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How To Be an Effective Private Teacher

1. The Business Aspects

2. The Teaching Aspects

3. Misc. and Links

1. The Business Aspects

Teaching private lessons is a good way to earn extra money while helping students get the most out of their musical investment. I find that 30 minute lessons are acceptable (see teaching aspects below). I find that you will make more in the long run if you charge a reasonable price. Find out what the going rate is in your area and charge on the low end. If you have a monopoly, keep the cost reasonable for the parents. You will do better if you charge $45 a month than if you charge $70. You will also reach the kids who need it more.

Do not forget that you will have to pay taxes on this income. Contact an accountant or go to the IRS web site for tax information. (Tax forms and instructions can be downloaded from the IRS site!).

Make sure you keep a simple record system to keep track of who paid and their attendance. Schedule a time for make-up lessons for those who miss. Never take advantage of a customer--if you give them their money's worth, word will get around and your business will grow.

I recommend offering a block of summer lessons on top of your regular lessons. Send out flyers to all the schools offering 8 or 10 weeks of summer lessons. Parents will put their children in if they think it will make them practice in the summer time. If you advertise thoroughly, you should get as much summer business as you can handle in a medium-sized population. The next summer, call the students who took the previous summer to get repeat customers and build up your summer business.

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2. Teaching Aspects

I recommend a 30 minute lesson. The first 10 minutes (unless it is a beginner) I devote to scale work and memorization. I have players memorize scales as soon as they know enough notes. Scale memorization helps sightreading, technique, and gives the student an excuse to practice.

I devote the next 10 minutes to solo work--a piece for tryouts, festival, judging, or just a solo. This is the time to work on musical expression.

I devote the final 10 minutes to technical studies--this is where you work out of the method book. Always close the lesson by giving a specific, pointed assignment:

"Work on the Bb scale for 10 minutes, then spend 20 minutes on your solo, then work on the next 2 pages in your book. Do this every day this week. Do you have any questions? I will see you next week, then."

For younger students, I write down the assignment for them.

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3. Misc.

 Online music academy will help connect students with private teachers

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