If you’ve ever pondered how to teach piano, or thought about becoming a piano teacher, chances are you have some questions. Getting started as a piano teacher can be exciting and a bit challenging, especially if you’re not sure what you need to do in the beginning. You will find some great tips on how to set up a piano teaching business and how to plan and teach piano lessons.
According to the website Correlated, some 25 percent of the world’s population can play the piano … at least a little. That’s an astounding number, and it includes those who are very proficient as well as those who “dabble” and likely everyone in between. That number also includes a vast range of ages, from the littlest piano players to those who’ve been playing for decades, as well as individuals who decide in later years that playing piano is something they’ve always wanted to do.
Given those astonishing numbers, it’s safe to say that there can never be too many piano teachers! Even if it seems your community has plenty of private piano instructors, chances are there’s room for a few more. And one of those few just might be you!
Indeed, if you’ve been thinking about how to teach piano, imparting your knowledge of piano to others while also making some extra money, or if you’re considering teaching piano privately for a living, we say “go for it!” With some hard work and attention to details – as well as help from those who’ve gone before – you can certainly realize your dream.
Getting Started Teaching Private Piano Lessons
Obviously, you need to have an ample amount of playing experience to teach piano. Most private music teachers have been studying their instrument themselves for a number of years … and some may still take lessons to keep them on their toes and learning new repertoire.
Piano teachers are often of a variety of ages. Some individuals begin to teach piano lessons when they are fairly young, perhaps in their teenage years or during college or university. Offering piano lessons is a great way to make extra money, even if you don’t intend to ever be a full-time piano teacher.
But how do you get started?
Finding Piano Students
‘Well, every piano teacher needs students, so recruiting is a good place to start, and there are a number of ways to find students for your music-teaching business.
Word-of-mouth advertising is always a great way to begin as you’re considering how to teach piano and to whom. Let your relatives, neighbors, and friends know that you’re interested in becoming a piano teacher and ask them to spread the word to their friends. Chances are you’ll pick up at least a few students that way.
Secondly, you can try the traditional method of advertising in the newspaper … if you have a newspaper in your area that is still widely read. (In many instances, print newspapers are a thing of the past.)
So, that leaves you with internet advertising via social media, which seems to be the most efficient way to advertise these days. If you’re a Facebook or Twitter user, start there and let your followers/friends know you’re now giving piano lessons. You can even start a Facebook page for your business and invite others to “like” it. Include a link to your website, which you should consider putting up before you start advertising, even if it’s only a few pages that include info about you, your skills, and your experience (if applicable).
Setting up your piano teaching business
Where to teach piano
If you’re worried about renting a physical space for your piano teaching studio, note that this is not really a big deal. As you’re thinking about how to teach piano and all the factors involved, remember that you don’t need to go out and rent something fancy. You just need a room in your home (or elsewhere) where you can teach, undisturbed by anyone else who might be around. A room with a door you can close is ideal but not necessary. Be sure, however, that there is ample light and ventilation.
Nevertheless, when becoming a piano teacher and establishing an official business, you’ll need to tend to more than just setting up a space. You’ll need to have a system for bookkeeping so that you can keep your financials in order.
To get started, you really only a piano and some students! You can begin lessons when you’re ready and grow everything else as your piano studio grows.
Setting Up Business Management Systems
As you grow your piano studio, you’ll need to consider a few additional factors such as establishing a sole proprietorship, LLC, or corporation, and you’ll want to choose or develop a system that will help you keep track of payments and expenses. The Music Profits program can help you with that. Our system takes the fear out of managing your business’s finances and allows you to concentrate on your students instead.
Happily, these days, there are many online options that allow you to easily keep track on income and outgo, like Quicken, Xero or Quick Books, and those are easily linked to a business bank account so that you can keep your piano teaching earnings separate from all other earnings. This is also essential for tax purposes.
Music Profits can also teach you how to organize your teaching schedule and keep it organized, which is essential for both you – the piano teacher – and your students.
Tips on how to teach piano lessons
If you want teaching piano to be less like a hobby and more like a business, here are a few more tips to keep in mind:
- Determine a schedule at the beginning and stick to it. If you want to dedicate 8 hours a week for teaching piano lessons, for example, choose those hours, put them in your calendar, and make them sacred! Don’t schedule anything else during those time slots.
- Take time to research prices in your area. You don’t want to price your lessons too high nor do you want to sell yourself short either. Try to stay in line with others of your skill level.
- Consider what kinds of students you want to teach. Are you good with children? If so, market yourself to that age group. Don’t like working with kids? Then look for adults who are interesting in studying the instrument. Of course, you can work with all ages as well if you don’t have a preference for one or the other.
- If it’s been a while since you were a student, take some time to research how to teach piano, including reviewing the new piano teaching methods available. While you may have liked the old books your teacher used “way back when”, for example, there are many new and interesting piano teaching series available that could be more appealing to your students, especially young ones.
- Plan your lessons carefully. Just like a classroom teacher, you should have a lesson plan for each student, which will keep them interested and excited about coming back for more. Discover each student’s learning style, ask them about their musical preferences, and plot a course of action that will motivate that individual.
- Set a cancellation policy and adhere to it at all times. Teachers who allow students to cancel their lessons at a moment’s notice will lose both money and time. Put your cancellation policy in writing and explain it to the student or parent before the first lesson occurs.
- Promote yourself in a positive manner. Even if you don’t have a degree, you still have talent and much to give to your students. Don’t stress your lack of a degree when interviewing potential students or their parents. Instead, talk to them about all that you HAVE accomplished.
- Organize, organize, organize! Have everything ready BEFORE you take on that first piano student. Using tried and true studio set-up guidelines such as those available from Music Profits will help insure your success from the start!
- Get started! There comes a point where you have done all you can, and you just need to start teaching! Much of the best learning on how to teach piano is actually done on the job, as you work with real students! So if you have made your preparations, but don’t quite feel ready, just jump in, find some piano students and go for it! You will be glad you did!
Remember, becoming a piano teacher isn’t just something you decide to do one day and start the next. Attention to detail, time commitment, a proven system, and enthusiasm for your profession are all part of the mix. As you put together all the little details as to how to teach piano, take time to make sure those are all part of the big picture before you start putting out the word about your new career.