How to Become a Piano Teacher and Tutor

If you have a passion for piano and love to teach others then becoming a piano teacher may be something that you have considered. There are very few barriers to being a piano teacher and the process is quite simple if you have the right credentials to do a good job.

Teaching piano to students can be done full time or part time and you may even want to teach from the comfort of your own home. This is our guide on how to become a piano teacher.

The Market for Piano Teachers

With the rise in popularity of music there is more call than ever for more piano teachers to take up the reins and provide lessons to budding pianists. It’s been estimated that over 23% of 5-14 year olds play the piano and 83% of this percentage do so to supplement their studies at school.

Learning piano is a great way to support learning for children and being a good teacher means you could be teaching them skills they can use in later life. Now is the best time more so than ever to start teaching piano to the younger generation.

Qualifications to Become a Piano Teacher

Contrary to popular belief, there’s actually no qualifications necessary to become a piano teacher if you want to do it from your home. As long as you register as being self-employed for tax purposes and submit your tax returns every year there aren’t any other qualifications you will need to become a piano teacher.

If you want to be a good teacher you will need to be a competent pianist yourself. The skill to read music quickly and on sight is an absolute must for any piano teacher. You may also want to brush up on all your scales and your listening skills if you plan on teaching grades to your students. It certainly won’t hurt your reputation, especially with parents if you are teaching younger students, to have some relevant music qualifications. The more credentials you have, the better your lessons will be and the more students you will get.

Being a piano teacher in a school, academy or college does require qualifications. You will need a degree in music as well as a further degree in teaching if it’s something you want to do on a professional scale. Self-employed piano teaching does happen in schools and for this you won’t need qualifications.

According to a survey from the Musician’s Union, when they asked 2000 music teachers only 60% of them had some sort of degree to teach music. The other 40% don’t. Most of these people had at least five years’ experience in playing the piano and 75% of them have had four or more years of formal piano training in a classical background.

Teaching Equipment and Resources

A large majority of piano teachers will do their lessons from their own home. If this is something you want to do you will need to have a dedicated room which you will use to conduct your piano lessons. This room should purely be for piano students where the piano is based. You will only need one piano that is well-maintained and well-tuned at all times. This ensures you are giving the best lessons possible, with the best sounding music so that students will want to continue their playing.

There are different resources you will need too for the teaching of piano lessons to students. It’s important that you have a selection of music books and different materials that you can use as a reference during your lessons. There should also be a wide array of sheet music to suit any level of piano player so you can teach and explain different aspects of music and notation properly.

If you are teaching older students who want to learn properly then it’s also advised to follow the grade program. This gives them targets to work towards and they will take exams at certain steps along the way as they learn to play the piano. Knowing what grade they have achieved also indicates the level of skills a student has.

Students who are being taught piano lessons in schools may also have crossovers with their curriculum. There may be certain requirements that you can help them achieve as well as tailoring piano lessons so that they complement what’s being learned in school.

Background Checks

In order to teach lessons for piano to students who are under the age of 18, it is strongly advised that you obtain a background check certificate. This should be both a certificate of good conduct as well as a lack of criminal record checks. It’s not a legal requirement to have either of these as a piano teacher but parents will more than likely except their children’s teachers to have this documentation for better peace of mind. Remember they will be leaving their child in your care, so they want to know that their kids will be safe.

There are three ways you can get these checks carried out in the US:

  • Local police check – Visit your local police station in your state and request that they carry out a recent criminal record search on you. Once this is done they can provide you with a certificate that says you have a clean criminal record.
  • FBI records check – There are two ways you can get a record check from the FBI. One is a FBI Identification Record and the other is proof that no record exists. You have to apply for these directly to the FBI.
  • Department of Justice order – The Department of Justice can submit your fingerprints to the FBI in order to receive a criminal record certificate in the mail.

Something else you may want to obtain if you want to become a piano teacher from home is to get public liability and private indemnity insurance. These protect you in case any legal matters arise during your lessons.

Marketing Yourself

One of the hardest things about becoming a new piano teacher is marketing yourself so that you get students to teach. Finding new students when you first start out in this business can be very difficult. You want to build up a great reputation locally in addition to having a strong presence online so that people know your lessons are worth it. Once you get your marketing structure down then it will pretty much take care of itself, especially when you get great reviews.

Until you reach marketing success there are a number of things you can do to get your name out there and start giving music lessons. First of all you can start spreading word of mouth. Tell people that you are going to be offering piano lessons for anyone who wants to learn in the local area. It’s a great way of gaining new students when you are first starting out.

You may also consider gathering peoples’ email addresses to start an email chain for anyone who would be interested in lessons. Local shops are great places to place adverts for your lessons, as well as giving out business cards. Finding those who are interested in lessons is the first step in getting students.

Online marketing is where it’s at nowadays and marketing your teaching business online is absolutely going to get you noticed. Blog posts, social media and even music lesson directories will all help grow your business. There are great music directory websites out there and places like Craigs List can also increase your online presence. If parents and students can find you online then they will be much more likely to contact you.

Social media websites like Facebook and Twitter are probably some of the most powerful marketing tools for a piano teacher. Here are some more ideas for teachers to start marketing their services online:

  • Let any of your existing students know that you have availability for new students to take lessons. They may have friends or siblings who would be interested and if they are already getting taught by you, they will also give you a great review.
  • Get in touch with any other music teachers in the area. These don’t have to be piano teachers in particular. You can set up a student referral system so that if anyone is interested in learning the piano, they can come to you.
  • Put up adverts in local shop windows and make up some business cards so you can hand them out if anyone is interested.
  • Build your own website and use an SEO strategy so you rank higher on sites like Google.
  • Become an active member of music teacher forums online so students can find you if they are looking for a teacher.

FAQs

What qualifications do you need to teach piano?

There aren’t technically any qualifications you will need to be able to teach piano because it’s not a regulated profession. We would advise that at a minimum before you can become a teacher of piano you should be able to play at a Grade 8 level.

Can I teach piano without a degree?

If you want to teach in a college or school then you will need some sort of music degree to become a piano teacher. However, if you want to teach from home you don’t need to have a degree.

Do piano teachers need a business license?

Every city has its own laws and rules for providing services like piano lessons from your home. If this is something you would like to do then you will need to call the city from where you will be teaching. They will be able to provide you with the right documentation and guidance on what the rules are that you have to follow to be able to give piano lessons in your home.

How long does it take to become a pianist?

It can take anywhere from one to three years to master all the necessary skills that make you a pianist. In total, they say it takes eight years to master any sort of instrument and if you started later in life it may be a bit more difficult.

Conclusion

If you have any more questions about becoming a piano teacher then please feel free to ask them by sending us a message. And if you already are a teacher we would love to hear about your experiences in getting started.

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