Why voice lessons and piano lessons seem to be so expensive

A lot of people interested in voice lessons often ask me the same question. Why are voice lessons (and piano lessons) often so expensive?  It seems to them that you are just teaching them to do something they already can naturally do.  A lot of people often try to get singing help from someone who simply has a good voice and realize quite quickly that will not be very beneficial.  Voice teachers are expensive for a reason and basically the reason comes down to how costly and time consuming it actually is to be a good teacher.  It requires personal study, education, and continuing to grow yourself as a singer and performer as well. Understanding why teachers are expensive can help you in your search for a teacher, help you to appreciate your teacher more,  and help with anxiety over the cost of you own lesson.

Voice lessons are expensive for the average student.  The reason teachers charge so much is for a couple of reasons.  Teaching voice is actually a very complex thing that requires a lot of education and a great ability to communicate.  The voice is made of muscles, tissues, ligaments, and cartilage that all work together to create this wonderful instrument.  Unlike other instrument the voice is inside of your body making it very difficult for the voice teacher to see what is happening to fix mistakes and improve the instrument.  Where violin teachers can tell you to hold the bow differently because they can see your hands and the bow, voice teachers have to rely mostly on their ears.  This is extremely difficult and with very little visual cues voice teachers have to be able to figure out what a student is doing based on sound, what the student can tell them they are feeling, and trying visually to read body language  or other physical things they can see such as tense muscles in the jaw.  

Most voice teachers have been taking lessons from other teachers for years and hopefully are still continuing to take lessons.  Let do a little math to calculate the cost of education a voice teacher makes lets say conservatively a teacher studies 8 years maybe 45 weeks out of the year and at a lower rate of $40 thats still almost $15000 for education that doesn’t even get a diploma.  In addition most teachers study much longer then 8 years and hopefully they are still continuing to study.   A good question for a prospective teacher is if they are continuing to study because if a teacher is not staying on top of their own voice and continuing to grow they will become stagnant and not be the best teacher that they can be. The better a teacher gets in their own study the better teacher and more specific instruction they will need.  I continue to take lessons and believe me they cost much more than the average voice teacher out there. My lessons typically range from $100-$300 per hour! This may seem extreme but when you are dealing with lessons that advanced you have a limited number of teachers available and they are all extremely well trained and charge more because of the education and experience.  I am not saying you need to go out and find the most expensive teacher possible for most people who are just beginning you should need to spend more the $40 to $70 per hour and if you feel you have learned all you can from them then consider moving on to a more advanced teacher. 

Aside from voice lessons themselves voice teachers hopefully have the added expense of education usually a bachelors’ degree but maybe a masters or a doctorate as well.  After spending that much money to be qualified to teach voice it makes sense that teachers charge that much or they will never make back the investment they have made in school.  In addition to lesson and education good teachers will also likely be a part of groups associations that will advance their abilities as well.  These groups often have yearly fees that range from $50 to $300 a year.  That adds up but it can make a profound difference in their ability to teach.  These groups provide online resources, lectures, magazines, networking, teaching tools, and performance and audition opportunities for their students.  Teachers can profit greatly from these groups and grow their abilities as teachers. Currently I am a member of The American Choral Directors Association, Music Teachers Association of California, and the National Association of Teachers of Singing.

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