Building a successful music teaching practice is challenging and you will need to be persistent. Here are five top tips to get you started.
Get clear on your strengths and weaknesses
Before planning your teaching career, get to know your personal strengths and weaknesses. Perhaps you are highly qualified but have little experience, or feel that you are great at teaching but have absolutely no idea how to market yourself.
It can be useful to ask friends and family for an honest opinion. It is far better to inject some realism about your abilities at this stage rather than have potential clients reveal your weaknesses in the future.
Develop a USP
Making a success of being a freelance music teacher is not easy, and you will have to stand out from the crowd. You will therefore need at least one Unique Selling Point.
Is there something about your background or approach that is (or could be) unique? For example, it is rare for private music teachers to have had much specialist music teacher training, and this may be something you could consider. The Suzuki method is an interesting example. Suzuki teachers often have a very specific clientele, and can command higher rates.
Another approach might be to target adult re-starters, and develop a supportive approach for them.
Analyse your market
You will never make a success of your teaching if you don’t know your market. What are other teachers charging in your area? Which of the instruments you play are likely to be the most popular? Is your target market children or adults?
For information on average music teacher rates in the UK and other market insights, see www.thetutorpages.com/private-tuition-fees
Build your credibility
There are countless ways to build your credibility even before you begin teaching. You can create a website with testimonials (why not ask your own music teachers for one?), upload Youtube videos of yourself playing, or write a blog to share your expertise.
Joining an organisation such as the Musicians Union (MU) or Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) will not only demonstrates your professionalism, but provide useful support. For example, both the MU and ISM will help you obtain a DBS check (useful but not compulsory for working with children), and the ISM currently offers all its members an hour’s consultation with its very own business and marketing advisor.
Join agencies or advertise
Joining tuition agencies is a good way to build up your CV, and advertising yourself on websites such as The Tutor Pages is one step further towards independent tutoring. Online networks such as Mumsnet, Facebook or Linkedin will help you spread the word.
In the end, some of the best music teachers do not advertise at all – once you’ve built up a good reputation, many pupils will come to you through word of mouth.
Words by Henry Fagg, Thetutorpages.com