Expanding piano studio

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I have been teaching piano in my home for over 10 years. I am fortunate to have a private studio in my home with piano, organ and computer. This past year my studio grew to over 40 students. I was also hired as music director at my church this summer. I have been able to keep up with both jobs because I have only half the number of piano students through the summer. As Fall approaches I know I will not be able to do both my studio and church work. I am contemplating hiring and training one of my former students to help teach some of my younger students. Has anyone tried to do anything like this? Please let me know your thoughts. Thank you.

-- Becky Hetrick (EHetrick@aol.com), June 27, 2001


Hi Becky, Congratulations on your success in your new job! As for your question:

I have in the past given just a few students, about six students to a student teacher at about a Grade 8-9 RCM level. What I did though was prepare them the year before by having them sit in my classes occasionally to see the steps involved.

I had only the very youngest and newest students assisted by one of my students, although I sat in the lessons the first few weeks of the new teaching year.

Other areas to be aware of:

What of the parents reaction, and even the younger students who have developed a relationship with you and your particular unique approach. With a Music School this might be acceptable, but if a parent sought you out specifically or was a referral, this could present some problems. Perhaps review your clients list and if they are brand new students, that you have not taught before then it may work out, the other factor are the times you designated for them. Will it be feasible for your music teacher trainee to set in the gap at the times established?

Perhaps assign your former student one or two days of the newest students, that is Absolute beginners.

First meet with your prospective student teacher, will they be right for the job, do you have confidence in their abilities, are you comfortable with assigning them this highly responsible position.

Should you put an ad in the local newspaper seeking help in this area?

What about Home Based Insurance, Do you have the coverage for an extra teacher. There are liabilities you must think of here as well.

What about the bylaws of your city or muncipality, Is there a limit of how many teachers you are allowed.

There are the other aspects of payment, tax deductions, etc. Will it be contract or by the hour, or salary.

Accident insurance coverage if the individual hurts themselves at your resident, as above. There may be other issues you might want to write down , check with music schools and chat with one of their administrators to see if they can make suggestions.

Once you feel you have covered all the bases here then go ahead with the next steps.

Make an appointment with the student teacher, parent and music student a few weeks prior to the Music Teaching Season so that the transition goes smoothly.

Hope all goes well Bryon

Music Web Site Piano Teacher.org, music teaching and resource site http://www.pianoinstructors.com

-- Bryon Tosoff (webmaster@pianoinstructors.com), July 24, 2001.

What I would like to know is - what do you really want to do? If you want to be a director, then focus on that and cut back on teaching.

If you want to be a private teacher, then don't deplete your energies by taking on outside work. Increase your price, if you need more income. Take on more students if you need more income.

It usually leads to burnout to do what you are attempting. I have not, repeat not, had good results with letting students teach. Although my best teacher was a high school girl, when I was young, she was part of a generation of students who work very very hard.

-- Betty Zornosa (bzornosa@charterpa.net), August 29, 2001.

Have You considered group lessons? Particularly for beginners, this may alleviate your time constraints. I have been moving in this direction for 5 years now and I have not looked back. although I have 15 new beginners this years I teach them in groups of 6 - 8 in a 1 hour 15 minute span. the last 15 minutes is parent sharing time. I also schedule occassional 15 minute lessons and parent education meetings. I am thrilled with the results, the motivation in the classroom, the lighter schedule (although I must have complete lessons plans) and the increased financial gain. Everyone is benefitting from this arrangement and my family is very happy having me for dinner.

-- Ellen Johansen (ellenjoh@yahoo.com), December 01, 2001.

A good thing to consider, if you feel like you have too many students is to refer them to another teacher, potentially your former student. I started taking piano lessons at the age of 6, and I had the same teacher for 9 years. When I was about 13, she strongly encouraged me to take some students of my own, young beginners so that I would be able to maintain authority. I found my own students, but in your situation, it might be better to give your former student some tips on how to run his/her own business, and then just refer people to your former student because you then would not be responsible for all of the tax issues, etc.

I have had a lot of successes as a teacher, and I have had some really talented students. Teaching piano lessons has been a great source of income for me through high school and college. This could really take some strain off if your waitlist is getting too long and you feel like you're spread a little bit too thin.

Good luck!

-- Katie Morrow (kmorrow@gmu.edu), February 17, 2003.

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