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Becoming a Freelance Private Music Lessons Teacher

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 1 4

Becoming a freelance private music teacher can be a great way to make some extra cash, or even make a living, but it can also require a lot of organization and effort. Many musicians will at some point teach lessons to support themselves, and with the coming of the internet, this calls for a different strategy than in the past. However, with the correct approach, it should not be too difficult to set up a successful personal business as a music teacher.

In the past, instrumental instructors would usually rely on fliers and announcements at local schools to find students for their private music lessons business. These methods will still work, but what can be even more effective these days is some kind of internet marketing approach.

One of the easiest ways to get exposure for a private lessons business is through Craigslist. For every major city you should be able to find plenty of clients on this site, but there will also be a lot of competition. This is also a good resource for finding out how much other teachers are charging for their lessons.

There are several other things to consider when setting a price for the lessons you will offer. If you are willing to travel to student's homes you can either raise your price or stipulate an additional travel fee. You will also want to get a sense for the experience of the other teachers in your area and raise your price accordingly. If you have a music degree and many years of previous teaching experience this can all improve the appeal of your services.

One of the most important things to consider when setting up a freelance private music lessons business is that the income may be variable at times depending on students coming and going, but there are things you should do to limit this. You need to have control of your clients in any freelance business and not let them control you. Instead of having your students pay per lesson, try having them pay a month at a time so that you can count on a monthly income rather than not knowing if they will show up next week.

Part of this is making sure that your services are valuable to the students by being an effective teacher and making sure they realize they need to take the lessons as seriously as you do. Show them that if they pay for regular lessons in monthly intervals they will have more incentive to get on a regular practice routine and not make excuses to avoid playing their instruments and coming to lessons.

There is a lot to setting up a private music lessons service outside of the actual lessons themselves. You can be a great musician and teacher, but if you don't have organized and disciplined business principles things can get in the way of you providing good lessons. For those interested in becoming freelance music teachers, think about the business side of things as much as the musical side in order to give yourself the best chance to succeed.



Dec 15, 2009 12:39pm
I really have to agree with your points. Too many teachers are people who have taken a few years' of lessons and would like to make some "pin money" without having the experience or dedication to learning or teaching music. They also often do not have the training to be able to sort through the various materials available and choose good repertoire for their students, or have any education on preventing repetitive stress injury (the #1 occupational hazard for musicians).

Instruction in music is a completely different field than music itself, and requires separate training. There are just too many unqualified teachers out there, unfortunately.
Feb 15, 2012 5:38pm
Private lessons are not easy and it is not "easy" money. Teachers put a lot of time in efforts to help their students (at least the good ones do). Luckily for me, we have lots of qualified teachers due to a big music university in the area.
Oct 18, 2013 6:17am
Great article! I've taught lessons previously, and would like to again sometime. I really enjoy working one-on-one with people and seeing them get to the place where they are able to simply enjoy playing their instrument and making music.
Oct 31, 2013 9:38am
Seems like teaching is one of the last ways a working musician can make an honest living these days. Some good pointers here. Teaching is not easy at first, but the more work you put in at the beginning, the easier it gets.
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