Want to learn how to play guitar? Speak a second language? Step up your selfie game with new photography skills?
These days, there are plenty of ways to get started and many routes to reaching your goals.
But if you want the best learning experience, there’s no question that hands-on lessons and classes are the way to go. Sure, you’ve got options for online programs and video series that cost next to nothing. But for most students, working with a teacher — one who will hold you accountable, correct your mistakes in real-time, and customize your lessons just for you — is well worth the price.
Worried about your budget? Here’s the good news: private lessons don’t need to cost an arm and a leg! Keep reading to find out some of the ways our budget-conscious students decrease their costs and make room for music lessons, language lessons, and more.
Opt for online.
Many TakeLessons teachers and tutors offer online lessons — and our research has shown that, on average, students taking online lessons spend 20% less than those taking in-studio lessons. It’s a convenient option for both student and teacher: there’s no need to commute anywhere, which saves you money on gas or public transportation.
Moreover, online lessons allow you to work with teachers from all across the U.S., giving you more options for finding the right teacher, at a lesson price that works for you.
Money-Saving Example: If you’re in a major city and want to find cheap lessons, you might see a teacher charging $35 for a 30-minute lesson, while an online teacher in another location might charge $25 for the same duration. If you take lessons once per week, this saves you $520 over the course of a year.
Here are some example prices from TakeLessons teachers:
Choose your teacher based on price.
For some students, finding a teacher who offers the right availability is important. For others, price is the most important. That’s why we leave it up to you: we let our teachers set their own prices, so you can find the one that best suits your needs.
And with our handy search filters, finding those teachers is easier than ever. Once you run your initial teacher search, you’ll be able to see their starting price for lessons immediately; click into their profile to see how their rates change by location and duration.
Money-Saving Example: If budget is a concern, even a $5 difference will add up over time. In fact, if you’re taking weekly lessons, this saves you $260 over the course of a year.
Keep in mind, though: the price a teacher sets doesn’t indicate whether one is better than the other. Your specific needs and goals should also influence your decision. Aiming to be the next breakout singer? Working with a vocal teacher in Los Angeles or New York with experience in the industry might be non-negotiable for you. For others, you might work best with a teacher who doesn’t have 20+ years of experience, but is still enthusiastic and knowledgeable.
Here are some examples of how violin lesson prices can vary by teacher:
Adjust lesson length & frequency.
Yes, learning a new skill takes time. But that doesn’t mean you need to cram it in as a beginner!
While some students can certainly benefit from an hour (or longer!) lesson, most teachers agree that starting with a 30-minute lesson, once per week, is perfectly fine. (You can always bump it up when you’re ready!)
A shorter lesson time gives you the opportunity to really gauge your interest in the subject, without overwhelming yourself or overcommitting. It’s also ideal for younger students, who have a shorter attention span and tend to get antsy during lessons.
Another option, although risky, is to switch your weekly lessons to every other week. Here’s the kicker: if you must go this route, most teachers will recommend upping your commitment to practicing outside of the lessons. To stay on track, you’ll need to supplement your lessons with other learning methods, such as online classes or apps.
Money-Saving Example: If you’re looking for cheap lessons, consider booking a 30-minute timeslot to start. You’ll likely see a $10-$15 difference in price compared to the 60-minute timeslot, which saves you $780 over the course of a year.
Here is an example of guitar lesson prices based on lesson length:
Shop around for your materials and gear.
Most hobbies require some additional purchases: instruments and books for music students, cameras and software for photography students, mats and workout gear for yoga students, and so on.
And those materials can add a good chunk of change to your learning expenses, there’s no doubt about it.
The good news is, it’s totally OK to start out slow and postpone the pricey purchases until later, after you’ve been learning for a while.
As a beginner music student, for example, it’s not necessary to buy a brand new top-of-the-line instrument. Used instruments can be just as good as new ones, depending on how well the previous owner cared for it. Younger students can also rent instruments from local music shops. Ask your friends or family if they have extra instruments they aren’t using, or look on eBay, Craigslist, or Amazon for used instruments at heavily discounted prices.
Your teacher can also be a great resource for this; before you book your lessons, feel free to use our Ask a Question feature to get their insight and recommendations.
Hold yourself accountable.
The best way to save money on lessons is to avoid wasting your money. We’ve shared how to stop wasting money on language lessons, specifically, and that also applies to music lessons, art lessons, and everything else!
Hold yourself accountable and commit to practicing in between your lessons. As you practice, take notes of what you’re struggling with, so you can review it with your teacher. And during your lessons, stay focused! You’re paying for your teacher’s time and expertise, so make the most of it.
Mastering a new skill can be a fantastic experience. And when you’re speaking Spanish fluently, performing a killer guitar solo in front of a crowd, or simply feeling confident at karaoke night, you’ll realize those lessons were money well spent.
Thousands of students have started new hobbies and reached their goals with TakeLessons teachers — will you be next?
Photo by Andrea Rose