Learning how to play the piano has become increasingly popular as people are finding creative ways to escape the stresses of life or hone their list of abilities.

In South Africa there are so many options for budding piano enthusiasts to learn.  These options can depend on their budget and of course the level of competence they are aiming for.

Before you start searching for ‘piano lessons near me,’ remember that if you intend to learn at home your biggest cost could be purchasing your piano if you don’t already have one.

In South Africa it is quite possible to find a really affordable electric piano, as the price of this instrument varies greatly amongst sellers. You might have your heart set on learning on a grand piano or upright piano, research these costs and get advice from other piano players.

upright piano
It is possible to find an affordable piano for sale. ⎢Source: Unsplash

Remember that second-hand options, especially if you are new student, are also a possibility, but once again, seek advice from someone who is familiar with pianos before investing.

The cost of the piano will not be your only expenditure if you want to learn to play piano though, as you will need to take the price of the piano lessons into consideration. Think about what aspects of private piano tuition are most important to you as this will affect the overall cost of your piano lessons.

You might want to learn piano tablature which will be one cost, but it might be important to you to learn how to read sheet music or music theory. The cost of your piano tuition could depend on whether your tutor works privately from home, from a school, or dedicated music academy. All of these factors have an influence on the cost of your lessons.

The main advantage with regard to private piano lessons is that you can pace yourself and it may not be necessary to travel far, if at all. Do remember though, that if you are being taught in your own home, make sure that you have specifically dedicated the time to your piano practise and that you are undistracted by children or family-life so that you can focus and benefit as much as possible from your lesson.

Once you have decided to learn piano, decide upfront how much you would like to invest in your tuition.

Two things that can greatly influence the cost are not only the type of piano lessons, but also their frequency. In terms of frequency, you could choose from:

  • Weekly tuition
  • Intensive tuition
  • Occasional tuition
  • Any of the above in the form of a group lesson.
piano and sheet music
Reading sheet music is an important part of learning to play piano. ⎢Source: Unsplash

Bear in mind that tutors may also include a travel fee which is why you really want to search for a piano lesson as near to you as possible.

Location in South Africa also has a direct bearing on the cost of your dream to learn to play piano. Music tuition rates vary from city to city, with some places being more expensive than others.

Here are the average costs for piano lessons by the hour in some of the bigger cities in South Africa.

JohannesburgR150 – R250/hour
PretoriaR100 – R400 hour
Cape TownR100 – R400/hour
DurbanR100 – R400/hour
Port ElizabethR200 – R300/hour

The cost of piano lessons compared to learning other instruments can also vary. For example here are those differences in the city of Cape Town.

PianoR100 – R400/hour
Acoustic guitarR450/hour

Remember that these are only average prices for face-to-face tuition which you could find on a platform like Superprof.  If there is not a tutor near you, don’t be disheartened because you still have the option to access many online piano tutors from all over the world. And the benefit here is that online piano tutorials are even more affordable.

The Private Piano Tutor Experience

Whichever method you choose to find your private piano tutor, it is likely that you will discover several excellent options.

It’s important to remember that different piano teachers offer different experiences depending on their own knowledge and expertise. Whether your piano tutor is self-taught, or has a formal music education from a prestigious music school or university like the South African College of Music can greatly affect the cost of your tuition.

Of course their piano teaching experience can also influence cost and even just a few extra years behind them can increase their average rate by up to R100 per hour.

So how do you decide on which tutor to choose?

Firstly, be honest with yourself about your own piano playing goals.

Are you aiming to play for fun or do you intend to take your piano playing on a serious journey? The answer to this question should determine your level of investment when it comes to your desire to learn to play piano.

The Cost of Piano Tuition by Level

Besides the knowledge, experience and location of your piano tutor, the cost of your lesson will also depend on what the tutor is offering.

For instance, teaching advanced piano takes more skill, preparation and planning than simply teaching the basics or offering an introduction to playing the piano. The basic rule of thumb in terms of piano tuition in relation to cost, is that piano lessons for beginners tend to be more affordable than tutorials for advanced players.

Of course learning how to play the piano from scratch also takes preparation time, however this usually requires slightly less planning for the tutor than would be needed to teach a very complex Beethoven piece.

pianist on stage
Be clear about your piano playing goals. ⎢Source: Unsplash

The most important thing to consider is your own personal objective and this will influence the level of tutor you require.

For beginners, the enjoyment factor is especially important and for this reason it’s really important that you choose a tutor that suits your personality too.

How to Save Money on Piano Tuition

If you have decided that you are probably not going to be the next Mozart and you would like to embark on your piano playing journey as affordably as possible, there are a number of ways you could still learn what you need to and not actually break the bank.

The first way to save on tuition is to consider being taught in a group.

Group lessons can drastically reduce the price of hourly lessons.

The benefit is that you will enjoy the motivation and relationship building that comes with it if you decide to learn with friends or family. Naturally, the intensity of the tuition will be slightly diluted in a group, but depending on the level of competence you are aiming for, this might not matter.

Generally, group lessons will cost you less than the tutor’s hourly rate, but the benefit for the tutor is that they will generally earn more from the group fees and free up their timetable too.

Another way to save money on piano tutorials is to learn via an online teacher from anywhere in the world. This can be very cost effective and all you need is an internet connection and a webcam.

laptop and keyboard
Online piano lessons may be your best option. ⎢Source: Unsplash

If you happen to find your tutor on an online platform like Superprof, learning online is definitely an option. The other benefit to this is that many of these tutors offer their first introductory lesson for free. When you consider that private tuition is such a personal experience, this is extremely helpful when it comes to finding just the right tutor for you.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter whether you are a beginner, intermediate or advanced piano student, the important thing to remember is that with private tuition you and the tutor have the ability to design a programme that really suits your individual needs. You may want to master a certain piece; improve your improvisation; learn music theory or learn how to read sheet music. The key is to ask questions about your tutor’s specialty in your first lesson and clearly communicate your own goals.

Finally, learning to play piano at any level has become so accessible for music enthusiasts of all ages.

As long as you clearly establish your own goals as well as the level of your tutor and research the average cost of lessons, based on your location, you are bound to find just the right tutor for you.

So whether you are the next Elton John, family soirée leader, or your city’s future most popular piano tutor, all the best for your piano learning journey.

Make sure it is fun!

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Niki is a content writer from Cape Town, South Africa, who is passionate about words, strategic communication and using words to help create and maintain brand personas. Niki has a PR and marketing background, but her happiest place is when she is bringing a story to life on a page.