Saturday, March 4, 2017

How Much Do Music Lessons Cost?

If you're a new parent, you're starting to find out that raising kids is expensive! Now that your darling is of the age for music classes, you might be asking yourself, "How much is this going to cost? Is it worth it?"

Happy Money

Before I tell you too much about music class cost, be aware that HOW you spend your money really CAN affect how happy you are!  In the book, Happy Money, Elizabeth Dunn explains that your spending can bring you great joy and satisfaction, especially if you:

* Focus on Experiences
* Make it a treat
* Buy Time
* Pay now, consume later
* Invest in others

When it comes to Let's Play Music and Sound Beginnings, these principles can really apply.

* Focus on the experience of being in class with your child and of practicing with your child. Take photos and videos of this special time in your lives. You're not buying a result. You're buying an experience. 

* Knowing that music class won't last forever might make you enjoy it more...lots of parents are sad when their family graduates. Sorry! This is a special treat that only lasts a little while. 

* You're buying quality musical playtime with your child, so really focus on playing/engaging with him during music class. Turn off your phone. This is special time together for you to bond.

* Pre-pay for the whole year up front. It takes away the sting of the payment, and helps you focus on your own well-being and enjoying the class.

* Invest in your child by giving them the gift of music lessons.

Bargain Hindsight is 20/20

I have had a few parents who hear our rates (a year of Let's Play Music in the USA is about $400-$450 per year) and break into a happy dance. If you do the math, that's like $15 per lesson. Our lessons are 45, 50, or 55 minutes long and are PACKED with carefully timed activities (so we work all the musicianship skills in every class.)

I found out these parents are so happy because they have older children who have already explored exciting activities and incurred the exciting costs.  In comparison to just about everything else you can get involved in, LPM is a BARGAIN.  Now that I have older kids, too, I look back and realize, yes! A BARGAIN!

Don't get scared, but you might expect to spend a lot on these activities:

* Private music lessons: $20-$50 per 30-minute lesson ($1,000+/ year) 
* Swim lessons: $10-$20 per 30-minute lesson  
* Swim team: $100-$200/month 
* Karate: $100-$150/month 
* Dance classes: $60- $200/month
* Soccer: $50/month
* Club Soccer: $100-$200/month
* Gymnastics: $15-$20/ class 
* Gymnastics, advanced: $150-$200/month

An Abundance Mindset

Oh dear. I hope I didn't scare you too much.  I like to focus on an abundance mindset.  Yes, I want my kids to learn to swim AND learn music AND learn a team sport AND get passing grades. How can we have enough time and money to make all of that happen for them? (My post on teaching abundance mindset)

The truth is, we usually can't have it all, all at once. But we CAN give our kids a lot of experiences over time.  

Which activities do YOU value most? 

Which need to be done NOW?

Important and Urgent: I decided to have my kids learn to swim up to a competent level as soon as possible, since I value it as a life and safety skill. Once they're competent, that frees up more time/money for other things.  (Bonus: I now have a teenager working as a lifeguard and earning $$ with those mad skills.)

Valuable, Less Urgent: I also decided that my four kids would not play club sports year-round, so that they could have time and money to try out different sports each season. (Year-round club sports are not only super expensive, but often lead to burn-out) With some sports and activities, I came to grips with the fact that no harm will come if my kids don't get to experience all activities, like downhill skiing, in their youth. It doesn't fit into our budget now, but I plan to have a great ski-learning trip with them when they are college age. (Update: when one of my sons was 13 and wanted to play club soccer, I let him make that choice and put other things on hold during that time.)

Valuable and Urgent: Finally, because I understand the importance of whole musicianship, the sensitivity of the young ear, and the importance of starting early (post), I decided that starting music now is urgent.  My children would all complete the 3-year Let's Play Music program at ages 4-7, followed by piano or a different instrument if they chose.  

I am not afraid that I missed my chance to offer some other experiences to my kids. Instead, I'm confident that they eventually will accrue enough options to taste what the world has to offer, and they had enough consistency to get pretty-good at a few of the things.

Yes, we had a few dry spells when a child or two was not studying music (gasp!), but it didn't worry me because I took a big-picture abundance view. I adore when they join a high-caliber high school music program or sports program...and all of sudden the tax dollars start working in a visible way. 

I'm loving the fact that my LPM-graduate kids enjoy making music, and have the skills at least to know what to do when they want to learn a new song or piece. I love that they can understand what they hear in music, giving them a deeper appreciation and joy from it.  I love that their focus and study toward music helped them develop their minds and habits.

Were music classes worth the price? I say, Yes! 

This scenario is all about ME, but you can make a plan that works for YOU and your family. If music is important to you, you CAN make it work into your budget and you CAN still fit in the other things (eventually) that you value. 

Well, new parent, take some time to think about what experiences you want to invest in and when they need to happen. I sure hope that, if music is important to you, you will join us in Sound Beginnings or Let's Play Music classes.

If you're ready to jump in, find a teacher near you now!

- Gina Weibel, M.S.

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