You have a passion for music. You want to share your passion with others in a way that can get others to gain a passion like yours and share that as well. You decided to teach music. There will always be a need for music teachers and what they can do for music communities, sharing insight on instruments to help grow younger audiences. So… Thank you. Now that you’ve made a wonderful decision, where do you go from here? I have gathered some tips that can help you along your journey on becoming a successful music teacher.
You will quickly find out that technology is your best friend
When starting as a music teacher, especially freelance, a good idea would be to create an account on a program like Discord or Slack (or Music in Motion Canada) that gives you access to servers that can connect you with other teachers and potential students. You can also use these programs to create communities of your own and invite other teachers and students for multiple different uses. You can have message boards, job postings, current events, and much more in different sections of the same server. Once you have your community settled and some students wanting to enter your expertise, you’ll want a way to get yourself organized. 10to8 is a scheduling program that can help teachers organize appointments with their students by automating tasks like sending emails, allowing students to book appointments, receiving payments through PayPal or Stripe when students book sessions, and more. This can help ease the possible stress you will have to go through by sending personalised messages or payments individually, now you can sit back and relax while the program does it all for you. Let’s not stop there, how can we become more organized? Google Calendar is a great program that has many features to help teachers keep their schedules organized by sending reminders and overall having a more interactive calendar than they’re used to with their default calendar on their phone or a physical paper one. Having meetings, sessions, etc. all marked down on an interactive calendar is very useful to keep organized as you will know exactly what is happening and when it is happening and the best part is that everything is synced together as long as you are using the same Gmail account which means that you can access and edit your calendar from your phone, tablet, computer, and practically every piece of calendar you use on a daily basis!
Work life balance
A nice quick tip with having all these programs and schedules going on in your life is to separate them from your personal life. Get yourself an extra phone/tablet/laptop to keep everything that has to do with being a music teacher on so you can have the rest of your life on the technology you want to use when you need a break. You don’t want to be spending time on being a music teacher when it’s your day off and you need you-time. A good work-life balance is vital to keep your mental health at bay.
Lastly, here are some general tips that can always be useful in any situation:
Have flexible expectations – not everything will be running perfectly when you are first starting out, even with multiple years of experience things still go wrong. Make sure you don’t set your expectations too high and always be prepared for something to not go as planned. With that being said, you should also be prepared for when things do go as planned and be ready for what your next steps will be. Flexibility is key.
Remember to smile – When things are going great or when things are going not so great always remember to smile and keep positive. The last thing your students want to see is someone who doesn’t have the mindset to be teaching music with a positive attitude. Smiling can overall brighten your day.
Listen – This may seem obvious but, your students will have a lot of questions and concerns when learning music as it can be a steep learning curve and you want to be able to be there and listen to everything they have to say. This also goes for other teachers that want to get in contact with you about anything and the community that you will be a part of. Always listen to everyone.
Ask questions – as much as your students will have questions for you, it is safe for you to have questions as well! Make sure you are asking questions to anyone that seems fit to answer any of your concerns. This is all about learning and becoming more than you already are so asking questions is a great way to gain more knowledge.
Use ideas and resources from others – for a teacher just starting out there are many resources out there that can help you succeed and that includes things from existing and successful teachers. This community is all about seeing others thrive and I’m sure everyone will be willing to help you out as well.
Don’t be afraid to try new things – one habit that humans get into when they are doing the same thing for a long time is that they get comfortable and don’t change or adapt. This can lead them to fall behind and ultimately be forgotten or unable to catch up with competition and trends. You don’t want this to happen to you. Try new things even if you think it isn’t entirely beneficial or might not work for you. It is better to know that something doesn’t work than to not know at all.
Know that things will get easier – after reading everything in this blog, I bet you are going through a rollercoaster of emotions. When first starting out you will be swarmed with many tasks and it can be overwhelming at times, but just know that it will not always be this way. The more you teach and the longer you get your schedule in place and find your way of running everything successfully it will be so much easier and trust me, you will get to that point.
To finish off, music teachers are vital to society as they teach younger generations the most beautiful things humans have come across. It will be difficult at first, but don’t give up as it will get easier and you will love it as much as your students will. Thank you for being a music teacher. You got this!
Raymin graduated from Mohawk College in 2022 as a student in the Advertising and Marketing Communications Management program. He has a passion for social media and wants to help brands and individuals grow to their potential. Raymin likes to spend his downtime with his family and friends and always ensures there’s a tune on in the background as music is a huge part of his life.