How Much Do Music Lessons Cost + Pros and Cons 

 December 12, 2020

By  Kale Good

This article is one part of my Ultimate Parent's Guide to Kid's Guitar Lessons.

What is a reasonable price for guitar lessons? This article will break-down different price-tiers of music lessons and what your family can expect at every different price-point. When you're done reading this article, you'll have a clearer idea of what to expect.
I'm basing this on personal experience and conversations with colleagues all over the country via email, phone, and in-person at conferences and training.

Remember that these categories are intended as a rough approximation; there will always be high-value and low-value teachers. This pricing mismatch happens at every price-point.
Additionally, you need to know that there are many regional and individual factors affecting pricing price. Remember the following when comparing this to prices in your area:

  • Cost of Living; I live in a major metropolitan area. Prices will fluctuate based on cost-of-living. 
  • In-home or at-studio    
    • Lessons in your home should cost considerably more, as teachers need to cover commute-time and wear-and-tear on a vehicle. However, many teachers undervalue these costs.
  • Individual Studio or Large Music School     
    • As a rule of thumb, I advise students to look at successful individual studios first. These teachers face economic pressures to improve and succeed that big, "brand-name" community music school teachers do not (The school name brings in the students, rather than the teaching quality).
    • If you need the most affordable lessons, community music schools often have scholarship programs. Some independent teachers also have scholarship programs.  
  • Lesson length 
    • Most students start at ½ hour lessons, which is assumed here.

Lowest Tier

Who offers the lowest-price lessons?

  • Students, both advanced high-schoolers and university students
  • Apprentice students affiliated with a successful teacher
  • Brand-New Teachers
  • Hobbyist Teachers

What to expect?

Typically, teachers in this lowest tier have little-to-no experience. This tier is where I got started (in fact, I once had a businessman take lessons and straight-up tell me that I wasn't charging enough... two weeks after I had raised my rates!). These teachers may be unaware of the total costs of teaching, lack business acumen, or lack the confidence to charge more.

In this tier, you should expect inexperienced teachers who want to draw in students and gain experience. Unfortunately, their lack of students makes it difficult to judge their abilities.

You can attempt to judge their abilities by checking out any trainings they have taken and any extracurricular activities they offer (recitals, collective experiences with other teachers, or attending musical events as a studio). Additionally, you could ask them about the books and materials they use for teaching.

Ideally, they will be able to provide you with a clear explanation for how they will take your child from zero to musical hero. You could also ask to observe the lesson of another student.

Teachers at this level can struggle to build a financially viable career. The least-experienced teachers typically fail to account for administration costs, personal practice time, teach-hour limitations, professional development, taxes, and health insurance when setting their rates.

This situation can leave you trying to find a new teacher as your former teacher leaves to pursue another career.

If you find an excellent teacher at this rate, expect their rates to rise as they realize their pricing error.



Remember that rates may vary depending on your area's cost of living. Be sure to compare rates in your area. Where I live, this tier is $10-$20 per ½ hour lesson.

Lower-Mid Level

Who gives these lessons?

  • High-Quality Hobbyist Teachers
  • Teachers with a short track record of success
  • Some Community Music Schools
  • Some teachers with a long track record of success.

What to Expect

You should expect indications of a growing and successful studio. These teachers will have more limited schedule options. The teacher will have a few students they can point to who have been in their program for some time. Independent teachers should be offering at least 1 recital or other extracurricular activity per year. Note that their studio may be small and growing; you may only see students who have been with them a year or two.

Once teachers are charging these rates (especially the higher end), they should make a meager living. You don't need to be overly concerned about them making a career change. However, they will likely have difficulty reinvesting into their studio, whether by buying new materials, attending training and workshops that improve the teaching experience, finding time to create new lesson materials, or scheduling extracurricular activities. They'll need to spend every free hour teaching and none of them improving.

If you like a teacher's program but can't afford their lessons, ask a teacher if they have flexible pricing or a scholarship program.



Where I live, this would fall at $25-35 per ½ hour (more if lessons are in-home).

High Level

Who gives these lessons?

  • Established Independent Teachers with a mid-to-long-track record of successful students and a full teaching schedule
  • University Professors
  • Community Music Schools

What to Expect

At this level, you're getting the most bang for your buck. These teachers should have many indicators of a successful studio; limited availability, readily-available proof of student success, and a history of extracurricular activities for their studio.

They will likely have some "barriers to entry" that make it a little bit harder to join the studio and help filter out students who are not as committed to learning. The most obvious barrier to entry is the price; this range is notably higher than the most affordable tier.
Other barriers to entry might be a waitlist, an "introductory class," or a requirement of some time commitment for either parents or students before joining. They may have a more strident studio policy with minimal availability for make-up lessons.

All of these help the teacher ensure their success and the student's success. They try to minimize the number of less-serious students they take on to focus on committed students. They charge enough to cover the costs of business, professional development, and living. They can buy classroom materials and instruments that will help improve the value of their teaching.

Accordingly, this studio teacher should describe what materials they use to teach and talk about how they're always striving to improve as teachers. They should tell you about how they have improved their studio over the years and the ever-increasing benefits their students have due to their business reinvestment.

All of these things benefit the students in such a studio as the teacher improves year-over-year in ways that are difficult when charging less.



Remember that rates may vary depending on your area's cost of living. Be sure to compare rates in your area. Where I live, this would fall at $35-60 per ½ hour (more if lessons are in-home).

Where Can I find the Best Kid's Guitar Lessons?

You're in the right place. For more information about the best kid's guitar lessons online and in the Philadelphia area, read this page

Select Testimonials

Emily Collier


Our older kid has been taking lessons with Kale Good for 3 years now, and our younger could not be more excited to start this week. Both my husband and I are classically trained, former-professional musicians, and we can say hands-down that Kale is the best music teacher we've ever encountered, anywhere... 

Ted Wongcini


Kale is a fantastic teacher. He seems to know how to attune to each kid, figuring out the balance of challenging and reassuring his students. His lessons have helped our daughter grow tremendously, especially her confidence. We highly recommend Kale.

Complete testimonials here.

Elite Level

Who gives these lessons?

  • World-class Performers
  • World-Class Teachers

What to expect

At the world-class level, you should be getting the best instruction possible. Your teacher here will likely have a stable of highly-competent musicians whom they have taught. Some will even have won competitions (yes, music performance competitions are a thing), and more than a handful will have gone onto professional careers themselves.

At this level, you're seeking out a teacher who has demonstrated that they have something truly one-of-a-kind to offer. You're likely seeking out a teacher whose playing style and musicality you find incredibly engaging. You may end up moving quite a distance to study with someone like this regularly.

At this level, you're dealing with people who have published books, released multiple records, won Grammys, and/or taught a plethora of incredibly successful students. They will likely have a prestigious teaching position at an elite musical conservatory. Almost certainly, they won't have recitals for their private students, as many of these students are either very wealthy amateurs or very serious professionals who seek out their own performance opportunities.

As always, with any level of teaching, what you pay is not necessarily what you get. However, in this category, it is most difficult to determine what a teacher's worth is. World-renowned teachers are sought after by students who are already highly developed. This fact makes their student's abilities a poor indicator of the teacher's abilities.

I have a colleague who studied with one such world-class performer and teacher and said that a prior teacher of his (who charges 1/5th the hourly rate) was a much better teacher! (I have another colleague who has taken lessons with the same world-class performer and thought it was phenomenal).

One of the best things you can do with a teacher like this (or any teacher) is to talk to long-term students. Especially at this level, students are likely to have had experience with at least a few teachers and will be able to give you an accurate assessment of each teacher's strengths and weaknesses.



$150-$300+ per hour-long lesson; the equivalent of $75-150 per ½ hour. However, teachers at this level don't do ½ hour lessons. And they aren't coming to your house. These prices are area-independent, as these teachers and performers are so successful that they could teach anywhere they want.


Don't sign up for lessons yet. First, read my article on choosing a music teacher to help ensure you find the best person to guide you through the processes.

As always, please leave any questions you may have in the comments below!

Kale Good

Educator and Founder of Good Music Academy.

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