How Much Should Harmonica Lessons Cost?

I’ve always been very sensitive about the price I charge for harmonica lessons. It doesn’t seem to be the done thing for teachers to advertise their rates so I won’t do that here, but I do want to explain the factors that led me to make my decision.

As of 2019, The Musicians Union says teachers should be paid a minimum of £34 for an hours tuition. That’s more than I want to charge. It’s more than I could afford to pay, that’s for sure.

I want my lessons to be accessible to as many people as possible but I’ve also worked very hard for a long time developing my skills (both as a player and a teacher) and believe I offer a good service. So I need to strike a balance.

To begin with, I set the duration of my sessions at 45 minutes rather than an hour. In most cases I find that to be long enough. Anyway, unless I have another lesson or something pressing to do, sessions frequently go longer at no extra charge. I’m pretty informal like that.

My contact with students doesn’t end when the session does either. I encourage students to contact me via email in between sessions if they need anything clarifying, or want to check they are on the right track. I’m also happy to listen to student recordings and offer feedback, give advice on gear purchases or answer any harmonica related questions.

I also offer an audio recording of each session. I can either copy it straight to a memory stick at the end of the session or provide a private Google Drive link so it can be downloaded afterwards. This is invaluable. Furthermore, after sessions, I frequently record playing examples for students to refer to in their practice.

Something I don’t do that many teachers do is insist students book a certain number of lessons in advance or commit to a regular time-slot (although I’m happy to do that if the student wants it). I can only do that because teaching harmonica is not my primary source of income. Students are free to come as frequently or irregularly as they like, the only limiting factor is how our availability coincides.

I’m also happy to discuss discounted rates for those who are living with disabilities or are unwaged.

All of that adds up to a fair bit of extra work and inconvenience for me but a lot of added value for the student.

That’s the situation as it stands in March 2019 but of course, it will change over time. I’ll have to put my rates up at some point, and if I come to rely on the income I may need to be more formal in many respects. At the moment though this arrangement seems to be working well for me and my students. At significantly lower than the union recommended rate I feel I offer excellent value for money.

If you’d like to try some lessons or have any other questions please drop me a line. I’m always happy to chat anything harmonica.

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