Teaching Music Lessons in Students’ Homes
Teaching Music Lessons in Students’ Homes
We are frequently asked to consider teaching music lessons in students’ homes. Who wouldn’t want a teacher to come to their house for lessons? Especially now that we’re parents, we can definitely understand the convenience of this option!
This is a somewhat unconventional setting for a studio location. Still, some teachers do this with great success.
Pros to Teaching Music Lessons in Students’ Homes
Never forget a lesson
Unless you as the teacher somehow forget to attend a lesson, students won’t be able to forget to come to your studio.
Since you’re always going to them, there is less chance of a missed lesson. You may have fewer cancellations since the students will usually be home.
Teachers who travel can charge more than those who don’t. This is because of your increased investment in time and gas money.
Families understand you’re offering a valuable service and are willing to pay a premium. Of course, you have to figure out if the extra travel fees you’re charging are worth the time you could spend teaching other students.
Because of the benefit parents are receiving, you may get more students if you travel to homes. Depending on location, this might be especially valuable.
We know a teacher in the New York City area who has 44 students and goes to each of their homes. He’s able to earn a full-time income doing this because he’s willing to take on the extra challenge of traveling, and families switch to him frequently because of that.
If you teach a large instrument, like tuba or bass, parents are very grateful to have you come to their house. That way you can teach the kids on their own personal instrument without them having to squeeze it in their backseat.
Cons for Teaching Music Lessons in Students’ Homes
If you want to be respected for the work you do, you generally need to keep a professional distance between you and your client. If your client sees you as a friend, he or she will tend to ask for favors and special requests.
“Would you just stay for a few extra minutes to practice this piece?”
“Would you wait five minutes while we finish dinner?”
“Would you like to stay for ice cream after the lesson?”
Ok, so there may be some perks…
But in general, keeping a professional distance is important, and this is harder to maintain if you teach lessons in your student’s home.
Do you want to pay gas money to get to work, or would you rather have the students come to you? Do you want to invest your time driving from one home to another? If you spend fifteen minutes driving between students’ homes, that time adds up quickly and takes away valuable money-making time from you. When running a business, time really is money.
In contrast to the “pro” mentioned above, traveling teachers have the challenge of charging so much that they make up for the lost teaching time that they spend going from one student’s house to another. The math may not add up to have this make sense for you.
Less precedent in other professions
Why do physicians no longer make house calls? Why are door-to-door salespeople a thing of the past?
When professionals go to a client’s home, it puts all the expense and time of travel on the business, not the customer. This is not common today, and it will decrease your standing as a serious businessperson.
If you teach at a set location, you can have all your teaching resources with you at all times.
(See our blog post here for a set of recommended teacher supplies.) (Coming soon!)
Stickers, flash cards, percussion instruments, spare strings, mutes, reeds, valve oil, music games, metronome, tape, stapler, colored pencils, white boards, erasers, posters, computer, recording equipment, audio player, etc.
Do you want to carry all these with you to each student’s home? Are you willing to limit your teaching by not having resources available to you at all times? Will parents be happy with you if you waste lesson time while they look for the colored pencils or stickers that are somewhere in their home office? Or was it in the family room? Or the bottom of the toy box? Ok, you can see where this goes. Having all your supplies readily available is important for both you and the student.
If you don’t teach in your own space, you don’t always control the environment.
Do you want to be responsible for the sister who wants to watch American Idol with the volume turned way up in the next room? Will you talk directly with said sister, or track down the parent to ask the sister to be more respectful? Did you know that you just wasted 5 minutes of lesson time, annoying the parent, sister, student, and yourself? If you teach in your own space, you control the environment.
We’ve noticed that most teachers do best teaching in their own studio location. However, we also know of many situations where this is the best or only option.
So, if you are able to charge enough to make up for the time and money of traveling between students’ homes, you might consider teaching in students’ homes instead of a fixed studio location.
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