Hey, all! Just looking for any random but relative advice to teaching. I am a 3rd year university student and i've advertised myself as a popular/jazz/classical private instructor for the fall. I've never taught before and I am wondering if there are any experienced teachers out there who can give me any advice about ANYTHING that comes to mind regarding the administrative/business side of things or the hands on teaching experience itself. Make sense? For example... my friend told me "Make sure you get them to sign a contract saying that if they don't show up for a lesson and don't give notice then they have to pay the full amount for that lesson regardless"... good advice right there. Something I didn't think of! Any others?
I wouldn't study with a teacher who required a contract. Especially since you're just starting out.
Becoming a good teacher takes a long time, whether it's piano, elementary school, or college. You have to get a system, an approach, good hand outs, a plan, and then you will get referrals.
As a consumer of piano teachers, and many other teachers (having a teen), I'd recommend the following:
1. Offer a complimentary half hour lesson or 1 hour lesson/interview. You will not only be able to let them get to know you, but you'll get a sense of what the student is looking for.
2. Read some books/websites written by piano teachers, I really liked The Perfect Note....
3. Think about the piano teachers you've had. Who inspired you, motivated, taught you the most...? Whom do you wish to emulate?
4. Be really clear in your own mind why you are giving lessons. Is it something you want to do? Is it a way to support your other musical aspirations?
5. Then start your business knowing yourself. Print up some nice business cards, and flyers, and post them at the local college music departments and at music stores.
6. Put an ad on Craig's List.
7. Become a member of one of the localbranches of a music teacher organizations, such as MTA or the other one. You'll get referrals, but you'll also have to have some credentials first.
Our state MTA branch just held a HUGE convention in Santa Clara California for 4 days with Master Classes, seminars on starting and maintaining a music business. If I were teaching piano, I would have been there in a jiffy.
8. If you want a special niche, study something like the Alexander technique, or take a seminar with the pianist at Freeing the Caged Bird. You can get a certification and advertise that. Ergonomics are a huge deal right now because of computer use and playing the piano is at least as ergonomically challenging.
9. Are you a 3rd year music major? Is it a good music department? Can you get references from any of your professors. You definitely want to advertise if you are a music major.