"Music for Everyone, All Ages "
1515 WARREN STREET, (NORTHSHORE) PITTSBURGH, PA 15212-3332
(412) 322-0520                                             info@KikuchiMusic.com
                                                                     Founder: Lee W. Kikuchi

HANDBOOK SECTION
BACKGROUND

UNDERSTANDING THE COSTS
The costs of a musical education is considerable, especially if the student continues study to the advanced level (7-10 years). Before deciding on a teacher (or music school) the student/family should fully understand what costs are involved and why rates are set the way they are. Comparing teachers solely based on an hourly rate is like comparing canned peaches to fresh apples!

Tuition fee Per Term: The Kikuchi Music Institute operates on a tuition per term basis, which is in alignment with how music schools and universities charge tuition, and is in keeping with the current standards as set by the professional societies. Overall, the cost per lesson is actually below the average because families commit to a certain number of lessons per term. Strict missed lesson policies, and a speciall "free lesson incentive" help ensure compliance and therefore help keep the rates low.

Traditionally, private teachers used to charge a flat fee payable in cash at each weekly lesson. Over the past 30 years this practice has been gradually replaced by a variety of other payment plans which include monthly payments and full-term payments. The reason is due to the need for stricter policies regarding cancellations and no-shows.

In the 70’s when the fee per lesson practice was far more common, most decent private music teachers charged from $5 to $10 per 30 min. lesson. The better teachers charged from $20 to $30 per 30 min. lesson. If adjusted for inflation to today’s economy that $5 lesson would now be $40 and that $20 lesson would now be $160!

If private teachers charged upward of $100 per 30 min. lesson today, they could easily handle the income fluctuations caused by cancellations and no-shows. However, it seems a reasonable assessment that such a high fee would simply price most of their students out of the studio so much so that the teachers would still not have adequate income. Since the market cannot bear for teachers to increase their rates so sharply (although the universities have done so without hesitation), private teachers have had to find other ways to ensure that their income did not drop below acceptable levels.

Likewise, would it not also be considered unfair that essentially the good students who are timely are actually making up for the bad ones by paying the higher rates? After all, at whatever rate, the student who attends and pays for 48 weekly lessons in the year is clearly paying more than the one who misses many lessons, and in the end pays for only 30 or so. In the final analysis, the non-compliant student is depriving the teacher of potential income by not attending regularly.

All the professional societies advise their members to charge a reasonable fee and to enforce strict policies that ensure their income is not devastated by non-compliant students. The philosophy is that the student is paying for a class which meets at a certain time, and the failure by the student to attend – regardless of the reason – does not make tuition refundable. After all, if a student misses a class at any private school or college, there is no refund. Furthermore, the student is required to make up for the lost instruction on his/her own – and when it comes time for the test, the student is still responsible any and all material missed due to absence otherwise the final grade will be diminished.

Volume Discounts: Unlike any university and most private teachers, KMI offers substantial discounts on tuition based on quantity of time enrolled. On the first level, our full-term tuition rates reflect a volume discount based on the commitment to 15 weekly lessons per term. Further, students or families receive a volume discount based on total time enrolled by the combined family members per week for the entire term. We specifically provide these discounts to help families provide education to all their children, and to ease the financial burden of longer lessons when a student advances to a level requiring them.

Enrollment Options: Students may enroll in four different ways: 1) 6-Week Introductory (new students only); 2) Full-Term of lessons (15 weeks); 3) Supplementary Lessons (flat rate per lesson); or 4) Floating Lessons (also a flat rate).

Payment Plan Options: KMI expects payment in full for the entire term by the 20th of the month before the term begins. If this is not possible, KMI has four different payment plan options to make it easier.

Books and Materials: All books and materials are separate from the tuition cost. Parents may purchase books from KMI directly, or may go to a local music store to purchase them. Prices at KMI include tax and are rounded up to the nearest half-dollar to keep the numbers simple.

(See Tuition Policies for details)

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Last Modified: 07/28/2006