While most musicians might not see themselves as educators, prefer the idea of performing to providing lessons, this piece offers a series of compelling reasons why, as a skilled musician, one should give series thought the idea of teaching music online.
Guest post by Christine Elise Occhino of Soundfly's Flypaper
I have found that the most valuable education I ever received in any subject was always from someone who professionally did (or currently does) what they teach. That’s why you, as the talented musician you are, the individual musician you are, should also teach! There are plenty of good reasons why, so let’s explore.
1. You’re doing something you love, and getting paid for it!
…and what’s better than that? As a musician, there’s nothing more awesome than getting to pursue your craft while also earning. Heck, many of us have spent years doing music for free and playing for anyone who would listen!
When teaching music lessons, you’re being valued for the years you’ve spent honing your skills. Think of it as interactive performing — demonstrating what you can do, keeping your skillset sharp, and even getting some solid practice in while you’re at it. And at the end of each session, you’re getting paid for your time! There’s literally nothing to lose, and everything to gain.
2. It’s never been easier to teach lessons online.
Teaching lessons online has never been easier. From Facetime to Skype, there are endless ways to communicate with people near and far. You can teach lessons from the comfort of your own home and share your know-how with students from all over the world! There are also tons of different services available for booking and payment processing to help make the administrative side of teaching lessons a cinch.
On the more entry-level end, you can use easy and free payment solutions like PayPal or Venmo to accept payments for your lessons. Taking it up a notch, perhaps you want to put together some policies or simple terms and conditions for your service, such as: 24-hour cancellation, or no-show rules to ensure you still get paid for the time you carved out for someone, insufficient funds errors, reschedules, etc. Use a digital contract resource like DocuSign or HelloSign to inform your students about your terms of service, and help ensure you are both on the same page about the details of how things work so you can avoid any confusion or income loss. And if you get really busy, there are plenty of lesson booking software options out there from Square to Pike13, and beyond.
These platforms help you balance your student schedules, client information, payment processing, data and analytics, auto-appointment reminder emails, and more all in one! Promote your services and expertise on your websites, social media platforms, and YouTube page to help advertise your lesson offerings and expand your network of interested clientele.
I know plenty of professional musicians that utilize Patreon as a platform to provide their fans and other aspiring artists with original educational content and one-on-one training opportunities while in between tour dates, studio sessions, and other gigs. It’s a great and convenient way to fill your time making more music!
3. It’s a solid side hustle.
You can make a very profitable living teaching music lessons, especially if you are able to reduce your overhead expenses by teaching from home, rather than having to deal with the costs and headaches that come with brick-and-mortar spaces or traveling to get to your students one by one.
The “going rate” for music lessons differs vastly depending on where you are in the world, but in the NYC Metropolitan Area, I’ve commonly seen lessons in the ballpark of $150 per hour or more. In less dense communities, they can certainly less (closer to $50 per hour), but even so, it is a solid form of income for your time. You should also take into consideration other things like if you have additional expenses to recoup (such as software costs, transaction fees, etc.), and make sure to price your lessons according to that overhead, along with how much of a professional you are in your field.
Once you get the hang of it, you can rest assured that a regular teaching schedule of online students will provide you with a consistent stream of income as a side hustle.
4. You’re sharing your gifts with others who really appreciate it!
There are people all over the world that want to learn how to sing or play an instrument. Some of us are fortunate enough to have training where we live, but others don’t have those same opportunities. By offering music education online, you’re able to share your gifts with others who really do appreciate it!
Nothing compares to one-on-one training and the personal touch you’re able to give to someone who wants to learn. Straight from your home to theirs, you can teach the universal language of music and give someone something that they will be able to keep and treasure forever.
Christine Elise Occhino is a serial entrepreneur with a passion for the music business. In addition to being a vocalist herself, she is the CEO of Elise Music Group, Artistic Director of The Pop Music Academy, and owner of Stamford Recording Studio. She is also the proud Founder and Executive Director of Hope in Harmony, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that uses music to help and heal those in need. Christine is a member of the Grammy Recording Academy, the American Society of Composers, Authors, & Publishers, and the Berklee College of Music Alumni Association. She has spoken on many music industry panels, contributed writing for music business publications for over a decade, and currently hosts the music-based web series and podcast, Soundbytez.