Should You Teach for a Community Music School or On Your Own?

Knowing where to teach private music lessons can be difficult. And choosing the wrong place will make it harder for you to get experience and grow your career. So, should you teach for a community music school or on your own?

Should You Teach for a Community Music School or Your Own Studio? | Hannah B Flute

Both options have pros and cons, but one may be better for you. Consider what you want to get out of teaching and how a specific teaching option can help you do that.

Read on to learn more!

Why Teach for a Community Music School?

One great way to start your career as a private music teacher is by teaching for a community music school. Teaching for a music school offers many benefits, especially to new teachers.

You get the support of a “traditional” job while being an independent contractor (so technically, your own boss). And you can meet a lot of other teachers and students at your teaching gig.

Consider a few more detailed reasons why you should teach at a community music school.

Simple

Teaching for a school or studio is great because you have an admin team to help you. The administrators usually take care of a lot of non-teaching tasks that are still important for getting students, like:

  • Recruiting
  • Scheduling and rescheduling
  • Setting rates
  • Collecting payments
  • Enforcing policies

Administrators can also answer a lot of your questions about teaching or the school itself. That way, you can learn the ropes and find your way around the school quickly.

And because you don’t have to worry about recruiting or scheduling, you can focus more on being the best teacher you can be. You can learn more about pedagogy and refine your teaching methods.

Curriculum

Depending on where you decide to teach, you may face one of two situations regarding curriculum. Many community music schools let you choose which books and methods you want to use in lessons. If you have a favorite book, you can teach out of there and enjoy your teaching.

On the other hand, you may come across a community music school that has you use a specific method. The school may do this if they want to ensure a great experience for all of their students.

Now, I would prefer to use my own method or find a method that works for each individual student. However, using a set curriculum can be a great option if you haven’t taught or taken a music pedagogy course before.

Consider your preference if you want to teach through a school. That way, you can make sure you have the right teaching environment for you.

Location

Assuming that you’re teaching at an in-person community music school and not through an online school or website, the school will usually give you space to teach. That can be very valuable if you live in an apartment or an on-campus dorm.

Schools typically have a lobby or admin area where students can enroll and check in for their lessons. As a teacher, that’s where you can communicate with the admin staff about scheduling or other issues.

These schools will almost always have a hallway leading to the back. That hallway will have rows of small teaching studios where you can give your lessons.

In some cases, you’ll get a dedicated studio, while other schools will assign the rooms for each individual lesson. Either way, you don’t have to worry about finding a space to teach your lessons in person.

Why Start a Private Studio?

While teaching for a community music school can be great, it’s not for everyone. If the school doesn’t have the demand for your instrument, it will be impossible to get a ton of students.

You also may not be able to choose the types of students you do get. While teaching a variety of people can help you grow as a teacher, it can also be very draining.

Consider a few reasons why you may want to start your own studio instead.

Control

When you start your own studio, it can take time to build it. However, you will get to control everything from your studio policies and the method books you use to lesson scheduling and payment.

Setting your own policies is especially useful if you have a busy schedule. That way, you can make sure your students get to have their lessons each week. And you can change your polices as necessary.

Having control over your studio can also help as you gain more teaching experience. While teaching for a community music school is nice, you may find that you want more out of your teaching. And starting a studio can help you reach those goals.

Now, that also means finding somewhere to teach and chasing down payments. Both of those things can be hard, and it’s all on you to get those things done for your studio.

Flexible

Another benefit of starting your own teaching studio is that it can be more flexible. You don’t have to worry about requesting time off if you get sick or want to go on vacation.

Instead, you can tell your students when you won’t be teaching and how they can schedule a makeup lesson. You can also change your schedule more easily than if you taught through a music school.

As long as you give your students some notice, you can move their lessons around. Then, you can enjoy a different day off or no longer have to teach as late into the evening.

Growth

Teaching through your own studio can also allow for more growth in your studio and your teaching career overall. When you teach through a school, you have to follow their policies and conform to their schedule and activities.

But if you teach on your own, you can control when you have recitals or summer camps. You can create your own method book or arrange sheet music that you can give to students for an upsell.

And you won’t have to give up students like you would if you decide to leave a community music school. If you need to change your teaching location, you can ask your students to stay with you without breaking any contracts.

Growing a studio can take a lot of time, especially at first. However, it will be easier to keep growing it in the long-term if you teach for yourself instead of through a school.

Where Will You Teach?

Deciding where to teach private music lessons can be difficult. Teaching for a community music school can be a great way to start, but it does have some limitations. On the other hand, your studio may not take off for a while, but you can do more with it.

Do you want more insight into deciding where you should teach? Contact me to set up a consultation!

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