Saturday, August 12, 2006

Starting flute teaching

I am a Bachelor or Arts graduate and I am considering trying my hand at teaching flute, so have a few questions surrounding this. Firstly: My home surroundings wouldn't be appropriate to bring pupils in, so I would prefer to go to them. Is this common, or do the pupils always come to the

Dear Flute-teacher-to-be:
I don't teach that often in a student's home, but I do know a couple of piano teachers who do, and they actually charge more for lessons because of the cost of transportation, the extra time required to travel between homes, and, of course, there's the perceived "luxury" of the student being comfortably at home and having a "house-call".
So by all means give this a try if it works in your area.
Density of population plays a role, as does number of competing peripatetic teachers in the area, and there are considerations such as traffic, hours of travel and how the distances between students affects your time management.

If you're using your own car, you have to make a realistic assessment of cost.
If you're not using a car, remember that private teachers do have to carry all their teaching books with them, so if you're travelling by public transportation, you'll need a good book carrying system. (rolling bag or knapsack that won't hurt your back.)

To get started as a teacher you need several things:

1. A promotional packet; business cards and a brochure that describes your services, and gives your contact information are the minimum. You hand out cards and brochures to all likely sources, and meet and greet at all the local music departments and schools where music is taught, and leave your material with those whom you've contacted.
If you're into it, you could possibly have a small website if you want to use one for your student mail, handouts, announcements of date changes etc.
Giving free "masterclasses" at local schools for their flute sections is also highly recommended as a way of spreading the word, and making face to face contact with possible students.

You'll also want:
2. A list of all the local schools, music schools, music stores and music teachers to whom to distribute your information about yourself as a private teacher.
Each month, contact several more of these sources, and keep getting your promotional material out there.

3. A set of teaching books so that you can offer a variety of materials to use with each student; suplemental materials (etudes, exercises, pieces) vary greatly from student to student, so keep up on what's available and buy a few books every few months to add to your collection. There are book lists here:

Flute books to read and advanced practice materials.

Flute sheetmusic for the student and teacher who are on
a budget (by level):

General repertoire and exercise books that are recommended.

4. For basic ideas on how to teach private flute lessons (flute specific information) see my articles on teaching.

5. For basic books on teaching flute, see the bibliographies of flute books by great thinkers. :>)

6. Finally, of course, you'll need at least one to three students to start. Often the first few students can be found through your own private flute teacher, who will also coach you on teaching techniques as you break yourself into the business.
Remember too that if you aren't using other flute teachers or music teachers as a conduit to finding students, that it can take up to three to five years to develop a studio just by word of mouth through parents. So use all your musical contacts to get the word out about your lessons.

How do you set yourself up as a music instrument teacher?

There's a great, short and pithy article by flute teacher Shelley Collins called
"Business Skills for Musicians" at her site.

Also, I would like to find a flute teacher who could
give me the lessons to prepare for this (paid for of course!) and help me touch up on the theory if it's necessary that I take upper levels in theory.

You may find that there are several music schools in Belfast that have teachers you can meet and/or have a lesson with to decide which teacher is best for you.
To find a teacher have a read of this article.

There's lots of online articles to help you get back up to speed on my site.

And an alphabetical index of all my flute articles is here.

Best of luck, and send more questions if you have them, and WELCOME to our silly group of flutey-dudes at Flutenet Yahoo group. :>)

Knowing music theory *is* important, and I do know that if you can teach theory at the higher (Grade 6 U.K.) that you may end up with additional students as a result (students who also need theory lessons to pass their exams.)
But you can also do your theory alongside of your teaching, and certainly you'll have some time at first to do additional studies, as it takes a year or two to finally get enough private students to fill your schedule.

Get the new flute teacher first, though, and work from there.

Jen Cluff Flute-teacher, Canada