If you know how to play the piano, you can turn your skills into a fulfilling part-time or full-time job giving piano lessons, either in your home or in a rented space. Before you begin, you need to prepare yourself to teach, find and equip a studio, choose materials and take care of business matters. After this preparation, you will need to attract students so you can turn your musical abilities into a profitable business.
Prepare yourself to teach piano by learning about piano pedagogy. To teach others effectively, you need more than the ability to play. If you have not already taken college piano pedagogy classes, sign up for a class. If you cannot find the time or suitable classes, attend workshops given by music publishers. Get on publishers' mailing lists, and ask about workshops at your local music store. Join teachers' organizations so you can attend their workshops, as well. Ask other teachers in your area if you can observe them teaching, and read books on pedagogy such as James Bastien's "How to Teach Piano Effectively."
Select and equip your studio. Find space in your home, or rent space in a music store or elsewhere. You need at least one piano, but James Bastien recommends two or more. You also need a metronome, music flash cards and basic office equipment, such as a computer. If you use your home, plan your studio space to avoid passing-through traffic and family interruptions.
Choose your instructional materials. As a beginning teacher, you will likely teach mostly beginners, unless you have an advanced degree. Examine the different materials at your local music store, and talk to other teachers about what they prefer. The major methods include the middle C method, found in the classic John Thompson books, and the multiple key method, found in the Bastien books.
Take care of the business end of giving piano lessons before starting to teach. This includes getting qualified advice on accounting, taxes, business licenses, insurance and any other requirements in your area. After talking to other teachers, set a price for your services, whether for half-hour lessons, 45-minute lessons or longer. Shorter lessons usually suffice for beginners. Write up and print your studio rules for payment, missed lessons, practicing and so on. Order business cards.
Get your first piano students and start growing your business. Decide what age groups your want to teach, such as children five through 18, or children eight and over, plus adults. James Bastien says that students who can already read learn to read music better. Get your first students through referrals from a piano teacher's organization and by advertising or word of mouth. Place ads in the yellow pages, on the Internet or on bulletin boards. Pass out your business cards to acquaintances. Once you get your first students and successfully teach them, they, in turn, may bring relatives and friends to you as new students.
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