Thursday, February 12, 2015

Taking the Show on the Road

I am very happy to say that the majority of my students are now taught in my studio at Bartlett Music Academy. It is convenient to have several students come to me in a single location. At times, I have a student who cannot come to the Academy for various reasons. Here are a few crucial issues that I have learned are important to consider when asked to teach in a student's home.

  • Scheduling is more involved. There is now more to consider than my own availability. I must consider the family's plans as well. Travel time must be calculated (both to and from the lesson). It can make it very difficult to plan anything else before or after the scheduled lesson.
  • Limited control over environment. Thankfully, my current situation in my student's home is marvelous! However, in other settings you may find yourself teaching in a high traffic area with lots of distractions. This can prove difficult for the most engaged student and is multiplied for young beginners.
  • Fees must be altered. Not only are you now charging for your expertise, it is also important to factor in fuel costs, travel time, and the transportation of teaching materials. As a general rule, it is my recommendation to charge at least $10 above your normal rate for each lesson.
  • Limited availability of teaching resources. If you are like me, when I'm in my studio I can easily lay my hand on whatever teaching aid I need. When working as a traveling teacher, we must anticipate resources that might be needed or have an idea that includes items easily attained in the home. 
  • Quality of the instrument. In the student's home, we provide training on the instrument that they are playing daily. While there are some benefits to this set up, it can also be challenging. So many of our explanations are significantly impacted when using an out of tune piano. It can an awkward conversation with a parent when requesting the instrument be repaired and serviced.
Currently, I am only teaching in one student's home. None of these issues are a problem....but I'm keeping them in mind for when the next student inquires about the possibility of in-home lessons. What other issues do you consider before agreeing to teach lessons in a student's home? I would certainly benefit from any insight you are willing to share in the comment section below.