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#2251331 - 03/24/14 10:15 AM Re: Is teaching piano viable as a sole income for an individual? [Re: Maechre]
Rebecca Piano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/02/13
Posts: 55
Loc: Sydney, Australia
Maechre - I just wanted to add, if you can start working for yourself and not being part of a studio - DO IT NOW. Ever since I opened the doors to my own studio, I was doing so well financially and I was no longer stressed about parents, students and my boss. If parents were being totally unreasonable or if students really didn't want to be there I now have the luxury of dropping them or telling them politely that 'this probably won't work for you' or that 'I might not be the right teacher for what you want.' I was being abused and exploited when I worked for a studio and I am so glad that I am out. I know that my experience was a total nightmare but it is very, very satisfying to not have a boss whose best interest is in making money and nothing more! It is also very satisfying to be paid a decent amount of money as I don't have to worry about whether or not I could buy simple things like food and coffee!
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University Undergraduate Majoring in Music
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#2251341 - 03/24/14 10:53 AM Re: Is teaching piano viable as a sole income for an individual? [Re: Maechre]
Maechre Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/01/12
Posts: 254
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Thanks so much for your comments, Rebecca. I'm happy it worked out so well for you! Maybe the same can happen for me. smile 11 students is awesome, and it can grow from there, but you also have the option of limiting your intake of students.

I really do love teaching piano. I hope I feel the same way when I strike out on my own. I've been making my own steps towards going it alone. Apart from having collected the first method books, I now have a Facebook page, and today I finally took the plunge, sharing it on the FB group of the last musical I did (I was onstage ensemble) - there were a lot of kids and parents involved. The next step will be inviting all my FB friends, and also sharing it on two FB groups specific to the town my private studio's in. I can also post info in the newsletter of my old school, but I don't doubt I'll have at least one one student by then.

Thanks for the Kindermusik idea! I'll have to look into it a lot more, but kids are awesome and it sounds like it could be a lot of fun. smile

(By the way, would you happen to know Saskia Kusrahadianti at the University of Sydney? She may be in the year below - I met her on Youtube.)
_________________________
I love sight-reading! One day I will master it.

http://www.youtube.com/user/Acrozius?feature=mhee

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#2252183 - 03/26/14 01:33 AM Re: Is teaching piano viable as a sole income for an individual? [Re: Rebecca Piano]
musicpassion Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/30/12
Posts: 1108
Loc: California, USA
Originally Posted By: Rebecca Piano
Maechre - I just wanted to add, if you can start working for yourself and not being part of a studio - DO IT NOW.

+1
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#2252187 - 03/26/14 01:36 AM Re: Is teaching piano viable as a sole income for an individual? [Re: Maechre]
musicpassion Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/30/12
Posts: 1108
Loc: California, USA
Originally Posted By: Maechre
Thanks for the Kindermusik idea! I'll have to look into it a lot more, but kids are awesome and it sounds like it could be a lot of fun. smile

Kindermusik is worldwide? I didn't know that.
One "bonus" of programs like Kindermusik: it can act as a recruitment program for your regular private lessons.
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#2252265 - 03/26/14 08:22 AM Re: Is teaching piano viable as a sole income for an individual? [Re: Maechre]
Rebecca Piano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/02/13
Posts: 55
Loc: Sydney, Australia
Maechre, don't know her, but then again I am at the Sydney con for most of the time (I hardly go to Sydney Uni Campus).

I'll be very honest with you though - facebook isn't great for reeling students in. It's a great way to supplement your income and cater to your 'warm market' read the blog article for more information on that: http://www.composecreate.com/marketing-piano-lessons-101/
I have found that the best way to get students if you cannot go by word of mouth (like myself, I started from scratch) is through the internet. Make sure you have a web presence, a presentable looking website and social media to complement that. I have found 11 steady students through the internet. I also keep a blog, it started out as a way to answer many of the questions that parents and adult students had. I do like writing as well, my major is in musicology so writing on a regular basis comes very naturally. I do have friends who don't understand how I manage to generate over forty thousand words on teaching, since most of them communicate it by means of speech... so blogging might not be for you, but if you like writing, it's a great way to voice some of your views on teaching and it's a good way to develop your web presence too.

Here are some other music related jobs you can fall into after university:

1. Arts Administration
2. Post-grad studies (not a job, but an option)
3. Teaching in high schools or primary schools
4. Teaching Kindermusik, OR being on Orff/Kodaly trained teacher
5. Getting into school enrichment programs (those cool inspirational people who visit your high school are normally funded by Musica Viva or Opera Australia OR some wealthy philanthropist)
6. Accompanying for recitals, AMEB exams, contemporary music recording session work
7. Weddings (it doesn't really work with pianists, but some groups have a pianist on reserve just in case the venue contains a piano that works)
8. Jazz piano cocktail gigs/cruise ships(again, I take it that you probably aren't a jazz pianist but if you do a few jazz courses and fall in love with the genre and learn to improvise in way that makes you suitable for the gig then go right ahead!)
9. Nursing home concerts (quite a number of them pay for their entertainment)
10. Music Therapy (you do need to do a post grad degree for that though)

I could keep going ... but you get the drift, lots of stuff out there, world is your oyster. Just don't be too fussy, don't decide that you will only accept gigs that pay less than $20k and you'll be fine wink
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University Undergraduate Majoring in Music
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http://www.pianolessonswithrebecca.com/

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#2252336 - 03/26/14 11:14 AM Re: Is teaching piano viable as a sole income for an individual? [Re: Rebecca Piano]
AZNpiano Online   happy
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5556
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: Rebecca Piano
I have found that the best way to get students if you cannot go by word of mouth (like myself, I started from scratch) is through the internet. Make sure you have a web presence, a presentable looking website and social media to complement that.

Interesting. Several of my colleagues who have websites tell me that such web presence is not worth keeping. A couple of them haven't bothered to update theirs in over a year.

I used to have two websites, but since I haven't gotten any inquiries from them, one got cancelled. In my remaining website, it has a tracker that counts the number of visitors. The site had a grand total of 4 visitors in the past year. And it is on the first page of Google if you type in my city plus "piano lesson" or "piano teacher."

So much for web presence.
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#2252349 - 03/26/14 11:32 AM Re: Is teaching piano viable as a sole income for an individual? [Re: Maechre]
Maechre Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/01/12
Posts: 254
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Hmmm. Well, I'll definitely be keeping the Facebook page, and I'll definitely be using the Facebook commmunity pages as well as local school newsletters to see if I can get any students that way. I've also discovered another piano teacher in my area who started earlier in the year -- I'm thinking it'll be worth getting in touch with the local teachers so I can refer students beyond my teaching to them, as well as students younger than I'm comfortable teaching for now. (This other teacher's scooped up the four-year-old whose mother was looking -- not that I would have been ready to teach him anyway.) And maybe possibly they'd refer me back, I don't know. This isn't my forte (lol), I just have ideas I feel should work.
_________________________
I love sight-reading! One day I will master it.

http://www.youtube.com/user/Acrozius?feature=mhee

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#2252421 - 03/26/14 01:28 PM Re: Is teaching piano viable as a sole income for an individual? [Re: Maechre]
jdw Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/04/11
Posts: 1016
Loc: Philadelphia, PA
I'm not a member of MTNA, but was browsing through the program going on this week. I saw there was a talk by someone telling how she earned $100,000 during her first year as a piano teacher. I guess many would like to know.
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1989 Baldwin R
Currently working on:
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Mozart, K 330
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#2252441 - 03/26/14 01:55 PM Re: Is teaching piano viable as a sole income for an individual? [Re: Maechre]
ezpiano.org Offline
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Registered: 05/10/11
Posts: 1027
Loc: Irvine, CA
Ms Kristin K. Yost is her name
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#2252452 - 03/26/14 02:16 PM Re: Is teaching piano viable as a sole income for an individual? [Re: jdw]
Piano*Dad Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10406
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
Originally Posted By: jdw
I'm not a member of MTNA, but was browsing through the program going on this week. I saw there was a talk by someone telling how she earned $100,000 during her first year as a piano teacher. I guess many would like to know.


Indeed. There is always something to learn from successful people.

On the other hand, an outlier may not tell us much that is replicable for most people. One should always take someone else's "follow my example" claims with a dose of healthy skepticism especially if speaking fees are part of the income stream. grin
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#2252505 - 03/26/14 03:59 PM Re: Is teaching piano viable as a sole income for an individual? [Re: jdw]
AZNpiano Online   happy
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5556
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: jdw
I'm not a member of MTNA, but was browsing through the program going on this week. I saw there was a talk by someone telling how she earned $100,000 during her first year as a piano teacher. I guess many would like to know.

Well, yeah, if you are one of a handful of piano teachers in a newly wealthy suburban town, then you'll easily make $100,000 your first year as a piano teacher.

When there are 80 listed private teachers within a 5-mile radius (and that's just the listed MTAC teachers), we won't make nearly as much. It's supply and demand.
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#2252786 - 03/27/14 12:03 AM Re: Is teaching piano viable as a sole income for an individual? [Re: Maechre]
Peter K. Mose Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/06/12
Posts: 1376
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
Ms. Yost actually grossed $100,000, which is quite different from netting $100,000. Still, it's quite an achievement.

She set herself up in a wealthy part of Dallas, Texas, and set out to persuade local parents through advertising that piano lessons for little Calum and Erin would improve their grades in school. Make them smarter. Get into Yale in ten years. Or some such thinking.

Then she started teaching by the half-hour, at a hefty hourly rate. If you're driven and lucky, it's not impossible. Let's see, 50 half-hour lessons a week @ $50 a half-hour lesson for 40 weeks a year....

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#2252811 - 03/27/14 02:11 AM Re: Is teaching piano viable as a sole income for an individual? [Re: Maechre]
Maechre Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/01/12
Posts: 254
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Yeah, it's probably not smart to base your three year business plan on an outlier -- or any sort of plan for that matter!
_________________________
I love sight-reading! One day I will master it.

http://www.youtube.com/user/Acrozius?feature=mhee

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#2252827 - 03/27/14 03:34 AM Re: Is teaching piano viable as a sole income for an individual? [Re: Peter K. Mose]
phantomFive Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/11/14
Posts: 1652
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: Peter K. Mose
Ms. Yost actually grossed $100,000, which is quite different from netting $100,000. Still, it's quite an achievement.

She set herself up in a wealthy part of Dallas, Texas, and set out to persuade local parents through advertising that piano lessons for little Calum and Erin would improve their grades in school. Make them smarter. Get into Yale in ten years. Or some such thinking.

If you can get that many people interested in piano who wouldn't otherwise be interested, you deserve that much money. Even if you do it through advertising.
_________________________
Poetry is rhythm.

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#2254173 - 03/30/14 08:27 AM Re: Is teaching piano viable as a sole income for an individual? [Re: AZNpiano]
Rebecca Piano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/02/13
Posts: 55
Loc: Sydney, Australia
AZNpiano, that's very interesting. How long ago was this? Maybe it's a country thing, one of my former piano teachers had a very successful music studio and almost all of his students found him through the internet.

Maechre it hardly costs anything to start up a website. I spent less than $20 on mine. In order to get a web presence, it helps to be searchable through Google. You can do this by buying advertising (which I haven't done) and you could also do it by frequenting forums like these. Besides that, having a blog, responding to other peoples blog articles and signing up to music teacher engines (such as limelight, music teacher online, teachmemusic) as well as other databases such as hot frog, do more, todo kids, gumtree, yellow pages online, twitter and facebook help get your website on the front page of Google.

I find that having a blog also helps - people know about who I am a little bit better when they read about what I think.
_________________________
Independent Piano and Music Teacher
University Undergraduate Majoring in Music
Total Foodie
http://www.pianolessonswithrebecca.com/

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#2254176 - 03/30/14 09:02 AM Re: Is teaching piano viable as a sole income for an individual? [Re: Maechre]
Maechre Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/01/12
Posts: 254
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Wow, maybe a website really is a good way to go. Last time I started a website (for my books) it was unsearchable -- I used Weebly. I haven't made that mistake again; I went back to blogspot.com so now I actually show up on Google. I wonder if a blogspot website/blog would be sufficient without getting a domain name. I should be just as searchable, the only difference would be a .blogspot.com at the end of the address, but I could do all setting up and editing myself.

By the way, so far I've had one inquiry through Facebook. It was a woman who was asking if I drove out to teach, and I said I'm not currently. (She was 20-30 minutes away.) She said she'll get back to me if she decides to go ahead. I'm not expecting anything from it, but I was happy to get the inquiry!
_________________________
I love sight-reading! One day I will master it.

http://www.youtube.com/user/Acrozius?feature=mhee

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#2254236 - 03/30/14 12:28 PM Re: Is teaching piano viable as a sole income for an individual? [Re: Maechre]
catpiano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/20/12
Posts: 55
I've been supporting myself on my piano teaching income for almost 5 years, but it's not easy. Just recently I started working a day job in an office to supplement my income. Due to a move and changing life circumstances my expenses got higher and and I couldn't navigate it financially on just my teaching salary. That being said, this past year has been my most lucrative year from teaching because I switched to only teaching privately instead of mostly in a music school. I live in a very expensive area in the US and my rates are high. I have 24 students. If I were married and had an additional household income, it would be much easier and I wouldn't have to work second job.

My biggest problem is summer. Last year over half my students were gone for at least half the summer for vacations or sleepaway camp. That's another reason why having an additional income, whether from a spouse or a second job, is a necessity.

Also, I have to say that I wouldn't knock people who "teach into their 80s and then drop dead." That's a horrible thing to say. My piano teacher for all 4 years of high school was in her middle-late 70s while I had her. She was an energetic woman, enormously devoted to teaching, and an absolutely brilliant teacher. She must be about 85 now and the last I heard she was still teaching a full studio. Good for her.

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#2255162 - 04/01/14 05:38 AM Re: Is teaching piano viable as a sole income for an individual? [Re: Rebecca Piano]
Maechre Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/01/12
Posts: 254
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Originally Posted By: Rebecca Piano

Here are some other music related jobs you can fall into after university:

1. Arts Administration
2. Post-grad studies (not a job, but an option)
3. Teaching in high schools or primary schools
4. Teaching Kindermusik, OR being on Orff/Kodaly trained teacher
5. Getting into school enrichment programs (those cool inspirational people who visit your high school are normally funded by Musica Viva or Opera Australia OR some wealthy philanthropist)
6. Accompanying for recitals, AMEB exams, contemporary music recording session work
7. Weddings (it doesn't really work with pianists, but some groups have a pianist on reserve just in case the venue contains a piano that works)
8. Jazz piano cocktail gigs/cruise ships(again, I take it that you probably aren't a jazz pianist but if you do a few jazz courses and fall in love with the genre and learn to improvise in way that makes you suitable for the gig then go right ahead!)
9. Nursing home concerts (quite a number of them pay for their entertainment)
10. Music Therapy (you do need to do a post grad degree for that though)

I could keep going ... but you get the drift, lots of stuff out there, world is your oyster. Just don't be too fussy, don't decide that you will only accept gigs that pay less than $20k and you'll be fine wink


By the way, I'm sort of a jazz pianist. My preferred style is popular music -- film, game and musicals -- but my course is a jazz course. I don't feel jazz is my strong point, but maybe that's just because I'm doing University level stuff. I'd love to try playing in a piano bar one day. I just don't know if I'm the gigging type. If you never try, you never know!

Anyway, I told my Uni piano teacher today that I was starting up my own studio, and she said she personally thinks one-on-one piano instruction should wait until tertiary level! I totally disagree with her there, but she went on to give me an awesome list of Australian organisations who do instrumental teaching in primary schools and child care centres. I really like the look of the primary school ones, and the younger ones might be worth trying out.

Primary School:
- Creative Music
- Primary Music Institute
- Mad on Music

Babies - 5 years:
- Mini Maestros
- Jump For Joy

Apparently they have good hourly rates. The only thing is, you need sufficient hours to make it worthwhile. I would teach through a combination of them, and also do my Saturday/weeknights piano lessons. I assume that'd add up to a respectable income.
_________________________
I love sight-reading! One day I will master it.

http://www.youtube.com/user/Acrozius?feature=mhee

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#2255407 - 04/01/14 03:11 PM Re: Is teaching piano viable as a sole income for an individual? [Re: Maechre]
musicpassion Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/30/12
Posts: 1108
Loc: California, USA
Originally Posted By: Maechre
Anyway, I told my Uni piano teacher today that I was starting up my own studio, and she said she personally thinks one-on-one piano instruction should wait until tertiary level! I totally disagree with her there, but she went on to give me an awesome list of Australian organisations who do instrumental teaching in primary schools and child care centres. I really like the look of the primary school ones, and the younger ones might be worth trying

I don't know what "tertiary level" is (third year of study?), but where I live it's not uncommon for pianists to start teaching some private lessons when they are in High School. Of course "High School" may not exist in your system... anyway, I mean when they are around 16 years old. A good student has enough music skills by then, but of course they need to learn how to teach. May as well start early. I did have classes in Pedagogy at University, but they were useless. I had to learn "on the job."

Of course it's also ok to teach within a system. You'll learn teaching skills and it's not a bad resume item either.
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Pianist and Piano Teacher

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#2255466 - 04/01/14 05:20 PM Re: Is teaching piano viable as a sole income for an individual? [Re: Maechre]
ezpiano.org Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/10/11
Posts: 1027
Loc: Irvine, CA
I think tertiary level means college/university level. I am guessing, I could be wrong.
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Piano lessons in Irvine, CA
Watch the introduction video on YouTube
@ http://bit.ly/Ready123

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#2255597 - 04/01/14 07:50 PM Re: Is teaching piano viable as a sole income for an individual? [Re: ezpiano.org]
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5962
Loc: Down Under
Originally Posted By: ezpiano.org
I think tertiary level means college/university level.
Yes, that's right. I didn't realise the terminology wasn't universal. (which is strange, because I'm often surprised when some American posters don't realise some terminology they use isn't universal. smile )
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Du holde Kunst...

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#2255620 - 04/01/14 08:41 PM Re: Is teaching piano viable as a sole income for an individual? [Re: Maechre]
Maechre Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/01/12
Posts: 254
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Just a quick lesson on the Australian school system for clarification.

Primary School - Ages 6-12 (Prep to Grade 6) (unless you start at age 5 - not common for my generation)
High School - Ages 13-18 (Year 7 to Year 12)
Tertiary - after high school - higher education)

I think Kindergarten runs roughly age 3-5.
_________________________
I love sight-reading! One day I will master it.

http://www.youtube.com/user/Acrozius?feature=mhee

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#2255645 - 04/01/14 09:41 PM Re: Is teaching piano viable as a sole income for an individual? [Re: Maechre]
The Wind Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/28/13
Posts: 468
Just wondering, what's the standard range for hourly piano lessons in Australia?

Here in Canada it's about $25-80. For accredited teachers they usually do a sliding scale depending of the grade level of the student. Around $35-40 for beginners and higher up.

I think salary totally depends on the city and # of teachers.

As for gigging/performing jobs, I do that now. It is lucrative on an hourly basis but these jobs are so sporadic that you cannot rely on them for income.

Remember most gigs are one time events, like weddings, Christmas, birthday, New Year parties... You can normally charge $100-200 hour, but you will only be playing for 1-3 hours at most.

Forget cruise ships for cocktail piano. I have tried that route and I can tell you ships now seldom hire for that position. You got all these old timers that don't want to leave so few openings come up.

Now if you can sing and play, that would be a far better option. Piano bar entertainers are in high demand. It helps if you are attractive, outgoing and flamboyant. They want people to have a good time, buy lots of booze, drinks...

For me, income from piano is about 4th on the list, it's extra pocket $. Luckily I don't need to rely on it. good luck with it.

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#2255664 - 04/01/14 10:17 PM Re: Is teaching piano viable as a sole income for an individual? [Re: The Wind]
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5962
Loc: Down Under
Originally Posted By: The Wind
Just wondering, what's the standard range for hourly piano lessons in Australia?
It really varies, depending on whether you're in a big city, smaller regional centre, or out in the bush. smile In Sydney, for example, $80ph is probably the minimum a well-qualified professional teacher would charge.
Originally Posted By: The Wind
As for gigging/performing jobs, I do that now. It is lucrative on an hourly basis but these jobs are so sporadic that you cannot rely on them for income.

Remember most gigs are one time events, like weddings, Christmas, birthday, New Year parties... You can normally charge $100-200 hour, but you will only be playing for 1-3 hours at most...
For me, income from piano is about 4th on the list, it's extra pocket $. Luckily I don't need to rely on it.
I make my main income performing, but even though some of the gigs are one-time, after you've spent the time building up your contacts you can expect to get more of the same. I do a lot of exam/audition/competition accompanying. It's rewarding to help young performers and watch them develop over the years, and the contact with other teachers (instrumental and vocal) is also rewarding. Higher-level concerts and recording gigs are not as frequent, but pay well. You have to be a very good reader, able to be adaptable, and also be very reliable and get on well with people. You also have to love the repertoire (I specialise in vocal - Lieder etc - but also do a lot of string and wind rep) - for itself, not just for the money you may make out of it. Luckily I do. It's what got me into it in the first place.
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Du holde Kunst...

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#2255681 - 04/01/14 10:51 PM Re: Is teaching piano viable as a sole income for an individual? [Re: Maechre]
musicpassion Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/30/12
Posts: 1108
Loc: California, USA
Originally Posted By: Maechre
Just a quick lesson on the Australian school system for clarification.

Primary School - Ages 6-12 (Prep to Grade 6) (unless you start at age 5 - not common for my generation)
High School - Ages 13-18 (Year 7 to Year 12)
Tertiary - after high school - higher education)

I think Kindergarten runs roughly age 3-5.

Ok thanks. Yes that's different. USA isn't standardized but this is a summary:
Preschool (if you do it, it's optional) ? - 4
Kindergarten: one year, considered part of elementary school, age
Elementary School: grades 1 - 4, 5, or 6, ages 6-9,10, or 11
Middle School (it's called middle school if it includes grades 5 or 6) 5/6 - 8
Junior High School (if the school doesn't include grades 5 and/or 6 then it's normally called Junior high instead of middle school) grades 7-8, ages 12-13
High school: grades 9-12, ages 13-18
College/University: higher education.

Of course to add to the confusion there are many children outside of the public education systems. Homeschool children sometimes aren't even sure which grade they're in. And private schools can do whatever they want, to an extent.

Clear as mud?
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Pianist and Piano Teacher

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#2255692 - 04/01/14 11:27 PM Re: Is teaching piano viable as a sole income for an individual? [Re: Maechre]
Jonathan Baker Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/09/09
Posts: 459
Loc: New York City!
Hello Maechre,

Only regarding teaching, not other musical professions, I don't have answers so much as questions for you to consider privately...

Teaching in a classroom with, say, 15 or 20 children or young adults in front of you is firstly a skill of group management, and secondarily of music education. Talk with a veteran teacher in the group educational environment before diving into that pool. Perhaps it is for you, perhaps not. Find out first before pursuing it. Leading a youth choir is a good way to get very real experience with directing a lot of people at once. If not that, try to get some experience leading a group so you get a taste of what it is like. That is the only way to find out, but a note of caution: if your first experience is negative do not automatically assume that ALL such situations are also negative - perhaps you just need different experiences.

Teaching individual lessons privately is an entirely different situation. You are already teaching one student this way, so you at least have a sense of it and apparently like it, so that question is answered. I hugely enjoy giving private lessons. I do not like teaching 30 kids at once - not at all. But I enjoy performing.
So, find out what you really like to do and keep true to your nature.

Originally Posted By: Maechre
Also, later down the track, would piano teaching be viable in a family situation (married with kids)?


The answer is all about money. How much money do you need? Don't be afraid to sit down and add it up: monthly mortgage on a house (google it), car payments, monthly food bill, health insurance, clothing, paying off any college debts. For yourself this is manageable perhaps. Now add two more mouths to feed into those calculations and do the math...

In other words, do not proceed with both eyes shut. If you don't like the way the numbers add up, I would not give up, only reconsider the dynamics and reconfigure the game.

As for as making a living at private lessons, I and others are doing it and supporting ourselves and loved ones. But please be shrewd about your environment. How many people in your community are making a living that way? How are they doing it? What type of music are they teaching? How are they advertising: word of mouth or by internet? It is not the same everywhere. Be crafty and do plenty of homework on the matter like a first-rate detective. Visualize what sort of students you want, and how you want to be in relation to them. Does your current place of residence support that vision?

Some great artists are also excellent businessmen - these talents are not mutually exclusive. If you decide you really must be a musician and a music teacher as your life journey, find smart people in the business of teaching you can rely on for moral support and also constructive advice.

Above all, be true to yourself. Then be prepared to stretch and grow enormously within the context of enlarging your knowledge and outreach, but on your terms.

It's your life, after all, so whatever you do, do it with gusto and enjoy it. That is a life well spent.
_________________________
Jonathan Baker
http://www.BakerPianoLessons.com/index.htm

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#2255753 - 04/02/14 02:51 AM Re: Is teaching piano viable as a sole income for an individual? [Re: musicpassion]
AZNpiano Online   happy
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5556
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: musicpassion
Of course to add to the confusion there are many children outside of the public education systems. Homeschool children sometimes aren't even sure which grade they're in. And private schools can do whatever they want, to an extent.

You can add online schools to this mix. There's actually a TV commercial for an online school that caters to the practice schedule of a competitive skater.

A LOT of time is wasted on a daily basis in public schools. I can see how online schools can help those kids who need extended hours of practice (skating, gymnastics, swimming, or even piano!). But I'm not sure how it would help the kid's social development.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#2255778 - 04/02/14 04:48 AM Re: Is teaching piano viable as a sole income for an individual? [Re: Jonathan Baker]
Maechre Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/01/12
Posts: 254
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Originally Posted By: The Wind
Just wondering, what's the standard range for hourly piano lessons in Australia?
...

Now if you can sing and play, that would be a far better option. Piano bar entertainers are in high demand. It helps if you are attractive, outgoing and flamboyant. They want people to have a good time, buy lots of booze, drinks...


In my area, about an hour away from the city, it's more like $50-$60 per hour for private lessons.
...

I can sing and play. I'm not sure how it'd all work. Guess I'd have to go to some piano bars and see what it's all about.

Originally Posted By: Jonathan Baker
Hello Maechre,

Teaching in a classroom with, say, 15 or 20 children or young adults in front of you is firstly a skill of group management, and secondarily of music education. Talk with a veteran teacher in the group educational environment before diving into that pool.
...

Leading a youth choir is a good way to get very real experience with directing a lot of people at once. If not that, try to get some experience leading a group so you get a taste of what it is like.
...

Teaching individual lessons privately is an entirely different situation. You are already teaching one student this way, so you at least have a sense of it and apparently like it, so that question is answered. I hugely enjoy giving private lessons. I do not like teaching 30 kids at once - not at all. But I enjoy performing.
So, find out what you really like to do and keep true to your nature.


Thanks for the well thought-out response!

Some good things about these organisations I mentioned is that they include training and professional development programs that work towards teaching certification, and the classes aren't too big: 5-8 if I recall.
...

I've always wanted to run a choir.
...

I, on the other hand, don't get a lot of pleasure out of performing. I mostly find it stressful. But I do love teaching.
_________________________
I love sight-reading! One day I will master it.

http://www.youtube.com/user/Acrozius?feature=mhee

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#2255829 - 04/02/14 08:33 AM Re: Is teaching piano viable as a sole income for an individual? [Re: musicpassion]
jdw Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/04/11
Posts: 1016
Loc: Philadelphia, PA
Originally Posted By: musicpassion
Originally Posted By: Maechre
Just a quick lesson on the Australian school system for clarification.

Primary School - Ages 6-12 (Prep to Grade 6) (unless you start at age 5 - not common for my generation)
High School - Ages 13-18 (Year 7 to Year 12)
Tertiary - after high school - higher education)

I think Kindergarten runs roughly age 3-5.

Ok thanks. Yes that's different. USA isn't standardized but this is a summary:
Preschool (if you do it, it's optional) ? - 4
Kindergarten: one year, considered part of elementary school, age
Elementary School: grades 1 - 4, 5, or 6, ages 6-9,10, or 11
Middle School (it's called middle school if it includes grades 5 or 6) 5/6 - 8
Junior High School (if the school doesn't include grades 5 and/or 6 then it's normally called Junior high instead of middle school) grades 7-8, ages 12-13
High school: grades 9-12, ages 13-18
College/University: higher education.

Of course to add to the confusion there are many children outside of the public education systems. Homeschool children sometimes aren't even sure which grade they're in. And private schools can do whatever they want, to an extent.

Clear as mud?


Just to note, high school in the US is also referred to as secondary (with K to grade 8 primary). So by extension, tertiary would mean college/university here too, though it's not commonly called that.
_________________________
1989 Baldwin R
Currently working on:
Grieg, Papillon
Mozart, K 330
Brahms, Op. 118 no. 2

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#2285109 - 06/03/14 10:09 AM Re: Is teaching piano viable as a sole income for an individual? [Re: Maechre]
Maechre Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/01/12
Posts: 254
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
What a crazy couple of weeks I've had!

I'd had interest on some of those Facebook pages I posted on, but nothing followed through. It's been three months I think, so I haven't been expecting anything. Last Thursday someone pointed me to a different page, which I posted my ad on. And there was a good amount of interest. But Facebook totally screwed me over. When I commented as my page, no notifications were sent out, and I really wanted some of those students. I PM'd those I said I would, and after experimentation discovered they weren't even receiving my messages.

But even before I discovered all that interest, I was PM'd by a Year 12 girl who wanted lessons. She'll be coming this Saturday or maybe Sunday.

Not long after, I got a comment on my "open to 4-6 year olds" announcement, and the mum of a student I thought I wouldn't get was asking for lessons. I was filled with hope, but then she wanted weekdays, and I'm only available for weekends. But I offered to teach on weekdays during my six-week Uni break, and she accepted. So in a couple of weeks I'll be teaching a four-year-old as well. This was a huge surprise as the mum had liked my page a month or two ago.

Then earlier this week, another mum from a month ago PM'd me, saying she'd like lessons for her 11-year-old and 4-year-old. Unfortunately she wanted weeknights. I said I could push for a Friday, maybe 7:00. (Would mean driving home through peak-hour traffic but hey, it's 50 bucks for an hour of teaching!) Then she asked if Sunday at 3:00 would be good, and there I have another two students. I've now asked the Year 12 if she'd like to do Sunday instead at 2:30 or 4:00.

That's an 18-year-old, an 11-year-old, an 8-year-old and a 4-year-old. Wow.

So I'm feeling like this is a good start. I think I need to print myself some business cards.

Now, it just feels right to me to get paid per lesson, but I've thought that monthly payments would help avoid missed lessons. I'm not sure how to discuss that with the payers. (I think I need a policy.)Or maybe there's no need to take it so seriously at this point.

I'm still a bit depressed over students I feel I've lost -- if Facebook had worked I believe I could have 3 more students. Or maybe there's a slight chance that they haven't forgotten about me and are actually considering it. For now I can only focus on the students I have coming up.
_________________________
I love sight-reading! One day I will master it.

http://www.youtube.com/user/Acrozius?feature=mhee

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