How Much Do Piano Lessons Cost?

The price for piano lessons varies by instructor, instrument, and length of practice. Here’s a quick guide to explain all the costs and potential savings.

Woman giving piano lesson to boy

Parents looking to start their kids on lessons should consider more than just today's prices, but the cumulative costs over a nearly 5-15 year period that a child develops this ongoing practice. Unless you're a trained pianist, most parents plan to pay an instructor to pass this skill onto their kids. According to a 2020 report from Thumbtack, a piano teacher will charge anywhere from $40-$100 an hour for private lessons and $30-$50 per hour for group lessons.

The price tag can increase quickly if you prefer to buy a piano for practice between lessons. Prices can range from $2,000 to $150,000+ depending on the quality and size of the instrument. According to Statista, in 2020, the average price for a grand piano was $23,000. An upright piano can go for much less.

Parents with an eye for value can find used or reconditioned pianos after children show promise with an ordinary keyboard. Before these price tags scare you off, it is important to know that the costs grow gradually and there are many ways to keep classes affordable. There are four things to consider when estimating the long-term cost of piano lessons for your toddlers, tweens, and teens.

There are many factors that affect the price of piano lessons.

According to the website of Arizona-based instructor Benjamin Bochenek, the cost for a children's piano class is typically around $15-$40 for a 30-minute lesson. This covers the instructor and any additional materials needed. But there are many factors that can change the price of formal lessons:

  • The piano teacher's level of experience
  • Number of students in a lesson
  • Type of piano used
  • Location of classes (you home, an instructor's home, a studio/rental space, online)

If you're particular about the type of instrument you want your child to learn or the type of music you want them to play, then you'll have to be clear about that with the instructor from the outset. A classically trained pianist is likely to have different rates than a self-taught musician in a rock band. Both might be very skilled and could demand a pretty penny for their time, but what you want and what your kid will enjoy might be two different things.

Avoid wasting money by getting clear about your goals. This means talking to your child to get in sync about the intention of the lessons, and—if possible—having your child co-interview instructors until you both find the right fit.

You will have to buy other supplies.

All instruction will have a few other costs for supplies, including a metronome ($10-$50) and sheet music. Digital downloads of sheet music start around $4, but, remember, if your kid is good at this, you'll be investing quite a bit in buying or swapping sheet music.

If you don't have a keyboard or piano at home (we'll get there) you may have to rent a studio space for lessons. These can range greatly, but the best way to spot a deal is to ask your instructor about local options or to request to use the same instruction space during off-hours for rehearsal and ongoing practice. Otherwise, many schools have a piano on-site, so parents might need to approach the school music teacher or principal to ask permission to use those free resources.

Pianos and keyboards range in cost.

Piano rentals and maintenance are part of the process, but many people don't know where to start when it comes to choosing which kind of instrument their child needs. In most cases, the instructor will have a keyboard or piano to use during practice, but you'll want your child to practice between lessons. For little kids and beginners, a free printable and time with Youtube tutorials may hold them over.

As kids improve their skills, you'll want to upgrade to an affordable keyboard. When you're ready to finally buy your kid's first full keyboard, check the School of Rock's buyer's guide to make the right choice. A well-rated MIDI or keyboard controller can cost under $50, and a full-sized weighted keyboard lands in the $150- $600 range. Keyboard rentals are also an option for those who want to try out different types of instruments before committing. Centre Music House in Framingham, Massachusetts offers rentals at $200 plus tax rate per month, which includes the pedal, bench, keyboard, and stand.

When the time is right for a piano, in-studio rentals are a great way to transition. Otherwise, if you have space in your home and the bandwidth for maintenance, rentals are an option. The New York City-based rental shop Piano Piano advertises rentals of Upright Pianos ($47 to $235/month), Grands ($175 to $395/month), and Rent-to-Own options.

When you're ready to own, know that your child's instructor is an invaluable resource to decide among the myriad of choices. Affordable used pianos can be found through online stores like Schmitt Music and Piano Mart, which breaks down the price and location of the piano for sale. Factor in the cost of a professional mover, as well as periodic tuning in your zip code.

You can find deals.

To find a good deal on piano lessons, parents have to be proactive. Here are some tips:

  • Find out if your child's school offers lessons for free or low-rates; if not, ask around at local public schools that might admit kids in your zip code or county for extracurricular activities, even if they don't attend that school regularly.
  • Check your city or neighborhood's Parks & Recreation Department or local library to see if piano lessons are offered through a community college, rec center, library, or senior center.
  • Ask about age-related discounts at local music schools.
  • Approach local musicians about offering lessons, even if teaching isn't their normal gig.
  • Check online coupons sites like Retail Me Not and Groupon for discounts in your city.
  • If your child is mature enough, try an online class through Udemy, Fiverr, or OutSchool.
  • Purchase long-term lessons to secure larger discounts and greater likelihood of success.
  • Ask around at local churches or community choirs, where there is typically an organ, keyboard, and (sometimes) a piano, as well as seasoned musicians.
  • Ask to use practice spaces for free or at a negotiated rate. Consider concert halls, symphony halls, music schools, universities, churches, senior centers, and more. If these spaces are not used to being approached for rehearsals, have a budget in mind and be flexible about getting bumped for other higher-paying or pre-scheduled needs.

The Bottom Line

The music industry is one of the most profitable in the world, so years invested in piano lessons could pay off big, eventually. Even if your kid is no Mozart, just a few years on the piano or keyboard can help improve their fine motor skills and hone hand-eye coordination.

Before committing your child and your finances to many years of instruction, the real secret is to make sure that your kid really wants to learn, and they're committed to staying the course. Remember, if they abandon or reject classes before becoming a strong pianist, then this calculated investment might feel like a loss.

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