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Vibrant Music Teaching Industry Report for 2021

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 you can make by teaching piano lessons, or any other statistics about teaching music lessons, you won’t have as much luck.

Until now, that is. 🙂

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, we compile this report every year and publish the findings here on the Colourful Keys blog.

This report is based on a survey 1,064 teachers conducted in September and October of 2021.  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 and the working life of teachers around the world. 

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

  • The average teaching rates in different locations
  • How many hours and weeks most teachers work
  • 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 changing role of online lessons in our studios

The more teachers fill in this survey each year, the more valuable the report becomes. Please spread the word about this report and make sure to follow email updates from this 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.

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, you can do so for free below.

Subscribe to the newsletter and get the 2021 Vibrant Music Teaching Industry Report

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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

We asked about rates per teaching hour and converted the currencies to US dollars to provide a direct comparison across the world. 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. You still need to factor in the cost of living where you are and how this may be reflected in your rates.

Global Average Music Teacher Rates

The total average is about USD$45 per hour of teaching, with Australia and the US being the only 2 countries sitting above this average. The only area where rates have not gone up since 2020 is the EU. This is a worrying trend considering the rise in inflation across the world, but perhaps it is just an anomaly in our data.

Music Teacher Income Satisfaction

Just as the rates have increased, so has teachers’ satisfaction with their income. Those rating their satisfaction as 4 out of 5 has gone up by about 2% this year.

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 statistics about teaching music lessons, in the full report. Get your copy by entering your details below.

Subscribe to the newsletter and get the 2021 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 2021 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?

The students represented in the survey (i.e. students of the teachers surveyed) were a fairly even mix of age ranges, with the largest cohorts in the school-going age brackets (as we would expect.)

What’s the youngest age most piano teachers teach?

Nearly 90% said they take on students under the age of 7, which is consistent with our 2020 data. This trend towards teaching preschoolers is holding strong from last year’s report.

How much do music students practise?

Two new areas we wanted to examine this year were the amount of practice students are doing and how long they stay in lessons.

The practice durations are, of course, just rough estimates based on what teachers think their students are doing during the week. We asked teachers to guess the average amount of practice per week. We expected it to be lower across the board than most teachers might want, but we were surprised to see almost 20% answering that their students practise less than 30 minutes per week on average (perhaps with many students in their studio just not practising at all?)

Very few teachers (less than 2%) think their students are putting in more than 30 minutes a day, 6 days a week, which is often cited as the expectation.

How long do students stay in lessons?

To get some idea of average student retention, we also asked about the number of years each student has been studying. This data will always skew a little on the pessimistic side, since – if a teacher is new or has recently moved their studio – there is a natural cap on the number of years a student could have been taking lessons with them. It’s encouraging to see that about 26% of our teachers’ students have been studying for 5 years or more. Perhaps all that focus on grit and growth mindset in recent years is paying off!

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 is almost the same as last year’s report.

The overwhelming majority of our respondents teach in a one-on-one format for most of their lessons. The only format which is up a little from last year is those teaching groups of 6 or more students; this has increased by around 1%.

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.

Most of these numbers are within 1–2% of our 2020 report. The main changes was within the “other” category, which this time was so fragmented that no single series got above 1%.

Do teachers compose and improvise?

Only around 3% of teachers said they were not interested in composing or improvising with their students, which is about the same as last year. The number doing composing, improvising or both is up by around 6% with only 20% now saying they don’t but would like to.

How many teachers use games to teach?

Even more of the teachers in our survey are already using games at least some of the time. These numbers are largely the same as our 2020 report.

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 2021 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 TEACHING STUDIO CALENDARS & HOURS

This section of the report is entirely new for 2021. Here we will look into teachers working hours to see how much teaching and other work we do as well as how our teaching calendars break down.

How many hours do music teachers teach each week?

We divided the teaching hours by area here as well a provided a global average. The EU is the biggest outlier, with just over 14 hours of teaching per week on average.

How many hours do music teachers spend on admin work each week?

We were surprised to see anyone at all saying they spend zero hours each week on office work! However, these might be teachers who work for someone else and are only contracted for the hours they are in lessons.

Over a quarter are managing to keep their office hours to a minimum at just 1–2 hours per week, but many of us are spending 5 or more hours per week on admin work.

What does the average teaching calendar look like?

We thought it would be interesting to compare the calendar of teachers in different areas across the 52 weeks of the year. The “reduced” weeks shown here represent weeks that teachers operate a reduced schedule; for example, summer weeks when they cut their timetable down to fewer days.

We’re taking the most time off in the EU with just under 37 full teaching weeks a year on average. It’s worth noting here that our largest EU cohort is in Ireland so the long summer breaks (2 months in primary schools and 3 months in secondary schools) Irish schools take could be a factor in this.

The US has the most full teaching weeks (apart from the other countries grouping). One possible explanation for this could be that US employees in general have fewer standard holiday weeks than many of the other countries represented in our report do.

COVID-19 Impact on Music Studios and online lessons

Our report wouldn’t be a true reflection of 2021 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 2021?

The number of teachers teaching online due to the global pandemic has gone done about 3% since our 2020 report, but the overwhelming majority of us still did some online teaching this year.

What’s the preferred platform for online music lessons?

Zoom was the out-and-out winner again for platform choice overall.  Facetime use is down by about 5% from last year and Skype is down by about 3%. Each of the platforms in the “other” category were used by fewer than 1% of our respondents.

Will teachers continue to offer online lessons after the pandemic is over?

Since we are all now more used to the idea of online lessons, we also asked what the future holds for this format. We were not surprised to see almost 40% saying they’ll keep this option for occasional lessons, but it was a bit unexpected to see that almost the same number will keep certain students online even after the restrictions are lifted. Perhaps being forced into testing this out has thrown light on the fact that it suits some students and their teachers very well.

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. Download the full report below for more great insights.

Subscribe to the newsletter and get the 2021 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. 🙂

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.

What music teaching statistic was most interesting to you?

In the comments below, I’d love to hear your key takeaways about our statistics on teaching music lessons.

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

16 thoughts on “Vibrant Music Teaching Industry Report for 2021”

  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
  7. Thank you so much for putting together this information! I teach in the US and there are a few things that I notice and want to add. Zoom is definitely the clear favorite for executing online lessons – my thought is that parents are already very familiar with using it in their own jobs. The statistic that surprised me the most was 52% of teachers composing & improvising! Fully supportive of it – I was impressed to see such a high percentage. I was also surprised to see 92% 1v1 lessons – there are a lot of really innovative formats popping up and it’s my prediction that in 2022 we will see more teachers using a format other than 1v1. Thanks again for all of this info, it is super helpful!!

    Reply

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