After 17 years of teaching violin and viola lessons, I just closed my private studio in Austin, Texas, to be able to give attention to my new company, Orchestra Tutor. After many moments of, “well, that didn’t work, but hey – this did,” I wanted to talk about a few of my experiences in the hope that they may save you time and effort when you start your personal journey to starting a private music studio.
I spent my first several years driving everywhere. I taught at music schools, public schools, and everyone’s houses in between and beyond. At the time I thought it was no big deal – I would just claim the mileage on my own tax return, and it would all even out in the long run. It ends up that’s not true; the tax deduction doesn’t come anywhere near the costs of gas or wear and tear on your own vehicle. But most importantly, enough time spent driving to lessons is time away from teaching which translates to money you are failing to get paid.
Teaching away from your home has definite advantages, just before deciding that here is the best choice for you, ensure you have ample parking that doesn’t inconvenience other people, a designated waiting area for moms and dads and siblings, a restroom they could use without invading your personal space, a secure and safe place for your pets to stay during lessons (keep in mind that not everyone thinks they’re as cute while you do), and sufficient property insurance coverage in the case of a car accident. You must also consider ways to help keep your house presentable all the time and make sure that your family, neighbors, and solicitors tend not to interrupt your work.
A substitute for making use of your home as a professional space is to find a nearby school using a strong orchestra program. Some great benefits of establishing a studio while working directly with an orchestra director are endless and warrant a stand-alone blog entry, but suffice it to state that the nearby school can offer convenience to you and the students.
I started out charging $15 for half an hour during 2000. My intent was to get as numerous students as you can and after that gradually raise my rates. Within under two years, I was approximately 57 students. Sounds great, right? It was, other than I was spending a substantial portion of my earnings on gas and car maintenance, I needed underestimated how much time I would dedicate to administrative work, and I was purchasing a lot more supplies than I needed anticipated. In short: don’t undercut yourself. Really know what your time and energy is worth which your experience does matter.
In addition to earning a living, make sure that your rates will cover the expense of doing business, including space rental fees, additional home insurance, and expenses connected with recitals, including printed programs, piano accompaniment, video recordings, and refreshments. Discover what other teachers charge in your area and seek advice from local orchestra directors.
As soon as you set your price, be consistent with everyone, and don’t forget to leave yourself room for a couple raises as you go along. Consider charging through the year, semester, or at a minimum, by the month, as opposed to individual lesson. Remember that you are currently a teacher, and let parents understand that your fees needs to be treated as tuition rather than a pay as-you-go system. Lastly, get payment in advance as much as you can to prevent working for free.
I love teaching sixth grade beginners, but initially when i first started my studio, I accepted anyone and everybody, from ages four to 76. It had been hard to me to shift gears that frequently, and in retrospect, I don’t think I had been an excellent teacher to the of my students except those sixth graders. It took longer than it must have to me to realize they were my target market – I liked getting them started and watching them progress with the early many years of playing, however I figured these were better off with someone else gowzxv may help them flourish at the next level. My advice: become a specialist, as opposed to a generalist. Narrowing your niche could make you a better teacher, and that positive word will spread quickly!
This seems like a no brainer, but it’s surprising how many private teachers cancel, reschedule, or don’t show up to lessons. They find yourself with students and parents who treat lessons with the exact same absence of dedication, which results in fewer (and fewer productive) lessons, as well as fewer long term students.
Scheduling lessons back-to-back and also starting/ending promptly does everyone a favor. Parents appreciate you letting their children on time so that the remainder of their schedule will not be impacted. They return that respect by with the knowledge that while they are 10 minutes late, you are not expected to go 10 minutes over simply because they know you have another lesson that must start on time.