There is a measure of flexibility with teaching piano, and the digital age has only increased teaching options. All the types of teaching jobs below assume you have excellent mastery of piano musicianship, music theory, and effective teaching ability. In some cases, you also need a bachelor's or even a master's degree, depending on the job.
Private Lessons in Your Home
This has a clear advantage: the students come to you. This means no driving time or gas expenses, and it's convenient. This, however, also requires an entrepreneurial spirit and some skills at running a self-employed operation. Private tutors should be able to do the following:
- There are no degree requirements. You just need an excellent reputation as a skilled piano player in your local community. Having a bachelor's degree in music or a master's in teaching will help your marketing, but degrees are not mandatory.
- Have a space in the house that is clean, free from distractions
- Able to organize teaching materials for multiple students in a home environment (For example, run an efficient, well-managed home office, which isn't always easy when your personal and work life collide under the same roof.)
- Ability to market yourself in your local community
Lessons Facilitated by a Local Music Store
If it's not doable to work from home, find a local music store. These will often hire a team of instructors or will rent out teaching space. It's an excellent option because it gives you a separate space for your lessons away from home, and the store often takes care of finding students for you, so there's less pressure to promote yourself.
- A bachelor's degree in music or a professional certificate for teaching music given by an accredited institution (the Royal Conservatory of Music or Musician's Institute, for example) may be required, depending on the store.
- Good teamwork skills. This kind of situation often involves being adaptable and working within the rules of another person's territory.
- Note: If you're teaching in their store, you're representing their brand. Be prepared to impress them when you show up asking to teach there. Get a solid resume ready and brush up music that demonstrates your skills.
Some companies provide online music lessons and hire virtual instructors. The qualifications are often more rigorous (i.e. music degree, teaching resume, or even a credential) depending on the company. This kind of job requires the following:
- Most companies who hire for online music tutoring jobs require at least a bachelor's degree in music education or professional certificate in music, and sometimes a master's degree depending on the age level of students.
- Good on-screen personality. In other words, you feel comfortable in front of a camera and are a good communicator with clear enunciation, pleasant demeanor, and a voice that projects clearly in a video chat situation.
- Reliable technology. If your internet service is spotty, this won't be a good option for you.
- A flexible schedule. Some virtual jobs are for students in other countries. You might be getting up in the middle of the night to connect with your students in their time zone.
Working for a School
If you plan to teach at a school, you'll need a master's degree (doctorate if teaching at the university level). However, there are often opportunities in local schools at all levels: elementary, junior high, high school, and college. Depending on your experience, education, and skill level, you might be able to get an adjunct position as a piano teacher. (Though in most cases, expect to see a degree requirement.)
This, of course, requires the demanding process of job applications, interviews, and even auditions, but the positives (steady pay, benefits, no self-employed business management skills necessary) make it worth the trouble.
How to Find Jobs for Piano Teachers
Whether you're trying to attract students or you're looking for jobs, there are easy things you can do.
- Try telecommute job search sites. Telecommute job search websites like FlexJobs frequently have companies hiring virtual instructors to teach students online, including occasional piano teachers. FlexJobs requires a paid subscription, but there are free job sites such as PianoTeachersConnect, which include virtual and in-person opportunities.
- Ask local music stores. Check out the music store section in the Yellow Pages for your city and call each one to ask about setting up a teaching gig at their store.
- Advertise locally. This can be done the old-fashioned way by putting up posters on bulletin boards in local coffee shops, churches, schools, and other public spaces (though always ask the owner of the bulletin board before posting). You can also advertise locally using targeted Facebook ads or other social media channels where you can find locals.
Make an Action Plan
Piano teachers often make action plans for their students, which functions something like a syllabus, describing step-by-step what the student must master to reach their goal. You should follow the same path in your journey to teaching piano: sit down and write down an action plan that gets you to that teaching job.