Achieving Your Musical Endeavors

How to Get Started Teaching Private Music Lessons: How I Did It and How You Can Too

So you want to teach private music lessons? You have the musical skill, experience, and desire to teach one-on-one, but don’t know how to get started. I’m here to help by sharing insight on how I did it and how you can get started as well. 

How I Got Started Teaching Private Music Lessons

I went to a music college where in my first semester I was unfortunately put in the wrong level of music theory. I tested out of music theory 2, but due to miscommunication, I was put in the music theory 2 class instead of moving on to level 3.

The silver lining was that my teacher quickly noticed how I was excelling in the level 2 class. Halfway into the semester, that teacher offered me a tutoring job through the school. Needless to say, I took the job.

Then I fell in love with the one-on-one tutoring, and eventually started to tutor for keyboard and ear training as well. I did this job at the school for a year.

After my time at that college, I decided that one of my favorite things in that college was my tutoring job. I wanted to keep helping others learn music.

So I looked up the local music store closest to me that offers private lessons. On the ‘lessons’ section of their website, they did not say they were hiring but I noticed that they did not have a keyboard teacher available for Saturdays, which was a position I could fill. They also did not have a tenor saxophone teacher either, which was literally the instrument I studied the most in college. So I called the store and asked for a time and day I could go in to speak with the store’s owner.

The day I spoke with the owner, I asked if they were interested in having a piano teacher for Saturdays. Spoiler alert: they were. And that is how I got started.

How You Can Get Started Teaching Private Music Lessons

First thing’s first: you need experience.

Get Experience by Tutoring

Tutoring for music classes is what got me the experience I needed to teach private lessons at a music store. I cannot recommend tutoring enough just for the experience of one-on-one teaching. 

Ideally, you’d want to tutor music classes. If for any reason that isn’t an option I’d still recommend tutoring any class just so you can have experience teaching someone one-on-one. Tutoring is great to get a sense of how different people learn, what they need, and/or what works best. And most importantly, put your all into it. 

Work with Kids

Something that also equipped me with the necessary experience to teach was my experience with kids. Most of the people wanting to learn an instrument are going to be kids. It’s very important to like kids, know how they are, how they learn, and what works for them. Any and all experience working with kids will definitely help you teach them music! Can you try your hand at nannying, being a camp counselor, etc.?

Find a Need, and Fill It

It’s been said before and is no secret that the biggest mistake people make when trying to get a job is they think about what that job will do for them instead of thinking what they can do for that job. 

Instead of just sending in a resume, I took the time to see what they needed (a Saturday piano teacher). I presented this need they had and explained why I was qualified to fill that need. That showed that I was prepared, done my research on the music store, and knew what value I could add to their team. 

So maybe don’t reach out to the music store with 10 piano teachers already available every day of the week, but definitely reach out to the one with some gaps in their schedule!  When it comes to jobs, ask yourself what value can you bring to said job, and highlight that! 

Keep in mind, everyone has a different path. The path I took to become a private lesson teacher is not everyone’s path. It will not be your exact path either. These are just ideas pulled form personal experience to get your gears turning.

Good luck, and wishing you the best in your creative endeavors, always.

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