Music Teaching Industry Report for 2020

We’re currently collecting data for our 2021 report. Please take a moment to fill out our survey and have your studio represented.

If you have already filled it out, please share the link with a friend: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/BD2S979

The music teaching industry is one of the most under-reported out there. Look up “how much do lawyers make” or “how many hours do most doctors work” and you’ll easily come up with some statistics. If you want to know how much piano teachers make, or any other music lesson statistics, you won’t have as much luck.

Until now, that is. 🙂

2020 Vibrant Music Teaching Industry Report facebook 2

Data is important to any industry. It can give us insights into broader trends in the industry and it can let us see how we stack up to the averages.

Proper industry data also legitimises the work we are doing. Music teachers have been learning in recent years to take themselves and their businesses more seriously. Statistics can help the outside world to do the same.

For all these reasons, as well as personal and professional curiosity, I set out to investigate last year. We had a wonderful response to that survey and the report which came from it, so we have committed to doing this every year at Vibrant Music Teaching and publishing the findings here on the Colourful Keys blog.

We more than doubled our respondent numbers this year and I hope we can do it again in 2021. Please spread the word about this report and make sure to follow email updates from the Colourful Keys blog so you can participate in next year’s survey. It’s really important that this data represents the broad diversity of our industry  so it can provide truly meaningful insights.

This report is based on a survey of 1,059 teachers from 31 countries conducted in September and October of 2020.  The goal of the survey was to better understand the music teaching industry as a whole with a specific focus on the income of teachers, the trends in music teaching pedagogy around the world and the online teaching shift due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In this report you’ll discover music lesson statistics such as:

  • The average teaching rates in different locations and how they compare across the world.
  • How common recitals and exams are in different countries.
  • Which areas teachers generally feel most and least confident about teaching.
  • The overall trends towards teaching creative skills.
  • How common music teacher association membership is. 
  • The impact of the global Covid-19 pandemic on our industry. 

I hope you gain some insights about your own studio from these findings.

2020 Vibrant Music Teaching Industry Report

In this article, I will share some of the key findings from the report and my thoughts about them. If you want to download the complete report, however, you can do so for free.

Subscribe to the newsletter and get the 2020 Vibrant Music Teaching Industry Report

Enter your details to subscribe to the newsletter for piano teachers with information, tips and offers.


I hate spam as much as you do! I will only send you emails related directly to piano teaching and you can unsubscribe at any time.

If you’re a member of Vibrant Music Teaching you can download the report directly here. No need to wait for an email. 🙂

Average Music Teacher Rates

Teachers who responded to the survey were asked how much they make per teaching hour. We then converted this to US dollars so that we could do a direct comparison.

Cost of living will vary widely so you need to consider that when looking through these numbers. (In future surveys, we hope to have enough data in from countries where this would make a substantial difference to make recalculating based on cost of living possible.)

Global Average Music Teacher Rates

The overall average was about USD$42 per hour of teaching, with Australia and the US being the only 2 countries sitting above this average. 

Although this is still a broad-brush approach, we hope it gives you some sense of whether your own rates are above or below the norm globally. 

Music Teacher Income Satisfaction

Overall, teachers are quite satisfied with their income. The average satisfaction rating was 3.6 out of 5, and almost 20% of teachers rated their satisfaction with their income at 5 out of 5.

The income satisfaction is loosely (but not very strongly) tied to whether the teacher charges above or below the average rate per hour for their area. About half of those who reported a satisfaction level of 4 or 5 out of 5 charge below the average for their area, but those who are less satisfied are more likely to charge less than the average.

If you are not satisfied with your own income, have a look around to discover what other teachers are charging in your area. You might discover that you can raise your rates without pricing yourself out of the market.

There is much more detail about income and rates, along with other music lesson statistics, in the full report. Get your copy by entering your details below.

Subscribe to the newsletter and get the 2020 Vibrant Music Teaching Industry Report

Enter your details to subscribe to the newsletter for piano teachers with information, tips and offers.


I hate spam as much as you do! I will only send you emails related directly to piano teaching and you can unsubscribe at any time.

If you’re a member of Vibrant Music Teaching you can download the report directly here. No need to wait for an email. 🙂

Music Lesson Statistics

The 2020 Vibrant Music Teaching Industry Report goes far beyond rates. We also ask about how teachers teach and their studio statistics. This is data you cannot find anywhere else. 😎

How many students do music teachers have?

Overall, teachers have an average of about 22 students. We were pleased to see almost 10% who have fewer than 5 students taking part in the survey, as we want this data to reflect the industry as a whole (not just teachers with large studios).

2020 Vibrant Music Teaching Industry Report Graphs - Studios-05

What’s the youngest age most piano teachers teach?

The youngest ages which teachers taught skewed younger than we expected, with nearly 90% taking on students under the age of 7. This shows that teaching preschoolers is a growing trend. It will be interesting to track this over the next few years.

What format do we teach in?

Over 60% of teachers teach 30 minute lessons as their standard format. The overall breakdown of different lesson lengths remains roughly consistent with last year’s report.

The overwhelming majority of our respondents teach in a one-on-one format for most of their lessons, with next most popular scenario being small groups of 3-5 students followed by buddy lessons. Larger groups and other formats such as labs, 20-20-20 and rotations were in the very small minority.

What are the most common method books?

Method books can never determine everything about how a particular teacher’s lessons look. However, the popularity of certain methods does provide us with some indicator of what teachers value, their priorities and – in particular – how they prefer to teach reading skills.

Alfred and John Thompson are up a little this year when compared to the 2019 report, while the percentage of teachers using Piano Pronto or Wunderkeys has gone down a bit. The biggest change compared to last year’s report was Piano Safari, which has jumped more than 5% this year. It will be very interesting to track these changes over a number of years to see the trends. 

The larger number in the “other methods” section consists of series used by just 1 or 2 teachers in the survey, and also represents those who could not give a clear answer. 

Do teachers compose and improvise?

Only 3.4% of teachers said that they were not interested in composing or improvising with their students. Almost 70% of teachers are already doing some composition or improvisation in their lessons, and the remainder of teachers are not yet but would like to try. 

How many teachers use games to teach?

Even more of the teachers in our survey were already using games at least some of the time with under 2% saying they never play games with students. 

There’s even more about who we teach and how in the report. Get your copy by entering your details below.

Subscribe to the newsletter and get the 2020 Vibrant Music Teaching Industry Report

Enter your details to subscribe to the newsletter for piano teachers with information, tips and offers.


I hate spam as much as you do! I will only send you emails related directly to piano teaching and you can unsubscribe at any time.

If you’re a member of Vibrant Music Teaching you can download the report directly here. No need to wait for an email. 🙂

COVID-19 Impact on Music Studios

Our report wouldn’t be a true reflection of 2020 if we didn’t give special attention to the effect the global pandemic has had on our industry.

Did most music teachers teach online in 2020?

To many of us, it feels like the entire teaching community shifted online almost overnight. But we wanted to look at the numbers to see if this was really the case. Almost 9% said that they had not taught online at all due to COVID-19 (those teachers are not counted in the rest of the data in this section) but the overwhelming majority of teachers did migrate to online lessons to some degree.

What’s the preferred platform for online music lessons?

Zoom was the out-and-out winner for platform choice overall. This will be interesting to track as teachers, especially those teaching online in the long term, find other options more specifically designed for music lessons.

How many students quit due to the online lesson format?

Students quitting lessons was a big concern in the initial stages of the move to online lessons, and it’s great to see that this fear was largely unfounded for most teachers. Only 11.88% of teachers had more than 5 students quit due to lessons moving online, while more than 40% of teachers had no students quit specifically due to the shift in lesson format. (We did not ask about students quitting due to economic circumstances caused by the pandemic, as it would be difficult for teachers to give a definitive answer.)

The Value of Music Teaching Industry Data

I hope that some of these key findings spoke to you and helped shed light on an area of your business. Make sure to download the full report below for more great insights.

Subscribe to the newsletter and get the 2020 Vibrant Music Teaching Industry Report

Enter your details to subscribe to the newsletter for piano teachers with information, tips and offers.


I hate spam as much as you do! I will only send you emails related directly to piano teaching and you can unsubscribe at any time.

If you’re a member of Vibrant Music Teaching you can download the report directly here.

Having data can propel our industry forward. Send this report to a teaching friend and spread the word using this handy link: colourfulkeys.ie/report

For more insights about running your music studio business, check out our centralized business hub with the latest and greatest news, articles, and resources.

What music teaching statistic was most interesting to you?

I’d love to hear your key takeaways about our music lesson statistics in the comments below.

And if you have ideas for questions you want answered in future versions of the report, please chime in with those too!

15 thoughts on “Music Teaching Industry Report for 2020”

  1. Nicola, thank you so much for collecting, compiling, and sharing this data. It is much needed and I hope you update annually.

    I was very surprised – shocked, in fact – by both the low group lesson numbers AND the hourly wage of group lesson teachers. I would never have expected those numbers and wonder if they are connected on a deeper level.

    I hope this helps to serve as both a point of reference for teachers in valuing our services AND as an inspiration to work toward increasing that value.

    Thank you again!!

    Reply
  2. A very interesting and valuable survey, thank you . Especially the comparison of exams and recitals, and reading and technical skills. Wages comparison is difficult globally, but a great effort nonetheless.

    Reply
  3. Hello Nicola, I am almost finished reading PLAYFUL PRESCHOOL PIANO TEACHING. I PURCHASED THE BOOK FROM AMAZON. I wanted to find the visual lesson planning cards but do not know how to find them. At $25.oo per month I cannot afford to join. I recently closed my piano studio but am still teaching my 5 year old granddaughter and two other grandkids. She started with me at four years old. Marlene

    Reply
  4. Hi. Thanks for all the work you’ve done in this compilation . I am in southern New Jersey, I am shocked by how inexpensive Tuition fees are through the country. For a second I thought that was for a 30 minute lesson rather than paid by the hour, Now I’m curious as to how many teachers are teaching as a full-time career and are degreed. Seems we are under valuing ourselves Ty

    Reply
  5. Are the teachers surveyed mostly teaching pre-K to early grade school students? It would explain the large difference between exams and recitals in the US — but also the prevalence of the types of published methodology books scoring so popularly.

    Reply
  6. Thank you for doing the work in collecting and organizing this information, Nicola! 🙂 I was interested in seeing the data on favorite method books. I would be interested in seeing more of this kind of information in the future: what books/materials teachers use – whether they are books, worksheets or online resources, etc.

    Reply

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