us take lessons on more than one musical instrument, and I currently take three sets of lessons. It’s much easier for people who take multiple sets of lessons to pay month in advance (say at an average $150/month per subject) than it is to find $1000+ every 3-6 months. No way would I be paying for lessons a semester at a time if more than one teacher asked that.

It would also be challenging for most families with more than one person taking lessons to pay by the quarter, semester, or yearly.

More on money and music lessons…

Teachers should be open to the choice of payment students prefer. I personally prefer cash, though I don’t make it mandatory, as I know some people like to keep track of their expenses. I also don’t approve of teachers who ask for a semester’s or year’s worth of post-dated cheques, that is in several parts of North America, illegal.

On teacher’s leave of absence policies…

Some teachers say that a student is not allowed to return to a teacher’s studio after they leave. Personally I think this is not a good idea. I know I’ve had to stop my own lessons for months or years, not because I wanted to, but because I couldn’t afford to pay for them even monthly. And I’ve had some students come back, because they were attending school out of town, often after a break they were ready to work again, or become much more appreciative of what I offer and how I teach after getting instruction from another teacher and eventually realizing they had it much better with me, in terms of results and offerings. But study continously with a teacher for at least 6 months so you can see the fruits of their efforts.

Dumb reasons to leave a teacher:

Wanting a closer teacher. Wanting a cheaper teacher. If you had a really good teacher in the first place, often you will have at least two or three not so good teachers before either quitting or rarely, going back to the original teacher.


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  • V V: Wish I had read this before I fell for their scheme ! Oh well - have posted my experience on Yelp and N49 and hoping others can avoid the pain of fal
  • clariniano: Thanks for the additional information. It was actually Yelp that deleted my reviews, because of so-called bias. I too have seen the horrible technique
  • No Thanks: Former Teacher at the Ontario Conservatory of Music I took lessons at the Ontario Conservatory and when I left for private lessons from another tea
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