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To think price increases for son's music lessons should be agreed

(39 Posts)
mamamea Thu 17-Sep-09 13:47:38

My son started guitar lessons at school last year. We didn't check the cost until after we'd agreed to take the place, it turned out it was £17 for half-an-hour.

We've just received the bill for this term which says £17.50 for half-an-hour.

No explanation, just a bill. 50p is not that much, but the prices are already high and he should have asked us.

Is he taking the piss, or what?

Triggles Thu 17-Sep-09 15:20:14

When you are paying an ongoing fee for any type of thing, such as lessons, it would be appropriate for them to at least NOTIFY you in advance of the change, such as a letter along with the bill stating "as of next month, the fees will be increased to..."

You don't necessarily have to agree, but you should at least be notified in advance. If people had to agree to price increases, nobody would ever be able to raise their fees.

flowerybeanbag Thu 17-Sep-09 15:36:21

They shouldn't be agreed, no. As with any service or product sold, it's up to the person selling that service or product what they want to charge. It's then up to you to decide whether you're happy to buy at that price or not.

But of course he should have notified you of the increase beforehand, and not just sent you a bill for a larger amount than you expected. Do you pay in advance or in arrears? Is this bill for lessons already received or for lessons to be taken over the coming term?

Stigaloid Thu 17-Sep-09 15:44:37

YABU - he started last year and the cost of classes has gone up 50pence - hardly inflation busting. The tutor needs an income that he can live off - i agree the school probably should have informed you, but to think that a year would pass and costs wouldn't rise is a littel naive.

ComeOVeneer Thu 17-Sep-09 15:46:25

Sounds very expensive in the first place. DD's piano lessons are £6.50 for 20 mins.

mamamea Thu 17-Sep-09 15:59:41

We have a contract (directly with the teacher) to give a term's notice if we want to cancel. There is nothing in the contract about fees. The bill is for the next term up to December.

As we are obliged to pay the bill, he should give us a term's notice of any increase so that we can cancel/make other arrangements.

50p/3% is definitely inflation-busting at the moment I believe btw.

sayithowitis Thu 17-Sep-09 16:34:29

Actually, whilst it sounds a lot for each lesson, if you work out how many lessons he will have to teach in order to make any sort of a living, it is probably not that much. He will be limited as to how many children he can teach in a day by the length of the school day and by the time spent travelling between schools. He also probably has to pay travel espenses etc, all of which adds up.

As to whether you should be asked if he can put up his prices, no, of course not. It is his decision entirely, though I do agree you should have been given notice that an increase was planned in case you wanted to make alternative arrangements.

GrapefruitMoon Thu 17-Sep-09 16:39:08

Is that £17.50 per lesson or for the whole term? Think that would have an impact on whether I think yabu or yanbu!

PeedOffWithNits Thu 17-Sep-09 16:39:30

£17 is a lot for half an hour, I assume this is one-to-one, group lessons are much cheaper

I agree that he should have told you about the increase, are you certain there was not a slip of paper got lost at the end of the summer term?

but at the end of the day, if you could afford £17, 50p makes no difference

AMumInScotland Thu 17-Sep-09 16:42:10

I think if you have to give a term's notice to cancel, then he ought in all fairness to give you a term's notice of the increase in fees. I mean, if he doubled the price without notice, and you were legally obliged to keep paying, I don't think that would be a fair contract and you could probably challenge it.

But since it's only 50p increase, I think he might easily argue that of course there will be a small increase each year, which you should have expected, so it's not unreasonable.

But it'd be much more polite and friendly to notify you in advance.

mamamea Thu 17-Sep-09 18:04:14

It is £17.50 per lesson, so £227.50 for the term.

I wouldn't mind so much if he wasn't the most expensive guitar teacher in the world already.

bramblebooks Thu 17-Sep-09 18:17:50

strewth at the price. Occasionally teach piano. Have 23 years teaching experience and a masters degree and don't charge that much!

flippant comments aside, yes there needs to be a living wage and I hope it's making a real difference to your son's enjoyment and progress with the instrument. He should have given notice, but maybe it did get lost?

mamamea Thu 17-Sep-09 18:41:16

We are quite resentful of the price. But it's a captive market, because if you don't have lessons at school, they won't get considered for school musical ensembles.

Tinfoil Thu 17-Sep-09 20:04:44

Agree with sayithowitis.

bramblebooks Thu 17-Sep-09 20:12:48

Beg to differ but we have various travelling teachers between our schools and none of them charge anything like this. A lot of them also have private pupils either to their home or studio after school or they travel between pupils.

mamamea, that's discrimination! My child has private violin lessons and I would not be impressed if he were not considered for school orchestra when he gets to high school for the reason your school gives. A good relationship with music tutor is essential and not worth changing tutors for a place in an ensemble. Private tutors are generally just as good as school tutors.

Hando Thu 17-Sep-09 20:17:42

Our music lessons at school are also about that price for half hour (they can learn violin in reception and year 1 for this price) + £30 per half term to hire the instrument. It is really expensive I think! You can have group lessons in a group of 4 for 20 mins and it's a lower price, but I'd imagine they learn less.

I would love dd to learn, but simply can't afford that much!

However, they do give free lessons and instrument hire to the parents who do not work - just not to parents like me that work but cannot afford it sad

mumeeee Thu 17-Sep-09 21:55:58

YABU.He is doing his lessons at school and the school would have aranged this with the tutor. But the laessons do sound expensive.

pacinofan Thu 17-Sep-09 22:02:23

I do not think you are being unreasonable at all. Some may think £0.50 is not much to grumble about, but it all adds up, school meals, music, swimming lessons and the like. I think you are entitled at least to notification of a price increase so you can decide whether to continue with lessons or not.

AMumInScotland Fri 18-Sep-09 09:52:12

I think it's ridiculous that they can only be considered for an ensemble if they have lessons in school - there should simply be a minimum standard expected for the ensemble, and if the child has reached that with an outside tutor then what is the problem?

DS has lessons outside of school, and is in the orchestra, no problem. He simply had to be at a certain level, and they then "audition" new players to decide where to fit them in best.

I'd say £35 per hour for tuition is top whack, specially at this kind of level if he only started last year, and it's unreasonable of the school to run a "closed shop" and then set the fees so high.

mamamea Fri 18-Sep-09 15:05:48

I think I will cancel the lessons and arrange for private tuition. Or I will make enquiries anyway.

Having lessons at home would be better because I will be able to watch him play and see what his teacher is working on.

I did ask the school about the cost, and they said they don't get any part of it, and the fee is purely up to the tutor.

When I asked the Head of Music about why children should have lessons at school she said that she liked the children to play at school so she could listen on their lessons to judge their ability.

I don't like paying over the odds for things.

brimfull Fri 18-Sep-09 15:10:52

crikey that is expensive

I pay £240 for dd's one to one lessons for the whole year

Is it private school?

mamamea Fri 18-Sep-09 15:38:37

Yes it is private.

ShellingPeas Fri 18-Sep-09 15:39:51

Your fees are very high. I am a music teacher with 20 years experience, qualifications to degree in level in 3 instruments, plus an early years music diploma. I have never charged a pupil that much for half an hour - going rate here is around £12 for a half hour private lesson.

The only time I ever make £35 to £40 an hour is when I'm running consultancy and training courses and dealing with up to 8 or 10 adults at a time.

I would like to have your guitar tutor's job!

And regarding fee increases, I notify pupils and any schools/nurseries of fee increases a term before applying the increases.

pigletmania Fri 18-Sep-09 15:53:31

Of course you should be notified by the teacher of any price increase, after all you are paying for it and should have the option to cancel if you are not happy. The lessons sound quite expensive to me, and an extra 50p may not seen a lot but adds up in the grand scheme of things. YANBU, the music teacher should give you notice when putting up prices, as they would expect you to give them notice if you plan to cancel.

Tinfoil Fri 18-Sep-09 16:23:29

My guess is that the OP is in or near London, and ShellingPeas is not, hence the price difference?

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