Sunday, February 28, 2010

Music In Our Schools Month

March has been designated as the "Music In Our Schools" month by the National Association for Music Education (MENC).  Coordinated activities include the World's Largest Concert, which will be held on March 11.  Find out more at the MENC website and make your plans to support and promote music education in our schools.

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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Traveling Music Teacher

Recently, I began a new approach to piano teaching:  I offer lessons in the student's home, rather than mine.  Why leave the convenience of my home studio for the inconsistency of other people's homes?  Why pay the extra gas expense and lose the opportunity to schedule lessons back-to-back?

When my family was small and my responsibilities were fewer, I would never have ventured outside of my home to teach piano.  There was plenty of room in my house for a baby sitter to watch the kids and my living room was the perfect place for a lesson that could be observed by parents when needed.  Students arriving a few minutes ahead of the next lesson were an excellent reminder for me to wrap up the session with my current student.  The clock was positioned near the piano, so I could keep an eye on the time as we progressed through each student's appointment.  I had everything I needed in a home studio and I didn't have to pay additional rent.  Life was good.

Through a variety of circumstances, however, I stopped teaching piano to focus on other needs of my family.  When I did begin teaching music again, several years later, it was in a classroom and the students were vocalists and band instrumentalists.  While I appreciate the growth opportunity that has come with teaching Band and Choir, piano will always be my first love.  When I decided to begin teaching piano again, I found that my living room was no longer the ideal home studio that it had once been.  Our family has grown and the living room has become the center of many family activities.  How would I teach piano here without seriously disrupting my family and how would I keep my family from seriously disrupting my lessons?

The answer appeared in a Craig's List ad for In-Home Music TeachersIn-Home Music Teachers is one of several companies that hire music teachers to offer lessons in the student's home.  Many music teachers provide this service independantly as well. 

Through this opportunity, I have learned that, while there does not appear to be a huge demand for piano teachers where I live - perhaps there are already many other active teachers - there is a demand for piano teachers in an area that is approximately twenty minutes from my house.  One student leads to more students in the same area through word-of-mouth.  My commute is no different than the drive to work that many other people make and I am paid a fee that compensates for the drive.  Students and parents are willing to pay more for the convenience of having a music teacher come to their home.

Any music teacher who has more openings than students should consider offering the service of teaching in their student's homes.

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