Piano Teachers Who Make $100 Per Hour? You Can Too!

That title got your attention, didn’t it!?  I personally live in an area where hourly lesson rates are eons away from being anywhere near $100 per hour;  but I will be enjoying this wage increase next Wednesday and Thursday.  Want to know how?

Strength in Numbers… And The Numbers Are Nice!

The key to increasing your hourly earnings is to increase your hourly students!  Group classes are one of the most efficient ways of boosting your piano teacher income.  They are also one of the best ways to a) increase word-of mouth, b) strengthen connections within your clientele and c) boost motivation and interest in piano lessons among your students.

I have included group classes (not group lessons… there is a difference!) in my piano teaching schedule for all of these reasons, as well as for the simple fact that kids thrive in a learning environment that includes their peers!

Using Group Piano Classes To Accomplish Teaching Goals

The difference I mention between group classes vs group lessons is that group classes give you the opportunity to focus on aspects of piano teaching that you may not regularly include in your individual lessons.  You’re not spending the time teaching a regular piano class to a group of students; rather you’re teaching a group of piano students something new and exciting… like we do with Happy Birthday Bach (click to learn more or wait to read about it at the end of the post).

Tips for Great Group Piano Classes

The key in making group classes work for you is in obtaining enough interested students.  If you aren’t into making these mandatory for your piano kids, here are 3 tips for good group piano classes:

1)  Don’t advertise… invite!  Your approach makes all the difference.  Clients who are “advertised to” may opt out.  Clients who are invited feel special and are excited to accept your invitation.

2)  Choose your times wisely.  Don’t set yourself up for having just a smattering of students who can attend… choose your times wisely.  Consider when parents would be most willing and able to have their child participate in yet another activity and plan accordingly.  (My classes next week will happen during our Spring Break).

3)  Make it attractive.  Package your group lessons in a format that clearly shows what their child will be gaining from the experience. Set your price in a reasonable realm, and appeal to your piano kids’ interest.  If your students are pumped and begging to attend, their parents will be more than happy to oblige.

Group piano classes have the potential to take your studio from good to great.  They also have the potential to add a good bit of income to your monthly earnings…. just 10 students paying $10 for an hour of fun is an easy $100!  It’s a mutually beneficial arrangement for you and your students.  Give it a try!

Want to make Group piano classes even easier?  We’ve done all the work for you!  Simply print, prepare… and presto!  Our Piano Party Pack “Happy Birthday Bach” contains everything you need to host a fantastically fun 1 hour Group Class with lots of opportunities for learning all about this important composer.  And with Bach’s Birthday happening this month it’s the perfect timing… we’ve even supplied the Birthday Party invitations!  Check out more info and samples here. 

8 Responses to Piano Teachers Who Make $100 Per Hour? You Can Too!

  1. says

    Two years ago I was asked by 3 families if I would consider teaching group lessons to their mid-intermediates (12 & 13-year-olds). Their teacher was leaving private lessons to teach in the school system. The teens had taken Music For Young Children (MYC) group lessons together when they were young & had kept together in group lessons all the way through to grade 3-4 piano + theory. We arrived on a plan to teach a monthly group lesson that replaced one of their regular weekly lessons & to add my own intermediate-piano daughter.

    The teens love it & it’s probably the reason they’re still taking lessons (two of the four are not terribly strong players). We spend the first hour covering music history & ear-training (their theory co-requisites exceed where they are in piano) & the 2nd hour is spent doing jazz, improv & worship music. We usually invite the moms back for the last 5-10 minutes for a little “concert”.

    Last month one of them told me it was the best piano lesson of her life!

    I am going to tweak the format for next year. Right now, it’s nearly a straight exchange of time — their private lesson time is 3 X 45 minutes (2h 15m) & the group lesson is 2h. I’d like to start a couple of new groups & invite more kids for a shorter time (6 kids for 1 hour, though 2 hours is a breeze to fill with young teens!). You’ve inspired me to think this through a bit more.

    Do you replace private lessons with a monthly group lesson (thereby decreasing your teaching hours but maintaining income), or do you add a monthly group lesson (thereby increasing your teaching hours minimally but increasing income by a decent amount)?

    • says

      Hi Beth – thanks for commenting! I don’t replace individual lessons with group lessons, they are simply an added extra to their regular piano instruction. I don’t have a multi-piano set-up in one room, so my group classes always focus on something other than “typical” piano instruction (improv, music history, performance practice, composing etc.) so that I can work with having kids both in a group and then in pairs on pianos throughout the studio space. The group classes (to me) are bonus income, not replacing teaching time.

  2. says

    My husband recently started to do the “exchange one private lesson for a group lesson” with his violin students this year, and it was a big success! Once a month all his violin students miss their private lesson and come to a group lesson on Saturday (he divides all his students into smaller age-specific groups and they work on ensembles, theory, mini-masterclasses, etc). He uses his light week of teaching to do all his lesson prep for the next month.

    I am definitely doing this with my piano students next year. We have the benefit of having a studio with 6 keyboards, but I think you can manage to do a group class with only one or two instruments (have them take turns doing duets, incorporate rhythm instruments, play games, listen and adjudicate each other, etc.)

    Would love to hear what other think!

  3. Holly Valencia says

    I have resisted group lessons for a long time. But over the years I taught workshops to worship teams at church, so lately I’ve been thinking, why not in piano?! These are in ADDITION to their private lessons right? And optional? I think maybe once a month would be nice! My students love meeting each other too. :)

    • says

      Hi Holly – yes, I always make the group classes optional – I never want there to be any sort of barrier for people who want to take piano lessons and if it’s too expensive or too time consuming some aren’t into it (and I’m okay with that). I find that by doing them sporadically they really are viewed as a special activity and they don’t risk falling into the dreaded “same old same old” category :) It is nice for students to meet each other! It’s nice as a teacher too – you see a whole different side to your students when they are with their peers.

  4. Kelsey says

    So I was planning on doing monthly “master classes” as part of my studio routine – that’s kind of the format I was taught when I studied piano teaching in college and it seems to be what more and more piano teachers are doing – where you teach four private lessons each month, plus you hold a monthly master class with groups of students. I like that format simply because I can do things in the monthly master classes that are more beneficial in group settings (things like rhythm chanting, singing songs in different tonalities to expose them to as many different musical styles as possible, etc.). But, to be honest, the thought of holding them every single month kind of overwhelms me, even though it’s only a few more hours a month of active teaching… Anyway, do you not see a lot of teachers holding monthly master classes? Or do you not recommend them? Or is it just sort of a “do what you’re comfortable with” kind of scenario?

    • says

      Hi Kelsey – the thought of every month overwhelms me too :) I do them when I have time and when I know that students will have time too. Months like September, December, and June are definite “no’s” where I live as people are just too busy. I’m doing the Happy Birthday Bach next week as it’s spring break… and I’m guessing parents are happy to have their kids out of the house! It’s definitely something that is adaptable to how you want to run them. Even just twice a year would have benefits! Using something like the “Happy Birthday Bach” is a great way to start as we’ve taken all the guesswork away for you for your very first one… we’ve taken what we’ve learned about how many activities you need, how to make it engaging and fun, how to teach to a group, how to involve all students at once so some aren’t at loose ends etc. etc. and put it all into the guide.

  5. says

    Hi Andrea, I do a group “class” 3 times a year, for all of my students – it’s more of a very informal student only mini-recital. It’s optional and it’s included in the regular tuition (meaning for the most part, I don’t charge extra for it).

    I am wondering whether your master classes are open to anyone or just actively enrolled students. I have a number of people who have children that really want to play piano, but between their parent’s work schedule or other activity commitments (i’m talking mainly middle school and high school students who have overwhelming schedules these days!) they are just not able to make the regular commitment to weekly lessons. I have been toying with the idea of offering some kind of monthly class (and your pointing out the idea of a “class” being different than a “lesson” got me thinking about it again!) – and opening it up to kids who are not regular students. Again – additional income stream for me and opportunity for kids who might not otherwise have the chance, to at least learn a little about music and maybe learn the basics to be able to play recreationally. Any thoughts?
    Thanks – you guys have a great site, ideas and materials!
    ~julie

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