I received this question in my inbox the other day:
What are some options for transitioning from an afternoon-evening piano teacher to a daytime piano teacher? Now that my son has started preschool, I no longer want to work 4-8pm every night for the rest of his life…
And it got me thinking about the other parts of a piano teacher’s life. The parts that require a careful balancing act of clients vs. family.
Now most people with a career and a family require a bit of a juggle… drop the kids at daycare on the way to work, pick up dinner, pick up the kids, meet a client on the way to soccer practice, make calls while you wait for ballet class to finish… everyone has their “rat race” routines.
But few people actually have to juggle both clients and family being under one roof during the dinner hour. Few people have to work right through the time when their children return home from school and dinner needs to be made. Few people start work just as their spouse is arriving home for the evening. Because of the hours we are required to work, full-time piano teachers potentially could go days only seeing their children right before bed and right before school in the morning. For most of us this just isn’t a feasible way of life.
Making Work Work For You
While many of us will always have those late nights where our significant other tucks a saran-wrapped dinner into the fridge for us and wrangles the kids into their PJ’s solo… we’d probably all prefer that this not be our daily routine! And while piano teacher hours are usually determined by when our little clients are available… there are ways to be creative and make your work work for you:
1) Change your niche market. We’ve talked about how advertising is most effective if you advertise to a specific target market. If you’re hoping to avoid teaching into the evening then you need to change your niche away from school-age children. Create advertising for new retirees, seniors, or stay-at-home moms. By adapting your program both in terms of content (you need to serve each of these age group’s needs) and in terms of delivery (where you teach… your home or theirs?) you can be quite successful at capturing a niche market that comes with ideal working hours.
2) Teach preschoolers! Many of you are already enjoying our unique one-on-one program WunderKeys Piano for Preschoolers. This program was created out of my own desire to be at home with my first child. I wanted to teach mornings and I saw a niche market that was untapped in my area. Within a year I was able to switch 3 of my teaching days from afternoons to mornings. Life was good 🙂 Check it out – it’s free to become a WunderKeys teacher and the backing we give you is amazing. We’ve just extended WunderKeys into 20 different countries with over 300 teachers!
3) Consider Saturdays – I taught Saturdays up until about 2 years ago. It freed up two weekdays for me which made the one longish weekend day well worth it. You’d be surprised how relaxing Saturdays can be. Students are not tired from being at school all day, parents are happy to relax with a cup of coffee or go for a stroll… it’s like a whole new world! If you can stomach the thought of setting your alarm on a Friday night, I’d give it a try. As a bonus, many families who are just too busy during the week or who have parents who work late will be attracted to your studio because of your weekend availability.
4) Find a partner – If your studio is growing in leaps and bounds and you’re finding it hard to keep up with the hours (what a great problem to have!) consider hiring a partner teacher to teach in your studio on the days you choose to take off. You will no longer have to turn students away who call to register… and you won’t have to book your teaching days until they are bursting at the seams. Negotiate a fair price where you are compensated for a student-finding fee, the use of your studio etc. and enjoy your days off knowing you are still making income!
5) Teach groups – one of the best ways to maximize your income without increasing your teaching time is to teach in groups. Consider taking on less piano students in exchange for offering a regular group class to your current piano students to supplement their regular piano lessons. You’ll need to make it very appealing to have students commit to another weekly activity, but not only will you be able to create more time for your family… you’ll also be enriching your piano student’s musical education.
A bit of creativity goes a long way when working to find life balance between teaching piano and having time for yourself and your family. If you are willing to think outside the box you’ll find yourself and your studio in an impressively envious position!