Many musicians play multiple instruments, so it makes sense to teach a second instrument. If you’re one of those multi-instrumentalists, you can use your skills on two or more of them as both a performer and teacher.
There are many reasons why you should consider teaching a second instrument. However, it might sound scary to teach a second instrument that you don’t know as well. So, should you teach more than your primary instrument?
Whether you’re new to teaching or looking to expand your studio, you should teach a second instrument. That way, you can reach more students and grow your teaching career.
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What Is a Second Instrument?
A second instrument is any instrument you play other than your primary instrument. As a flutist, my secondary instruments include other flutes (like piccolo and alto flute) and piano.
If you’re a flute player, odds are you’ve at least dabbled in piccolo or one or more low flutes. Those instruments can be considered second instruments, and they can help you retain students who advance and want to learn those flutes.
Piano is also a common option if you want to teach a second instrument. Almost every music degree program requires some level of piano proficiency. If you like playing and working with piano, you can teach it as a second instrument.
Woodwind players can also learn and teach other woodwind families. Some saxophone players also play and teach clarinet, for example.
Why Teach Music
There are many reasons why you should teach music, whether you teach a second instrument or not. Today’s music world is incredibly competitive, and there aren’t enough performance jobs for music graduates.
Teaching music is a great career choice since you can use music every day. It can also be a bit more stable than constantly searching for performance gigs to make a living. Teaching music in a school can be especially stable if you want that for your career.
However, teaching privately can be a great way to use your skills on multiple instruments. If you want to diversify your music career, you should teach a second instrument as well as your main one.
Why Teach a Second Instrument
If you already teach your primary instrument, you probably know the benefits of teaching in general. However, there are some specific advantages that you can get if you teach a second instrument.
While you should only teach instruments that you’re comfortable teaching, being able to teach a second instrument can open a lot of doors. It can make it easier (not easy) to get students, and you might enjoy it more than you expect.
Music is competitive, and it can be hard to get enough work to make up a successful career. So anything you can do to make yourself more marketable is a good thing.
The more instruments you’re comfortable teaching, the more teaching gigs you can get. That can help you find teaching gigs through a music school or store, and it can open you up to more students for an independent studio.
While you may not be comfortable performing on a second instrument, if you can teach a second instrument, you will have access to more work. So far, the school I teach at has only given me piano students.
If I didn’t say I could teach piano when I applied, I may not have gotten the job. Maybe I would have, but I probably wouldn’t have as much work from them.
As they say, variety is the spice of life. While I love playing and teaching flute, being able to teach a second instrument keeps things interesting. Now, I don’t teach advanced piano students, but I can help beginners start the instrument.
Not only has teaching piano given me more experience, but it’s also meant that I don’t just teach flute. If I ever have an advanced flute student who wants to learn piccolo or alto flute, that can also shake things up in my schedule.
Even if you don’t want to teach a second instrument outside of the flute family, teaching multiple flutes can be enough of variety. Teaching a second instrument of any kind can help you flex your teaching skills and make you a better teacher.
Because you want to
There’s no better reason to teach a second instrument than simply wanting to. Perhaps you love playing a second instrument but don’t feel comfortable performing on it. In that case, you can make it a part of your career by teaching it.
Whether you want an excuse to play a second instrument more or you want to build your studio, you might want to teach a second instrument. If you don’t want to teach a particular instrument, you don’t have to.
The same is true when it comes to teaching instruments that you do want to teach. Whether you teach two instruments or five, you should always consider if you want to teach a particular instrument. And if you’re only comfortable teaching specific levels, you can do that, too.
What to Consider
You can say you teach a second instrument, but you have to make sure you can play and teach it. I could say that I offer saxophone lessons. However, I haven’t played it in years, and I sold both saxes over a year ago.
I do have an electronic keyboard, though. So I can practice piano ahead of piano lessons if I need to. I also have a few piano method books that I can use with students so that I don’t have to start a first lesson without a plan.
Do you teach a second instrument? Will you start after reading this? Share your thoughts in the comments, and share this with your other music/music teacher friends!