How to Become a Private Music Teacher

Those who have a love of music usually want to share it in some form or another. One way to spread that passion is through teaching music lessons. Not everyone has the desire to teach, but for those who do, the position can be very rewarding. Many people who are musically inclined think about becoming a music teacher, but have no idea where to start or what’s required. Here we take a look at what it takes to become a private music teacher.

Assess Your Qualifications

Unlike those who choose to teach music in school, private music teachers don’t usually need to have any official educational credentials, though a strong interest in and talent for music is a given. That said, if you have a degree or a music certificate of some sort it may allow you to charge higher rates and attract more students. It’s important to keep in mind that, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, becoming a licensed music teacher requires a bachelor’s degree in music education. If you hope to teach music in the school system you’ll need to pursue these qualifications first.

Obviously you should give some thought to which areas you want to specialize in. For instance, will you teach only piano lessons or will you concentrate on voice classes? Maybe you have a very broad knowledge of music and will choose to offer a variety of lessons. Of course, you’ll want to make sure your knowledge and talents are strong in whatever areas you want to teach. It’s not really fair to potential students to offer lessons in an area that you don’t specialize in yourself.

Decide on Class Size

Private music teachers have the option of teaching just one student at a time or running classes with multiple students. Many private music instructors work out of their homes or rent some space in a music shop or studio. Think about the amount of space you have to teach in, the size of the equipment you’ll need, and your level of patience. All of these factors will influence your class size.

Those who have limited space may want to teach one-on-one lessons. Additionally, if you feel that having several students at once would be overwhelming, then taking students one at a time or in very small groups  is probably the best option. Keep in mind that different students progress at different rates. While you may have several students that start out at the same level, each will have his/her own talents and challenges and you will likely wind up teaching a variety of different things. Those who have some teaching experience already or who can easily shift their focus may prefer to take several students at a time.

Find Your Selling Point

Do you have a specific talent or background that sets you apart from the crowd? Private music teachers are basically freelancers. That means that you’re going to have to put yourself out there and sell your talents in order to gain clients. Think about your own music background. Do you have specific training or experiences that are likely to entice students to want to work with you? Give this some thought ahead of offering your teaching services. Potential clients are going to want to know what you provide that is different from other music teachers in the area. In fact, you may want to create a website that explains a little about your background and training. On it you might want to include testimonials from anyone you’ve taught previously (even if it was your cousin or kid next door) or those who have taught you, videos of you playing, and a list of any music and teaching credentials you possess.

As you can see, there’s  a lot more to becoming a private music teacher than just hanging up a sign. Taking a bit to plan out the details ahead of time will make for a smoother transition once you get started. Remember, your reputation is everything in this type of business. Start off strong and you will grow and flourish.  

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