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View Full Version : How much would you pay for ukulele lessons?



papplehead
01-26-2011, 09:07 PM
So I'm finally experiencing what it's like being a poor college student. Most the money I had saved up after my high school graduation Is gone and I'm looking for jobs anywhere I can find it here in Tacoma. After brainstorming for a while, I realized that I could share my passion of playing ukulele while making money at the same time. I was thinking that I could make a sort of business where I could teach people to play. I've taught people in the past, but it was all informal lessons between friends, nothing formal.

I feel that I am an accomplished strummer and am proficient at picking. I know about a year of college level music theory and I think I have a casual yet informative teaching style.

My questions are these:
Do you think people would be wiling to pay money to take lessons from me and if so,

What is the maximum you be willing to pay for a lesson?

Thanks in advance

experimentjon
01-26-2011, 09:41 PM
There is definitely a small online market. I believe The Jumping Flea has taught or is teaching online lessons via skype. I don't remember what he charges. But I think people would definitely be willing to pay $20 an hour. But at that price, I'd reccomend selling packages of 5 lessons, all paid up front. I used to pay $30 for a 45 minute flute lesson once a week, and I thought that was pretty affordable.

beergeek
01-26-2011, 11:22 PM
$30 for a 30 minute private lesson seems to be pretty standard in the DC area from what I can tell. I was thinking of doing some group lessons so I'm going to work out my approach with a group of folks in my neighborhood. Considering the folks in my neighborhood, that will be a bi-weekly party that starts with a free 45 minute group lesson. ;)

That way I'll be able to see if I can teach people to play. I'll see what works and what doesn't and no one has to pay for bad lessons. I've had a few of those and was none too happy about it. I figure I could teach a beginner and intermediate class but I'm just not proficient enough yet to teach anything advanced.

The folks in the neighborhood are jazzed about it...of course, that could be the party aspect of it...LOL.

wigblender
01-26-2011, 11:26 PM
Honestly, like $10... maybe up to $15 for an hour. I'm a poor college student too. I see flyers all the time on campus for people advertising guitar lessons for that price so I'd think ukulele lessons would be around that just as well.


Edit: Low balling because this is a university environment (for the record, I'm in Cali). I used to take guitar (and later violin) lessons for $40+ for half an hour-45m minutes, but those were with trained music instructors.

beergeek
01-27-2011, 12:05 AM
That's kinda my point...I think papplehead could charge less and make out better with a group lesson. Charging $10 for a 45-50 minute group lesson with 5 people nets the same as a $50 private lesson and everyone's happy ;)

sailboats
01-27-2011, 12:40 AM
I would go cheaper especially for the start of your en devour. I would start in the 10-15 range and see how many bite. If you go though a few lessons and find that you are comfortable teaching and your students are learning then consider changing the price up a little.

But there are a lot of factors that can effect pricing.
If there are other uke instructors in the area I would call them up. If they charge 30 bucks but are well established and have been doing it for years then I wouldn't go that high to start. (hell you might even gain customers their potential customers by going cheaper)
Is there much of a want/need for a uke instructor in your area?

anyway, best of luck! teaching uke would be fun.

fitncrafty
01-27-2011, 12:46 AM
Here in NY (upstate) I pay a high school student (starting college in the fall) $15 for a half hour violin lesson
$20 for half hour guitar lessons for my boys.
and the ukulele teacher charges $50 for a 75 min lesson (doesn't want to see you every week)

I hope this helps...

Paul Cote
01-27-2011, 02:48 AM
In Knoxville we have a good deal for a group lesson of 17.50 an hour.

Tudorp
01-27-2011, 03:03 AM
For guitar certified teachers charge $20-$30 for a half hour. That is for private lessons. But, starting out, I wouldn't try to compete with that yet, and maybe go around that price for hour ($15-$25). Once you graduate, and have a degree in not only music, but also teaching you can command the market rate I think. I think you would want to target kids for several reasons. Get them young before they develop bad habits, they are knowlege sponges, and they don't tend to have the stereotypical image issues about ukes as many adult. Just sayin..

Ukulele JJ
01-27-2011, 03:50 AM
Charging $10 for a 45-50 minute group lesson with 5 people nets the same as a $50 private lesson and everyone's happy ;)

Yup. That's the way I'd do it.

And these group lessons will basically be "farm teams" for your eventual private lessons.

The first thing I'd do if I were you is contact adult education places in your area. The kind of places that regularly have group classes like painting, ballroom dancing, scrapbooking, etc. Check out your city parks service, local community colleges, and so on. See if you can get on with them.

I'd also consider scraping up some money and buying a half-dozen or so Dolphins from MGM. Then you can offer a "first group lesson for $49... includes your own ukulele to keep and take home!" Or you can loan/rent them to your students for the first few lessons. That removes the biggest barrier to curious people who might want to dip their toe in the ukulele water: The lack of a uke and the lack of knowledge about how/where/what to buy.

JJ

darkwater
01-27-2011, 04:11 AM
I charge $20 for a 1 hour private lesson, which is below the going rate at the music stores, but I teach at home and don't have to give part of the fee to a store for studio space.

bbqribs
01-27-2011, 04:14 AM
I have not actually attended this group, but you might find people who are interested in lessons there. http://www.facebook.com/mondayukuleleohana

PedalFreak
01-27-2011, 05:26 AM
From my experience lessons (in the Chicago area) are anywhere between $10-30 for a half hour. All depending on the skill level of the instructor. I know BIG name musicians you can get an hour lesson with between $50-100.

So, I'd look at your skill level and price accordingly.

bazonkers
01-27-2011, 07:05 AM
Dusty Strings in Seattle organizes uke lessons at $20 a person for group lessons.

mydlands
01-27-2011, 07:12 AM
I took bass lessons for nearly 2 years with a teacher trying to establish his lesson studio. Because he was doing so, he charged me only $25 for 50 minutes.

Interestingly, when I upgraded teachers, the next one charged me $30 for a one-off hour lesson, and I got the impression that was his normal price in his personal studio.

Understandably, the more experienced the teacher, the more lessons may cost, and that is the same in any music field. If Jake Shimabukuro opened his lesson studio, for example, he'd probably be charging more than those prices.

Ukulele Jim
01-27-2011, 07:21 AM
I charge $25 per half hour of instruction.

And I don't have any students at the moment. So there you go.

thejumpingflea
01-27-2011, 07:22 AM
I teach daily and have ~13 students right now. (Most of them online through Skype)

I charge $25 for 50 minutes for weekly lessons and $30 for the same 50 minutes on a lesson to lesson basis. I am actually going to be raising my prices a bit soon.

For a professional musician, $30 for 30 minutes is sort of a standard.

SailingUke
01-27-2011, 07:28 AM
First, if you want to get rich, find another career.
I have started teaching at a few community centers.
A six hour class is $60. The format is either one class a week for 6 weeks or one class a week for 4 weeks.
I also do 1 1/2 hour workshops that run $15. The community centers pay me 65% of the tuition.
I also put together a 40 page booklet that sells for $20. It is optional, but almost all students buy it.
I include a handout (1 or 2 pages) for the workshops in the tuition.

You need to be organized and have a curriculum written out and stick to it.
I attended many workshops just to get ideas on how/what to teach.
James Hill is about the best at teaching and I try to incorporate his method into my class.
Jim DeVille is another great teacher and his play by ear method is very well worth learning and passing on to others.
I also believe in Uncle Rod's approach to playing in his "Boot Camp"
You can also learn from teachers who do not do a good job.
Don't copy their material, but draw from it to create your own program.
My theory is to get the beginners playing a few songs and singing. I like to expose them to various styles of playing and strumming and hopefully they will explore on their own. My pet-peeve is all those th at come to class and don't play from one week to the next. That's one reason why I like workshops.

One of the local music stores where ukulele sales has been brisk is interested in a few workshops (they approached me). If you run few good classes you will be in demand.

papplehead
01-27-2011, 11:10 AM
Wow thanks for all the input; There are some great ideas here.
I was originally thinking $20 for an hour private lesson, but now I think ill look into group lessons.
I figure that people would be satisfied paying $20 a week if they would learn a new song and skill each lesson.

The community center group seems pretty doable but I've been looking around and there's already a ukulele teacher listed. Maybe they could use a second one.
Any other ideas of getting the word out? I was thinking about craigslist and putting up fliers around especially at music stores.

I like the idea of buying a bunch of Makala Dolphins but it seems like they've gone up in price. MGM has them listed for $85! Does anyone know whats the deal there?

SailingUke
01-27-2011, 01:46 PM
Wow thanks for all the input; There are some great ideas here.
I was originally thinking $20 for an hour private lesson, but now I think ill look into group lessons.
I figure that people would be satisfied paying $20 a week if they would learn a new song and skill each lesson.

The community center group seems pretty doable but I've been looking around and there's already a ukulele teacher listed. Maybe they could use a second one.
Any other ideas of getting the word out? I was thinking about craigslist and putting up fliers around especially at music stores.

I like the idea of buying a bunch of Makala Dolphins but it seems like they've gone up in price. MGM has them listed for $85! Does anyone know whats the deal there?

Mike is including a case & tuner, you might ask him for ukes only if you are purchasing 5 or more.