What are top music teachers charging these days?

What are top music teachers charging these days?


norman lebrecht

November 15, 2017

An informative contribution from Robert Fitzpatrick to one of our discussions:

It depends on the city in the USA. In NYC, many teachers (especially of voice) command at least $200/hour with some studios considerably higher (perhaps approaching and exceeding $500/hour) Those who teach in a conservatory actually make a bit less per hour but their reputation inflates the rate they can command from external private students. Some are actually worth it. An hour with an inspirational master teacher is always priceless.

Contrary to what most folks assume, teachers at Curtis and Juilliard on hourly contracts usually make less at the school than their external rate. Full-time contract salaried teachers are expected to teach18 hour per week (but most do a lot more voluntarily).

Josef Hofmann’s hourly rate for teaching piano at Curtis was $100/hour in the 1920s*. Hofmann hired Auer and offered him a bit more than he made for teaching.

I know of one important NYC teacher whose rate decreases for the most talented (to the point of not charging at all).

*Equivalent to $1,300/hour today



  • Robert Holmén says:

    “Some are actually worth it.”


  • Wilde de Groote says:

    If you pay me $100 I’ll take a lesson with Lang Lang.

  • Saul Davis Zlatkovski says:

    My esteemed teacher, Lucile Lawrence, never charged me for lessons once I graduated from Manhattan School of Music, and her lessons were always necessary, vital, inspirational, guiding, building, reinforcing, directing, superlative in every way. While I believe the school paid her well, Boston University apparently paid her only $60 per lesson, astonishingly, never having given her a raise in over thirty years. They did honor her upon retirement by naming the studio after her, and having her students succeed her there.
    While good and great voice teachers are precious, their overcharging, along with coaches, makes life very difficult for singers, who must somehow practice several hours a day while working full-time to pay for lessons and coachings. $150 an hour should really be enough for anyone to live on.

    • MacroV says:

      $150/hour sounds like a lot, but if you’re a self-employed teacher, and that’s your primary source of income, once you deduct 13% for Social Security contributions, 20% + for federal income tax, health insurance, studio rent, etc.., and account for the likelihood that you’re not teaching 40 hours/week for 52 weeks, you’re not necessarily netting all that much. No disputing it’s a lot for a student to pay, but just like the $350/hour lawyer, etc., they’re netting a lot less.

  • Peter says:


    The financial exploitation of music students is the elephant in the corner of the room that no one wants to look at and speak about. Granted, the top teachers deserve to make a lot, but it shouldn’t be done at the expense of putting 20 somethings into half of a lifetime of debt.

  • Wai kit leung says:

    I am under the impression that teaching rates are lower than these in Europe. Am I correct?

  • John Borstlap says:

    Is the man in the electric wheelchair Steven Lebetkin?

  • TheTruthTeller says:

    Stupid Associates at major law firms make about $500+ an hour. Great music teachers deserve much more! We need more music and fewer lawsuits!

    • Robert Fitzpatrick says:

      The last time I needed the services of an attorney in 2008, the rate was $800/hour from a lawyer/senior partner at a high powered east-coast firm. The service was excellent and worth ever penny for 5 hours of work with the desired result. Such a quick fix is not possible from a music teacher no matter what the rate or the skill.

      A chacun son tarif…

  • Adrien says:

    What is your source for Josef Hofmann