Why passion shouldn’t get in the way of lesson fees

Back in my 20s I found it hard to believe that someone would pay me to do something I had a real passion for. The fact that I was teaching the piano and earning money from it was frankly astonishing.

Passion and piano lesson fees

Seeing and being around people who love their job is life affirming. We often feel energised and more positive ourselves as a direct result of being in contact with these individuals. A chef who cooks with passion, the supermarket checkout assistant who smiles and genuinely engages with you, the football player who just wants to get the ball in the goal time after time.

On the other hand there are many people who sadly don’t love their job. This can easily lead to feeling resentful about having to be there and these feelings also get communicated.


In the arts however in appears that doing a job you love can leave you vulnerable to being exploited. Certainly some recent research from Duke University and reported in a piece in the Irish Times (for a link see below)  points in that direction.  One of the studies showed that:

‘respondents rated it more legitimate to exploit workers in jobs traditionally associated with passion. These included artist and social worker, rather than, say, cashier or debt collector’.

As the article points out, whilst doing a job we love is essential to our overall well being, so is:

  • having time to spend with family,
  • feeling that your worth is appreciated
  • being adequately rewarded for your efforts.


Which brings me to the piano teacher. Most of us teach the piano because we love music and the piano and want to pass on this love. Does our passion leave us open to not being adequately rewarded for our efforts? I think there is a good chance it might.

What’s interesting is that, as mostly self employed individuals, we are often solely responsible for ensuring that we are adequately rewarded. We have many reasons for not increasing lesson fees year on year with one of the commonest being wanting to stay competitive within the local market.

Pulling on our business hats and putting the passion to one side can be a useful exercise for getting a more objective view of the situation.

Join me again next week when I’ll be helping you to do exactly that.

This blog post was written by Dr Sally Cathcart, co-founder and Director of The Curious Piano Teachers

Click here to read The Passion Equation from The Irish Times

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