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Relocating to Germany - Advice needed #2733227
05/01/18 08:36 AM
05/01/18 08:36 AM
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Mohrpiano Offline OP
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Hi everyone! I am relocating from the US to Germany (near Trier) and I was wondering if anyone had any experience teaching there? I am trying to figure out how much lesson generally cost there and if it is wise to continue to teach as an independent teacher or if more lessons are conducted through schools.

I currently only speak English which is also a struggle. We are moving for my husband's job so I can take time off and learn German exclusively if need be. The city I will be near an American air base so I have also considered reaching out to the school there and inquiring about teaching a general music class or advertising to the children there. I am currently pursuing my Masters in Music Education with an emphasis in elementary general music so I hope to continue that once I get settled there. In addition to piano I have taught percussion and early childhood classes (similar to kindermusik).

Any advice or thoughts about reestablishing my career there would be helpful!


Piano teacher
BM Performance

Estonia L190
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Re: Relocating to Germany - Advice needed [Re: Mohrpiano] #2733269
05/01/18 11:13 AM
05/01/18 11:13 AM
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 403
Germany
Pianist685 Offline
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Germany
The price for piano lessons depends on the teacher's skills and on the region. In general, 20 € is a reasonable price per 45 minutes lesson. Usually, lessons are paid per month, then you get 80 € for 4 lessons of 45 minutes per week (less for 30 minutes, more for 60 minutes lessons). General musical education for small kids rates less. Teaching music in English outside the American airbase will not be possible since the kids do not learn the English musical vocabulary in school, most of them are far from being able to understand a native speaker who sounds different from their English teacher in school, and their parents will require a German-spoken teacher as well simply because it is their mother-tongue.

Re: Relocating to Germany - Advice needed [Re: Mohrpiano] #2733272
05/01/18 11:28 AM
05/01/18 11:28 AM
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Virginia, USA
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TimR Offline
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Until you learn to speak German you will end up targeting American military kids from the nearby base.

Children of military parents will rotate out every 3 years, and of American civilian workers every 5 years, so you'll have turnover.

In most areas the American schools on base are excellent but for whatever reason there was a strong homeschooling contingent as well. That might be the easiest to break into.

I ran a praise and worship band for one of the churches, long story, had some German national kids in it. They had a little English, our conversations were probably about half and half. Away from the base though, there was not much English spoken. A short anecdote: I counted off a piece 1, 2, 3, and none of the German kids started. One of the adults said you must count 1, 2, 3, 4. But it's in 3/4! It doesn't matter, they've been taught 1, 2, 3, 4 and that's all they know.


gotta go practice
Re: Relocating to Germany - Advice needed [Re: Mohrpiano] #2733273
05/01/18 11:31 AM
05/01/18 11:31 AM
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Virginia, USA
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TimR Offline
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Oh, also be aware, kids don't drive. At all. Ever. Including American kids. Adults learn to drive later, at considerable expense.

Also, there is nowhere to park in all of Germany. But bus and train transportation is excellent.


gotta go practice
Re: Relocating to Germany - Advice needed [Re: Mohrpiano] #2733275
05/01/18 11:33 AM
05/01/18 11:33 AM
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dorfmouse Offline
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I have piano lessons through my local municipal music school (Kreismusikschule), which is very good and reasonable. We contract to pay for a year, paid monthly. For this half-year semester I as an adult pay about 50,00 euros pm for half hour lessons. Most of the teachers there are freelancers, which means the school is not responsible for contributing half to their social security and health insurance as a full employer would be. This is a sore point also for freelance teachers of English, as these contributuins are very high, then of course tax on top. You should consult a tax adviser (Steuerberater) to clarify your obligations. In particular, health insurance is a complicated area here if you are not an employee and will also depend on your husband's situation.

Most music schools offer some type of early general music classes, usually called something like Musikalische Früherziehung. Parents are keen on their kids getting to grips with English early so there might be a possibilty of combining the two ..
Any possibilites of offering classes on base? It'd also be worth contacting any international schools in the area.

I also have private lessons in flute and harp from independent teachers and I pay 25 euros for a full hour for those. I live not far from Berlin, where things still tend to be a bit cheaper than in the western states.

There is a forum called Toytown Germany which has subsections for the different states so you might pick up some contacts/info there. It also has masses of general information and is very useful for avoiding administrative pitfalls. (just avoid the inevitable mad and/or jaundiced input from some posters!)

Good luck with your move! And with learning German!! You're moving to a lovely region!

Last edited by dorfmouse; 05/01/18 11:39 AM. Reason: spelling
Re: Relocating to Germany - Advice needed [Re: Mohrpiano] #2733289
05/01/18 12:08 PM
05/01/18 12:08 PM
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Posts: 76
Old Europe
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Chordo24 Offline
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Old Europe
And don`t forget to target schools in nearby Luxembourg.

Re: Relocating to Germany - Advice needed [Re: Mohrpiano] #2733303
05/01/18 12:35 PM
05/01/18 12:35 PM
Joined: Jan 2016
Posts: 302
Germany
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Eric399 Offline
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Germany
The prices quoted here are at the lower end from my experience. I would charge 25,-€ for 30 minutes, at least 30 for 45. The Tonkünstlerverband Baden-Württemberg has a list of recommended prices here: http://www.dtkv.net/BW/images/stories/pdf/honorarstandards2017.pdf (I just saw that I'm still on the cheap side - but I rarely have private pupils, being at a municipal music school.) Good luck!

Re: Relocating to Germany - Advice needed [Re: Mohrpiano] #2733318
05/01/18 01:46 PM
05/01/18 01:46 PM
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 11,043
Williamsburg, VA
Piano*Dad Offline
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Quote
Also, there is nowhere to park in all of Germany.


grin

It's not all THAT grim a place to park!

Trier is a lovely town. The whole area (Mosel, Ahr, Rhein) is a delight.

Re: Relocating to Germany - Advice needed [Re: Mohrpiano] #2733337
05/01/18 03:59 PM
05/01/18 03:59 PM
Joined: Jun 2017
Posts: 15
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Mohrpiano Offline OP
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Thank you everyone for responding! I have been really nervous so any information is helpful. I do plan on learning German and luckily won't need to work right off the bat. I will be starting a language program first and foremost.

Is it uncommon for parents to take their children to a teacher's home studio like in America?


Piano teacher
BM Performance

Estonia L190
Re: Relocating to Germany - Advice needed [Re: Mohrpiano] #2733345
05/01/18 05:36 PM
05/01/18 05:36 PM
Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 75
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dorfmouse Offline
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No, not uncommon at all.

And most kids cycle here, often unaccompanied at quite a young age, so often not so reliant on the parental taxi. (And even walk ....!!!)

Re: Relocating to Germany - Advice needed [Re: Mohrpiano] #2738254
05/20/18 03:21 PM
05/20/18 03:21 PM
Joined: Jan 2016
Posts: 1,477
深水埗區
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newer player Offline
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I believe the US still is the only country that taxes its citizens (residents) globally.

Low incomes, if planned properly, can avoid US double-taxation schemes.

So to avoid (or reduce the impact) of double-taxation, you should speak with a qualified tax accountant or attorney to before leaving the US to advise your situation.

Re: Relocating to Germany - Advice needed [Re: newer player] #2738256
05/20/18 03:23 PM
05/20/18 03:23 PM
Joined: Apr 2018
Posts: 6,917
Tyrone Slothrop Online content
Tyrone Slothrop  Online Content

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Originally Posted by newer player
I believe the US still is the only country that taxes its citizens (residents) globally.

Low incomes, if planned properly, can avoid US double-taxation schemes.

So to avoid (or reduce the impact) of double-taxation, you should speak with a qualified tax accountant or attorney to before leaving the US to advise your situation.

There is a foreign income exclusion that can reduce US taxes on foreign income. See HERE.

Last edited by Slothrop, Tyrone; 05/20/18 03:24 PM.

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Re: Relocating to Germany - Advice needed [Re: Mohrpiano] #2738304
05/20/18 08:12 PM
05/20/18 08:12 PM
Joined: Jan 2012
Posts: 2,261
Toronto, Ontario
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Peter K. Mose Offline
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Toronto, Ontario
Eric or someone else can verify this, but to the best of my knowledge a so-called private or independent studio piano teacher in Germany nevertheless must be approved and licensed by the government to operate legally. Very different from the US or Canada, where you just print up a business card or draft a website, turn on the metronome, and you're in business.

Moreover, you can get into real trouble in Germany if you don't go through the approved channels for this.

Re: Relocating to Germany - Advice needed [Re: Mohrpiano] #2738334
05/21/18 03:37 AM
05/21/18 03:37 AM
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dorfmouse Offline
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Excuse me Peter, I don't think this is correct.
Maybe if you were using premises as a music school business that might be so, (conform to safety/hygiene/insurance/child protection regs etc. etc.) And to get a job in a recognised municpal music school you would normally have studied your instrument to degree level.

But as a private music teacher operating within your own home with maybe a few pupils, or travelling to pupils' homes, you are not a business (Gewerbe) but freelance. You must of course declare your income to the tax office, and if you are teaching from rented accommodation you should have permission from your landlord. Quiet times should be observed. And you would be mad not to have third party public liabilty and legal insurance here anyway, teaching or not!

(I learn with 2 different private teachers and also a public music school but of course am not a legal expert. Tax advisors here know all that stuff and in your area there should be many experiened in US/German affairs.)

Re: Relocating to Germany - Advice needed [Re: Mohrpiano] #2738397
05/21/18 12:00 PM
05/21/18 12:00 PM
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Toronto, Ontario
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Peter K. Mose Offline
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Thanks, Mouse. If you are right, then the regulating of independent music teachers in Germany sounds as grey or haphazard as it is in Canada and the US - i.e., sometimes someone gets tripped up by regulations, but more often you are left alone.

In my dim memory, the issue in Germany arises in relation to advertising. As soon as you announce yourself as a music teacher, you are in violation of something if you do not have explicit approval of the educational credentials to work in your specific field. We might encounter it over here in the construction trades, but not in

I would certainly urge our OP to explore what she is getting into in all its legal angles - while wishing her success!

Re: Relocating to Germany - Advice needed [Re: Mohrpiano] #2738404
05/21/18 12:24 PM
05/21/18 12:24 PM
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Toronto, Ontario
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Peter K. Mose Offline
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For some reason, I can't edit my post and fix that sentence.

I'll add that the OP should contact a German consulate serving her region of the US for help with these legal/regulatory issues. They can guide her, or connect her with the right people.

Re: Relocating to Germany - Advice needed [Re: Mohrpiano] #2738419
05/21/18 01:14 PM
05/21/18 01:14 PM
Joined: Sep 2004
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dorfmouse Offline
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Hello Peter, you are right that the use of many job titles is strictly regulated, but it seems that piano teacher (as opposed to say, school teacher) is not one. I had a look at various sites and this is typical:

"Die Berufsbezeichnung „Klavierlehrer“ ist nicht geschützt. Umso wichtiger ist es, bei der Wahl des passenden Klavierlehrers die Spreu vom Weizen zu trennen. Als vorzeigbare Qualifikation gilt etwa das Musikpädagogik-Studium."
Briefly; the title piano teacher is not protected; buyer beware!

(Totally OT- I am very happy that trade qualifications here are regulated and awarded after a proper apprenticeship, even though the downside can be a lack of flexibility. Trade work in our house has always been well done. Cries of agonised despair can be heard from the other side of the Channel when German expats have their first encounters with British plumbers and builders ... of whom of course there are also many excellent ones! And I was amazed at first to find the tradition of journeying is still alive, though unusual. Newly minted young builders, carpenters, whatever, setting off for three years with just the tools of their trade on their back, dressed in the traditional garb of their guild, and not allowed within their home district during that time. Wonderful!)

Re: Relocating to Germany - Advice needed [Re: Mohrpiano] #2738716
05/22/18 06:54 PM
05/22/18 06:54 PM
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Mohrpiano Offline OP
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Peter and Mouse: I had considered the possibility that some certification may be necessary. It is surprisingly hard to find information while I am here.I plan on taking some intensive German classes and finding a piano teacher for myself when I get there. I don't plan on teaching for the first 6-12 months while I adjust. I hope having my own teacher can help steer me in the right direction.

I am a little worried because my BM was in percussion performance. I have taken piano lessons most of my life and after graduating with my undergrad I continued taking lessons from very qualified teachers because I did not want to limit my knowledge.

As I was pursuing my masters I am also looking into finishing that and becoming credentialed/licensed to teach younger students at the public school there.

Newer_player and Slothrop: Thank you for bringing the tax stuff to my attention!


Piano teacher
BM Performance

Estonia L190
Re: Relocating to Germany - Advice needed [Re: Mohrpiano] #2738762
05/22/18 09:50 PM
05/22/18 09:50 PM
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Toronto, Ontario
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Peter K. Mose Offline
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Talk to a German consulate in the US. They can help you. It's their mandate, and your questions would be more interesting than many they have to deal with.

Re: Relocating to Germany - Advice needed [Re: Mohrpiano] #2738806
05/23/18 01:32 AM
05/23/18 01:32 AM
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 415
LA CA
Rob Mullins Offline
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You are relocating to Germany?
Fantastic.
Great people, great economy,
clean cities, lots of work.
How did you become so lucky?


Rob Mullins
www.planetmullins.com
Recording Artist and Jazz Piano Instructor
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