First, they explained that they are home-schooling their children and that they have to pay taxes to support our local public schools AND still have to pay all of their own expenses of providing a home-based education to their children. Of course, I understand and respect any family’s choice of who will provide the best education for their own children. That’s a debate for another day and, as I’m well aware from 20 years in public education as a band director, it’s one that I’d just as soon not get wrapped up in! But I digress…
The parent told me that they felt that $25.00 a month was getting to the point of being unreasonable. They cited one other music for home-schoolers program that charges $20.00 for the ENTIRE YEAR! My reaction to that was “Wow! That person must be very passionate about what they’re doing.” Then I dug a little deeper to find that the “teacher” used to be in choir when they were in high school and just thought it would be fun to do.
O.K. Another laudible reason but then I listened a little harder and heard a litany of claims of things the “teacher” had (and hadn’t!) done, kids who didn’t know what was going on from one day, not having music picked out (or learned) with only a few days remaining until a festival the “teacher” decided to throw the kids into with less than two weeks notice, etc. To say the least, my eyebrows raised somewhat! This is what $20.00 for the entire year got the parent.
There’s something to this “you get what you pay for” thing, I think! So now I ask myself, and you, would YOU put your kids into something like that? I know what MY answer is…
Now, back to the “you get what you pay for” part of this.
We all want the very best we can get for our kids, right? I know I sure do! You have to ask the difficult question: Is my teacher serious about what they’re doing? Is it their livelihood? In short, are they totally vested into the whole teaching thing or is it just something they juggle into their schedule between two or three part time jobs, shuttling their own kids around to various groups and activities, and so forth?
When you pay for our services you are purchasing something of value: a segment of time with one of our professionally trained and experienced teachers. You’re getting a teacher who is absolutely committed to teaching music FIRST, not as a hobby or “for fun.”
So, what’s something like that worth? Remember, we’re talking about value for the investment of both your time and your had-earned money. If they charge $25.00 a month (that works out to be $6.25 per lesson!), their weekly income if they could teach 40 hours a week isn’t too shabby ($500.00 per week) but the reality is that folks that teach music lessons get a weekly window of only about 20 hours of time when students are actually available to be taught. Now we’ve whittled that down to $250.00 per week (or a base wage of $6.25/hour – $1.50 below minimum wage!). Now you tell me: Who do you know that is going to be motivated to teach to the fullest of their abilities and talents when they can make a better wage flippin’ burgers?
But, again, back to “you get what you pay for.” If you want the best, then it stands to reason that the last question you should be asking is “how much is this going to cost?” When it comes to our kids, what’s REALLY the most important consideration?
Ask what the teacher can do for your child, what others they’ve taught have accomplished, and how teaching fits into their life. What kind of piano or music studio do they have available to you and your family? What kind of environment will you be taking your kids to week after week? Most important, where does your child’s success fall in the teacher’s priorities in life?
Are you really going to TEACH my child how to make music alone and with others?
If you want to “fly by night” why not choose the teacher who can give you the wings to do so and knows what they’re doing?