When you dreamed of becoming a piano teacher what did that look like? For me it was a pristine studio with french doors, a white grand piano, and me dressed in cute business-wear sitting beside perfectly behaved piano students.
Reality hit me pretty darn quickly when I actually started teaching. My pristine studio was the living room/playroom/basement of whom ever I had driven to to teach, my grand piano was whatever broken and out-of-tune piano they owned, and my business-wear was whatever I could afford as a starving student/piano teacher who charged just $10 per lesson. Some of my students were perfectly behaved… the others were like an exhibit in a zoo. It wasn’t quite what I had dreamed of.
And while some piano teachers certainly do enjoy the zen-like studios and the Steinway instruments and refuse to teach anything but perfectly behaved piano students, others are still soldiering on in the trenches.
If you’re one of those teachers whose reality hasn’t quite caught up to your piano teaching dreams read on! We’re sharing our Top 5 Ways to Reach Your Piano Teaching Dreams:
1. Revel in the fantasy – What does your ideal piano teaching situation look like? Write out every last detail of your fantasy piano teaching scenario. And then put check-marks beside everything that you believe you are within 1-2 years of achieving. Circle what you feel is unrealistic. Cross off what you have already accomplished.
2. Set some goals – Let’s be honest… you may never have everything on that list! But you can get darn close. Choose 3 of the items with check-marks and one item that was circled. These are your new goals. But let’s make them realistic goals. If you’ve dreamed of a white grand piano (like I did) then you may need to settle for a white upright Kawai (like I did!). If you’ve dreamed of a busting-at-the-seams studio, first settle for having completely full Wednesdays and Thursdays. If you’ve dreamed of being able to be choosy with students, instead decide to start holding interviews and weeding out only those who you know without a doubt are going to be a bookkeeping problem, while keeping the behaviour problems (or vice versa… but I’d not suggest the vice versa!).
3. Make a plan – Beside your list of goals write three points of how you will work to achieve them. Think in terms of baby steps. If you’d like to be choosy with whom you teach, maybe a realistic goal is to instead turn your difficult students into someone you’d likely accept 🙂 We have some ideas for how to do this!
4. Make it your priority – If piano teaching is your career of choice, then make it a priority to find job satisfaction within this choice. You and your students will do nothing but benefit from your decision to plow forward with your newly created goals plans! Some intense hard-work and risk-taking pays off faster than years of slugging it out half-way to where you want to be.
5. Reach out – If you’re reading this you’re probably an active member of the online piano teaching community, but if you’re not, there’s no time like the present! The more you network with other piano teachers the more you’ll realize that others are sharing your same struggles, your same triumphs and have the same pressing questions as do you! Subscribe to our blog to get daily posts on everything “piano”, join events like “International Week of the Piano Geek“, take a risk by using resources that are beyond your normal routine, seek out advice on online forums, Facebook pages and Twitter. There is so much that the internet has to offer piano teachers.
Our biggest passion is helping those piano teachers who are slugging it out in the trenches. We’ve been there! SO many teachers have written to thank us for turning their piano-teaching lives around with our book “Piano Hands Shouldn’t Flip Burgers”. They’re emailing with “I have a thriving studio because of many of the ideas you’ve suggested that I have incorporated over the last year.” and “I just moved to a new city, and so it’s the perfect time to revamp my studio and I’m so glad I found your website during this time.” and “I’m fully convinced that you’re a genius! Thank you for everything you do for the students, and for piano teachers all over the world” and “I read through the first 3 chapters immediately after purchasing, and am looking forward to sitting down and reading the rest. I skipped to the later chapters, and see that page 93 asks the questions that I’ve slowly discovered the past couple of days. Now I wish I purchased this book last week!” We’d go on… but we’re blushing. 😉 Check it out!