Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 2 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

Gifts and supplies for the musician
SEARCH
the Forums & Piano World

This custom search works much better than the built in one and allows searching older posts.
Ad (Piano Sing)
How to Make Your Piano Sing
(ad) Pearl River
Pearl River Pianos
(ad 125) Sweetwater - Digital Keyboards & Other Gear
Digital Pianos at Sweetwater
(ad) Pianoteq
(ad) P B Guide
Acoustic & Digital Piano Guide
Who's Online
107 registered (AnimistFvR, AmateurBob, AndyP, acoxcae, ando, 36251, 31 invisible), 1420 Guests and 25 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Quick Links to Useful Piano & Music Resources
Our Classified Ads
Find Piano Professionals-

*Piano Dealers - Piano Stores
*Piano Tuners
*Piano Teachers
*Piano Movers
*Piano Restorations
*Piano Manufacturers
*Organs

Quick Links:
*Advertise On Piano World
*Free Piano Newsletter
*Online Piano Recitals
*Piano Recitals Index
*Piano & Music Accessories
*Music School Listings
* Buying a Piano
*Buying A Acoustic Piano
*Buying a Digital Piano
*Pianos for Sale
*Sell Your Piano
*How Old is My Piano?
*Piano Books
*Piano Art, Pictures, & Posters
*Directory/Site Map
*Contest
*Links
*Virtual Piano
*Music Word Search
*Piano Screen Saver
*Piano Videos
*Virtual Piano Chords
(ad) Estonia Piano
Estonia Pianos
Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 >
Topic Options
#2247291 - 03/16/14 03:18 AM Is teaching piano viable as a sole income for an individual?
Maechre Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/01/12
Posts: 254
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
I've dreamt of teaching piano for years now. I do have a student once a week, but I'm keeping it quiet while I do my Bachelor of Music Performance. I teach that student at a school via a contracting company. I've always thought when I finished my Bachelor I could work at a supermarket or something while building up private students. But is teaching piano really viable? My family and friends really don't seem to think so. Would it be a good idea to go for a Master of Education and lean towards school teaching? That hasn't been my goal for a while, but it's sort of close.

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


Edited by Maechre (03/16/14 03:19 AM)
_________________________
I love sight-reading! One day I will master it.

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

Top
(ad) Piano & Music Accessories
piano accessories music gifts tuning and moving equipment
#2247293 - 03/16/14 03:20 AM Re: Is teaching piano viable as a sole income for an individual? [Re: Maechre]
Nikolas Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5369
Loc: Europe
You seem divided to begin with.

I'd say that teaching is very much a viable option, if you're clever about this. You'll need a combination of skills, but it certainly can happen. Many teachers here "only" teach and are very happy overall, as far as I'm concerned.
_________________________
http://www.musica-ferrum.com

Top
#2247298 - 03/16/14 03:29 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
Fair that I might seem divided. Classroom teaching seems more stable and "normal", has a predictable wage, and is the kind of thing my family and friends would suggest. All through my Advanced Diploma, though (I've just started year two of the Bachelor), the vision of teaching piano has been a driving force for me. smile
_________________________
I love sight-reading! One day I will master it.

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

Top
#2247314 - 03/16/14 05:14 AM Re: Is teaching piano viable as a sole income for an individual? [Re: Maechre]
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5966
Loc: Down Under
I did both for quite a few years - teaching class music at school, and teaching some piano students after school or weekends. It gave me a chance to really give both a go and see which suited me. You probably only want to have a few students at first if you're full-time school teaching however - the latter can be rather tiring. smile Are you doing any pedagogy courses in your performance degree?
_________________________
Du holde Kunst...

Top
#2247384 - 03/16/14 10:31 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
Next year I'll be doing an elective called "studio teaching". I'm hoping there's a good deal of pedagogy involved.
_________________________
I love sight-reading! One day I will master it.

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

Top
#2247408 - 03/16/14 11:26 AM Re: Is teaching piano viable as a sole income for an individual? [Re: Maechre]
Peter K. Mose Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/06/12
Posts: 1377
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
Originally Posted By: Maechre
Fair that I might seem divided. Classroom teaching seems more stable and "normal", has a predictable wage, and is the kind of thing my family and friends would suggest. All through my Advanced Diploma, though (I've just started year two of the Bachelor), the vision of teaching piano has been a driving force for me. smile


Classroom teaching pays much better, and has a societal status that studio teaching does not have. Your family and friends will better understand and approve if you go into the classroom, rather than starting a private studio.

But the headaches of a classroom - the politics of principals, school boards, fellow teachers, unions, pushy parents, insolent students - may get to you. It's more of a burnout profession than teaching piano, I believe.

My advice is to find a mentor or two in the community who are successful independent piano teachers. Ask to observe a week or two of their teaching. Offer to pay them. Maybe even take private lessons with them in piano pedagogy. They will be flattered, and most likely helpful. The might even provide you your first students.

Top
#2247412 - 03/16/14 11:40 AM Re: Is teaching piano viable as a sole income for an individual? [Re: Maechre]
Peter K. Mose Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/06/12
Posts: 1377
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
To answer the original question: I'd say "sort of/maybe." A lot depends on the cost of housing in your community, if you want to teach from home. It would help to have assistance from family (or some other "angel") to fund your first teaching years: buying a decent piano or two is expensive, finding appropriate teaching space might be expensive, and unless you are very lucky, it will take some years to build your student numbers.

It helps to have a self-employed person's relentless drive. Coupled with a piano teacher's patience.

Top
#2248397 - 03/18/14 01:45 PM Re: Is teaching piano viable as a sole income for an individual? [Re: Maechre]
Peter K. Mose Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/06/12
Posts: 1377
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
I'd be curious to get some more responses to Maechre's original query about the viability of piano teaching. I ponder this issue often.

Top
#2248405 - 03/18/14 02:12 PM Re: Is teaching piano viable as a sole income for an individual? [Re: Maechre]
Morodiene Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12153
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
I've never relied solely upon teaching, but upon wearing many hats: singing, accompanying, performing in addition to teaching. I think perhaps once a person is well-established within their community they could cut back on other things and focus on teaching and make a decent living out of it, but I know without working the side jobs and my husband's income I would not survive on teaching alone.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

Top
#2248440 - 03/18/14 03:33 PM Re: Is teaching piano viable as a sole income for an individual? [Re: Maechre]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5558
Loc: Orange County, CA
You can rely on piano teaching as your sole source of income, if you're good at it, and if you can attract lots of students.

I used to teach at public schools to make ends meet, but now that my studio has (finally) picked up, I'm living quite comfortably without a school job. I do supplement my income with evaluating student exams and judging competitions, and occasionally I do tutor students from other studios whose teachers can't teach theory. If I'm bored, I can always work as a substitute teacher at school (I'm credentialed). Once in a blue moon I also get an accompaniment gig, but that's getting less and less frequent because I now have quite a few students, and side jobs are not worth the trouble to accept.

But the problem with being your own boss is that you have to be able to wear many hats. Advertisement, for me, is the biggest problem for many years because I live in an area with a heavy saturation of teachers, including a large older population of teachers who are still teaching into their 80's who literally teach until they drop dead. For the longest time I had trouble getting new students.

I'm a lot more aggressive with recruiting students today than before. I can't rely on luck and word-of-mouth referrals.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

Top
#2248455 - 03/18/14 03:58 PM Re: Is teaching piano viable as a sole income for an individual? [Re: Maechre]
PianoStudent88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3183
Loc: Maine
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
other studios whose teachers can't teach theory.

Is that common? That a piano teacher can't teach theory? Is that because they don't know the theory (which shocks me) or because they can't teach it well (which I could find reasonable -- not everyone is good at teaching all things, even all things piano-related)? Is this at any level of theory, or just the higher levels?
_________________________
Ebaug(maj7)

Top
#2248460 - 03/18/14 04:04 PM Re: Is teaching piano viable as a sole income for an individual? [Re: AZNpiano]
Morodiene Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12153
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
...including a large older population of teachers who are still teaching into their 80's who literally teach until they drop dead.
Those poor students! I wouldn't want to be their next teacher/piano bench psychologist. wink
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

Top
#2248461 - 03/18/14 04:04 PM Re: Is teaching piano viable as a sole income for an individual? [Re: PianoStudent88]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7717
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
other studios whose teachers can't teach theory.

Is that common? That a piano teacher can't teach theory? Is that because they don't know the theory (which shocks me)...

Be shocked. Clueless teachers are quite common.
_________________________
Regards,

Polyphonist

Top
#2248473 - 03/18/14 04:26 PM Re: Is teaching piano viable as a sole income for an individual? [Re: PianoStudent88]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5558
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
other studios whose teachers can't teach theory.

Is that common? That a piano teacher can't teach theory? Is that because they don't know the theory (which shocks me) or because they can't teach it well (which I could find reasonable -- not everyone is good at teaching all things, even all things piano-related)? Is this at any level of theory, or just the higher levels?

In my experience, there are three scenarios:

1) The teacher is incompetent. Does not know any theory.

2) The teacher chooses to focus on repertoire and technique, and leaves everything else (including theory, sight reading, and ear training) to somebody else.

3) The teacher chooses to focus on repertoire only because competition is what piano is all about. Every second of every lesson is dedicated to teaching Liszt etudes or Chopin Ballades. Testing is for the average students, and even the dumbest kids can fake their way through theory, or just buy a theory book and teach it to themselves.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

Top
#2248475 - 03/18/14 04:28 PM Re: Is teaching piano viable as a sole income for an individual? [Re: Polyphonist]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5558
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
other studios whose teachers can't teach theory.

Is that common? That a piano teacher can't teach theory? Is that because they don't know the theory (which shocks me)...

Be shocked. Clueless teachers are quite common.

If there were a way to systematically eliminate all the clueless piano teachers in my area, the rest of us would all have 50 students and 30 more on the waiting list. So clueless teachers do serve their purpose. wink

[I'm kidding!]
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

Top
#2248559 - 03/18/14 07:38 PM Re: Is teaching piano viable as a sole income for an individual? [Re: Maechre]
Candywoman Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/14/03
Posts: 855
I had a piano teacher who taught me when she was 78. That was her final year of teaching. She was an excellent piano teacher. All together, I took 8.5 years of lessons with her.

As to your original question, you can make a living, but for me, it's always been about just making ends meet and having only a small amount of discretionary income. If you need a lot of money to be happy, a car and a house, this is not the right job for you.

The only way you can do well is if you take all the lousy teachers away and that will never happen. Many people think of piano teaching as a nice way to make a few bucks on the side and they will always crop up, particularly if the economy is bad.

Top
#2248609 - 03/18/14 09:08 PM Re: Is teaching piano viable as a sole income for an individual? [Re: Maechre]
hreichgott Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/13
Posts: 1234
Loc: western MA, USA
Yep, you can make a living, a musician's living not a stockbroker's living that is. That's if you're not in an area saturated by piano teachers, you teach well enough to earn recommendations, and if you can allow yourself a ramp-up period to get known in town. I live in a small town where there is only one other private teacher I know of. I set my rates so as to be affordable to the town where I live. (Neighboring towns have a higher cost of living and the teachers there charge more; then again, those teachers have to pay for their living arrangements in the more expensive towns, and I don't.) It took about 2 years to get to the point where 3 families in town knew me and liked my teaching and felt that they had enough of a track record to recommend me to others. After that my phone never stopped ringing. By choice I also do other work, but after passing that tipping point, I could teach full time easily. I do not advertise except a little perfunctory notice on my website (which says "my studio is currently full" now anyway).

Keep in mind that unless you get lucky and find a lot of students with daytime availability, full time piano teaching really isn't a 40 hour work week, it's pretty much 3pm until whenever you want to call it a night, presumably no later than 8, so that's a 25-hour work week plus whatever happens on weekends.
_________________________
Heather W. Reichgott, piano http://heatherwreichgott.blogspot.com
Working on: Schumann/Kinderszenen
Daily 16th notes: Chopin Op. 10 no. 2, Pischna
I love Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven and new music

Top
#2248692 - 03/19/14 01:01 AM Re: Is teaching piano viable as a sole income for an individual? [Re: hreichgott]
Peter K. Mose Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/06/12
Posts: 1377
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
Originally Posted By: hreichgott
I live in a small town where there is only one other private teacher I know of. I set my rates so as to be affordable to the town where I live. (Neighboring towns have a higher cost of living and the teachers there charge more; then again, those teachers have to pay for their living arrangements in the more expensive towns, and I don't.)


Thanks for this observation, Heather. Cost of living is an important factor in this game. I also think setting up a teaching studio in a smaller town can often be more successful than in a major metropolitan area. Plus your talents may be more obviously valued, because without you, piano teaching might collapse.

Top
#2248694 - 03/19/14 01:03 AM Re: Is teaching piano viable as a sole income for an individual? [Re: hreichgott]
Peter K. Mose Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/06/12
Posts: 1377
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
Originally Posted By: hreichgott
It took about 2 years .... After that my phone never stopped ringing.


Et voil...hurray, Heather!

Top
#2248708 - 03/19/14 02:36 AM Re: Is teaching piano viable as a sole income for an individual? [Re: hreichgott]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5558
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: hreichgott
Keep in mind that unless you get lucky and find a lot of students with daytime availability, full time piano teaching really isn't a 40 hour work week, it's pretty much 3pm until whenever you want to call it a night, presumably no later than 8, so that's a 25-hour work week plus whatever happens on weekends.

Mornings are for practicing piano!

And for other job-related tasks. I keep my mornings filled with activities that will help my students.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

Top
#2248724 - 03/19/14 04:54 AM Re: Is teaching piano viable as a sole income for an individual? [Re: Peter K. Mose]
Maechre Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/01/12
Posts: 254
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
This is all looking pretty positive to me! smile

I've spoken to some of my Uni friends who happen to be teaching at the moment, and they're doing quite well for themselves, especially considering they're only working one day per week.

Originally Posted By: Peter K. Mose
Originally Posted By: hreichgott
I live in a small town where there is only one other private teacher I know of. I set my rates so as to be affordable to the town where I live. (Neighboring towns have a higher cost of living and the teachers there charge more; then again, those teachers have to pay for their living arrangements in the more expensive towns, and I don't.)


Thanks for this observation, Heather. Cost of living is an important factor in this game. I also think setting up a teaching studio in a smaller town can often be more successful than in a major metropolitan area. Plus your talents may be more obviously valued, because without you, piano teaching might collapse.


I'm so happy you brought up this point. There's an online directory of teachers I look up from time to time. Close to the city where I'm studying, there are heaps of teachers, probably over a hundred. Over at my old hometown, there was one or two, and where my mum's now moved (and where my private teaching should be starting up), there's only one teacher a 10-15 minute drive away. The new place is just twenty minutes north of my old town. So I'm hoping that will spell out good things for me.
_________________________
I love sight-reading! One day I will master it.

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

Top
#2248868 - 03/19/14 12:46 PM Re: Is teaching piano viable as a sole income for an individual? [Re: Maechre]
Peter K. Mose Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/06/12
Posts: 1377
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
We wish you luck, and keep us posted.

I'm curious: for the one student you have now, what percentage of his or her tuition goes to you and what percentage goes to the "school via a contracting company"? (That's a pretty clumsy phrase, by the way - I don't really know what it means.)

But we have had many discussions here about the merits of teaching on own's own or through a music school, and our discussions were only about the US, so it would be nice to learn about your situation in Australia.

Top
#2249104 - 03/19/14 10:20 PM Re: Is teaching piano viable as a sole income for an individual? [Re: Maechre]
hreichgott Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/13
Posts: 1234
Loc: western MA, USA
Originally Posted By: Maechre
This is all looking pretty positive to me! smile

I've spoken to some of my Uni friends who happen to be teaching at the moment, and they're doing quite well for themselves, especially considering they're only working one day per week.

Originally Posted By: Peter K. Mose
Originally Posted By: hreichgott
I live in a small town where there is only one other private teacher I know of. I set my rates so as to be affordable to the town where I live. (Neighboring towns have a higher cost of living and the teachers there charge more; then again, those teachers have to pay for their living arrangements in the more expensive towns, and I don't.)


Thanks for this observation, Heather. Cost of living is an important factor in this game. I also think setting up a teaching studio in a smaller town can often be more successful than in a major metropolitan area. Plus your talents may be more obviously valued, because without you, piano teaching might collapse.


I'm so happy you brought up this point. There's an online directory of teachers I look up from time to time. Close to the city where I'm studying, there are heaps of teachers, probably over a hundred. Over at my old hometown, there was one or two, and where my mum's now moved (and where my private teaching should be starting up), there's only one teacher a 10-15 minute drive away. The new place is just twenty minutes north of my old town. So I'm hoping that will spell out good things for me.

Sounds promising! Do keep us posted.
_________________________
Heather W. Reichgott, piano http://heatherwreichgott.blogspot.com
Working on: Schumann/Kinderszenen
Daily 16th notes: Chopin Op. 10 no. 2, Pischna
I love Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven and new music

Top
#2249182 - 03/20/14 02:16 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: 1117
Loc: California, USA
In answer to the OPs original question: Yes. Piano teaching is a viable occupation.

The details will vary depending on your location, and maybe more importantly your personality. You need a wide range of skills... beyond your music and teaching skills.

Is it a fit for your personality and skill set? We can't know that because we don't know you, but plenty of people with a wide range of personalities have success at the career.
_________________________
Pianist and Piano Teacher

Top
#2249183 - 03/20/14 02:22 AM Re: Is teaching piano viable as a sole income for an individual? [Re: PianoStudent88]
musicpassion Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/30/12
Posts: 1117
Loc: California, USA
Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
other studios whose teachers can't teach theory.

Is that common? That a piano teacher can't teach theory? Is that because they don't know the theory (which shocks me) or because they can't teach it well (which I could find reasonable -- not everyone is good at teaching all things, even all things piano-related)? Is this at any level of theory, or just the higher levels?

I just accepted a transfer student who had been studying with a teacher for 2 years and didn't know her finger numbers, what any clef was, didn't know any types of notes (quarter notes etc.) and of course no letter names. 2 years!

There are shocking levels of incompetence out there.

Why did I accept the student? Because she's bright and has potential. But it's starting from the very beginning.
_________________________
Pianist and Piano Teacher

Top
#2249196 - 03/20/14 03:08 AM Re: Is teaching piano viable as a sole income for an individual? [Re: musicpassion]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5558
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: musicpassion
I just accepted a transfer student who had been studying with a teacher for 2 years and didn't know her finger numbers, what any clef was, didn't know any types of notes (quarter notes etc.) and of course no letter names. 2 years!

There are shocking levels of incompetence out there.

Welcome to my world!

I've been carping about BAD TEACHERS for the last several years. I've even started a thread on that very topic. The level of incompetence is sickening.

smokin cursing
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

Top
#2249202 - 03/20/14 03:45 AM Re: Is teaching piano viable as a sole income for an individual? [Re: Peter K. Mose]
Maechre Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/01/12
Posts: 254
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Originally Posted By: Peter K. Mose
We wish you luck, and keep us posted.

I'm curious: for the one student you have now, what percentage of his or her tuition goes to you and what percentage goes to the "school via a contracting company"? (That's a pretty clumsy phrase, by the way - I don't really know what it means.)

But we have had many discussions here about the merits of teaching on own's own or through a music school, and our discussions were only about the US, so it would be nice to learn about your situation in Australia.


(It means the woman who pays me has contact with schools, and can get me into schools to teach. The parents pay her, and she pays me.)

I don't know what the percentage is, but I only get $16 for the lesson. She pays me an extra $16 for petrol cost, but if I get a second student, that won't increase my pay.

It's not an awful thing -- it's given me a year's worth of experience and some extra money -- but there's a big difference between $16 and the $25 I can get in my own studio.

However, in the future I'd consider going through a company for in-school teaching, then at night time doing my private teaching. That's if I can't get into the schools myself.
_________________________
I love sight-reading! One day I will master it.

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

Top
#2249254 - 03/20/14 04:36 AM Re: Is teaching piano viable as a sole income for an individual? [Re: Maechre]
compianist1 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/13/13
Posts: 121
Loc: Banned
whatever, I agree wink

Top
#2249746 - 03/20/14 10:21 PM Re: Is teaching piano viable as a sole income for an individual? [Re: AZNpiano]
musicpassion Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/30/12
Posts: 1117
Loc: California, USA
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: musicpassion
I just accepted a transfer student who had been studying with a teacher for 2 years and didn't know her finger numbers, what any clef was, didn't know any types of notes (quarter notes etc.) and of course no letter names. 2 years!

There are shocking levels of incompetence out there.

Welcome to my world!

I've been carping about BAD TEACHERS for the last several years. I've even started a thread on that very topic. The level of incompetence is sickening.

smokin cursing


I think somehow I was avoiding seeing it for a long time - and probably many other teachers have done the same thing. If you're set up in a community where people know you, often we mainly start students from the beginning or accept transfers from a student who moved and wants to stay in CM.
_________________________
Pianist and Piano Teacher

Top
#2251327 - 03/24/14 10:06 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 hesitated to answer assuming that you, like many posters here, were American... if you were located in America then I wouldn't know much about teaching, income and all the things that go with that. I am in Sydney... and I hope to move to Melbourne eventually, but I can tell you, I'm in my fourth year of my Bachelor of Music degree at the con, I work less than some of my friends in other fields but I earn a lot more in terms of my hourly rate.

I don't want to purely only teach piano though, I do intend to start following my other dreams (in the hospitality industry) by getting an apprenticeship in commercial cookery (chef studies).

If you want more students, there are a few ways around it: 1. Advertise 2. Join an already established music studio... but I just really wanted to say that there is a lot of flexibility in music. If you can't see yourself doing studio teaching all the time, then working in schools, getting involved with Kindermusik programmes (there is another one in Australia called Jellybeans music). Otherwise accompanying for AMEB and university entrance exams (they call it the HSC in Sydney, I know it's different in Melbourne) makes good money.

I'm in my fourth year... so all of the issues that revolve around employment are quite real but so far the universe has been nice to me... In the space of six months, I have gained 11 new piano students. I have also found work in the hospitality industry (I need to be in the kitchen as much as I need to make music!) so I am satisfied.

If you really don't like teaching music, you can always get into something else and do music after hours. There is totally nothing wrong with that.
_________________________
Independent Piano and Music Teacher
University Undergraduate Majoring in Music
Total Foodie
http://www.pianolessonswithrebecca.com/

Top
#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!
_________________________
Independent Piano and Music Teacher
University Undergraduate Majoring in Music
Total Foodie
http://www.pianolessonswithrebecca.com/

Top
#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

Top
#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: 1117
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
_________________________
Pianist and Piano Teacher

Top
#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: 1117
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.
_________________________
Pianist and Piano Teacher

Top
#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
_________________________
Independent Piano and Music Teacher
University Undergraduate Majoring in Music
Total Foodie
http://www.pianolessonswithrebecca.com/

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

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5558
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.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

Top
#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

Top
#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: 1020
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.
_________________________
1989 Baldwin R
Currently working on:
Grieg, Papillon
Mozart, K 330
Brahms, Op. 118 no. 2

Top
#2252441 - 03/26/14 01:55 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
Ms Kristin K. Yost is her name
_________________________
http://ezpiano.org
Piano lessons in Irvine, CA
Watch the introduction video on YouTube
@ http://bit.ly/Ready123

Top
#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: 10410
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
_________________________
Grotrian 192 #156455

https://www.youtube.com/user/dhfeld/videos

Top
#2252505 - 03/26/14 03:59 PM Re: Is teaching piano viable as a sole income for an individual? [Re: jdw]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5558
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.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

Top
#2252786 - 03/27/14 12:03 AM Re: Is teaching piano viable as a sole income for an individual? [Re: Maechre]
Peter K. Mose Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/06/12
Posts: 1377
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....

Top
#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

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

Registered: 01/11/14
Posts: 1659
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.

Top
#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/

Top
#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

Top
#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.

Top
#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

Top
#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: 1117
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.
_________________________
Pianist and Piano Teacher

Top
#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.
_________________________
http://ezpiano.org
Piano lessons in Irvine, CA
Watch the introduction video on YouTube
@ http://bit.ly/Ready123

Top
#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: 5966
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 )
_________________________
Du holde Kunst...

Top
#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

Top
#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.

Top
#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: 5966
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.
_________________________
Du holde Kunst...

Top
#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: 1117
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?
_________________________
Pianist and Piano Teacher

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

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

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5558
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

Top
#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

Top
#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: 1020
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

Top
#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

Top
#2285387 - 06/03/14 10:02 PM Re: Is teaching piano viable as a sole income for an individual? [Re: Maechre]
hreichgott Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/13
Posts: 1234
Loc: western MA, USA
Congratulations on the new students!
_________________________
Heather W. Reichgott, piano http://heatherwreichgott.blogspot.com
Working on: Schumann/Kinderszenen
Daily 16th notes: Chopin Op. 10 no. 2, Pischna
I love Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven and new music

Top
Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 >

Moderator:  Ken Knapp 
What's Hot!!

Forums Rules & Help
-------------------
ADVERTISE
on Piano World

The world's most popular piano web site.
-------------------
PIANO BOOKS
Interesting books about the piano, pianists, piano history, biographies, memoirs and more!
(ad) Yamaha CP Music Rest Promo
Yamaha CP Music Rest Promo
Ad (Seiler/Knabe)
Seiler Pianos
(ad) HAILUN Pianos
Hailun Pianos - Click for More
(125ad) Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
(ad) Lindeblad Piano
Lindeblad Piano Restoration
(ad) Piano Music Sale - Dover Publications
Piano Music Sale
Sheet Music Plus (125)
Sheet Music Plus Featured Sale
New Topics - Multiple Forums
They don't call him the 'Poet of the Piano' for nothing!
by JoelW
11/28/14 11:53 PM
Steinway rebuild question
by schlaigs
11/28/14 10:00 PM
Baldwin Hamilton Hammer Butt and Back Stop Leather
by Ryan Hassell
11/28/14 09:55 PM
Please help me to find out the pattern of this Cdim7
by SZ54
11/28/14 08:12 PM
3 sensors per key vs 4?
by AnimistFvR
11/28/14 07:55 PM
Forum Stats
77083 Members
42 Forums
159434 Topics
2342034 Posts

Max Online: 15252 @ 03/21/10 11:39 PM
Gift Ideas for Music Lovers!
Find the Perfect Gift for the Music Lovers on your List!
Visit our online store today.

Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers

 
Help keep the forums up and running with a donation, any amount is appreciated!
Or by becoming a Subscribing member! Thank-you.
Donate   Subscribe
 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
|
Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World | Donate | Link to Us | Classifieds |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter | Press Room |


copyright 1997 - 2014 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission