View Poll Results: What is a reasonable hourly rate for a private lesson

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19. You may not vote on this poll
  • Nada - they should do it for the love of the dance

    0 0%
  • 10 or Under

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  • 15

    0 0%
  • 20

    1 5.26%
  • 25

    5 26.32%
  • 30

    4 21.05%
  • 35

    1 5.26%
  • 40 or more

    8 42.11%
  • Beyond Value - I would offer my first-born!

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Thread: Fair rate for Private Lessons

  1. #1
    Commercial Operator Gus's Avatar
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    Fair rate for Private Lessons

    OK, to start, statement of interest: I'm looking to start teaching private lessons and I was interested in what was considered a 'fair' rate.

    I'd like to stay away from my usual rant about 'unqualified teachers charging extortionate rates and eating live babies while forcing students to dance to Eurovision classics' ... so lets start with the basic proposition:

    The teacher is 'competent', but not in the S&N, N&N league
    Students are competent intermediates
    Rate is for teaching only, not for venue or add-ons like video etc

    So ... what is a reasonable hourly rate, thoughts? How could a teacher improve the value given?

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    Re: Fair rate for Private Lessons

    Well, the booklet for Southport said 50/hour . and considering that the venue was free (in that it was already there and available - there's no way they could build that into their costs) I thought that was extortionate.
    We were actually looking for private lessons this weekend, but for 50/hour and given that we couldn't see any teachers in the line-up that we especially wanted to use. It didn't help that their 'star-turn' was a harmonica player!

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    Re: Fair rate for Private Lessons

    I clicked on 25 without realising Gav had voted, honest!

    I would say 25 is about right, I would pay that for an hour, but any more and I would be put off.

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    Formerly known as DavidJames David Bailey's Avatar
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    Re: Fair rate for Private Lessons

    Quote Originally Posted by Gus View Post
    OK, to start, statement of interest: I'm looking to start teaching private lessons and I was interested in what was considered a 'fair' rate.

    I'd like to stay away from my usual rant about 'unqualified teachers charging extortionate rates and eating live babies while forcing students to dance to Eurovision classics' ... so lets start with the basic proposition:

    The teacher is 'competent', but not in the S&N, N&N league
    Students are competent intermediates
    Rate is for teaching only, not for venue or add-ons like video etc

    So ... what is a reasonable hourly rate, thoughts?
    How long is a piece of string?

    I can only really talk about the AT world, but I think it's a reasonable comparison.

    The best value I've found was an astonishingly-low 20 per hour - from someone I respected highly. Unfortunately he was never available... The most expensive I've found was 65ph (including room hire).

    So I'd guess somewhere between those two is reasonable, under your criteria - say, 40 per hour plus room hire costs.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gus View Post
    How could a teacher improve the value given?
    For my privates, I try to offer value by:
    - Planning the lesson's topics in advance so we don't waste time deciding what's needed
    - Writing up notes for each session and sending them to the students
    - (If they agree) Taking videos of them at the start and end of the session, and providing those; either online or on a memory stick (memory sticks are cheap)

    Feel free to ask me about my rates

  5. #5
    Formerly known as DavidJames David Bailey's Avatar
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    Re: Fair rate for Private Lessons

    Quote Originally Posted by Gav View Post
    Well, the booklet for Southport said 50/hour . and considering that the venue was free (in that it was already there and available - there's no way they could build that into their costs) I thought that was extortionate.
    I agree. Also, without being bitchy about it, the average Ceroc teacher is maybe not very experienced at teaching privates, and may not have a good grounding in theory either.

    Mind you, it's a captive market.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gav View Post
    It didn't help that their 'star-turn' was a harmonica player!
    Harmonicas are cool

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    Re: Fair rate for Private Lessons

    Quote Originally Posted by David Bailey View Post
    Harmonicas are cool
    Dead man walking, we got a dead man walking here

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    Re: Fair rate for Private Lessons

    AT privates have gone up from around 20 to 35 in the time I've taken them and this is about the limit of what I'll pay. Even then, they're just an occasional treat.

    However, there are lots of people in the dance world with far more disposable cash than me who are clearly prepared to pay more and more often. But I can't and won't.

    As a basic level of professional care I'd expect
    *Full attention for the hour.
    *Supportive encouragement
    *Honest appraisal (in line with the above) and diagnostics but with opportunities for me to say what I think I need/want to learn.
    *A balanced lesson covering a range of skills, not solely devoted to one aspect of the dance or the teacher's own pet peeves.
    *Pointers to specific practice areas to work on after the lesson.
    *The teacher should have good knowledge of dance technique and how to improve or modify it.
    *Good communication from the teacher

    If I had a series of lessons with the same teacher I'd also expect
    *Continuing review of progress, with core activities to test whether I'd learned and retained previous stuff. Visible demonstrations of whether I'd mastered a particular issue or not
    *Structured practice with the teacher of areas taught in previous lessons


    Having said all that, I think now that if I had a private lesson either in MJ or AT (and I would consider taking a private lesson in MJ now after not being interested for years) it would be to work on things very specific to me, that I'd pinpointed as something I wanted to improve that I couldn't learn easily from just dancing freestyle. I'd have to be very picky about the teacher having the right sort of personal style - years ago it wouldn't have mattered to me.

  8. 2 'Thanks':

    Gus (23rd-May-2011), Yliander (24th-May-2011)

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    Re: Fair rate for Private Lessons

    Quote Originally Posted by jivecat View Post
    Having said all that, I think now that if I had a private lesson either in MJ or AT it would be to work on things very specific to me, that I'd pinpointed as something I wanted to improve that I couldn't learn easily from just dancing freestyle. I'd have to be very picky about the teacher having the right sort of personal style - years ago it wouldn't have mattered to me.
    I spoke to a dance teacher whom I do respect recently and they told me that the most important thing to do when considering private lessons, is to have an idea of what you want to achieve beforehand; and preferably, let the teacher know what that is in advance.

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    B.O.G.O.F. fletch's Avatar
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    Re: Fair rate for Private Lessons

    Quote Originally Posted by Gav View Post
    It didn't help that their 'star-turn' was a harmonica player!
    So Gav out off all the talent on the floor you see the harmonica play as the star turn? funny how we see things differently!

    for me the stars were young Shannon and James who won entrery to the London champs with the largest cheer from the audence ever, they must have liked childern on the dance floor

    or Spinney Jamie the Tazmaninan devil of the dance floor, no matter how many times I watch him spinn I gobsmacked

    perhaps you might like to surgest a star turn for next scorch? what about flying in someone from the USA to insult the punters, not turn up for there private lessons and tell the audence there to good to stay in a dump like pontins, that might inspire people?
    Last edited by fletch; 23rd-May-2011 at 04:25 PM.

  11. #10
    Formerly known as DavidJames David Bailey's Avatar
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    Re: Fair rate for Private Lessons

    Quote Originally Posted by fletch View Post
    So Gav out off all the talent on the floor you see the harmonica play as the star turn?
    Ceroc obviously did, that's why he was headlined and featured on the front cover - possibly that's what Gav was referring to?

    Quote Originally Posted by fletch View Post
    they must have liked childern on the dance floor
    Cor, we haven't had a good old "kids attending weekenders" barney for ages...

    Quote Originally Posted by fletch View Post
    perhaps you might like to surgest a star turn for next scorch? what about flying in someone from the USA to insult the punters, not turn up for there private lessons and tell the audence there to good to stay in a dump like pontins, that might inspire people?
    Breaaaaaathe...

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    Re: Fair rate for Private Lessons

    So is that per person or for a couple ( some AT Gods quote per person and are reluctant to teach one person,

    I have seen AT teachers spend most of an hour just "watching and assessing"

    For MJ and assuming its a full hour, of full on teaching

    A beginner wanting a bit of help 20- 30

    An intermediate wanting some help getting rid of some bad habits 30-50

    but an experience couple wantin to enter competitions 50-85
    plus expenses


    eg travel if they are coming to me and room hire if a free room is not available

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    Re: Fair rate for Private Lessons

    I charge 30 an hour for privates. But I mostly try to discourage people from taking private lessons in MJ. We do a social dance which is learnt in a social setting. Private lessons miss the point. If you want to learn more intensively I think you'd be better off with a workshop.

    Most of the private lessons I teach are people wanting to learn for a special occasion. Once in a while I do a private lesson to fix a bad habit.

    The learning of MJ in a social setting is a significant part of the fun of MJ. Private lessons take that fun out of the learning process. Although I do try generate fun in my private lessons.

  14. #13
    Commercial Operator Gus's Avatar
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    Re: Fair rate for Private Lessons

    An interesting dimension for me is what is the minimum price an instructor willing to teach for. The instructors I know range from the student/cash strapped end of the spectrum with others who are IT Contractors/time poor. If you are pulling in 50+/hr on your contract you may be reluctant to spend an hours prep plus an hour teaching for a paltry 40. On the other hand a student would see 20 as a real incentive. May influence the supply side of the equation.

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    Commercial Operator Gus's Avatar
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    Re: Fair rate for Private Lessons

    Quote Originally Posted by Andy McGregor View Post
    I charge 30 an hour for privates.
    I think it would be good for instructors rates to be more widely known. I know one student who paid SERIOUS cash to a club instructor for a series of lessons, only to have his lead, posture and footwork ridiculed when he went for a lesson to another slightly more experienced instructor. I must admit I was very surprised at how relatively low a rate I paid for Simon & Nicole on a dance holiday, and I regard them as being at the top of their game at the moment!

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    Re: Fair rate for Private Lessons

    Quote Originally Posted by David Bailey View Post
    How long is a piece of string?
    I agree it is hard to answer.

    But just take my situation here in Sri Lanka. If I were to set up an MJ class just for beginners, I'd be looking at 5 quid a head for the full 3 hours.
    However I could conservatively charge 100 quid plus an hour for private lessons and about the same to school kids (even in school).

    Having said all that I was a Ceroc Taxi for 6 years free of charge, and even paid my admission to the class in London. And I would still do the same today, because of the love I feel for teaching Ceroc (perhaps I'm weird).

  17. #16
    Formerly known as DavidJames David Bailey's Avatar
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    Re: Fair rate for Private Lessons

    Quote Originally Posted by philsmove View Post
    So is that per person or for a couple ( some AT Gods quote per person and are reluctant to teach one person,
    All the prices I have paid or been paid have been per hour. It seems silly to do anything else.

    Quote Originally Posted by philsmove View Post
    I have seen AT teachers spend most of an hour just "watching and assessing"
    They're snoozing

    The best value I've encountered in the past couple of years was 50 for an hour with Ricardo Oria. The man is a god; he made two simple suggestions and they both massively improved my dancing.

  18. #17
    B.O.G.O.F. fletch's Avatar
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    Re: Fair rate for Private Lessons

    Quote Originally Posted by David Bailey View Post
    Ceroc obviously did, that's why he was headlined and featured on the front cover - possibly that's what Gav was referring to?


    Cor, we haven't had a good old "kids attending weekenders" barney for ages...


    Breaaaaaathe...
    Well they are all stars to me, front cover or centre fold

    I havnt had a problem for a long time maybe people dont see Joe as a child?

    It dose seem to me that some of the people that have had issues with children in the dance world are the ones that dont want there children been allowed into it, it could be that it world be hard work (children are) or it would make there secret dance life to visable

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    Re: Fair rate for Private Lessons

    Quote Originally Posted by Andy McGregor View Post
    .... But I mostly try to discourage people from taking private lessons in MJ. We do a social dance which is learnt in a social setting. Private lessons miss the point. If you want to learn more intensively I think you'd be better off with a workshop.

    Most of the private lessons I teach are people wanting to learn for a special occasion. Once in a while I do a private lesson to fix a bad habit.

    The learning of MJ in a social setting is a significant part of the fun of MJ. Private lessons take that fun out of the learning process. Although I do try generate fun in my private lessons.
    Private lesson are probably the only way of finding and fixing bad habits. Given that it frowned upon to criticise , or even refuse a dance, how are people going to realise they they have a bad habit, unless they have a private ? I would hate MJ to the way of Tango but I think people should to encourage to take a few Privates

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  21. #19
    Formerly known as DavidJames David Bailey's Avatar
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    Re: Fair rate for Private Lessons

    Quote Originally Posted by Prian View Post
    I agree it is hard to answer.

    But just take my situation here in Sri Lanka. If I were to set up an MJ class just for beginners, I'd be looking at 5 quid a head for the full 3 hours.
    However I could conservatively charge 100 quid plus an hour for private lessons and about the same to school kids (even in school).
    Bloody hell.

    Time for me to relocate I reckon

    Actually, I think that some cultures are very prepared to pay larger sums for dance tuition than in the UK - we're more used to big, cheap classes. Almost any other hobby, you'd pay a lot more than 8 for two classes and a practice session.

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    Re: Fair rate for Private Lessons

    Quote Originally Posted by Gus View Post
    . May influence the supply side of the equation.
    Unless there is a monopoly, a cartel , or state intervention, The price of most things is governed by supply AND demand

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