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They charge you $69 / hour for instruction. They pay the poor teachers around $20 / hour. Any reputable teacher in an area will have a following and will usually charge in the $50 - $60 / hour range, and it all goes to that teacher.

Most of the teachers I have encountered are HS grads, some with college degrees, most do not. I mean if you are a professional music teacher are you going to work for $20 / hour? And their lesson centers in Best Buy? They are all about the "upsell" - buy an instrument, only buy books from them, etc, etc...

So, here's the real deal: Your child wants to take lessons? What is your first reaction... it should be ask their teachers, friends, neighbors, but go to a website and put a teacher in a "shopping cart" and check out. They claim to have "certified" teachers. Well, they interview that teacher for not very long, do an on-line "training" which is all about selling and marketing and has nothing to do with educational values. I actually asked a rep from Takelessons and asked if they follow the guidelines set forth by the MENC standards and rubrics for music instruction and they said that they dont follow any "other schools" program. Even when that "other school" is the Department of Education that has a very detailed list of what private lessons should be consistant of (

Are they a scam, you decide, are they trying to rip you off, you bet. And yes, their website is flashy, but like any prostitute, sex sells.

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  • To
      9th of Dec, 2010
    -3 Votes

    I cant agree with you more! They keep stressing that their teachers are "certified" and go through orientation. They dont care about educational values. The CEO said he "wants to be the Starbucks of online lessons" Look at this link or see the pix below for their "certified" teacher training - its all about the sales and marketing and NOTHING to do with the teaching method

  • Gt
      20th of Feb, 2011
    0 Votes

    They are not qualified to judge or "certify" anyone, much less teach how to train ANYONE the ART of how to teach private lessons. All they are selling is the very bureaucracy that clients ARE PAYING GREAT MONEY TO AVOID.

    They try to sell the illusion of safety and credibility but that is like the wolf telling chickens that he's there to protect you from the other chickens.

    They have teachers in 2800 cities and only 5% of the teachers who apply are qualified (desperate) enough to satisfy their high standards (cheap enough) That means that they have interview and passed judgment on over 56, 000 instructors in their six years in business.

    But that is if they ONLY have one instructor in each city but if you actually look at their referrals lists in each city and cut through all of the redundant tactics to look like they have more (like posting ads of individual teachers AND Best Buy) then that number will multiply to over a million instructors.

    No matter how much we are expected to be stupid enough to swallow this, there is no way for ANY of their claims to be credible enough to justify charging the prices of ACTUAL WORLD-CLASS INSTRUCTORS THAT WOULD NEVER HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH THIS SCAM and then pass off inexperienced instructors, no matter how good the instructors attitude and intentions might be, as being at the same level just because of a "certification" that is no better than the printed "diploma"s on the back of silly guitar methods.

    Teachers who get sucked into this scam do not realize that if they see their bio and picture posted on an ad by, when a customer calls the (877) number in the ads, a TELEMARKETER in San Diego will tell you that teacher does not have any openings but has another "certified" (cheap) instructor closer to where they live at Best Buy because take lessons has a deal with Best Buy to
    sell their referrals to them. That means that each customer has to get through two corrupt 3rd parties to get to a teacher and when they do, they find out the real value of the bogus "certifications."

    The best way to get takelessons to assist you in the way that they indicate is find out who takelessons refers and scratch them off of you list of choices. Their teachers cannot be a part of the system without being corrupted by it.

    Their "guarantee if every bit as bogus because if you do not like the first teachers that they "carefully and skillfully matched you" (sold you) they do not want you to take your money somewhere else. You only get the guarantee AFTER you have exhausted all of THEIR referrals but you are the one that is going to exhausted.

    They will keep resigning you to more teachers and start over and over until you catch on. You are not supposed to ask "Why would I want your 2nd, 3rd or 4th choice if I don't like your 1st choice?"



    You are ALWAYS much better off talking to a teacher OUTSIDE of establishments that try to intrude because the teacher is going to be the one that you spend all of your time with every week and they are MUCH more likely to operate in YOUR best interest since they have the accountability. You are not going to be just another number where to a salesman, both teachers and students are just numbers and once they have you locked in, they're happy because they will be making most of the money that YOU are paying.

    You would know you were being ripped of if you paid a travel agent, in advance, top dollar for a vacation package at the most expensive resort and then found out that they sent you to a cheap motel chain or if your gormet $200 meal for two came in a bag with golden arches but these scammers know how to fool over 100, 000 students nationwide so far because it is a lot harder to judge quality...THAT'S WHY YOU ARE HIRING THEM IN THE FIRST PLACE AND THEY PREY ON THAT.

    I have no problem using the word scam to describe them as an instructor that they COULD NEVER have who has over three decades of experience as a private instructor to PEOPLE (not numbers) that often remain friends of mine. I have OFTEN had to clean up the mess caused by their "certified" instructors have caused my clients in the past while they were paying more than I charge.

    The only thing these telemarketers are trying to make their customers "safe" from are quality instructors who really do know how to teach. Now who's going to protect the customers from

  • Pe
      4th of May, 2011
    +3 Votes

    I just finished filling out a long application, assuming their standards were high and I was hoping to get a few more students. After submitting this application, I promptly received an email stating, 'Your background looks great, but unfortunately, we do not currently have a position available in your area. However, we would like to follow up with you at a later date when we have another position available. In the meantime, we wish you the best, and we look forward to speaking with you in the future.' Needless to say, I was disappointed. You may read my bio on my website Laura McMillan, instructor, studio owner, composer, solo artist.

  • Sc
      4th of May, 2011
    +1 Votes

    They will contact you later to get you to "re-apply" and PAY for another background check. That is why they are very likely still advertising in your area "needing new teachers" but planning to send them the same message.

    Right now. their claims are being investigated regarding how they only keep 5% of all aplicants "who meet their high standards" because now that they have opened their big mouths about doing background checks for everyone who applies with them, they now have to come up with fake record of about 60, 000 "rejections" to substantiate that claim or come out and admit to that lie and face false advertising charges.

    They also like about all of their numbers, including how many students they REALLY have. Just look at their own numbers of having 100, 000 students and 3000 instructors nationwide and that comes out to a little over 30 students per teacher and that's not very many. Then go to Best Buy and see how quiet their place is in the lessons and then actually talk to TL instructors who have not EVER received a single referral in years but they see their bio in CL ads. But they will never get a single referral unless they work at Best Buy and Best Buy instructors are just salesmen who will go back and give a lesson as just part of their sales job with no extra pay.

    Be thankful that you are not associated with them and that your resume isn't polluted with what will soon be the kiss of death when the bottom falls out of this disaster in the making

    The very fact that all of their referrals" are going straight to Best Buy should have been a very clear indication of how low their standards really are but they will do everything they can to spin everything to cover up what they are really doing for as long as possible until the bottom falls out.

  • Pe
      4th of May, 2011
    +2 Votes

    @scamdetector thank you, I certainly appreciate your knowledge on this. I didn't know their referrals went straight to best buy...I guess I was just so excited to find a site to help me get more students and continue to pass the music on to our children of today...anyway, I am thankful this didn't go any further. If I would have been asked to pay, that would have given me the heads up to stay away from this. Thank you again, Laura McMillan

  • Sc
      7th of May, 2011
    -1 Votes

    And thank you Laura for taking the time to share your experience. The ONLY reasons these scams work is that most people don't go to the trouble of making their stories known because they want to put it behind them but that only rewards the crooks.

    Talelessons isn't the only company using these unconsciable tactics. Taylor Robinson (Dallas), Elite Music Instruction (Orlando) and "The" Music Teachers Network (Washington State) all used the same "jump through our hoops" and we will call you 'certified' and give you twice as many students for 1/3 the pay and whoever is cheapest we will rank as "passing our highest standards."

    A couple of free ones are available though. Contact me at and I will send a couple to you and show you a couple of tricks just in case it helps

  • An
      20th of May, 2011
    +1 Votes

    The Takelessons program at Best Buy stores are a joke. They have crappy teachers (usually college kids with little or no experience) and they charge you 3 times as much as finding a local teacher. And they dont let you meet the teacher or even know who it is until they get your money, and you cant just take one lessons you have to buy at least 4!

    They called their teachers "certified" - all they do is pass a background check.

    Also, on top of that the employees in the Best Buy stores are kind of creepy. My daughter didnt feel comfortable with the environment that Takelessons laid out and it felt inappropriate for a 12 year old girl.

    Maybe this would be something that would work for an adult who wants to do this as a fun time.

    From one parent to another, dont sign your child up for something you cant test drive. Ask for a referral from your school.

    How I got to Best Buy was I saw their ad on craigslist, I called the number after seeing a teacher in my neighborhood that looked based on the profile, and I was told that all of the teachers in my area were booked and my only option was to take lessons at a Best Buy.

    This is a telemarketing company. I hear they are run out of San Diego, but their customer service seems like its outsourced to India or somewhere. There are still some things you cant do on the internet and this is one of them.

  • Br
      16th of Jul, 2011
    +4 Votes

    I have been a takelessons teacher since 2008. I don't think it's appropriate to discuss my pay, but I assure you it is not $20/hour. Like all of the instructors with the company, my pay was earned by my level of education and experience. I possess a masters degree in music performance from Northwestern University. As a part of my scholarship, I taught private guitar lessons to non-music majors. Currently I am on faculty at Sherwood at Columbia College, one of the most prestigious community music schools in Chicago. Outside of teaching, I am an active performer, studio artist and transcriber.

    My only problem with the company is that I have not gotten very many students through them. Perhaps due to a culmination of libelous online posts such as this one. "Certified Instructor" is a cheesy phrase that means we have passed a criminal background check. I think their decision to team up with Best Buy certainly has damaged their prestige.

    I do not teach at Best Buy, nor will I travel to your home. I have taught at Northwestern University, which is ranked 6th nationally amongst music schools. You can book me through

  • Ba
      11th of Aug, 2018
    0 Votes

    @Bryan A Hi there, I am considering signing on as an instructor with TakeLessons. Are you still comfortable teaching for them? Did you do a background check with them so that you felt comfortable giving them your financial institution info? Thanks so much. JB

  • Gt
      17th of Jul, 2011
    -3 Votes

    Sorry, "Bryan A" but there are too many red flags in your posts to indicate that you are not who you claim to be and that your credentials appear to be every bit as fake as most of's claims. The ONLY time you see anything favorable about TL is when employees and the owners write them themselves which is VERY strange for a NATIONAL company that boast so much of it's effectiveness that would mean that you would have thousands of happy customers raving over them instead of so many who are embarrassed to have been scammed by them.

    There is NOTHING libelous being said about TL because they are facts. There has NEVER been a period where TL was considered to have ANY prestige. They have ALWAYS been a telemarketer scam and for you to try to state otherwise tells me that you are either dishonest or incompetent enough to be their salesman

    There are only THREE requirements to teach for them: A) be very very cheap B) lie through your teeth and C) have a pulse but C is negotiable.

    Now while Chicago and corruption do seem to go hand in hand, is a new low when it comes to shady deals and scams and the Best Buy deal is clearly a strong indication of how little credibility either company deserves.'s claims and tactics (like fake positive reviews) are not just "good salesmanship", exaggerations, "bending the truth", "puffing" or misunderstandings, they are FRAUD, MISSTATEMENT OF MATERIAL FACT, MANY MANY BRAZEN LIES (BIG AND SMALL)

  • Ph
      23rd of Aug, 2011
    0 Votes

    I had a terrible experience with a teacher for my daughter who really didnt know anything about music. Now granted it was guitar, and I know a lot of guitarist dont or cant read music, but I would think that if you are spending big money to a company to have a teacher teach you MUSIC lessons, they would know how to read music. If I wanted my daughter to learn how to play chords and rock out, I would have got a neighborhood kid to do it. I asked my daughter's school music teacher for a recommendation and told her about my Take Lessons experience and she said that the music teachers in our county (just outside of Wash DC) know of the Take Lessons reputation and do not recommend it for the students. In fact, she told me that the county supervisor of Music Education sent an email to the music teachers about NOT recommending them due to their reputation (and particular for the Best Buy stores: we were asked to take lessons at a Best Buy, but I wanted someone to come to me).
    I took piano lessons when I was 6 years old and I kind of remember how to read music. I'm sure I would make a great Take lessons teacher!

  • Sc
      6th of Sep, 2011
    -5 Votes

    I'm sorry "Bryan A" but I have many reasons not to believe a single word of your post. You are NOT a teacher but one of the their telemarketer "counselors" (salesman) so lying is like breathing to you. From what you state, there is no reason for you to have ANYTHING to do with There is NO "prestige" associated with TL and there NEVER has been.

    Whenever an "instructor" makes a statement like "like all instructors with the company" that is a clear giveaway that they are really a salesman in the headquarters in San Diego because TL "instructors" know NOTHING about other "instructors" in the company. They don't even let you know the last names of the other instructors.

    I also see nothing that confirms your claims of high national rankings and since I have been a transcriber for all music publishers as well as a transcription editor who trains transcribers, I would know you and I do not. This is VERY TYPICAL of TL to lie about the quality of their instructors being in the "top 5%" when I know who would fit that category on a national level and NONE of the instructors who would qualify have ANYTHING positive to say about TL being anything but a bait-and-switch scam.

    The biggest lie is your claim that TL "instructors" earned by your level of education and experience." REALITY: There are only two qualifications to be a TL "instructor" is to have a pulse and agree to embarrassing low pay while TL charges MORE THAN SKILLED PROFESSIONALS. BTW the pulse requirement is negotiable. If the CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS CHARGED THE HIGHEST PRICE THEN IT DOESN'T MAKE SENSE FOR THE COMPANY TO BENEFIT BY PAYING OUT LESS WITHOUT PASSING THAT SAVINGS TO THE CUSTOMER. IT'S THE CUSTOMER THAT IS STUCK WITH LOWER QUALITY LESSONS AND THERE IS A FINANCIAL BENEFIT FOR TL TO STEER CUSTOMERS TO THE WEAKEST INSTRUCTORS.


  • Be
      20th of Sep, 2011
    +3 Votes

    I am a TakeLessons instructor, and well, it's ok. Of course the pay is less than what I charge normally, but it's not THAT much less. I am working on my MM at a prestigious music school after recently finishing my BM, and I've been teaching for about five years. I've only been in this city a few months and without knowing anyone it's been nice to have students found for me. Without TakeLessons I wouldn't have many students. That said, of course there are cons. Like how the kids on the homepage are singing into a microphone and playing guitar, and then the parents/students come with the expectation that they will be professionals in a few weeks. OF COURSE it's better if you can make your own connections, but for someone who isn't established in the local music community it's a way to get students. If you already have a studio full of students OF COURSE you shouldn't apply for TakeLessons! And if you say that the instructors who "settle" for TakeLessons are less qualified, that's very general. I had a decent sized studio when I was a junior in college, because I had been in that city for awhile and had good connections. Now that I'm alone in this city (and MORE qualified because I have a Bachelor's degree, some Master's work, and more experience) I have to use TakeLessons. So it is what it is.

  • Jo
      10th of Jan, 2012
    +3 Votes

    I used takelessons to find a voice teacher. I disagree with the description of it as a con or scam site. I found a few teachers on their website, and ended up with a really great one. She has helped me to gain back my voice (I used to sing in HS/college, but haven't sung in about 10 years). My instructor hasn't said anything bad about them, and seemed happy to have me as a new student. She is very professional, has a nice studio space, and accompanies me on piano. Maybe I got lucky, but I also went for a teacher that had a few well written reviews. So perhaps that's the caution you should take when selecting a teacher...find one that others have rated highly. No offense to you guys who are all very angrily against takelessons, but you all sound like you have a personal vendetta against the company and aren't giving objective criticism or feedback. You politely address people who agree with you, and then trash talk everyone who doesn't...which is why I decided to take a few minutes out of my day to write this. So go ahead...flame on. I won't be coming back to read your replies..

  • Ta
      23rd of Apr, 2012
    +2 Votes

    First of all, thanks to all who participated in this thread. We’re always looking to improve our communication and this feedback has helped us to identify several topics that we can make clearer moving forward.

    While the pay to our teachers (as well as the costs for our students) varies depending on market and experience, we are very proud of the fact that we're helping musicians make a living doing what they love: teaching and playing music. It’s important to remember that we aren’t just connecting students with amazing teachers, we’re helping the teachers market, screen and schedule students. We’re also handling all of their administrative duties such as billing, as well as managing their teaching calendar. We’re partners with our teachers and we know they appreciate the value that we bring in assisting them with tasks that might otherwise take away from the time that they can teach.

    As for the hiring of our teachers: Yes, we do screen our teachers and filter out the best candidates by reviewing their education background, experience and referrals. We background check them, certify them through training with our teacher support team (many of whom are teachers themselves) and then help them to find students. The teacher support team also assists our teachers after they come on board with everything from coordinating schedules with students to finding cutting-edge teaching materials and technologies.

    While we do work with Best Buy, by no means do all of our referrals go directly to them. Many of our teachers use our service to increase the number of students they teach in their own studios or, if preferred by the student, in the student’s home.

    Finally, we know that TakeLessons will not be the right fit for every student, or teacher, for that matter. Our student counselors and support team work very hard to give potential students all of the information they’ll need to make the right decision for them. In the case that things don’t work out, all students are offered a 100% money back guarantee, taking the risk out of giving music lessons a shot.

    As we continue to grow with our amazing community of teachers and students, we’ll constantly work to improve our communication and are more than happy to answer any questions you might have about our business, our policies and our lessons.

  • Gu
      8th of May, 2012
    +1 Votes

    TakeLessons truth-I have a degree in music, studied at music college & university for 7 years, toured & been a pro session player everywhere from the u.k to my new home in Los Angeles & now work with a Grammy winning songwriter in the last 15 years. Offer of pay was $25 per hour, +$6 if you have to travel. I turned it down, they charge $70 a lesson, I normally charge $60 & keep 100% of it. They make you jump through hoops for a interview, want a $50 fee & I suspect they get you no more than 2-3 students a month, my time is better spent being my own admin & flyering than $25 an hour compared to the going rate. They make it sound like they handle booking, calendar, billing etc, how hard is it to do that yourself? Really? Worth them taking $45 while you make less & half of what you could if you do it yourself. On top of that the person who interviewed me totally blanked me when they asked me what I currently do, I explained who I work for & the hits they have written=which basically told me they are not a music education company, they no doubt make money just from teachers sign up fee's, & sell client lists to companies that want it for telemarketing which is basically what this company is. They exploit both teacher & student. Students, please just research & reach out to teachers in your local area rather than overpay a company that under pays the teacher

  • Ta
      8th of May, 2012
    Best Best Advice +5 Votes

    Hi @Guitarteach101,

    One of the things that we here at TakeLessons realize is that we aren't the best fit for every teacher -- or every student for that matter. Based on your background, it's clear that you know the business of music and are in a great position to acquire and manage your students on your own, and that's awesome... but there are many teachers out there that, for whatever reason, prefer not to handle the business side of their student relationships, which is where we step in to help. We value our teachers greatly and are very up-front about what we provide, what we pay (which varies based on the market they are in and the length of the lesson) and what the teacher can expect based on their goals re: number of students and time commitment. Once informed, the teacher makes the choice to work with us... there is no pressure and certainly no exploitation. If a teacher finds they are not a good fit, or they would rather work on their own, they have the option to move on from TakeLessons.

    You make a great point that students (and teachers) should be very diligent about who they choose to work with. While your feedback gives another view of our processes and business model, there is one point we'd like clarify: we never sell student information or client lists... our students sign up for lessons and the information they give us is used to find the best teacher for them and to continue communication through time they work with us. Again, there are cases where we might not be a good fit, or a student or teacher may choose to move on, but in the time they are with us we are committed to giving them the best music lessons experience possible.

  • Gu
      8th of May, 2012
    -2 Votes

    Dear Takelessons
    It is exploitation because you use the fact that the economy is down & especially with the music industry being upside down, just because you are half honest about your service & basically a disclaimer does not erase the fact you are exploiting both parties. & the use of language & terms as 'good fit' which is code for 'if you don't agree with our greedy policy' how can you justify paying a teacher who earns $60 on their down to $25 on average of location when you charge the student $70, $45 cut per lesson is a high price for basic admission & book keeping. If the 'for whatever reason' a teacher wants to cut their wage in half & give you $45 per hour just for a student to use your site & book a lesson is valid they will work just as hard for half the money because a middle man saw a opportunity to take a cut. Other than a basic criminal background check & a few questions regarding experience & qualification(which is a joke since the interviewer has little or no experience as a musician or teacher to pass such judgement) does not really spell certified teacher. If you want to be a honest & successful business then pay teachers more what they are owed, charge students less than what you over charge & don't make your telemarketing team so lackluster, impersonal & employ telephone operators who have no idea about music other than to ask scripted questions. It's not only insulting to teachers but unfair on students which I'm sure take lessons cares neither for other than to make a profit but in doing so unfairly to both student & teacher your company will 1) earn a bad reputation 2) go into liquidation from eventual lack of profit. Don't be greedy, your service is very minimal at the end of the day & at most should take no more than 10-20% per lesson fee. If you really generate that many students then 20% of each would still make take lessons a fortune. Rather than a short shelflife business model that takes as much as it possibly can before your business goes under which at its current rate inevitably will.

  • Gu
      8th of May, 2012
    0 Votes

    Not sure why some of the text was turned into code but everyone that reads will get the idea, for every post that takelessons retorts to I will send twice the reply. Again this is another middle man company that charges the client far more than the average rate & pays the actual employee, teacher, musician far less than they should be earning since they are the 1 who builds a relationship with student, teaches them & normally charges them a lot less or comparative to their reputation than takelessons. The fact that takelessons has so many bad reviews should warn & advise both teachers & students to seek their own local teacher, on top of that take lessons clearly has no interest nor connections in music other than to identify target audience on both sides, build a client database, network & exploit.

  • Pu
      28th of Jun, 2012
    -1 Votes

    Takelessons replies are just more misleading political marketing manipulation and that is all.
    Bottom line, Takelessons doesn't just "stretch the truth" and their marketing isn't just "good salesmanship" it is FRAUD against both the instructors and students.
    From the standpoint of the customer, it is ###ic to be told that it makes sense for the customer to pay $60 per hour for a kid that has NEVER taught before instead of an experienced instructor like myself of 35 years, heavily published with an awesome reputation just because a telemarketer salesman in San Diego says the kid is "safe & certified"
    You are basically saying it would be okay to sell someone a $350 Squire for $3500 because you and Best Buy "certify" it to be as good as a vintage strat.
    Any company that tries to use a one-price-fits-all policy whether the instructor has NEVER taught or very experienced, is to lazy and not knowledgeable enough to be in a position of judging whether an instructor is "a good match" or not.and it is stupid for a customer to pay more to you per hour, than the teacher per hour for every lesson for ANY reason if you had REAL instructors at the lever THAT YOU CERTIFY THEM to be.
    Takelessons prices as if you are getting the best professionals in the biz and sell lie to the customers but professionals like myself would NEVER have anything to do with you. A customer going through you would ELIMINATE ANY HOPE OF ACTUALLY GETTING A REAL INSTRUCTOR BY GOING THROUGH TAKELESSONS.
    Whenever you guys use fake testimonials from "instructors" and students, they are always the same "critics are so angry and I don't understand why" and then pull the "that's all I am going to say about that" to manipulate the readers to dismiss the facts as just being exaggerations. The fact is, these "instructors" comments are written by Dru and the sales staff as just more propaganda marketing because you cannot get REAL teachers for anything.
    The fact is, a national company that is one tenth as quality as you claim really reaching the numbers that you claim should have THOUSANDS of favorable comments here along instead of a few in a small amount of time.

  • An
      14th of Jul, 2012
    +1 Votes

    Something to consider... If a piano teacher gives $50 lessons, and gives 5 lessons per week through Takelessons, at the end of the year, the total lesson revenue would be $13, 000. That means Takelessons would make $6, 500 from that one instructor! (and charge them a $49 setup fee). What a joke. A pure scam.

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