Why I Teach From Home (or why I won’t come to your house to teach lessons).
I get asked to travel to student’s houses to teach pretty often. When I first decided to be a piano teacher full time, I would take any student I could get, even if it meant I had to drive across town to their house. One of my personal markers for success was transitioning to having all my students come to me in my studio at my home.
It makes me a better teacher.
Here in my home, in my studio, I have access to everything I need to teach. There’s a working piano, all the incentive charts, a whole bookcase of music to choose from on the fly if a student needs a piece, a drawer of games, and another drawer of prizes. I am always connected to the wi-fi, and have all the colored pencils, stickers, post-it’s, white board and other items that I use in lessons at hand for every lesson.
When I travelled from house to house, I’d have to pack a bag full of miscellaneous things, and I’d still never have what I wanted. Bringing the prizes was impossible, so I’d pick a handful and hope they liked one. If they weren’t getting a concept and I didn’t have the right game with me, it was just too bad. Actually, I didn’t bring games at all, because it was too much to lug around the game board, keep all the game cards and dice together, and get it all in and out and around for just one student, let alone several.
The home factor.
At my studio, there are no siblings running around. The dogs are in their crates, not jumping up in my lap (or the student’s), there’s no TV on in the background, the student doesn’t feel compelled to run off to get whatever it is that’s important at that moment to show me, and the piano is in good condition! It’s tuned, all the pedals work, there’s somewhere for me to sit, there’s a clean floor and table for us to do activities. The list goes on. I’m not saying that I have the cleanest house in the world, but I keep my living room picked up pretty well so we have room to do what we need to do.
Here’s the thing. From a business sense, it’s poor business to travel from home to home teaching piano. Let’s say I have 3 students, Abe, Bob and Carl (A, B and C!). They all live within 15 minutes of each other, and they each take a 30 minute lesson. At my home, I could schedule them at 5, 5:30 and 6. If I go to their home, I leave here at 3:30, see Abe at 4, Bob at 5 and Carl at 6, then get home at 7. See the problem? If I travel it takes me 3.5 hours to do 1.5 hours work. Plus gas. Where does all that extra time go? Driving, waiting in driveways, shlepping my stuff in and out of my car, and trying to politely edge my way out of the house in time to drive to the next student’s house. It’s not for me.
Now, you’re asking why I spaced the lesson 30 minutes apart if they only live 15 minutes apart? Traffic. Parents or siblings chatting. Someone blocks my car in. Unpacking and repacking my bag. It all takes a lot of time.
Here’s the last, and truly deciding, factor. We have a 6 month old baby. I want to be with him. Yes, he goes to daycare a few days a week, but you know what? Most days, he’s here with me. If I teach from home I can get a sitter in to watch him if I have to. And that time in between lessons? I get to spend it with him! Awesome. Life goal: accomplished.
This is what it comes down to: I’m here to give you a professional teaching experience. This is my job and although I have a lot of fun (and I hope my students do too), this is my career! To give you my best (which you totally deserve), you’re going to have to come to me!
Are you a traveling piano teacher? Does one come to your home?
This article gave me the inspiration to teach from home and hang up the car keys. Now, I can’t imagine it any other way.
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