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Most of us want our kids to have valuable experiences like learning to play an instrument, but the cost of private music lessons for an individual child can be overwhelming.
If music is important to you and you want to help your kids learn how to play an instrument, there are many ways to save! Some of them will require accountability and supervision on your end, but in my mind, if it means the difference between my kids learning an instrument or not, it’s worth it to me!
How to Save Money on Music Lessons
Hire a college student
The more experienced the teacher, the more expensive music lessons are going to be. But a college or graduate music student is often more than qualified to teach a beginning music student. If you have a university or college near you, start there and see what you can find!
Check with your local college or university for inexpensive programs
Similarly, you can often find inexpensive music programs at your local college. Music Education majors need to get teaching hours in, so lots of schools will offer group or private lessons with their students at deeply discounted prices! The downside of this is that you may need to switch teachers every semester, but it’s still worth it to me!
Take virtual lessons
There may not seem to be a big price difference in virtual and in-person lessons at first glance, but it will cut back on gas costs! Even better, you’ll save the travel time to and from lessons. And since you’re not tied to down a certain geographic location when choosing a teacher or music school, you’re more able to shop around for the lowest price.
Ask for multiple student discounts
If you have multiple students who all want to learn from the same teacher or at the same music school, negotiate for discounts. Many teachers and schools already have policies in place to give you a discount for more than one student.
Reduce the frequency of lessons
The average cost of a music lesson averages anywhere from $15-$75 per lesson (usually a half hour). If you are sending your child to lessons every week, that will add up! But if you reduce how often your child goes to every other week, you’ll save hundreds of dollars a year. This might seem obvious, but that means you have to encourage your child to practice, practice, practice between lessons.
Borrow an instrument
This might not work if your child wants to play the piano, but smaller instruments can be borrowed and handed down from other students. This is an especially good tip for instruments that need to “grow” with your child, like violins. Ask parents at your child’s school or in your homeschool group to see if someone has one you can borrow.
Buy a used instrument
Used instruments often work just as well as new and are much cheaper. Investigate online marketplaces and check with local music shops and teachers.
Teach your child yourself
If you have experience with a musical instrument, you may be able to teach your child yourself. There may be a point where your experience isn’t enough to keep teaching your child, but you could save money by getting them through the beginner phase.
Take group lessons
For certain instruments, group lessons may be cheaper than individual lessons. This kind of lesson is often taught at a music school or college, so look around in your area to see if this is an option. I see a lot of programs offering group string lessons especially!
Barter for lessons
A friend whose husband plays guitar taught the child of a friend of theirs in exchange for free babysitting for their kids. Be creative! If you know someone in your community who teaches lessons, see what you might be able to trade in exchange for lessons.
Use online resources
The technology age is a great opportunity to save money on music lessons. While it may not completely replace the experience of having a teacher physically present in the room, you can find really inexpensive ways to jumpstart your child’s musical life with online resources.
Piano Maestro | This is an app offered only for iPads that costs $9.99-$19.99/month, depending on the plan and whether you pay monthly or yearly.
G Major Music Theory | This site offers free piano sheet music leveled to different abilities in PDF form. If your child is already in music lessons in some form, this could save you money on resources.
PianoForAll | This site is only $39 for ebooks, audio files, and video support. It was difficult for me to tell how well this would work for young children in terms of interactivity and appeal, but the price seems worth checking out.
Hoffman Academy | Many homeschooling families we know use this program and swear by it! The cost is $18/month for a premium membership for one child; $9/month for additional kids. You can watch all the videos for free, but the other resources require a premium membership. Tip: If you pay yearly it’s $14.92 a month.
Piano Nanny | This site has three levels: starter, intermediate, and advanced. All the lessons are free and include images, explanations, audio files, and quizzes.
Justin Guitar | All the guitar lessons on this site are free, and you can start at the beginner level. You can also pay for a music theory course for $9.99/month or lifetime access for $99.
Guitartricks.com | The fee to use the lessons on this site is $20/month, but you can try for 60 days free.
Learn Drums Now | This site claims to teach your child how to learn to play the drums in 4 weeks — all for free!
Violin Lab | If your child is interested in learning the violin, this seems like the best option. You pay for access for a certain period of time; cost is $7.50-$28/month depending on the length of time you choose to be a member.
Check out all of our other homeschool resources!