This isn’t a post about pedagogy. I’m not going to debate the value of music degrees with you. What we’re talking about here is the logistics and considerations when starting a piano teaching business from scratch.
If you’re overwhelmed by all the blog posts and all the debates going on in Facebook communities, then take a breath. This is the place to start.
Decide on Your Setup
First things first: Where are you going to teach?
Many teachers start as travelling teachers, going to students houses. That’s actually how I began teaching too.
There are benefits to being a travelling piano teacher, but the biggest one is that you don’t need to have a beautiful studio space of your own and if you’re young or sharing spaces with family or roommates this may be your only option.
If you’re going to teach in students’ houses make sure you are charging an appropriate fee to do so. That is a huge extra convenience factor for parents and it will cost you extra time (and therefore money) to travel between the homes.
Don’t try to undercut current prices, charge what you’re worth.
You could also get started teaching from your house. You don’t need a lot of space to teach piano. All you really need is a piano and a respectable looking room that no one else needs to use at the time you’ll be teaching.
You don’t need a dedicated space or anything fancy. You don’t need a waiting room and you don’t need a grand piano.
If you have a simple space that will work I recommend teaching out of your home. You’ll enjoy getting to control the environment and having everything on-hand when you need it.
Treat it as a Business
I interact with tons of very experienced teachers on a daily basis and I often ask them what they wish they did earlier in their teaching career. Want to know the number 1 answer?
They wish they’d treated it as a business.
If you do this from the get-go you won’t regret it. Even if you’re only planning on teaching a few students, one evening a week, you can still be professional.
Make sure you have:
- A monthly or semesterly fee not a per-lesson price
- Enrolment forms
- Policies (especially a no make-up policy)
- Interviews/meetings with new students before they start lessons
It might seem like overkill to you right now. But you won’t get a second chance at a first impression with your students and these businessy details make all the difference to how you’re treated.
Find Your First Students
Now you have your setup, you just need actual piano students.
I have a whole post on marketing for piano teachers here but if you want the quick-start guide here’s the two things you should do:
- Set up a simple, clean and modern website.
- Tell everyone you know and everyone you meet that you’re teaching piano now.
If you do those two things you’ll probably happen upon at least your first student…and things will snowball from there as long as you do this last thing…
Stay Curious and Keep Improving
You’ll soon discover (whether you have a degree, a doctorate, a diploma or no formal qualifications at all) that there’s much more to this piano teaching malarkey than one would think.
This is a profession that requires a great deal of expertise. (After all, most piano teachers start lessons at 7 years old and keep learning for the rest of the lives.)
The most important possession great teacher have though, is an inquisitive mind.
Make sure you regularly find time to participate in professional development as you develop your piano teaching business.
Never stop learning.
Read blogs, watch videos, attend workshops and go to conferences. I hope to meet you at one someday, and if I do, please let me know if this post helped you get started on your piano teaching journey. 🙂