THE FIRST KEY: A TAKE-OFF GUIDE FOR NEW PIANO TEACHERS
"Essential Tips To Be A Professional Piano Teacher"
Life is like a Piano, what you get out of it depends on how you play it”- Tom Lehrer. Startings are difficult and shaky. They bring with them uncertainties and doubts, as with all good things in life. But if we just keep playing all the keys right and hit all the right notes one after the other, we can make it work for us just the way we intend it to.
Life is a grand composition full of high and low notes, like keys on a piano, but it all has to start with the right first note. That first note is our topic for today. For all the novice piano teachers who are looking for a guide on from where to start, this is it. We will help you take your first few steps, and hopefully, you will be able to pick your pace from there onwards.
The purpose of this guide is to provide the readers/piano teachers with basic steps they need to cover before they are ready to teach their students professionally. Here are some of the important steps that you should follow to become an impactful piano teacher. However, some of the people think that playing the piano like you playing it only for fun or for time pass. However, this is not the truth, although it is also a very serious profession and as a teacher, you can make a great career in this field.
Step 1: Find Your Way of Teaching
Decide on how you are going to teach and where are you going to teach. Because wherever you are, you will need to find students; they are everywhere, yes, it’s just a matter of how you find them. They can be just there in your neighbourhood, or they could be living at some distance from you, this prompts the question of ‘how you are going to teach.
Ultimately, you will be the one to decide whether you are going to be a travelling teacher, going from one house to another, or are you going to start a studio? Nothing can be more convenient if you have the luxury of having your own home/apartment or a studio. You can easily turn your apartment into a piano learning centre, but only until you teaching your students. Yeah, it can be a great way to save your budget, instead of spending it to rent a space for your piano classes.
Otherwise, travelling is good if there are plenty of students in your vicinity, even better if you can cover them all on foot; think of how this much travelling will contribute to your health. Not to mention going to your student’s means, you get to charge them extra, this should be a good motivator for you. Charging extra for private lessons makes many come to the studio for the sake of saving some money, which is also beneficial for you as you can save up on time and travelling money (if you travel by car).
If you don’t have a place of your own, you can even rent a small studio or an apartment where you can hold private lessons for students. It seems like a great idea to rent a place for your private piano classes if you have enough budget for it. Make sure to decorate the place appropriately, avoid distractions, and see to it that there’s no noise pollution either. Give the place a professional makeover with a fast internet connection and a computer/laptop in case you need to search online or demonstrate something on a computer. And of course, you need a piano, but I think you already have that part covered. But if not, you can easily rent a piano and adjust the rent cost in the lessons. After getting the fees from your student/clients, you can buy a new one but always look for the best one instead of going with the cheaper one.
Step 2: Set Up Everything Professionally
You are new, but that doesn’t mean you are not a professional, so you must adopt the mentality and behave accordingly. Treat this as an actual business and not as a hobby. Also, remember one thing, people usually prefer to buy something from a professional-looking and well-arranged place. We gave the buying example because people want to buy what a piano teacher has, yeah, you got it right, it is about the piano, and you can teach them how to play adorable music from it.
Here’s are a few useful tips that will help you to set up everything professionally:
- Use enrollment forms for admission of new students/pupils.
- Conduct interviews with students to determine whether they are suitable candidates who are curious and skilled to learn or are just going to be a waste of your time.
- Develop and implement policies to keep a safe side for yourself in case things don’t go accordingly. Such as fee policies, lessons cancellation policy, the total number of classes, no extra classes in case of absence of pupil, etc. keep in mind that you are a professional and not running a charity.
- Set up a dress code and a fee structure. With a proper dress code, there comes a mental fortitude, follow it yourself and make your pupils follow it as well. Don’t be a softy, it’s a tough world out there, and you need to earn to survive.
- Set up lessons like beginners, intermediate, experts, etc. and charge accordingly.
This way, you not only portray a professional image but also trick yourself into acting to fit the role.
Step 3: Go Through Deep Research
Research. Before you start your teaching career, you need to conduct proper and thorough research. If you are relatively new, it may take some time for things to move in the high gear. Reading books is one good way to do it.
We suggest you read the following:
- A Piano Teacher's Legacy - Richard Chronister.
- Practical Pedagogy - Martha Baker-Jordon
- The Well-Tempered Keyboard Teacher - Marianne Uszler.
- Questions & Answers - Frances Clark.
- The Independent Piano Teacher’s Studio Handbook – Beth GiganteKlingenstein.
Don’t limit yourself to just these books, conduct online research, and follow on to the latest trends. This way, it will be easier for you to stay in business.
Step 4: Marketing
Marketing. You aren’t going to find your first student just like that. Announce yourself to the world and make a statement. We understand that the market is already saturated, and it is tough for a pianist to find business. But believe it or not, the different marketing strategies can help you to bring new clients, you can try it out because it will always work.. Nonetheless, you can use many easy and affordable ways to publicize your relatively new business.
- Word of mouth via friends and family.
- Social Media.
- Free lessons and demos.
- If possible, perform in small theatres, restaurants, and public places where you can show off your skill and attract some new pupils. Even if it means you have to do it for free for some time.
- Set up a simple website with your contact info. Try WordPress for this purpose.
- One very effective way you can showcase yourself as a piano teacher is by setting up an account on ‘The Best Piano Teacher’ website. It is the best and simplest way using which you can increase and improve your outreach to potential clients.
Don’t be dishearted if it takes a while for your business to take off. A lot of successful businesses and musicians had a slow and weak start, but persistence is the key, and you are an expert on hitting the right key at the right time, so keep at it.
Step 4: Do Not Stop Learning
Keep learning. The progress of educating yourself and learning must never come to a halt. The best teacher is the one who is a student at heart. All you have to invest are talent and time, but the trade-off is quite rewarding. Keep practising and reading,: challenge yourself by setting up milestones. It plays a huge role in becoming an impactful piano teacher because if you learn correctly, then you teach it correctly, it is an obvious thing. There are many ways to learn and master the piano playing skills like practising and practising to sharpen your skills.
However, using modern technology as a source of learning can help you a lot to learn new things. And there is nothing wrong with updating your knowledge from time to time; ultimately, it will help you to achieve new milestones and achievements.
Be sure to highlight your achievements for the world to take notice of, you have to make the world acknowledge you with sheer hard work and efforts. This is about it, a very elementary guide on how to take your first few steps as a novice piano teacher. There is a lot more you can learn and a lot more that we can teach you, until next time.
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