Tips On Starting Your First Music Teaching Studio
With a new year approaching, you can be sure that children and adults everywhere will be holding on to shiny new musical instruments and guess what? They’re going to need a teacher! If you don’t teach, but you’ve been playing for a while, you might want to consider starting a lesson studio of your own. Here are some tips I’ve learned over the last 12 years:
Figure out which levels you can confidently teach.
For piano teachers, you should really be comfortable playing through the Faber and Faber Piano Adventures series levels 1-4 at least. This will give you plenty of room for several types of students. While you take on students at the lower level, you should always be working on your own practice. Improve and try to stay at least 4 steps ahead of them.
Determine your genres.
Every student needs to learn basic fundamentals like note reading, chords, theory, scales. But every teacher should have a specialty. Some teachers really excel at Classical while others are better at Jazz, Pop, or Rock. You should advertise these points when you start looking for your first students.
Figure out the length of time your lessons will be.
This is so important. When I first started, I let students choose between 30 minutes, 45 minutes, and 1 hour. This made it impossible for me to figure out a basic lesson structure and it also made scheduling other lessons a tad inefficient.
By making all of my lessons 45 minutes, I always know what time slots are available when a student leaves the studio and I need to fill their spot. It makes it possible for me to schedule a set number of students each day. You have to determine which time works for you. I like 45 minutes because it’s not too long and not too short. But some teachers wouldn’t dream of doing less than an hour, where some markets prefer shorter lessons. Try a few different ones if you want, but plan to settle on one time frame eventually.
Determine your fee and stick to it.
Ask around and see what others are charging in your area. You can charge just a little less in order to be competitive, but also because you’re still gaining experience. But don’t go to low. That lowers your value as well as the teachers around you. If you feel super confident, you may even charge what some of the more experienced teachers are charging. If you get some students to stay with you, then maybe your lessons are worth it!
Determine an attendance policy.
Please don’t let your students skip lessons and then demand a refund. Please don’t do this. It makes life harder for you and also it makes life harder for me and other teachers!
We work hard at what we do and we should be able to make a nice living off of it. There are several ways to deal with absences. Some teachers have no make up policies while other allow a certain number of make ups per year. I allow make ups within 2 weeks of the absence and it’s on the parents to schedule the time. It works for me. Google other teacher’s lesson policies and see what you want to try. But decide and implement it starting now! It’s much harder to get your new students to switch to a different policy later on.
Do any other seasoned teachers have anything to add to this list?