Robert Estrin - piano expert

How to Become a Private Music Teacher

Simple tips to start teaching music lessons

In this video, Robert gives you some ideas to start teaching music lessons, finding your right niche and specialty.

Released on April 16, 2014

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DISCLAIMER: The views and the opinions expressed in this video are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Virtual Sheet Music and its employees.

Video Transcription

Hi, I'm Robert Estrin here at and with a viewer question. Sandy asks, "How do I become a private music teacher?" Well, there's a lot to this subject and fortunately have a great deal of experience in this, having come from a family of music teachers, you asked the right person, Sandy. Well, first of all, you have to see what your specialty is. You see, there are many different needs that people have looking for teachers. For example, there are some people who specialize in very young children. And if you went to the wrong teacher and tried to bring, let's say, a five year old to a teacher who doesn't teach young kids like that, it could be a disaster. But maybe, you have a love of dealing with young children, you could set up a class of some sort to specialize in this, or some other area.

So the first thing is to see what is your specialty. What do you bring to the table that other teachers don't? What sets you apart? Now, there are organizations you can join. Here in California, there's a Music Teachers' Association of California, and there are others around the country where you can network with people, and also get listed in directories. And as far as getting students, you know, there are a lot of online resources for that.

How do you learn how to teach? Well, the best bet is if you've had good training yourself, you have a model to work with. If you're still working with a teacher, maybe you can start to teach and have your teacher guide you step by step, how to get into teaching yourself. Go through some of your original materials and see, how did you learn? What works for you? Most important, you've got to really see about looking at each student as an individual because teaching isn't a matter of just throwing a method out there and seeing what sticks, it's reaching each person for who they are. So you can't teach the same way from one person to the next, every person has unique strengths and weaknesses, as well as personalities. You've got to find a way of communicating with them, you need to know what's going on in their lives.

So, one of the most important parts about teaching is the relationship you develop with the student. Equally important, if you're dealing with children, is the relationship you have with the parents. You have to have them on board as well. If you're good at relating to people, and you're comfortable talking with people, that's a great way to start teaching because you can invite people over for a free interview, get a chance to get acquainted, see what kind of fit you have with the student, and any questions they can address, and that's a great way to start. Spread the word, talk to your neighbors, your friends, school, or church, anywhere you go, post online, and you will learn continually your entire career teaching, and find out what works for you. Thanks for the great question and keep them coming in, I'm Robert Estrin here at and
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Comments, Questions, Requests:

Robert - host, on October 14, 2016 @12:20 pm PST
Here is a video which discusses how to approach polyrhythms:
Jan Booth * VSM MEMBER * on October 12, 2016 @6:45 pm PST
Do you have some ideas that work for you in teaching 2 against 3 and 3 against 4?
Carole * VSM MEMBER * on April 19, 2014 @4:33 am PST
Does working on a keyboard rather than a parlor grand piano help or hinder your technique.
Robert - host, on April 21, 2014 @12:52 pm PST
What is a suitable instrument for you depends upon what you are after. A serious student should have a real piano, preferably a grand or baby grand. Here is a video on the subject for you:
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