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Is a monthly flat rate tuition right for your music studio?

Contemporary music lessons require significant innovation from music studio owners. In addition to keeping up with the latest technology and keeping organized with studio management, setting policies and collecting tuition is usually one of the biggest headaches that studio owners face.

Charging tuition for music lessons on a “flat-rate” can eliminate many of these stresses. Most of us are getting very familiar with adding monthly subscriptions to our budgets. “I’ll just put that on auto-pay” is becoming a household phrase.

The music industry is no different and, in fact, has been moving towards this type of consumption-based billing for some time now.

The great thing about offering a subscription-based service is that it provides consistency for both the studio owner AND the student/family. The studio can plan their budget month-to-month with fewer variances, and the family can be sure that their child is taking a set number of lessons each month without having to worry about an ever-increasing tuition bill.

How To Set Your Monthly Price

Here’s how to set your monthly price:

Pick a number of weeks you will teach (52 minus – # of weeks off teaching)

Set an hourly rate price

Monthly flat rate tuition = ((52 – # of weeks off) x (hourly rate))/12

When the studio charges for each lesson rather than having up-front, monthly payments, students will cancel lessons and will be incentivized for their cancellation.

For a private teacher, empty slots can’t easily be filled by another student. Essentially, each student is paying for the rights for the same time slot week. The student must commit to showing during that time and paying for it each week. With a flat rate monthly tuition in effect, sometimes students don’t request make-up lessons. This is another added benefit because make-up lessons and rescheduled lessons are a time cost for studios.

Benefits of Flat Rate Tuition for Music Studios

Flat rate tuition models allow for more options when it comes time for the studio to raise rates. Of course you can always adjust by raising the dollar amount of the monthly payment, but you can  also decrease the number of lessons delivered in a year. For example, if you teach 48 weeks out of the year, you could consider teaching 44 weeks without changing the monthly rate. 

Many studios will also include registration, material, and recital fees in the monthly tuition by increasing the flat rate amount. 

Consider your own situation when it comes to whether or not a flat rate tuition model is best for your studio. Talk with other music teachers in your area to see what they are doing and get some feedback from parents.

Music teachers that can spend less energy on talking about money with parents and students to focus more on pedagogy will be better off in the long run!

Kelly Riordan Jul 24, 2022 Studio Management

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