How to Run a Music Tutoring Business
“Music is the universal language of mankind”
– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Ah, music. What a wonder of the universe it is. A combination of vocal and/or instrumental sounds that creates harmony and produces an expression of emotion. It’s no wonder you’re wanting to start your own music tutoring business. Helping others learn the basics of music, and then applying that knowledge to create that kind of beauty themselves is admirable. On that note, let’s take a look at how to start and run a successful music tutoring business.
Make sure you have the necessary skills
Start by familiarizing yourself with what you’ll be teaching. Great tutors have more than just a passion for music. Before starting a business in tutoring music, you need to hone your teaching skills. If you’re lucky enough, teaching will come naturally to you. However, if working with students is not your strong suit, don’t lose heart. Many music tutors have had to learn how to strengthen those skills before ever stepping foot in a classroom. And don’t stress. You already have the music part figured out. That’s half of what your future career will entail.
What you have to do now is learn from other successful music tutors. Watch tutorials, follow them on social media, and even attend some of their classes if your time and budget allow you to do so. Start by identifying your weaknesses and try turning those into your strong suits. Then make it a point to learn from other instructors. Are they better than you at certain things? Why? And how can you adopt their approach in your teaching style?
Make a note of how they answer questions, interact with their students, and conduct their classes overall. Then, address your questions and speak to them about the challenges you face. You may be surprised to find out that some of the best music tutors had struggled with some of the same things when they first started. So don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Keep in mind that no one was born a teacher. Even the best music tutors faced challenges in the beginning and had to learn new skills as they progressed.
Come up with a business plan
After deciding to do this and ensuring you have the right skills, your next step should be to create a business plan. Like other businesses, having a proper plan for your private music business is vital. And sure, you may feel this is not as important, since all you want to do is teach music. But a proper plan will help you better understand who your target clientele is, how much money you need to start with, how to get ahold of that money while allowing you to project future expenses, amongst other things.
Furthermore, by developing a proper plan from the beginning, you drastically increase your chance of long-term success. Not to mention the fact that it will take a load off your shoulders. Once you get everything in order and have an idea of what to expect, you’re far less likely to be as overwhelmed as you would be if you jumped right in, with no plan or safety net in check.
Create an identity for your business
- Choose a name: To stand out from the crowd, you need to create a unique identity for your business. Start by choosing a title. You can choose the simple option of going by your name. This is the safest route because it lets clients know who the face of the business is. However, you may go down a different path and create a name yourself. Though this option requires a little more forethought and planning, it allows you to put your imagination to good use and decide on a name that encompasses everything you do. For example, if you were only to teach guitar, you could decide on a relatively simple name such as “Don’t string me along.” Similarly, if you plan on tutoring in several instruments, as well as vocals, you can let your creative juices flow and decide on a name that stands out. Make sure that whatever you choose suits your vision for the business and lets clients get a general idea of what services you offer.
- Build a website:In a time when the average attention span is 2 seconds, it’s vital to ensure that your website is easy to navigate. Make sure to include your address, hours of operation, and contact on the front page, as well as an ‘About me’ section, where clients can learn more about your skills and experience in the field. A good website can make a tremendous difference, and it’s a step that should not be overlooked when attempting to create an identity for your business.
- Promote yourself: Once you’ve picked a name, make yourself seen on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and any other social media platform that comes to your mind. Short videos and daily stories are great ways to prove your skills and get people interested in your services. Make sure to showcase your skills and talent. If you’re planning to teach more than one instrument, consider posting at least two or three videos of you playing each instrument.
If you want to take it one step further, you can also create a Youtube account with the name of your business. There, you can get creative with your posts. For example, you can post videos of yourself playing covers of famous songs or tutorials of some basics.
Find the right location
There are many options to choose from when deciding on the correct location. For example, you can share a space with other music tutors or rent a studio all on your own. And then there’s the option of teaching from the comfort of your own home. According to startingyourbusiness.com, most private music tutors offer lessons from home. If you choose to go down this route, make sure you acquire the proper licensing for a home-based business. Also, keep in mind that you will have to create a dedicated tutoring space within your home. If you have roommates or loud neighbors or your house is not big enough, teaching from home may not be your best option. However, if you decide this is what you want, crunch the numbers first, and make sure you can afford the costs involved. While you won’t have to worry about rent, your utility bills will likely be higher every month. Consider this before making a decision.
You may choose to rent a room or studio for your classes. Though this would be an added expense, there are upsides to this alternative. Firstly, the bigger the space, the more students you can have in your classroom at once. Unlike teaching from your home, where you can fit no more than 2-3 students, a studio or office will provide you the space to work with more students at the same time. Run the numbers and see how many tutees you will need to cover your costs and still make a profit.
Secondly, tutoring outside of your home can offer extra legitimacy to your business, therefore allowing you to charge students a higher rate.
There is one more alternative worth mentioning – online tutoring. This option would save you money on rent and utilities while allowing you to interact with students from all over the country without having to leave the comfort of your home. For this, you’ll need a quiet space, your musical instruments, high-speed internet, and a good computer. Of course, you will also need to have a basic understanding of computers and technology, but this is nothing with which a few tutorials couldn’t help.
Decide on your rates
For new business owners, setting their rates is always a challenge. You want to make sure you can cover the bills needed to run your business while also making a profit in the process. At the same time, you want to make sure that your rates are low enough to satisfy existing students and attract new ones. So, if you’re struggling to set your rates, there are a few things to factor in:
- Your years of music education: While you don’t need a degree to become a music tutor, some education is essential. And if you did study music in school, more power to you.
Music is just as much a form of science as it is a form of art. Talent alone is not enough to become a tutor in this field. You also need to understand the theoretical part. Whether you’ve taken music classes or learned everything from tutorials and books, a good education is essential for anyone striving to become a music teacher. The more you understand music both theoretically and practically, the higher you can set your rates. After all, your goal is to set prices that are directly proportionate with your level of skill and education.
- Your experience in playing music: In order to become a successful music tutor, it’s essential to be proficient in playing all the instruments you’re going to teach. Similarly, if you plan on teaching vocals, you need to have hands-on experience.
We all know the famous saying “those who can’t do teach.” Well, as it turns out, to become a great teacher, you must first be a great student. If you don’t have enough practical experience, your focus should be on acquiring some before starting your business. Join local coir, apply for an internship with another music tutor, or do volunteer work teaching music.
When setting your rates, you should decide partly based on your years of playing at a professional level. Hands-on experience is the best way to learn something. And the more experience you have, the more equipped you’ll be to teach others.
- The location of your business: Location matters when deciding how to set your rates: As mentioned above, renting out space will involve monthly rent and utilities. If this is the path you choose to take, you may want to consider setting rates that are higher than they might have been if you taught from home. Also, some locations allow you to have more students at once. Keep that in mind when deciding on your prices.
First and foremost, the rates you set should keep you above water, at least in the beginning. If you go with the option of renting a space, you need to be able to pay for rent and bills and still make a profit. Similarly, if you decide to teach from home, you won’t have the added stress of rent. However, your monthly utilities are likely to be higher.
Use technology in your favor
Technology is the way to go when running and promoting your own business. From plumbers to cosmetologists, business owners from all fields use technology in their favor. And it’s wise to do so. Aside from allowing you to promote your business through your website and social media accounts, technology can be your friend in other ways. For example, it provides mobile apps like Persona, designed to make things easier for you. Easily downloadable on both IoS and Android, Persona is a platform created to help wellness entrepreneurs with payment collection, client scheduling, and expense management. 100% free, always, Persona creates a personalized online store where clients can purchase your services without going through you. The app also does your taxes and helps you save money by tracking your deductible expenses come tax season. With a quick and easy application process, Persona is yet another proof that technology is on the side of business owners like yourself.