Being able to access and provide virtual lessons is incredibly useful. If you’d like to teach music online, how do you get started and what are the benefits and where are the pitfalls?
Knowing how to teach music online opens us up to a global market and removes the practical problems and expenses that can come from running sessions. However, offering tuition in a creative and artistic subject presents challenges that must be overcome.
In this article, we’ll talk through everything you need to consider as an online music teacher and how you can best make it work for you and your students.
How to teach music online
As an increasingly digital society, more and more elements of life are moving from the realm of face-to-face and onto screens. And whether you want to work from home or not, it pays to move with the times. It will give your career (and bank balance) more resilience. Perhaps you think this isn’t for you. If so, see if you can challenge your current conceptions about it and stretch your capabilities.
How do online music lessons work?
Contact with your students is via a video link, like Zoom, Skype, or a platform developed specifically for the purposes of teaching. All you need is a decent WiFi connection, and a computer with a working webcam and mic, able to download video conferencing software.
What are the benefits and where are the pitfalls?
As with anything, there are pros and cons to this way of teaching. So let’s take a look at a list of the benefits and the possible pitfalls to be overcome.
- You can teach anywhere in the world, to pupils anywhere in the world, increasing your market range
- If you have a virus, have an injury that prevents going out and about or are in self-isolation you can continue as normal, providing you feel well enough
- You don’t have to hire a space
- There’s no travel to sessions required, ideal if you use a large instrument such as a piano and meaning you can schedule back to back lessons
- It’s safe and secure – no going into pupil’s private homes
- There’s usually an abundance of work, especially when kids and teens are off school, unable to leave home and need to be occupied with something constructive
- Your WiFi connection needs to be good and unlimited – ideally fibre-optic
- Some geographical locations can struggle in terms of the connection
- WiFi outages can happen from time to time, meaning you have to cancel lessons until it’s back up and running
- If you share a connection with others in the house, it can affect your own video quality and speed
- The camera, mic and screen you use must be of high quality or it will be hard to see and hear accurately
- It can be harder to build a rapport – virtual teacher-pupil relationships can feel more distant, something that you must work harder to overcome with open body language, clear eye contact and smiles
- While you have access to more students online, they have access to more teachers, putting everyone in a very large pool. Finding music students can have their own challenges
- Many online sessions are not as well paid as face to face ones. Although this may be offset by the savings on travel and studio hire
- Getting paid can be trickier. If you don’t use a purpose-developed tutoring site, you’ll either have to trust students to transfer your fee after the lesson or request payment beforehand which many will be reluctant to do when receiving lessons remotely
- You may have to pay to use a third-party tutoring site, or they’ll take a cut. Some video conferencing sites place a limit on free sessions (Zoom is usually 40 minutes, but they’ve ditched this limit for schools having to close due to the coronavirus outbreak).
Almost all of the potential issues revolve around your tech spec. The most important thing you can do as an online teacher is to ensure you have a great setup in terms of your WiFi and equipment.
Music tutor jobs
Getting work as a music teacher or tutor is often found through word of mouth and online is no different – but it may be via digital word of mouth. Be sure to set up a website and social media pages so you have a clear online presence explaining what you offer. Include reviews and recommendations sections, so prospective students can see testimonials. You should also list your experience and qualifications.
Music lessons website
Once you’ve set up your website, add some videos covering a range of topics and levels of experience. Potential students will want to see what you’re like, how you interact and your style of teaching. Be sure to dress appropriately (smart casual) and use a neat, tidy and presentable location. It may also be worth offering a free or discounted trial session to new pupils, something you can plug and share on social media channels.
Teaching music is rewarding and provides valuable skills to those you teach. Children and teens who live in rural areas and those who can’t get to standard lessons are ideal. As an accomplished musician or singer, this is a great way to earn a living remotely. Like face-to-face teaching, it can usually be fitted around your other work as a musician, or around your college and studies. And once you’re setup, you can start earning straight away.
- How do I become an online music teacher?
To set up you must have a strong WiFi connection, computer/screen, camera and microphone. You can attract pupils by advertising online, by word of mouth or by registering with a well-known tutoring site.
- How do online music teachers make money?
In the same way that music teachers are paid for face to face sessions, pupils are charged for online ones. Payment can be made via bank transfer, Paypal or via a tutoring site’s online payment system. Teachers can use an online invoicing service too and must register as self-employed as well as declaring earnings to HMRC.
- How do you teach someone music?
This depends on what kind of music you’re teaching them. It could be music theory, a specific instrument, songwriting or vocal coaching. You must, of course, be experienced in your subject and offer either an accredited/graded system, technique or progressive feedback sessions.
Do you teach music online? What benefits and pitfalls have you discovered? Let us know about them and what it is you do, in the comments below.