The beauty of music is the ability to recreate it in one way or another. Imparting the knowledge of your interpretation of the music to another person creates a ripple effect that lasts for many more generations.

Many people out there who loves making music either become professional orchestral musicians, performers or they educate.

Educating the younger ones are definitely of utmost importance. Music begins when you first arrive on Earth.

This is why most musicians choose to become teachers. Most become private piano teachers. It may seem like a challenging and unconventional path to tread on but it is an enriching and exciting one. There are many pros and cons of being a private piano tutor.

Pros:

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Higher percentage of wages

Being in Singapore, the first thought that comes to anyone’s mind would be… money. How is self employment going to guarantee a smooth flow of income? How is being a private teacher  safe?

Some may choose to be employed in music schools as the school will make sure to allocate sufficient students under your care but then again, the percentage that the school will undertake is so much more as compared to having the entire percentage of the fees to yourself.

Imagine this, in a school, a student probably pay $40 per lesson but you are only able to take a small percentage out of the $40, and you end up only with $15+?

A month, you will only earn about $60/month/student in a school as compared to $160/month/student for private lessons. How is this okay?
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Flexibility of time

Time is what everyone is yearning and searching for. Many parents nowadays sign their children up for countless lessons to upgrade themselves.

Sometimes,their other  lessons clash with the scheduled timing of the school’s fixed piano lessons and thus this creates a hassle when the parents decide that they have to skip for that day and you have to find an alternative timing to have a make up somehow.

However, if you are a private piano teacher, all you have to do is to shift the scheduled piano lesson to another time that suits your comfort so that you do not need to have “make up” lessons.

Timing can be changed according to parent’s and also the teacher’s preference. 

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Medical Leave/ Administrative works

The hardest part about being under contract is the need to have a medical certificate when you are unwell.

This will mean a trip to the doctor though you have just a slight fever. This is equivalent to the cost of one student’s fee for the month.

Being a private piano teacher, you can call the parent or the student to make necessary adjustments/ rescheduling the lesson so that you can take a rest at home.

You do not need to provide “proof” , which means that, no need for a trip to the doctor’s!

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Location

Being a private piano tutor, you are able to have students come over to your place to have lessons. This minimizes travelling time. The student’s home or your home is your “studio”. There is no need to book studios at the School.

It can be quite a feat to find a room to book when you are in urgent need of a replacement class as school teachers tend to fill the studios in music schools really fast.

Students

Realistically, some teachers do not suit certain students. In music schools, teachers have to take any students that the school allocate to them.

Those with a haughty behaviors, or lazy attitude, teachers find it hard to cope yet, they are unable to do anything about it.

However, as a private piano teacher, if it gets to the point of breaking, it is okay to inform the student or the parent for a switch in teachers.

Cons:

Starting out

It isn’t easy finding students when you just start out as a private piano teacher. Students may take a couple of lessons and then decide not to continue with you anymore.

This source of income thus disappears. Without the reputation of a branded music school or connections, it will be difficult.

Finding materials

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As a private piano teacher, your students are solely yours. Unlike School, the students who are under you, belong to schools.

Therefore, making sure that your students ace and understand what you are teaching is your responsibility.

Finding materials to suit each student’s need may prove to be difficult as there is no fixed syllabus of teaching materials that are provided in schools instead.

On and off

Yes, on and off. Some students who are slightly on the busier side tend to have lessons fortnightly or once in a blue moon.

Once you take up a student like that, income may not be secured . Thus, this may hinder your finances.

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Being a private piano teacher has its perks but also its downside. However, no fear! Nowadays, many piano agencies are out there to help teachers find students and aid students in finding suitable teachers based on their needs.

It may not be a conventional route to tread on but trust me when I say that it is an exciting one.

When you, as a private piano teacher see your students improving and acing their skills, you will be proud to say that you have done your best as an educator and this gives you a sense of accomplishment which money cannot buy.


A private piano teacher imparts the knowledge of music as a musician themselves.

This article is written by Berlin Goh, a final-year student at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts. Since 2014, she has been giving private piano lessons, and also teaching at Yamaha. Performing is what she do everyday, and teaching is what she hopes to do forever. She hopes to share her knowledge in piano playing and performing and help more students to love piano!