It all started when I took an interest inventory at school. I was teaching 2nd grade at the time and as part of an in-service, we were asked to take an interest inventory. I scored very high in the music section and if you were to look at it, you would think I was supposed to be teaching music. Everyone knows that ‘you can’t make money being a musician’, so I taught.
Then, some people at church asked me if I would teach their children piano. They had seen my husband leading worship at our church, and I played the piano. At first, I said, “No.” I honestly didn’t think I would be very good at it. Yes, I played in church. Yes, I had taught children in public school, but I didn’t think I could do it.
They were very persistent, and I finally gave in. I told them I would do it on a trial basis–and if it didn’t work, we would stop. And so I started with a family of 3 children. Our first recital was at Christmas in my home. It didn’t really occur to me that more people might want lessons from me. After that, word got around our church and I added 3 more students. I was enjoying not only having a little extra cash, but sharing my love of music with other people. We had made the decision to home school our two oldest children and teaching piano was flexible. I was able to do it when I wanted and do it from my home.
The following year, we made a decision to actually advertise. My husband painted a simple sign that said, “piano lessons” with my phone number on it. We put it on the back of the fence (which faces a busy road.) I loved doing what I was doing, but really never thought there would be other people that wanted lessons. That year, I had 36 students! I was so surprised that people actually wanted to pay me to teach their children.
Well, since then, we have had at least one recital a year, and often two recitals. This year, we did a Christmas recital and will be doing a spring recital. I love teaching children one-on-one and getting to know their personalities. I can tailor my lessons around each student, not a class full of students. Each child is different and has different ways they learn. Every year, I have tried something different with my approach to lessons. A few years ago, we did a duet recital where the students were paired together and did a duet. (What a learning experience!) We also did some improvisation. This year, I have added group lessons to my schedule. Once a quarter, all my students will get together and I will teach something in a group setting. This has been so fun! And it has also been very good for the students to listen to each other play and even critique each other–in a positive way. We have also been working on composing our own pieces. It is so exciting to hear some of the pieces they have come up with. Some children have an easy time with this, and others have a very difficult time, but it has been rewarding, just the same.
I never thought that I would be able to do something I love and actually get paid for it. I go to work most days excited at what I can learn and what I can teach my students. I’m able to teach from home and still spend time with my family, but also do something I find extremely rewarding! 🙂