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#1269383 - 09/16/09 03:27 PM Some questions on teaching
jeannie123 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/14/09
Posts: 2
It is now September and a lot of parents are looking for piano teachers for their kids. Some parents have been calling me up to teach their kids, but my schedule is really full. I'm thinking of hiring my own student to teach those extra kid, and I could get some kinda commission along the way. I've already asked my student if she is interest, and she said yes. Since I haven't start anything like this at all, I would like some tips on how to get started and some answers to the following questions:
1. What's the "normal" commission rate for studios to hire other piano teachers to teach?
2. Do I have to sign any contract or anything with my student (in Canada)?
3. How will the paying system work? (Does the cheque goes directly to me or through my student)
4. Does the "extra student" rescheduling or cancellation go through me or my student? (which way is better...)

Thanks for the help!

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#1269403 - 09/16/09 04:13 PM Re: Some questions on teaching [Re: jeannie123]
Jennifer Eklund Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/16/09
Posts: 162
Loc: SoCal
I think it's admirable that your student would like to start teaching. I have done this with a few of my oldest students and it has worked out very well. However, I don't take a commission. I highly suggest that you mentor your student for a while before tossing her into teaching on her own.

For me, I mentored my girls for a few months using the method books I've written and covered all the basics and the "traps" that new teachers can fall into. I also covered in detail the basic business/accounting practices that go along with teaching. I wanted them from day one to be self-sufficient. I think it could get quite messy if you aren't totally clear about who is handling the "business" end.

While I've handed them a healthy amount of referrals I never felt the need to take a commission. Almost immediately they started getting their own referrals and their business blossomed on its own. The only kickback that I get is that their students use my books so I earn that little bit of extra money.

I think if you decided to go with a "finders fee/commission" situation you need to be very specific, and put *everything* down in writing. Because she is your student it may be an awkward situation mixing in this new business angle.

Why not just give her the business and be happy that she has the desire to follow in your footsteps?

~Jennifer Eklund

Edited by Jennifer Eklund (09/16/09 04:14 PM)
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#1269437 - 09/16/09 04:54 PM Re: Some questions on teaching [Re: Jennifer Eklund]
Roxy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/19/08
Posts: 478
Loc: Whittier, Calif
Congratulations that your business is doing so well and that you have taught a student that is capable, advanced and efficient enough to be able to start her own business. I have had many advanced students be able to start their own studios and it has been a very rewarding feeling knowing that I have been able to help them accomplish this so that they can also benefit not only musically but monetarily from all their years and monies invested.
I have never charged a commission nor felt the need. I do however require my students to go and pay for pedagogic classes with me so that I know they know how to teach. They are 8 weeks 1 and a half to two hours, once a week sometimes twice a week. I set up for them to teach actual students during some of that time so that I can hear how they explain things and can help them be the most effective. Some of the time is going over everything that teaching encompasses. , Just because you have taken X years of lessons doesn't mean you know how to impart cohesively your knowledge in a teaching fashion, or that you know all the ins and outs of putting together a studio policy and the correct books to use for the age and playing levels and all the other situations that arise in having your own business, tax deductions, bookeeping, cancellations, rescheduling, ect. After all if you are referring people to your student your name is out there too so I want to make sure with my students it is done as correctly as us possible.
If you decide you want to charge a commision, you need to decide for how long you recieve that commission. Is it a one time fee or a continuous fee for as long as your student has the student you referred which can get very complicated. Be careful.
If you are recieving a commission the only reasonable uncomplicated manner of keeping books is that your student pay you in one check for whatever commission you are recieving for the students referred, once a month or however you want to set it up.
She handles the scheduling and rescheduling of students and collecting the fees. Otherwise you will make it so complicated and will be playing the middle man with so much of your time taken up calling her students and then her and then back to her students that neither of you will be able to keep track of it.
Personally if you have to charge a commission I would make it a one time fee that can be made payable over time if you like and definitely, most definitely don't do anything without a written contract that is clear to both of you and agreeable to both of you so that there are no hard feelings or misconstruements as to the situations that may arise.
Hopefully this will give you some food for thought and will help in some way. Good luck.

#1269487 - 09/16/09 06:22 PM Re: Some questions on teaching [Re: Roxy]
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Both Jennifer and Roxy have responsed to the question with responsibility and good suggestions.

I would want to avoid having employees as the business end of it doesn't compute to being a big money maker when you do this. It would be better to hire an established teacher or a college piano major than it would be someone from your studio who is still in the learning process. I think you need an independant person who can contribute their own accomplishments to your studio if you were really thinking about expanding in this way.

I feel that, because I also have a starting system of "Piano Power" that I would want someone trained in my methods using my syllabus and pedagogy concents. What a lot of work to verify all that with student teachers. Because they learned music that way does not mean they are prepared to teach it.

I haven't yet had an opportunity to visit Jennifer's method on her site, but I think it's very exciting when a teacher can provide their own philosophies and intentions in their own materials.

It will be interesting to see where this discussion leads. I am just beginning to think about it, so this post was off the top of my head in content.


#1269696 - 09/17/09 12:21 AM Re: Some questions on teaching [Re: Betty Patnude]
Candywoman Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/14/03
Posts: 1049
If your student is using your studio to teach, perhaps charge a rental fee based strictly on time. If not, I suggest not charging her for the referrals. I can see charging for pedagogy lessons as has been stated.


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