Starting a Business as a Music Teacher

January 30, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Posted in music education, Music Teacher Profession | 4 Comments
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Music teachers should not be afraid to take the leap into private sector teaching. Teaching music is almost a traditional occupation, with roots that go back hundreds of years. Today there are a few more legal hurdles to face, but setting up a music teaching business is no more difficult than setting up any other business.

A business plan is where most prospective small business owners start. Business plans can be very useful for obtaining loans and other forms of financing, but they are also useful as a way to get the details of a small business out on paper. The Small Business Administration offers templates for business plans. There are a number of commercial business plan templates available as well as software to help streamline the writing process. For example, MBA Online has a resource for entrepreneurs looking to start a business during an economic downturn. The Small Business Administration also recommends looking into classes to help with starting a small business and building business plans.

In addition to traditional hoops that businesses face, music teachers must formulate a marketing plan and methodology for attaining students. Consider using your existing network of music programs, teachers, and stores to help get your message out. Teach your students exciting music and set up recitals to give visibility to your teaching.

The next thing to consider is location. Most people are familiar with the traditional image of the music teacher meeting students at home. This is usually the cheaper option for teachers starting out, but it may not be the best option when local laws and ordinances are involved. Many towns will permit teaching of music in the home if teachers see one student at a time. Others, like the one in the article, have restrictions for parking. In that case, it may be necessary to book an outside location for recitals, while it is still possible to teach from home. Regardless, it is important to comply with all of the local zoning laws.

Financing a home-based music teaching business may not be difficult. Monthly rent for an outside location makes a music teaching business more intensive. Home-based teachers often rely on existing community relationships and word of mouth for advertising, while teachers who have to support an outside location need more regular students to keep the business going. Outside financing might be necessary to defray any startup costs. Small businesses can qualify for a number of low cost loans.

Business structure is the next thing to consider. Many small music teaching businesses manage well as sole proprietorships and limited liability corporations (LLC). Business structure determines which forms are needed for filing taxes, but it can also affect legal liability of the proprietor. Check state laws for business name registration. Most states do not require registration if small business owners use their own full name. Some states require registration for any fictitious name. Others base registration requirements on the business structure.

Small businesses are required apply for a tax number, register for state and local taxes and apply for any necessary permits at the state and local level. Contact the city and county government for music teaching permit information. Most local areas require a business license for private music teachers.

Beginning a music teaching small business is not a daunting task. Prospective teachers need to follow a few simple steps to ensure that everything is setup correctly. If in doubt, see the Small Business Administration for guidance. Many times classes for small business owners are available locally at community centers and other venues. Check into these for additional help with creating a business plan and taking care of business details.

—- Elaine Hirsch

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4 Comments »

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  1. Hi all, please take a look at my collection of music apps for learning and teaching, with a teachers’ corner, at
    http://musicappsforlearning.weebly.com/
    There’s a general blog, and a special forum on most pages to discuss
    specific items.

    I’d love to get your input.

    thanks
    Anita Pincas
    London University

  2. Having created and managed our nonprofit music program for almost 20 years (serving over 3,500 young people!) we’re now distributing our Merge Creative Education System to those wanting to do the same. It’s incredibly rewarding and, with the right guidance, not complicated at all … a lot of work yes, but not complicated!

    We even developed an evaluation software, so you can get funding from government and foundation sources. Please check us out at http://www.merge-education.com!
    Mary Helen Rossi, mrossi@merge-education.com

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