However, after a year of advertising and working to build my business, I had a whopping 7 students. A couple of parents remarked that they really liked my studio set-up and my teaching style, but the drive to my home was just too far. Would I be willing to come to their home for lessons?
And so, I embarked on my journey as a part-time travelling piano teacher.
Today, my studio is split fairly evenly between students that come to my home for lessons and students that I travel to. After many years of travel teaching, I have organized my travel schedule to be as efficient as possible, and I have created a policy that works well for me and the families I teach.
While travel teaching has worked well for me, it is not for everyone. There are definite advantages and disadvantages to travelling for lessons. Today I will be sharing my thoughts on the pros and cons of travel teaching.
Pros of travel teaching:
- No need for a dedicated studio space. This is great for teachers that don’t have the room to teach at home, or who live in an apartment or other residence that wouldn’t be conducive to teaching from home. Travel teaching is also a good alternative to teaching at a music school, since you can still be your own boss, set your own schedule, and run your business exactly the way you want it.
- Travel teaching can help create a better home/work balance. Even if you do have the room to teach from home, travel teaching can help you to separate your home life and your work life. No students coming in and out of your home; no need to keep your house tidy or your pets out of the way on the days that you teach. It can also mean added privacy for your family, since they won’t be sharing your home in the evenings with piano students coming for lessons.
- Many families appreciate the convenience of a travel teacher. This was the primary reason I started travel teaching--there is a big demand for teachers who are willing to drive to students’ homes where I live. It can be a way to set your studio apart if you are in an area with lots of other teachers. And many parents are willing to pay a premium for the convenience a travelling teacher can offer.
- You get to see each student’s home set-up. This has been the most eye-opening part of travel teaching for me--I get to see the instrument a student is practicing on, where it is located in the home, and what the environment is typically like when students are practicing during the week. This makes it easy to alert a parent if the piano needs tuning, or if the student needs a higher piano bench or a piano lamp so they can see their music better.
Cons of travel teaching:
- Additional travel time means less students--and potentially less income. Unfortunately, even if your students live in the same neighborhood, you will need to account for additional time between lessons to pack up your materials and drive to the next house. So you probably won’t be able to see as many students in a day of travel teaching as you would at a studio.
- Cost of gas and wear and tear on your car. You’ll need reliable transportation, and you’ll need to factor in the cost of travel expenses if you are considering travel teaching.
- Carrying materials with you. Do you use pencils, markers, stickers, games, and/or supplemental music and worksheets in your lessons? Then you’ll need to find a way to take those with you if you travel teach.
- Sometimes less-than-ideal set-up for lessons at a student’s home. It can be frustrating to arrive for lessons and find that little brother is watching television VERY LOUDLY in the next room, or that mom is cooking dinner and your student is distracted by the smell. Many of these distractions can be minimized (I’ll be sharing tips on this in my next blog post), but sometimes you just have to expect the unexpected when you are travel teaching. I’ve encountered everything from overly friendly dogs to younger siblings streaking through the house in their birthday suits. There is never a dull moment when you travel teach!
In my next blog post, I will be sharing tips I have learned from my own experiences to make travel teaching a pleasant experience for both you and your students' families.
What do you think? Do you currently travel teach? Are you considering adding this option to your schedule for the fall? I would love to hear from you in the comments!