Giving Music Lessons:
How To Make $100,000 A Year
How to Make $100,000 a Year Giving Music Lessons
Do you know how to play a musical instrument, including voice, well enough to teach someone else how to play? Do you think you would enjoy teaching others how to play an instrument? Or, if you don’t know quite enough now to succeed in giving music lessons, are you interested enough in a career or side gig as a music teacher to take some lessons in preparation?
Depending on your answers to the above, you can build yourself a $100,000 a year business giving music lessons without spending any money. You can do it in person and/or online. You can do it in your own home, in a studio, or drive to the students’ homes.
If you feel that you need more preparation, you can get free lessons online, take lessons from an instructor online or in person, or enroll in classes on giving music lessons at your local community college. For some who are good musicians, you may feel the need to at least get some additional depth in the following:
⦁ How to teach piano (or guitar, etc.)
⦁ Music theory or advanced music theory
⦁ How to teach music theory
You would be right if you are thinking, “I bet all of that is available free online.” In fact, how to teach piano to kids, how to teach piano on Zoom, how to teach piano to 3-year-olds and so much more is right at your fingertips
You will need a website. You can create a free website using Google My Business. I explain how in another video that is listed below.
However, you will do better if you create a simple 3-5-page website. On the homepage of this website, I want you to write a 2000-word article about how great music lessons are for kids, how music lessons increase IQ, how knowing how to play is a lifelong benefit, something about your method of teaching, and so forth. Yes, that’s a lot of words. You only need to do it once, and it will help your website get found.
You will also want to put up a YouTube video showing you teaching a young person to play, even if the student is your brother or daughter. You could also put up another video of a child or parent saying how great you are as a teacher (for those who already have students.)
Setting up a website like this is easy. I use Wix.com. You might prefer another platform. This will cost you something under $300 a year if you do it all yourself. I link to a video and an article that gives more detail on how to set up a simple website.
More opportunities on YouTube. You will want to create a YouTube channel, then get a friend with a steady hand to shoot a video of you teaching. You should look warm and gentle without appearing to be too physical. The video does not need to be professionally edited.
You might also want to put your information on Yelp. Just go to YELP and sign up.
Next, you’ll want to talk about your effort on social media. Just do so on whatever social media you are already active on. Make it fun. “I’ve decided to teach guitar. What an adventure. I like to teach, and I know I can make a difference.” Then later. “I was reading this article today about how impactful music lessons can be on the life of a child……”. Then “Wow! I got my first student. Can you believe it? Do you know anyone who’d like to learn?”
Simple stuff like that will get the word out to your own group of family and friends. Many of your early clients will come from that group. You might discount a bit in the beginning to build clientele. If they like you, they’ll tell others.
A Website Is a Very Good Idea
You will get the vast majority of your customers from Google My Business. You are probably familiar with Google My Business when you search for any kind of business, like when you are looking for a bike shop or an Italian restaurant. When you Google piano lessons, very near the top of the page, you’ll get something that looks like this.
You notice right away that only 3 teachers or businesses are listed here.
If you want to make a lot of money giving music lessons, it is your primary job
in life to become one of those three.
For music teachers, this is not very hard, but it will still take about 20 hours of work to learn how. I have provided multiple videos here at Small Business Daily that will help you set your business up in a way that will get you into the top three.
You Need to Find Customers
Create a postcard size ad that you can post on bulletin boards at local stores, community centers, and even college campuses.
More Content on YouTube/Instagram/TikTok
After completing all the above, if you still want to create more buzz, try creating some videos. These can be shorts for YouTube Shorts, Instagram, or TikTok, where you might give one tip or a short example of how to do some skill.
Or you can do some five- or ten-minute lessons on anything from posture to counting. Be sure to make good use of any content you create. Put it up on YouTube, of course, but also upload to Facebook, Vimeo, and even your website or blog.
You can also do videos of your students and upload those (with parental permission) on YouTube, Facebook, and more. Now have the parents share those on their Facebook. This will create a lot of visibility for you exactly where you need it.
Advertise Giving Music Lessons on Craig’s List
or other similar want ad platforms
Local Community Center – most cities have a community center where various sports, games, and events are held. There is often one or more individuals who manage that facility. You want to meet that person and discuss a potential music class. Most often, this is going to be percussion or singing. Or maybe they already have something in mind. You want to lead a class like that.
They will generally charge some small fee for each child, and you get paid from that fee. So, there is a bit of income from the effort. But, the bigger deal is that those classes will generate full-time students.
Local Public and Private Schools – Go meet the executive assistant or vice-principal of every local grade school, middle school, and high school near you. Let them know that you are giving music lessons. Leave them your business card. Many will be absolutely thrilled to have someone to recommend.
If there is a music program, band, chorus, or orchestra, meet the teachers and offer to help in any way you can be of service.
Music Retail Stores – Some retailers will offer lessons, so may see you as a competitor. If not, just make friends and leave your card. If they do offer giving music lessons, you might want to have some part of your roster at their studio for a time. Yes, you’ll make less, as the shop will want a percentage. But, in the early days, something is better than nothing.
Other Music Teachers – Get on the phone and start meeting with other piano, guitar, voice, drum teachers in your area. Even if you are a direct competitor with another teacher, you might prefer beginners and not feel comfortable with students who have four years of training, while another instructor might love that type of student. Meanwhile, they might not take any students under 10, and you might prefer five to ten-year-old kids.
Choir or praise team at church – join or lead any musical group at your place of worship. This will put you constantly in the music spotlight without having to advertise.
Local symphony or other musical groups – join or lead similar to the above.
Power Partners Can Send You Lots of Customers
So how do you get to $100,000 a year? That is $50 per hour for 40 hours a week, 50 weeks per year. You may or may not be able to make $25 for a half-hour lesson in your first year, but in most markets, you probably can. If you are only 15 or so, you might want to start out at $20 for a half-hour lesson.
No matter where you start, by year two you should be at $25 or more for a half-hour and maybe $45 to $70 for a full hour (55 minutes) lesson.
Of course, if you work more hours, sell music, or do for-profit recitals, you can make much more, and we’ll cover that later in the video. If you live in a rich neighborhood, you can definitely earn $35 per half hour for piano and guitar.
Taking a Look at the Numbers in Giving Music Lessons
Other Ways to Make Money
⦁ Selling Music. Your students will need sheet music and/or online music for their lessons. You can buy music wholesale and resell. You can get a commission from online sellers of online music materials.
⦁ Sell Related Products. Become an Amazon affiliate. When your students need a metronome or more strings, etc., recommend a specific item on Amazon, and ask the family to use your link. You might even end up making affiliate commissions on an electric piano or new guitar. It doesn’t cost your student anything, and you make extra.
⦁ Hold at least One Recital per Year. Yes, some of your kids will hate it, but some will be thrilled to perform for their family and friends. Charge $50 for the student and their parents and $25 per seat for all others. Rent a church or other hall that offers a grand piano. Have snacks after. You build goodwill, create prospects, and make a very nice profit.
⦁ Make Commission From Referrals To Others. If you do all the above, you will soon have a completely full docket and a waiting list. You could refer your students to other teachers. You can do this out of kindness, or you can charge the teacher for each student. You could ask a one-time fee ($100 or so) or charge an ongoing commission ($10 a month.)
⦁ Create Your Own Music School. At some point you might prefer to rent a studio with several music rooms, then charge teachers rent or commission for those rooms. Often you will be able to make money from their students purchases of music, instruments, and equipment. You might even become a full-fledged store with inventory and repairs.
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