Studio Private Lesson Rates Not Upfront?

Price is just one factor. One thing that I feel most studios don't adequately address is the varying levels of expertise of the instructors. Often the pricing is the same for all the instructors. Without a good recommendation, you just don't know if the quality of the instruction will be adequate for the price. Often it can take you 10 lessons into your 50 lesson package to realize you didn't make the best purchase.


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I have thought about his myself...what I would do if my pro raised his rate?...even if it was across the board to everyone..I would respect his right to do that, but I would have to drop a lesson...I wouldn't be-grudge him his need to do that, but I am maxed out...I would probably feel less good will if it wasn't across the board...
That's another good point, and one that upsets me moreso than the price increase. Not only did he increase my lesson rate, he also stipulated that I must continue to buy the same number of lessons and use them at the same rate or the price per lesson will go up even more. And while I get his predicament, the fact that none of his other students (to my knowledge, but we all talk so I feel pretty confident) are held to these same type of constraints makes me really hot under the collar. It seems as though he chose these exact specifications, simply because it is what I have always done. I dare say had I taken less lessons/week all this time, or bought them in smaller increments that the exact stipulations that I now have would not have been required. AND the fact that I seem to be the only one now under this type of arrangement angers me even more.

There is most definitely a conversation to be had. I have a comp coming up next month and I don't want any added drama or animosity, so I will wait until after that is over to discuss this. But I'm really dreading it. And as Bailamosdance pointed out, at what point is it worth me walking out? I don't know the answer to that question yet and am struggling with it.


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wow...sounds like you definitely need to have a new may need to say to him that you need minimum number of x lessons a week in order to progress as you would like, and that over a certain other price, y, you won't find it do-able...and find out whether or not he wants to retain you...I think I would tend to feel that if he was indifferent about whether he was able to retain you or not, you would have your answer...and I don't take the consequences lightly at all...I empathize with the scarcity of awesome instructors


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Just to be sure I have this straight, is this the situation you are in?

Your old rate was X.
Your new rate if you continue taking lessons in the same pattern you have before (bulk buying and # lessons/week) is X+some, which is a rate increase.
If you change your buying patterns (paying for a smaller number of lessons at a time, and/or taking fewer lessons/week), then your new rate will be X+even more.

Meanwhile, other students will be given a rate of X+some (not X+even more) even though they don't match your previous buying pattern (taking fewer lessons per month and/or buying fewer at a time).

If that's the case, you could start by laying all of that out for him from your perspective and letting him know that you feel it's unfair. And then ask for what you want (what you feel you can comfortably do). Maybe you want to be able to vary your buying pattern and pay X+more, like everyone else. Or maybe you want some other arrangement, committing to certain terms for a certain rate, or whatever. Let him know and see how it goes.

In a general sense, I suspect that when teachers raise their rates that some of them are mentally calculating (hoping or assuming) that all/many of their students will continue to take the same number of lessons at the new rate in order to make the overall numbers work for themselves. But rate increases can be tough on students who may want or need to take fewer lessons when the rates go up due to their budgets. Students and teachers have to renegotiate things at that point, which isn't always easy. :(

Good luck, I hope you can work things out to your satisfaction so that you can keep dancing.


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ok after coming back to this and reading it in a different frame of mind I think I see a couple of things that COULD be going on

1) You have evidently been with him long enough for him to know that you have the money and are willing to spend it in order to dance well (especially if going to the comps). It also sounds like you are taking a great number of lessons from him. Which means you are probably taking up much of his time. Maybe even because he spends so much time teaching you he doesnt have much time left over for the other students?
and I'm actually goiong to stop right there because that sent my mind in a few more directions that is utterly impossible to explore without further info ...


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well there are any number of things going on;

he could be oblivious to where her financial limits are...or that she has any at all

he could be hoping she will be discouraged and scale back, opening his schedule for new blood and not want to actually say it

he could simply need more money and figure that she has the deepest pockets and is trying to block her reaction of scaling back

no telling without having the talk...but with a lot on the line if she can't obtain a suitable replacement, it is a talk she has to be ready to have...that being said, I see resentment on the horizon, so, for myself, I would tend to it as soon as possible after the comp, if not before


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Don't discount the possibility that this was not thought out well by your teacher, and by telling him your thoughts might trigger an 'oops' from your teacher....


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...Meanwhile, other students will be given a rate of X+some (not X+even more) even though they don't match your previous buying pattern (taking fewer lessons per month and/or buying fewer at a time)...
YES! This is the situation almost exactly. The only missing element is that a few of these other students are still paying X. They haven't even been approached to pay the new X+some, much less the bulk buying and # of lessons each week aspect that I am now under.

I am not sure what he thinks about my finiancial limits. From knowing several of his other students pretty well (one of my closest friends I met years ago at the studio), I definitely do not have the deepest pockets. However, my pockets are very likely the most dedicated out of all of his students. I guess I could see his thought process of needing more money, knowing I have it, and knowing that my dedication to dance will likely give me no recourse if I want to continue to progress.

As far as me commandeering too much of his time, etc., I suppose this could be the case. Though knowing my pro and how he makes no apologies regarding how he abhors new students' lessons, I'm not sure this is the case. But perhaps. Looks like he could have found an easier way than this weird round-about way to get me to cut back.

I would like to keep rose colored glasses and think that perhaps it is an oversight or an accounting mistake, but the realist in me is coming to terms with this being a situation uniquely presented to me.

Nothing to do but take the bull by the horns, lay out the scenario for him, and listen to his response and reactions. Then I will at least have the info required to make a decision on whether or not I can live with it.


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are you the softest personality?...because I don't know your pro, but some folks will push as hard as other folks will let them...KWIM? sometimes you do have to show them the hill you are willing to die on...and mean it...often, that will be good enough...with some grumbling but good enough...never fun though


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I do remember a couple of years ago, one lady in our studio (who was the biggest spender at that time) was having a problem with her rates being raised and so had to confront the studio head about it letting him him know that yes she likes to dance, but it has to be affordable! they were evidently able to come to some agreeable terms.


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Wannabee, I'm sorry to hear that you are in such a situation. I've always felt that pros should offer the same rates and discounts to all students unless they do a "grandfathering" approach where they are acknowledging a length of time that the students have been under the pro. I'm also okay with a small price difference between adult and kid lessons.

But most of all, I feel the price structure must be fair to all the students. It should not be used to single out a student and raise their rate "unfairly" in comparison to the other students. I have no idea if this is or was the intended result of your pros pricing change, as others and yourself have acknowledged, it may simply be an oversight and was not thought through carefully.

I think you are correct that a conversation needs to take place that fleshes the situation out for you and your pro.

And btw, I totally get the anger that results from "being held hostage" by our passion for this type of dance. Have faced it myself, and still in the end, it's still our choice what we choose to do and sacrifice if we continue. Cold comfort, I know....but at least THAT is under our control.


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find out whether or not he wants to retain you...I think I would tend to feel that if he was indifferent about whether he was able to retain you or not, you would have your answer...
There you have it. I know of one studio owner who uses that tactic to "weed out" students who she no longer deems "desirable", for whatever reason. Pity she doesn't have the guts to tell them face-to-face and instead resorts to games. C'est la vie...


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I think it isn't necessarily always about the guts... in some cases, I think it is much more about being able to say "they left because I raised my rates", instead of having them say "we were asked to leave"...not condoning...just obseerving


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Happens all the time in IT/consulting, e.g.: this particular employer makes my day hell, so it takes $XXX to make it worth my while.

I certainly wouldn't recommend it for any but the next-to-worst offenders (worst offenders should just be fired). But I have certainly seen behavior from some students that merits compensation.


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Personality and dance wise, I am not his biggest pita to deal with. Not by a long shot. In fact, I often get feedback from him like "I really enjoy our lessons, you challenge me, I like teaching you, we have productive lessons", and so on.

I suppose I do ask the most questions and likely require the most explanation from him regarding things both on and off the dance floor. I guess to him that could be me being a difficult student that requires extra compensation on his part. But none of my questions or his explanations have ever been on the confrontational side. I ask, he explains, and that is that. Perhaps they bother him more than he is willing to admit.


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"Extra" compensation?!? For asking questions of an instructor whose job it is to teach? Unless you are using him as a psychologist, which is crossing the line, charging more for asking dance-related questions is messed up...


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I don't think that's it!! Like nik said asking questions and interaction is part of the dance instruction process.
But what caught my eye is "off the dance floor".... Like what?
Do you have these conversations during your lesson? There are times I want to talk about goals, my progress and competitions we will do but it is never off the dance floor, it is on my dime.

I am really curious how this will all turn out and wishing you good luck.

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