For the piano teaching industry to thrive, we desperately need our young piano teachers to survive. It is a challenging profession for teachers of any age, but for new teachers it can be downright nasty. So, if you’re too young to have heard of Pink Floyd, Laverne and Shirley, or Pet Rocks… then this post is for you:
1. Prepare For Each Lesson Like It’s Your SATs
There is no such thing as over-preparing for a piano lesson. When I first started out, I wrote down (to the minute) everything I would do and say. Then I practiced teaching the lesson to my boyfriend (yup, it was Trevor :)), my sister, my dad, and anyone else who dared sit on the piano bench.
2. Dress For Success
Man, I hate saying that! I sound like an old codger… and yet it’s the truth. Parents have a very clear image of the “typical” piano teacher, and that image does not involve yoga pants and hoodies. Am I guilty of this look? Sure… but I’ve also spent years building my reputation and thus have earned the privilege of a “casual Friday” now and again.
3. Who’s The Boss
For young piano teachers it is especially important to take control of the parent-teacher relationship right from the start. Do not bend on your studio policies or your teaching philosophy to meet the demands of a parent. I realize this goes against the “flexible” nature we often promote at Teach Piano Today, but piano teachers who appear young have to over compensate to ensure they maintain control of their business; act like a doormat and you will be stepped on.
4. Teaching For 30 Minutes?… Plan For 60!
Always, always, always plan too much. When teaching, there are few things worse than a lesson that finishes before it’s actually finished. Don’t be left scrambling to fill the final five minutes, because they will quickly end up feeling like fifty!
5. Dorms Are Bad… So Are Basement Suites
Choose your studio location wisely. I know your choices may be limited, but go to the ends of the earth to find a great teaching spot. Try not to teach from home if you live in a house with a bunch of college students, your parents… or rats. If all else fails, drive to your students’ homes. This is the cheapest way to maintain a professional image.
6. Advertise Like You’re Selling Girl Guide Cookies
Who buys the most cookies from the Girl Guides? Their parents, their friends, their neighbours… If you’re trying to build a studio with a $0 advertising budget, hit up your social network for potential piano students. You’ll be surprised how effective this can be!
7. Use Your Age To Your Advantage
Young teachers begin with possibly the biggest advantage of all… youth! With your finger firmly on the pulse of all things awesome you will instantly connect with kids. Set the teaching world ablaze with your up-to-the-minute knowledge of the Top 40, latest fashion, and all things techie… everyone loves the “cool” teacher.
And 1 More…
If you’re new to the piano teaching world, you’ll definitely want to check out our guide, Piano Hands Shouldn’t Flip Burgers.