Have you thought about teaching private music lessons? You should test it out to see if it’s the right fit for you.
But you also want to consider the pros and cons of starting a lesson studio. That way, you can make extra sure it’s a good choice.
Before we get into it, this post contains affiliate links. Read my full disclosure policy to learn more.
Pros of Teaching Private Music Lessons
Teaching private music lessons can be a great way to make money. Here are some of the benefits of pursuing this career.
Once you build up a studio, you can expect to earn the same amount each month. That’s almost unheard of in the world of freelancing.
Of course, students can always quit, which can affect your earnings. But more and more teachers are implementing semester-long contracts to make their revenue more predictable.
When I was teaching, I also required a 30-day notice if students wanted to quit. That way, I would have time to fill that spot before losing income.
Work From Anywhere
Another reason you may want to teach private lessons is that you can do it almost anywhere. Certain careers require you to live in specific cities.
But people need music lessons in massive cities, small towns, and everywhere in between. Plus, 2020 taught us that it’s possible to teach music online.
Whether you want to stay close to family or need to live somewhere for your spouse’s job, you can teach without living in a particular place.
Set Your Own Rates
You can also choose how much you want to charge for your services. Now, you need to be realistic and consider what the market is like for your instrument and city.
Still, if you build your own studio, you get to set the prices. If you teach through a school or music store, you may not get to choose your pay rate.
However, you can decide if teaching there is worth it for you or not. I turned down a teaching job that would only have paid $18 per hour, for example.
You may also enjoy teaching private music lessons since you can set your hours. Of course, a lot of students want lessons in the evenings and on weekends.
However, some homeschooled kids, college students, and older adults are open to lessons earlier in the day. If you want to have specific days off, you can account for that.
Also, many music schools and stores let you set your availability. That means they won’t schedule lessons when you don’t want to teach them.
Cons of Teaching Private Music Lessons
As great as it can be to work as a private teacher, there are some downsides. Here are some reasons why I (and many others) choose not to teach.
Probably the biggest issue with teaching private lessons is that it’s a very active profession. But not in the sense of you have to move around a lot (though you can).
When I say it’s active, I mean that you have to work to make money. If you get sick or otherwise take time off, you lose that income.
That can make it hard to keep up with bills if you get sick, for example. Sure, you can create an online course for passive income, but it still takes time to build that up.
The Summer Income Dip
Another common issue teachers face is lower income in the summer. A lot of students want a break, or they have family trips planned.
I don’t blame students for wanting a break, but it can hurt your wallet. You can do certain things to prepare for the summer and to keep your income from dropping too much.
Still, it’s bound to happen occasionally. If you don’t have some savings to cover that dip, you may find yourself struggling.
Not for Everyone
One of the reasons I stopped teaching private music lessons is that it wasn’t for me. I found myself getting bored in lessons, and I wasn’t focusing on my students.
That’s not good for either of us, and it was doing my students a disservice. If you don’t enjoy teaching, you shouldn’t be doing it.
There are enough other careers in music that you don’t have to start a private studio. You can still make it work in other ways.
Hard to Scale
Going back to the active nature of teaching lessons, you may hit an income ceiling. Once you have a full studio, you could raise your rates.
But you don’t want to do that all of the time, or you’ll lose students. You may find that you max out on your income potential.
Sure, you can add passive income to your business. It’s still going to be hard to earn more from your work though.
If you want to make money as a musician, you should look into teaching private music lessons. It can be a great way to share your passion and knowledge.
However, there are pros and cons you should consider. And if you want to avoid some of the cons (like an income ceiling), consider adding a passive income stream.