Private Piano Lesson Or School In Singapore? Which’s Better?

If you want to learn to play the piano in Singapore, should you take private piano lessons or go to a local music school to do so? What if you are already an adult and are looking for piano classes for Singapore adults instead? Let us discuss the pros and cons of each, and which choice you should make.

If you are a first time learner, and are an adult, here are some things you should consider.

  • Are you working 9-6pm? If you are working an office job or a regular timing job, then you can only take lessons during the weeknights or the weekends. Of course, both schools and private piano teachers do teach during these timings. However, will you feel very tired after your work? Most likely, your answer will be yes. In this case, I generally recommend that you take private piano lessons at your home in Singapore, because that is more convenient, and less travelling required for you as well. You just need to travel home after your work for your lessons, and need not travel anywhere else again. On the other hand, if you are for example an insurance or property agent with flexible hours, you can take lessons at other timings. In this case, both private piano lessons and school lessons will be equally good.
  • Are you the type that can be easily embarrassed? Although there is absolutely nothing to be embarrassed about learning the piano as an adult, some people in Singapore definitely feel that way. If that is the case, then getting a private piano teacher to your home is definitely a much better option. If you chose to go to a music school instead, you would be needing to travel to the local music school at a shopping mall in Singapore, where you may be seen entering the piano classroom along with many other kids perhaps 20 years younger than you.
  • Perhaps you are a successful businessman or businesswoman or investor who hit it big time and then are now retired and want to pick up a musical skill or two such as playing the piano? Then you may want to get a private piano teacher. You can customize the hours of learning and lessons much more easily with a private piano teacher, since you are so free anyway. This is not the case with schools as they are significantly more rigid relatively.

At the end of the day, you know yourself best. Chances are, you already know what your heart is telling you, and the above criteria I recommended you consider just helped you clarify your own thoughts.

How Much Does It Cost A Child To Learn Piano In Singapore?

If you are looking to send your child for piano lessons, one of the top concerns you will definitely have are the costs of piano lessons. Here is a quick and yet in-depth look at the various costs you may want to take note of when it comes to learning the piano.

There are essentially a few key areas in which you will need to be paying when it comes to getting your child a piano education.

First of all, it would be the purchase of the piano. If you want your child to actually master playing the music instrument, then buying a first hand or second hand piano is necessary. Practice is key to success when it comes to playing the piano, and having his or her own piano at home to practise on daily is the best way for your child to improve his or her skills. Most second hand upright pianos cost between $3000 to $6000, while most first hand upright pianos cost between $6000 to $15000. Purchasing an upright piano instead of a grand one is usually more than enough for most students in Singapore. If you want to save money, then buy a good second hand piano will do for your child.

Second of all, it would be the teacher costs. If you want your child to learn the musical instrument, it is necessary for him or her to have a teacher. Getting a private piano teacher is definitely much cheaper than that of going to the local music schools at local shopping malls. Starting from ABRSM grade 1, lessons cost around $140 for 4 lessons per month. It then creeps up till around $320 for ABRSM grade 8 (albeit lessons are slightly longer at 1 hour each instead of the 45 minutes at the Grade 1 to 4 levels). This is a mandatory cost that cannot be avoided, I only recommend that you get a good piano teacher from an agency so that your child’s learning habits will be right from the beginning!

Third of all, registering for each ABRSM graded examinations cost money. This money cannot be avoided, as it is charged by ABRSM board itself. As long as your child wants to go through the graded systems (which is highly recommended), then you will need to be paying to register your child each time for both theory and practical examinations. Most people take theory till grade 5, so that they can qualify for practical examinations up till grade 8. They then take the practical exams until they are certified with ABRSM piano grade 8 proficiency level. The registration fees for this vary as ABRSM (international board) sets the prices, so I shall not type out the costs here as it may be outdated by the time you read it.

Is Being A Piano Teacher In Singapore A Practical Career?

If you are a local thinking about embarking on a lifelong journey to become a piano teacher in Singapore, chill. I have got you covered with three of the most important considerations you MUST HAVE when it comes to deciding whether you truly want to be a piano teacher in Singapore. They are namely – salary, working hours and job security. I will discuss each and every single one of them relatively in-depth below.

First of all, let us talk about the salary. There are two ways you can be a piano teacher. The first way would be to work as a salaried employee and typical piano teacher at a studio in Singapore such as that as Yamaha or Cristofori. As a salaried piano teacher working under another person and company, you can expect to make between $2500 to $4000 a month. Your salary will increase if you are a Diploma graduate instead of an ABRSM piano grade 8 graduate. Additionally, you will get overtime if applicable. The second way you can work as a piano teacher in Singapore is to become a self-employed private home piano tutor. You will either travel to the student’s houses to teach them music and to play the piano, or you can have the students go to your house. As a self employed piano teacher, most of them make between $1300 to $1800 as a part timer after their full time day job, while the full time ones make between $4000 to $6500 a month. As you can tell,¬† there is quite a big gap between part timers and full timers, because you can accept many more students if you go into this full time.

Second of all, let us talk about your working hours. When it comes to working hours, it is usually fixed, or it could also be shift work when it comes to public schools such as Yamaha or Cristofori. It depends on what you negotiate with them. However, once negotiated, you will be required to stick to it whether or not you want to change in future. This could be a blessing if your hours provided are perfect for you. However, it will be a disaster if you need to change it in future but cannot, and your only choice is to quit. When it comes to being a private home piano teacher in Singapore, you work random hours. You basically create your own work schedule. If you like to work only on weekends and weekday day time, you can do that. Of course, the more particular you are about timing, the less students you may have. E.g., most students are unavailable during weekday mornings, as they either have school if they are a student, or work if they are an adult learner. You will usually work relatively ‘upside down’ hours to ‘normal 9-6pm’ people in Singapore. However, it is a blessing if you hate working in the early morning hours. Good news? You will never need to try to beat the peak hour traffic on the terrible MRTs anymore because you will not even need to work at those hours!

The third thing you need to consider is the job security. Piano as a musical instrument, and music will probably never disappear for the next 50 to 100 years and beyond. However, piano teacher jobs may evolve. First of all, if you work as a salaried employee at a local piano school in Singapore, you may get fired from the job if the manager does not like you (not likely) or if the centre shuts down due to changing business conditions (more likely in 10-15 years). This means that job security is minimal for fixed salaried employees. The alternative is if you are self employed and a private home piano teacher in Singapore. You will always have a job as a piano tutor, however, your income will be heavily dependent on your ability to market yourself (just join a good piano student-teacher match up agency like sglearnpiano) and may have slight fluctuations from month to month. You will be responsible for your income. The way you teach also affects whether you get more or less students. Here are some tips I wrote in a previous post on how you can be a better piano teacher so you can get more students and referrals. This spells terrible news for those stressed about being self employed, and is happiness for those who yearn for absolute career freedom in a country where things feel stifled a little too often.

3 Ways To Find A Private Piano Teacher In Singapore

Here are three simple and effective ways in which you can easily look for a private home piano teacher in Singapore to teach either you or your child if either one of you are looking to learn to play the piano.

First of all, you could look for agencies such as SG LEARN PIANO to help you look for the perfect piano teacher in Singapore. The good thing about using an agency is that they need not feel biased towards any teacher, and can give you an unbiased recommendation as they have access to multiple teachers. However, if you were to approach individual teachers, there is no way they will recommend you another teacher simply because there is no incentive. Even if they are lousy, they will still tell you they are good. However, when it comes to a piano teacher-student match up agency like SG LEARN PIANO, they can recommend you a better teacher over a lousier one with no incentives whatsoever otherwise. Additionally, almost all agencies in Singapore do not charge customers anything for their services. Their services are always free for piano students, and they only charge the teachers a fee for referring them to you.

The second way in which you can look for a private piano tutor in Singapore is to look for a friend who has learnt piano before, or has a kid who is currently learning the piano. Simply ask for a referral. However, just note that you should only ask for referral if you feel that your friend or your friend’s kid is good at the piano. Otherwise, they may refer you a lousy teacher!

The third way in which you can look for a private piano teacher in Singapore is to look at classified ads – or in 2018, you probably need to look at ‘Mummy’ forums online or in Facebook groups. There are usually a lot of kiasu mums there who are eagerly searching and recommending each other tuition teachers, and piano teachers in Singapore. That’s a good spot to find a piano tutor as well if you’re more tech savvy.

For the simplest method, in Singapore, I strongly recommend that you pick agencies, simply because they do not charge customers anything, and have access to many more teachers than any of your friends can possibly know. Their service is free, and good, why not use them?

What Are The Hidden Fees For Piano Lessons In Singapore?

Did you know that sometimes there are hidden fees when it comes to piano lessons in Singapore? Yes. Therefore, I want to help you avoid these hidden fees as much as possible.

First of all, many schools collect a one time registration fee for all new piano students. The reason for this is unclear, and unethical sounding except in that it is probably to cover their administrative costs. However, this cost is usually not made clearly together with the monthly packages’ prices that they usually show. So do take note about this point about the one time registration fees with public music schools commonly found at shopping centres e.t.c. A way to save on this cost is to select and hire a private piano teacher in Singapore instead. I strongly recommend that you contact a private piano teacher in Singapore instead.

Second of all, music books and scores actually cost money. Other than the required ABRSM piano pieces and scales, leisure sheet music also require money. Music books can cost between $10 to $30 a book and is extra on top of piano lesson fees charged in Singapore (this is the case for both private and school lessons).

Third of all, there is also ABRSM exam application fees. Each attempt will cost you money. Since most music students in Singapore apply for the ABRSM exams, I think this is something you should look out for. Fees range from $150 to $650 depending on the ABRSM exam grade you are applying for. This fee is mandatory regardless of where you take your music lessons, and is necessary as long as you want to be graded through the ABRSM or Trinity College system.

The above are major hidden fees that many first time parents and piano students in Singapore may not be aware of, especially if they do not know anyone else who has taken piano lessons and ABRSM exams  before in Singapore too. I hope that by sharing with you these hidden fees, you will be able to make a more informed decision for yourself or for your child when you or your child decides to learn to play the piano in Singapore.

Also, if you know of any other hidden fees when it comes to piano lessons in Singapore, make sure to let us know in the comment section below too!

How To Practice Piano: Tips For Beginners In Singapore


Practise classical pieces first

If you are a beginner learning to playing the piano, you may want to start practising classical pieces. Classical piano pieces are great for practice purposes, especially if you are just starting out and want to master the various nuances of playing skills.

If you do not have much free time, then practise a piano piece you love daily instead of drills

A second tip I have for beginners is that if you do not have much available time for practice daily, then you should practice a musical piece that you actually like instead of spending time on scales or ‘drills’. Such a musical piece should ideally be able to be mastered within weeks (not within a week as that would mean it is too easy, and months would mean it is too difficult).

If you have the time, then always start with warm up drills before practising classical pieces daily

If you have 30 minutes to practise playing the piano daily, then you want to dedicate 5 minutes to warm up drills, and then the remaining 25 minutes on an actual musical (classical songs are recommended) piece.

You can and should check out the following video I have for you on more piano tips for beginners.