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#1230728 - 07/13/09 01:30 AM Teaching Lessons
Pianos_N_Cheezecake Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/15/07
Posts: 150
Loc: Saskatchewan, Canada
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?

Miranda

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Piano & Music Accessories
#1230770 - 07/13/09 05:47 AM Re: Teaching Lessons [Re: Pianos_N_Cheezecake]
etcetra Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/08
Posts: 1446
Yea, your friend is telling you the right thing. I don't usually require a contract, but I do ask them to notify me 24hrs in advance if they have to miss lessons.. If they fail to do that once, I will let them know that in the future I will have to charge them for the time.

Do you have a proffesonal resume, demo, and other stuff that people can look at for reference? It might help to set up a website of some sort too that people can go and check out.

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#1230777 - 07/13/09 06:55 AM Re: Teaching Lessons [Re: etcetra]
lilylady Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/17/05
Posts: 4983
Loc: boston north
Are we to assume that you have had more than 3 yrs of piano study and that by calling yourself a 3rd yr U. student that it is not just 3 yrs of piano study?

There has been SO MUCH of what you are asking already on the TEACHER's SECTION of this forum, that all you need to do is go there and read some of the recent to older threads. There are even references to websites where complete studio protocal is written out!

And best of luck to you! Teaching can be very rewarding.


Edited by lilylady (07/13/09 06:56 AM)
_________________________
"Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything."

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#1230945 - 07/13/09 01:18 PM Re: Teaching Lessons [Re: lilylady]
Pianos_N_Cheezecake Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/15/07
Posts: 150
Loc: Saskatchewan, Canada
Oh yes, lol I should have specified. I am a professional gigging musician and have been studying since I was 5. I will definitly check out those forums. For some reason I didn't even know they existed! Thanks!

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#1230949 - 07/13/09 01:22 PM Re: Teaching Lessons [Re: Pianos_N_Cheezecake]
Nikalette Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/22/08
Posts: 1082
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: Pianos_N_Cheezecake
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?

Miranda


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.

Good luck!

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#1231197 - 07/13/09 11:42 PM Re: Teaching Lessons [Re: Nikalette]
Pianos_N_Cheezecake Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/15/07
Posts: 150
Loc: Saskatchewan, Canada
Thanks, Nikalette. I am taking notes! I am a music major from a music department that I respect very much. Very good program. I could likely get references from my professors, but I am confused as to what for. For the students? Or for the seminars, etc?

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#1231454 - 07/14/09 01:08 PM Re: Teaching Lessons [Re: Pianos_N_Cheezecake]
JazzPianoEducator Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/13/09
Posts: 203
Loc: Denver, CO
Do you plan on teaching in a studio or going to the students house? If it is the latter, making sure you manage your time will be important. Also, don't book lessons too far away unless the student is willing to pay for the extra driving time / gas. I had a period where I had several students on a couple of back to back days that were all in different locations. If you don't allow yourself a good amount of time in between lessons, you'll stress yourself out if one lesson goes over as it will back up all the other lessons and you'll find yourself trying to drive too fast to get to the next lesson!

Ideally, i think it's best to teach in your own studio. If you are still at a university, many times you can get away with giving the lessons in the practice room so long as the school is ok with it. Also, if you are at the university, put some flyers up in the music school AND in the dorm rooms that are non-music school related. Lots of college students who are not in the music school love to take piano lessons from a student who is in the music school.

Also, make sure you put yourself online. Craigslist is definitely a good resource. You can also set up a free profile with LessonRating which will give you more exposure:

http://www.lessonrating.com/piano-teacher-listing.php

I hope this helps you out!

JPE
_________________________
LessonRating.com

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#1231459 - 07/14/09 01:18 PM Re: Teaching Lessons [Re: JazzPianoEducator]
Dr. J Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/08/09
Posts: 134
Loc: Oregon
Much great advice here. Teaching can be very rewarding and I admire you for considering the business angle from the outset. Create a business plan and a studio policy and then follow what you have devised.

I invite you to check out my blog for more teaching tips: http://playpianotodaywithdrj.wordpress.com/

Best of luck in your new endeavor.

Dr. J - The More You Play the Better Your Day
_________________________
Dr. Jordan is a professional piano teacher and performer,
offering creative online piano tutorials to adult beginners.

Dr. Js blog http://playpianotodaywithdrj.wordpress.com/

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#1231756 - 07/15/09 12:33 AM Re: Teaching Lessons [Re: Dr. J]
Pianos_N_Cheezecake Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/15/07
Posts: 150
Loc: Saskatchewan, Canada
Fantastic! Thanks educator/dr, you've been super helpful. As far as I know I can only teach in the music school if I teach through the conservatory, which I want to avoid for a couple of reasons. First would be because they charge you a percentage of the profits, obviously. Second is because they take care of the business aspect of things and i'd like the experience running my own studio. I've been looking for a facility that might be appropriate. Someone suggested I grab a bunch of other music students and rent out a room somewhere that we can all teach out of daily.

I'd be interested in reading up on some pedagogy or instructional methods materials to prepare myself. Do either of you have any specific recommendations I should get my hands on? I found a few on the Teacher's forum but I wasn't sure if those were geared toward classical teaching more than jazz/pop/anything other than classical. Thanks again!

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