The most obvious peril of a low fee is insufficient income, but there are others.
Charging a low fee - possibly because you think students will be unable to pay you more - typecasts you as a cheap teacher. An unspoken assumption among buyers is that you are not a very good teacher because if you were better you'd be more expensive! As a low-fee teacher, generally you will tend to draw from the pool of students who consider music instruction as a short-term activity and who consider what they pay you as money given for a one-time service rendered (like baby-sitting or a haircut). This kind of family tends to be cavalier about lesson attendance, cancellation, timely payment, and continuation in lessons.
A low fee announces to everyone that -you- don't think you're a very good teacher! Consequently, people looking for top-notch music instruction aren't going to consider you because if you were good, you would be commanding more money.
Once you're there, you'll have a very hard time climbing out of the "low-end" market niche.
You don't feel good about a low fee, either. Inadequate compensation is demoralizing.
Charging a more reasonable fee gives you much more flexibility, not only financially but in regard to the quality of students who consider you and from whom you have to choose.
Is it time to raise your fee?
copyright 1998, Martha Beth Lewis, Ph.D.
Contact me about reprint permission.