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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000660.txt from 1999/04

From: David Blumberg <>
Subj: [kl] re: Lesson fess in the 30's
Date: Wed, 14 Apr 1999 14:09:27 -0400

Leile wrote this:
Between the pages of a used music book, I found an old certificate (left as a
bookmark, apparently), dated June 9, 1930, for music lessons from Sears,
Roebuck and Co. in Lansing, Illinois. Apparently the store gave these
certificates to people who bought instruments there. On one side is a list
of prices of lessons for various instruments. The prices are "Regular
Tuition Rate for Five Lessons," but I'm not sure whether that's the price per
lesson or for an entire set of five lessons. Bear in mind that the dollar
has inflated a great deal since 1930, but still....
For accordion, banjo, clarinet, cornet, guitar, sax, trombone or ukelele:
$12.50. For piano: $7.50. For violin: $10.00. Why violin and piano came
cheaper I don't know, unless it was because more teachers were available for
those instruments and therefore the teachers had to compete harder for
But wait! A bargain! On the back of this ad is a fancy certificate,
entitling the bearer to a discount. The discount five lesson rate for piano
is $3.75; for violin, $5 and for any of the other instruments, $6.25.
I find myself thinking less about how little the students had to pay than
about how little the teachers could earn in those dark days at the beginning
of the Depression.

end Leila's quote:

I remember seeing that Bonade was charging $10 back in 1940 (aprox date)
for a lesson. Back then, that was astronomical (but, or course with a phone
call, he could get you an Orchestra job, and of course he was worth most
any price). The rates you quoted were probably (almost certainly) for the 5
lessons total.
Dave Hite was telling me that the Train Stop that he used to get off to
have lessons with Bonade (Lambertville, N.J.) is the same town of the
Orchestra that I play in (train station is right up the street).

David Blumberg

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