Earn Extra Income: How To Start Teaching Music Lessons

Have you learned an instrument and a bit of music theory over the years? Are you looking to try a different kind of part-time career or income source? Do you have a little bit of free time on your hands during your week? If so, read on!

Giving music lessons was a temporary job for me that turned into my career for ten years and counting! Why did I continue to pursue it? From being my own boss, making my own work times (mostly, since it also depends on the students) and earning a good rate versus to what I would earn in a full-time office job, becoming and then keeping on with music lessons was a good idea for me and my growing family. What I also loved is that it takes very little preparation to teach music lessons and very little capital investment. It’s all just really your time and your patience!

How to Start Your Music Teaching Business

Run the numbers: You first need to decide what is a reasonable rate to charge for lessons. Will it be worth your while? What rate would suit your experience and musical background? I myself, cannot charge what a concert pianist charges for lessons, because I am not that qualified. I like people to see that I am reasonable in my prices and then each year I increase my rates closely with what inflation is.

Decent Instrument – You need a good instrument for you or your students to use during lessons. If your piano is out of tune or in disrepair, you have to sort it out. If you don’t have a good enough one, whatever your instrument may be, you can rent from a reputable music store or get a loan to invest in one to use for the next few years.

Teaching Space: Decide if you will teach at the students’ homes or from your home or a rented office or room at a school or church. If you teach from home, you have no travel costs or time, but you need to make sure your teaching space is clean and professional and quiet. I have kids, so I prefer to leave them at home with a baby-sitter. I teach either in our outside room, at schools or people’s homes so I don’t get disturbed so much by my kids!

If you are not a patient person, teaching may not be for you

Advertising: Create a good quality flier (using good principles of graphic design) using Canva.com or pay someone to create one for you. Share on social media, through friends or at schools or notice boards in community places. Advertising a price on the flier will help you to get contacted more.

Choose your lesson books: For each student, dependent on their level of proficiency or if they are complete beginners, you need to select a lesson book or individual songs for them to learn from. There are many good music books available to order online or at a good local music store. You must decide whether you can prepare students to perform in concerts or for music exams. Or if you will just teach students for learning to play in church or school or for fun at home.

Extra Teaching Aids: Make, download or buy colourful posters to teach basic music principles to students. Check out ideas for music games on Pinterest you can make or download on a tablet for the students to play during the last few minutes of a lesson. Keep things fun, yet consistent for students.

Patience! Yes! This is super important. Patience, patience, patience. There have been many times that I have felt I was teaching where middle C is on the piano like a hundred times to the same student. You have to keep your cool! You cannot be that teacher they may blame one day for traumatizing them with their music lessons. You always have to be positive, nice but firm. If you are not a patient person, teaching may not be for you. Empathy is an important tool in your emotional toolbox here – try remember what it was like struggling to learn your instrument or any skill when you were younger. In any case, you are getting paid for being patient!

People Skills! Just like in any other business, you have to call, email and message people back promptly in a music teaching business. You should use good grammar and proper spelling, not “K, c u l8r”. Definitely not professional! More like this: “Hi Christine, thank you so much for contacting me about (insert instrument) lessons. I am available to teach on Wednesday afternoons for your daughter at 3:30-4pm at my home. I charge (insert amount)/month for weekly 30-minute lessons. I would be happy to email you more information and the enrollment form if you are still interested. Kind Regards, Camilla”

Music lessons has been an excellent second-income source for our family. I have time to be a mother too. I have gained a lot of experience in teaching and running my own business. It’s been a bit tough and it does get boring teaching middle C’s every day, but it does get better as your students improve!

All the best and hope this article has helped! If you need any more advice, just comment below.

One thought on “Earn Extra Income: How To Start Teaching Music Lessons

  1. Very good post!! Well done.

    Kind Regards

    Amanda M Holmes

    Harmony Counselling

    Cell: 084 5011 542

    Home: 011 425 1610

    Reg. ASCHP

    NHA Reg. No: PRO 08208 C/C

    PNDSA / SAIH Reg No: 2518


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