Teaching can be a great way to supplement your income if you’re a musician, but it can be quite hard to find clients. You can read all the available books, develop the necessary skills, but a lesson plan is pointless without students.
This is a guide for freelance music teachers to develop a loyal student base.
Word of mouth
While not the most reliable method, it can still help you expand your client base. Ask your current students if they know anyone who’s looking for a music teacher. You could even have a referral scheme where you offer your students a free lesson every time they bring a new student to you.
Put Yourself Out There
Start playing at local pubs, bars, school fairs, maybe even a wedding or two. This will allow you to advertise your classes to the general public and (hopefully) gain some students.
Check out the most in-demand songs for weddings.
Take the example of professional jazz musician and composer Yuri Matsuura, who found a lot of her students unintentionally after they attended her jazz performances.
Learn more about Yuri Matsuura, how she got started as a professional musician and teacher.
It definitely helps to have a business card as not only does it provide potential customers will all your contact information, it also makes you seem more professional. Print them out and scatter them around your community centre, church, pubs etc.
Get the word out
You could also consider making posters or handing out flyers. Maybe in the window of a local music shop or at the neighbourhood bakery?
Offer some free lessons
There’s nothing people like more than free stuff so offer a few taster lessons. If you’re good, the students will come back.
Ask your competitors for help
It may sound counterintuitive but consider reaching out to other musicians in your area. Ask them if they have any students that they’re too busy to teach at the moment. Offer to cover for them if they can’t teach a particular lesson for whatever reason. Make yourself useful to them and they may help you out in return.
Use the Internet
It’s not just there for pornography and amazon deliveries! The Internet can be a really helpful way of finding students, especially if they live in a different country and are looking for online tuition.
You could use websites like MusicStaff, Music Teachers Directory or Music Teacher’s Helper, which allow you to create a profile and search for students. You could even try Craigslist if you’re willing to filter out the slightly strange requests…
It also helps if you talk about your teaching method and show your qualifications. People like to shop around, gather information and make comparisons before making a decision. Setting up a Youtube channel or even becoming a Creator on Jellynote could help you get discovered by a worldwide audience.
Gilles Mayzaud, musician and teacher, advises that you upload a photo of yourself, preferably one in which you don’t look like a murderer. It also helps to include a paragraph about your teaching method. Make it clear why potential students should choose you over the other available teachers.
Got some references from past or current students? Include them too.
Be patient – you might have to wait for a few weeks and even months before seeing results from the above strategies. But they have proven to work well for many Creators on Jellynote who combine teaching with performances and composition.