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#2051889 - 03/21/13 11:52 AM Starting Teaching in Mid Life
gracegren Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/02/11
Posts: 10
Loc: California
I want to be a piano (and bass) teacher. I graduated with a degree in music in 2010, have a lot of work experience motivating clients of all ages in the helping professions, but I feel like I am at a roadblock. There are these teach-at-students-home opportunities that all require teaching experience. I am not at all thrilled with being a traveling teacher either. My community has strict ordinances for in-home businesses, so I would have to limit students at home.

I studied with a piano teacher last year for awhile. She got me interested in Certificate of Merit for Level 8, but, after awhile I got really turned off by her teaching approach. She complained that her adult students never stayed. She used phrases like 'hamburger hands' and made negative comments. I understand why they left! But that gives you an idea of my playing level. I had 5 years of classical piano lessons as a child, one year of university piano in my 20s, and a solid history of rock keyboard. a lot of gigs on keyboards and bass in many genres. years playing in an orchestra, etc. My instrument for my degree was upright/double bass and two semesters of jazz piano. I did great academically, but the traditional music education track for teaching in school did not appeal to me. I learned nothing about teaching at the university.

I have this vision of having an active teaching practice in my studio of mostly adults, some children too, teaching not only classical piano, but incorporating the pop/rock/jazz genres students would want.

I realize I need to find a good, mentoring sort of teacher, maybe formally study piano pedagogy or at least a good book on this.

I need to get my confidence together to begin this journey. And I need to figure out where to find students to get started. Starting today I putting the world out to adults I know, and maybe offering just a reduced fee. The very limited teaching I have done has gone well. But, due to finances, I need to be earning money within a few months!

Any suggestions appreciated, thanks!

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#2052117 - 03/21/13 07:25 PM Re: Starting Teaching in Mid Life [Re: gracegren]
chasingrainbows Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/19/06
Posts: 1199
Loc: NJ
Welcome to the music teaching world, gracegren. I sent you a PM.

You have a wealth of experience and eventually, you will be juggling a full schedule! I posted flyers in grocery stores, libraries, clubhouses, etc., and started teaching privately, going to students' homes.

I couldn't survive without Agay's "Art of Teaching Piano" and Bastien's "How to Teach Piano Successfully."

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#2052149 - 03/21/13 09:15 PM Re: Starting Teaching in Mid Life [Re: chasingrainbows]
gracegren Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/02/11
Posts: 10
Loc: California
Thanks for your message, Chasing. I do not have these books and will get a copy of each. I like the Bastien material. A year or so ago, I went to the local sheet music store and ran into a piano teacher who suggested Bastien and some Alfred books. Also, so much great information on this site!

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#2052187 - 03/21/13 11:32 PM Re: Starting Teaching in Mid Life [Re: gracegren]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5558
Loc: Orange County, CA
Have you thought about joining MTAC? Since you have a degree in music, you already qualify.

I'm assuming by "Alfred," you mean the old Alfred series. There is a better series of method books churned out by Alfred called Alfred Premier Piano Course. It is heads and shoulders better than the previous version, and miles ahead of the Bastien books. The Bastien books have a lot of attractive supplementary materials, but the method itself isn't what I'm looking for.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#2052204 - 03/22/13 12:14 AM Re: Starting Teaching in Mid Life [Re: gracegren]
Peter K. Mose Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/06/12
Posts: 1377
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
Originally Posted By: gracegren
I want to be a piano (and bass) teacher. I graduated with a degree in music in 2010, have a lot of work experience motivating clients of all ages in the helping professions, but I feel like I am at a roadblock. There are these teach-at-students-home opportunities that all require teaching experience. I am not at all thrilled with being a traveling teacher either. My community has strict ordinances for in-home businesses, so I would have to limit students at home.



Grace, I'm a little confused. Maybe you're looking at some sort of ready-made business that is advertising for experienced music teachers to teach in students' homes (for a big percentage of your fee), but there is nothing stopping you from doing this on your own right now.

Conversely, if you want to teach at home, do your local ordinances forbid this? Or place restrictions on it? Would you be willing to tell us what they are? If you want to teach in your home, there is usually a way to do it. You can pm me if you wish, since I am quite knowledgeable about this.

The simplest advice, though, is just to start in teaching someone, perhaps at a reduced rate. And see how it goes. Keep a journal if you wish. You could always take the occasional private lesson in piano teaching with a veteran studio teacher.

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#2052252 - 03/22/13 03:00 AM Re: Starting Teaching in Mid Life [Re: AZNpiano]
musicpassion Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/30/12
Posts: 1116
Loc: California, USA
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Have you thought about joining MTAC? Since you have a degree in music, you already qualify.

I'm assuming by "Alfred," you mean the old Alfred series. There is a better series of method books churned out by Alfred called Alfred Premier Piano Course. It is heads and shoulders better than the previous version, and miles ahead of the Bastien books. The Bastien books have a lot of attractive supplementary materials, but the method itself isn't what I'm looking for.


Yes - check out the MTAC. It has a lot to offer, and the mentoring from veteran teachers can be priceless.

Regarding the Premier course... I know everyone has their own opinions, and maybe it works great for some people. But... I was very dissapointed with it, and given a choice between the traditional and the "premier" I would take the traditional.


Edited by musicpassion (03/22/13 03:00 AM)
Edit Reason: spelling
_________________________
Pianist and Piano Teacher

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#2052253 - 03/22/13 03:02 AM Re: Starting Teaching in Mid Life [Re: gracegren]
musicpassion Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/30/12
Posts: 1116
Loc: California, USA
Forgot to say: welcome to the forum, and best wishes on your teaching adventure!
_________________________
Pianist and Piano Teacher

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#2052307 - 03/22/13 07:19 AM Re: Starting Teaching in Mid Life [Re: gracegren]
Morodiene Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12151
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Welcome to the forum, gracegren! You have asked a HUGE question that requires far more detail than I think is possible to put in one post on a forum - but I'll try to touch on the big things.

I know the idea of traveling to students homes isn't attractive to you (it isn't to me either), but if you have one or two that you do it for to start out it might be a good way to begin. You don't need experience to do that, so I'm not sure what you are referring to in your post. You just advertise on craigslist, at local music stores, etc. and make arrangements with individual students. Of course, if you do travel to students' homes, you will want to factor that into your fees.

But I have a feeling you can teach from your home, at least to start out without any problems. It's not like you have 40 students, and so how would someone know you're running a business there? We have similar rules in our HOA and I taught from my home. No one complained, because I didn't have a lot of students after moving out of state. Once my studio got larger, I was able to open a school.

There is a lot of preparation you should do ahead of time, as you know, so it's good that you ask. The Denes Agay book is wonderful, as well as a book titled The Well-Tempered Keyboard Teacher" by Marienne Uszler. The Bastien book on teaching is also helpful. These books not only help you with how to teach (pedagogy), but also how to run your business. Joining your local MTNA chapter or other piano guild is also a good idea. You can develop a network of fellow teachers who will refer students to you if they are full, and can also be great resources for information. Of course, this website is a huge resource of information, so please take your time and search through it, as many of your questions have been covered in the past.

You mention you need to be making money within a few months, so I'm guessing your current source of income is either ending or dwindling. You will need to sit down and figure out how much money you need to make to sustain yourself each month. Add to that estimated expenses per month for running your teaching business. This amount may include:
-rider to your homeowner's/renter's policy for home business
-books to purchase for yourself
-setting up your business as an LLC
-maintenance on your piano-
advertising
-printing costs for business cards and posters (you can get cheap biz cards at vistaprint.com)
-dues for MTNA
-subscriptions to trade magazines like Clavier Companion
-gas and auto maintenance if you do travel to people's homes (this will have to be an estimate of course)

Also you will want to get informed on the kinds of things that are tax-deductible so you can keep good records for the year. You will need to consult with a good tax accountant on this, and devise your own system of how to manage receipts, mileage, and expenses that all or part of can be written off on your taxes (a portion of the taxes you pay on your real estate for example can be deducted, internet, other utilities, etc.).


Edited by Morodiene (03/22/13 07:20 AM)
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#2052462 - 03/22/13 01:08 PM Re: Starting Teaching in Mid Life [Re: musicpassion]
Barb860 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/09
Posts: 1646
Loc: northern California
Originally Posted By: musicpassion
Forgot to say: welcome to the forum, and best wishes on your teaching adventure!


+1

Where in CA do you live? PM me if you want to.

regarding books, I like the ones mentioned in this thread and also "A Piano Teacher's Legacy" by Richard Chronister. This was recommended a while ago here on this forum and I find it very helpful. Best of luck to you!
_________________________
Piano Teacher

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#2052534 - 03/22/13 03:05 PM Re: Starting Teaching in Mid Life [Re: gracegren]
gracegren Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/02/11
Posts: 10
Loc: California
Thank you all for the great info here! Yes, I need to join MTAC and the Well Tempered book sounds good too! Alfred Premiere - will definitely check into. No, I am not trying to go with an agency to get started. I did at first, but all they could offer me was one student for the first month or so. Will again review ordinances, but I do not see why it would be a problem even having one person a day show up at my house. During the day, most everyone is at work anyway. So glad to be a part of this welcoming forum, and I will follow up with you.

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#2052607 - 03/22/13 04:47 PM Re: Starting Teaching in Mid Life [Re: gracegren]
Bobpickle Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014


Registered: 05/24/12
Posts: 1383
Loc: Cameron Park, California
Building on Morodiene's post regarding finances - here's a nice tool:

http://freelanceswitch.com/rates/

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#2052624 - 03/22/13 05:18 PM Re: Starting Teaching in Mid Life [Re: gracegren]
gracegren Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/02/11
Posts: 10
Loc: California
Thanks, and, by the way, I live in the San Diego area.

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