Giving our children a head start in their music education can go a long way in preparing them for more advanced or individual instruction later, saving time and money in the future. When that time does come, there are a few options to consider in making that financial investment as frugal as possible.

1. As a family, pray for wisdom and direction and provisions. It’s a given, but sometimes we forget that there is no part of our lives that is outside of God’s providential care for us and our children.

2. Ask for suggestions from others. Let your friends know you are looking for a music teacher. They might be aware of a teacher you should avoid or a teacher who makes wise use of her time (and your money) with her students.

3. If possible, put a notice in the church bulletin or newsletter that you are looking for a music teacher. It just might be the answer to prayer for a retired music teacher who is questioning her usefulness or someone who is considering teaching but isn’t confident that she’s equipped.

4. Consider taking less expensive group lessons. This might be a good option for a student who isn’t as motivated as others but would be inspired by the enthusiasm and interest of other students in the class.

5. Buy or borrow lesson books from other families with children who are more advanced.

6. Consider hiring a high school or college student to teach your children. Student teachers are usually not experienced enough for advanced students, but they are a less expensive way for beginning students to learn and for you to evaluate your child’s interest for continuing.

7. Consider self-learning options. A motivated student can use library or online resources to teach himself.

8. Barter for lessons and/or instrument rentals. Exchanging services (yard work for piano lessons, babysitting for voice lessons, housekeeping for guitar lessons, etc.) can be mutually beneficial.

9. Request shorter lessons or less frequent lessons to cut the cost in half. A diligent student can make up some of the gaps in progress by being disciplined to practice his lessons.

10. Rent an instrument before investing in a purchase. If your child quickly loses interest, your financial loss won’t be as great.

Finally, if private voice or instrument lessons are a priority and none of the efforts to reduce the cost are available, we should consider making adjustments in other areas of our budget to compensate for the cost of lessons. If the lessons are equally important to our child, it might be a good idea to ask him to help cover the costs in age-appropriate ways.

Molly Green is passionate about cheerful, creative homemaking on a down-to earth budget. Visit her online home, www.Econobusters.com for tips about frugal and tasty cooking, fresh decorating ideas, affordable family fun, simple but effective organizing, and much more! Sign up for her free weekly E-Newsletter and get a bonus menu-planning E-Book too!

Copyright 2012, used with permission. All rights reserved by author. Originally appeared in the November 2012 issue of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, the family education magazine. Read the magazine free at www.TOSMagazine.com or read it on the go and download the free apps at www.TOSApps.com to read the magazine on your mobile devices.

Publication date: October 4, 2013