Do You Have What It Takes
To Teach Piano?

So what made you think of teaching piano? Maybe you’re a music teacher in a school and would like the opportunity to do some out-of-hours teaching and earn a bit of extra cash.

Maybe you’re housebound – possibly due to mobility problems or because you have young children or an elderly relative to care for – and you feel your piano-playing skills could give you an income whilst, at the same time, enabling you to fulfill family commitments.

Maybe you’ve recently lost your job and think you could use piano-teaching as something to ‘tide you over’ until you find more work in your usual line of business. Maybe you’re a musically talented university student who wants to earn money to help pay off tuition fees.

Maybe you’ve retired from your usual profession but would like a ‘hobby’ that could boost your pension. Or maybe becoming a piano-teacher is a life-long ambition of yours and something you intend to make a career of.

Piano teachers come from all walks of life and don’t necessarily have to be fully trained or professional pianists. There are no ‘rules’ for piano-teaching, no particular qualifications needed to teach piano and no set path for prospective piano teachers to follow.

Do You Need Qualifications?

If you are at the very early stage of considering this career, you may be wondering if you’re qualified enough. The simple answer is ‘yes’.

Courses for Piano Teachers
The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) holds day-long workshops on various music teaching topics throughout the year (generally costing less than £100 and in some cases free) See ABRSM courses.
There are residential courses for prospective music teachers such as one run by the European Piano Teachers Association (EPTA) held in Hertfordshire at a current cost of £1,999. See the EPTA website.

The fact is, you don’t need any formal qualifications to give piano lessons. More or less anyone can call him/herself a ‘piano teacher’ (although, of course, there are laws restricting working hours for under 16s etc.) but you’re unlikely to be a successful one without a reasonable standard of proficiency.

So what is a ‘reasonable standard’? When I started out, I set myself the (some would consider ‘low’) goal of passing my grade 5 ABRSM (Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music) piano exam before setting up my business (although I continued to progress and eventually passed grades 6, 7 and 8 – long before any of my pupils were at this level). Obviously, if you’re already a grade 8 pianist or above, you have a distinct advantage but – as long as you restrict yourself to beginners – grade 5 seems sufficiently advanced to teach piano-playing with confidence.

Even if you haven’t reached the higher grades, there’s no harm in teaching your friends, acquaintances or family members: especially if you keep your fee low, in which case they’ll no doubt be happier to learn from you than from a professional musician who might charge a fortune but would have little more to offer at the beginner’s stage. Of course, it’s a good idea to continue developing your own ability whilst teaching – otherwise you may find your pupils catching up with you too soon.

Theory Exams

One problem which you will face – if you intend to sit ABRSM piano exams beyond grade 5 – is that you will need to have passed your grade 5 theory exam. In my case, I was fortunate to have done this in school as a teenager, although theory exams have changed a lot since then, so I’ve had to brush up on my theory skills in order to teach the subject.

To avoid theory exams for both yourself and your pupils, you could consider using a different exam board (Trinity College London and The London College of Music are the best-known alternatives) or you could try learning and teaching jazz piano (pupils can take all 8 ABRSM jazz piano grades without sitting a theory exam).

Some might feel offended by the idea that pianists with few – or even no – qualifications can set themselves up as piano teachers. However, I think it’s as well to remember that – like it or not – most piano students will be neither gifted nor talented and will be unlikely to ever reach the higher grades.

The majority of children – and adults – who start learning piano are just ‘ordinary’ people who struggle to pick up skills which talented musicians find relatively easy. Some of them will have unrealistically high expectations and be totally unprepared for the commitment needed to succeed; others will have minimal interest in succeeding and will be taking lessons merely to please their parents. Some have complicated lives or confidence issues and need a friendly face or a sympathetic ear as much – if not more – than they need a teacher with great musical prowess.

In an ideal world, all pupils would be potential Mozarts; in reality, this is not the case – and surely it’s better to end up playing the piano ‘a little’ than not at all – and, most importantly, to enjoy the process of learning.

My Childhood Experience

Sadly my own childhood experience of piano lessons was far from enjoyable and my teacher had neither musical prowess nor a sympathetic ear. ‘Mrs Bam-Bam’ was a church organist with flat, squashed sausage-like fingers who seemed unable to touch one key at a time – so every piece she played was, at best, a rough approximation of the real thing. However, even more off-putting than this was her unsmiling, unwelcoming manner.

I remember knocking nervously on her front door, anticipating the habitual response – an abrupt: ‘Come in’ as she opened it (coupled with an odd twitching movement from her mouth which caused a vein in her neck to protrude and then retract!) There was never a friendly ‘hello, how are you?’ nor the use of my name to address me. Obviously ‘a friendly hello’ wouldn’t have had any direct positive impact on my piano-playing ability but it would certainly have made me a little more keen to attend lessons regularly and would no doubt have reduced the number of weekly phantom ‘tummy aches’ from which I seemed to suffer.

Her main fault, though, was complete lack of patience. In the early days, when I found the two-line pieces easy to play, this was no problem: I played the piece, she bellowed: ‘Well done you!’ and we moved on to the next one. However, as I progressed to more challenging music, I began to struggle: there were complicated rhythms, big chords to read or fingering details which I had failed to notice.

Mrs Bam-Bam rarely bothered to point out exactly what my mistakes were, nor, more importantly, how to correct them – instead she would just shout: “No, no, that’s all wrong – do it again!” Sometimes she might add: “You aren’t practising enough!” which became a self-fulfilling prophecy – the more she said it, the less I wanted to practise and although her shouts filled me with fear, I could see little point in practising something which didn’t seem to be improving. So, eventually I just gave up all together – firstly on practising and later on the lessons.

Be Bored but not Boring

So, consider your personality. Do you have the patience to listen to the same mistakes over and over again? (…hopefully not too often by the same pupil – assuming you successfully pass on the techniques for self-correction which I will write about later). Would you feel frustrated to the point of anger hearing a beautiful piece of music played with incorrect notes or rhythm … perhaps at an inappropriately loud volume? How would you cope with a nervous, tearful child … or an over-confident, obnoxious one? What if someone fails to turn up for his lesson? How would you react, having just sorted out your own complex personal/family arrangements in order to be ready to teach him?

Sometimes ‘putting on an act’ has to be one of the job requirements – as it is for a school teacher ‘performing’ in front of a whole class. The difference is school teachers have had years to prepare for their chosen vocation; they’ve studied their subject at college or university and had the chance to try out what they’ve learned in a supervised environment. Piano teachers, on the other hand, are not necessarily trained teachers – many, like myself, are merely pianists – of varying ability – who have decided to ‘have a go’ at passing on their knowledge.

If you want to give piano lessons to children (or adults), you must prepare to be bored but not boring. And, to be honest, you don’t necessarily have to be bored:  although listening to a series of uneven, wrong-fingered scales can become pretty tedious, the thing which keeps me interested is the person who’s playing them. Each learner is an individual with his or her own set of strengths, insecurities and habits. If you get to know a little about your pupils – their lifestyles, their families and friends, their interests and what makes them tick – and, in return, let them into your ‘world’ a little, you’ll find teaching a more satisfying and rewarding experience all round.

Business Sense

In addition to piano skill and personality, the other thing which will help you succeed is some degree of business sense. Obviously, this is more important if piano-teaching is your sole source of income … and far less if it’s more of an ‘interest’.

Having business sense includes such things as being able to decide whether or not it’s worth increasing the lesson fee (at the risk of losing pupils or failing to attract new ones) and whether or not you can justify the expense of advertising to increase your pupil numbers.

My own choice was to keep the lesson fee reasonably low (which, I feel, has given me an advantage over others in attracting new business) and to avoid advertising which, so far (with one exception during my first few weeks) I haven’t found necessary.

24 Responses to

  1. Judith says:

    Hi Jan. Loving your website. I wish I had the confidence (and skills) to set one up myself.

    I love the way you paint a “warts and all” picture of piano teaching-and your own experience of learning probably mirrors the experience of many, particularly adult returnees. I spent my own piano hour in the company of a particularly crotchety specimen, who was sadly crippled by arthritis and unable to play. The piano room was little used and freezing cold.

    I’m something of a wannabe teacher at the moment using what was supposed to be a hobby to earn some extra cash. So thanks for your illuminating insights into the world of the piano teacher.

  2. Jan says:

    Hi Judith,

    Many thanks for your comments – I’m glad you’re enjoying the site. As for ‘having the skills’ to set it up … I wouldn’t have known where to begin without the help of my better half. I wrote all the material (while my son took the photos) but it was my husband who actually made it happen – so a big thank you to him (in case I’ve neglected to say it!) for all the support with putting it together.

    Sorry to hear about your ‘particularly crotchety specimen'(!) – yes I think there used to be many like that … maybe there still are.

    I wish you all the very best with your teaching – it can be frustrating at times … but also good fun and very satisfying.

    Please feel free to add a comment to any other page if you feel like it(!)

    – Jan

  3. Questioner says:

    Hello, I’ve never written one of these before so please excuse any mistakes. This is the first website that has answered most of my questions thank you.

    I’m 16 and am really interested in teaching piano to younger people. I’m taking the grades (but only just started) and hardly ever go a day without playing. I’m glad to say my piano teacher is very kind unlike the ‘unwelcoming’ one you had. I have managed to achieve very good grades in my solo and duet performances in school but other than that is there any other sort of grades I will need?

    Also is there a certain age you have to be to teach at home?

    Thank you

    • Jan says:

      Hi. You really don’t need any particular grades in order to teach piano … although of course the more experience you have (of both learning and performing), the better. If you are aiming to teach young beginners, you can probably start as soon as you feel ready – assuming that you have the right equipment and home environment. As you get on well with your piano teacher, it might be a good idea to ask his/her advice. My own piano teacher was very supportive (not my childhood one, of course!) and offered me lots of suggestions and tips when I started out. Although there is a lot to be said for age and experience in the world of piano teaching, I also feel that young people like yourself have a lot to offer – and the fact that you are still very much a learner will make it easier for you to relate to youngsters who are finding things difficult. Good luck! – Jan

  4. Stan says:

    Great website. My son aged 16 has ABRSM grade 8 in piano and clarinet and is now studying for diplomas in both instruments. He’s looking for a partime summer job although I think if he could find the “courage” to teach it would also help him with his music skills as well as earning himself some pocket money.I’m going to point him in the direction of this website and cross my fingers that he’ll have a go. 🙂 What age range is easier to start with? I can imagine 8 year olds find it difficult to focus?
    Many thanks.

    • Jan says:

      Hi. I’m really sorry for the delay in responding to this – we’ve been abroad on holiday and the wifi connection was very poor.

      Congratulations to your son on his fantastic achievements! Yes, I agree that teaching would help develop his musical skills – it’s certainly boosted mine (limited though they are) – and it’s probably a far more pleasant way to earn pocket money than working in a busy cafe (which my own 16-year-old son – grade 8 piano and grade 7 saxophone – is currently doing!)

      My son has never expressed a desire to teach and – if I’m honest – I’m not sure he’d have the patience … although maybe it would be a good way to develop this side of his personality. He would also have the problem – which presumably yours doesn’t – of competing for business with his mum.

      As for what age range to start with – I’d say 10-year-olds are probably ideal – although it’s difficult to generalise because it depends very much on the personality of the child. Obviously if your son has younger siblings and is used to dealing with children, this will be a great help to him.

      Of course, it might be more a case of teaching anyone who wants to learn. I don’t know if you have ideas of where to find pupils? Maybe you know lots of children in the area? It can take a while to get started – and I guess not all parents would feel confident in sending their child to an inexperienced 16-year-old for lessons. (Although personally I think young people often make the best teachers as it’s easier for them to remember what it was like being a child and starting to learn).

      The good thing is, your son would only really need one pupil (if he/she attended lessons every week) to make himself a decent amount of pocket money.

      I wish you both the best of luck and would be interested to hear how things progress. (Then maybe you could give me some advice on persuading my son to have a go too!) – Jan

  5. Rebecca Kirby says:

    Hey so i started teaching piano when i was 16 when i passed my grade 5 piano in the cork school of music and since ive only ever taught beginners im turning 25 this year and id love to start teaching more than just beginners and im considering starting off to get my grade 8 done and dusted but ive been teaching beginners piano for so many years without actually playing myself that my technique and skills have gotten terrible beyond a grade 3 standard i cant afford right now to go back for lessons but i was considering registering myself for the exams and maybe going back and taking grade 3 on in the abrsm as im not sure what the cork school of music exams are like in comparison any advice????

    • Jan says:

      Hi Rebecca,

      Unfortunately I can’t comment on the Cork School of Music exams as I know nothing about them. However, I’m guessing that – as you mention the abrsm – you perhaps feel you would like to lead your pupils down the abrsm exams route? If that is the case, then yes, I do think it’s worth considering taking the grades yourself.

      As money is an issue though, you really don’t need to take every grade from grade 3 upwards – you could just wait until you’re ready for grade 8. Of course I’m not in a position to rate your playing but it seems unlikely – as you’ve been teaching for a while – that you would really need to start as low as grade 3. Have a look at the exam books in your local music shop and see if you think you could push yourself to try – say – grade 5 instead. I would also recommend investing in a grade 5 abrsm scales book.

      Remember though, you really don’t have to put yourself through the stress – and expense – of actually taking the exams – just working towards the required standard would be enough. However, if you feel (as I did) that having the certificates on your wall would give you extra confidence – by all means go ahead – Jan

  6. Timothy Grant says:

    Hey Jan,

    Great site- shame you had such a bad run with Mrs Bam-Bam. My earlier teachers I have forgotten now…although one did have a couple of book of ‘Knock-Knock’ joke books which I loved to read when waiting, and I will never forget the marvelous woman who got me started. The one I had through high school was a good sort though, and funnily enough, her son was one of my classmates and we still collaborate from time to time!)

    Decided seriously to look at teaching piano the other month. Have found quite a few websites since then, but yours is the most straightforward and no fuss one I have encountered yet! In a very genuine and sincere way, your website covers a range of issues pertinent to piano teachers which is really re-assuring to read. Still nutting things out mind you, but have greater impetus now. Thanks for the great read!

    Best regards,


    • Jan says:

      Hi Tim,

      Knock-knock joke books … hmm now there’s a thought. Then again most of my pupils bring tablets or phones (sometimes their parents’) with them these days.

      It’s funny how we remember these things though isn’t it? I probably should think a bit more about my ‘waiting room’ (hall) reading material. We used to have a fish tank in there – which they all loved – but had to get rid of it. These little touches don’t solve the main issues – like reluctance to practice … but do at least make them more keen to attend lessons.

      So glad to hear you enjoyed the site – and I really appreciate you taking the trouble to tell me. I launched it two years ago now (can’t believe the time’s gone so quickly … you’ve probably noticed it needs updating regarding exam books). My initial aim was purely to help people who had found themselves in my situation. I often feel it’s easier to relate to someone who is reasonably successful in their job … but not an expert.

      However, I also had a secondary aim … to generate a little extra money through people making purchases via links to music books and other items I recommend at Musicroom etc. (to help with costs of running the site). Unfortunately, this hasn’t been as successful as I might have liked! (Please feel free to click and order!)

      Anyway, if you do decide to take the plunge with teaching, I wish you the very best of luck and success.

      – Jan

  7. Irene says:

    Hello Jan,

    just want to say thank you for this website, it gives me a sense of hope to have courage to pursue my goal to be a home piano teacher though I do think its better for me to undertake Dip in Piano Teaching first.

    I am 40 this year, I had my AMusA in Performing( DipABRSM) 14 years ago, by then I was a full time Accountant, just gave birth to my first child, so I have to give up my Licentiate in Piano. Then, I had my two boys, with my husband working different shifts, I had to give up my Accounting job and became a full time housewife.

    All these years, I was only helping my church to play on Sunday mass and that’s it, I never thought some day I might go back to pursue piano career. Recently, when seeing my children were admiring their friends able to play so well in piano and violin, this pained my heart so much, because none of my children played any musical instrument. I finally decided to begin with teaching my daughter( now 14-y-o) piano. Though I bought piles of beginners’ practical books, I have no confidence and no direction how to teach her. I don’t know whether should I enrol myself for the DipTeaching first. Thousand of questions suddenly came to me, i.e when to start teaching her grade 1, should I redo the Theory Grade 6 to 8 since the syllabus changed so much over 14 years. In the end, am I too old to become a piano teacher without any teaching experience, etc…

    I apologize for such a long message, but hoping you can give me some advice and direction where to proceed. I wish you all the happiness in life. God bless you.

    Love- Irene

    • Jan says:

      Hi Irene

      First of all, if you’re ‘too old to become a piano teacher without any experience’, then so was I! (I was also in my 40th year when I started). I must admit, I don’t think I really gave my age much thought at the time – and it’s never proved to be a problem. One of the good things about being a piano teacher is there’s no reason why you can’t go on doing it into your 70s and 80s … in fact I recently read of one lady still teaching piano in her 90s. Also – as piano teachers tend to be self-employed – we don’t have to worry about anyone else telling us we’re too old to start a new career. Actually, I think 40 is a good age to start – and in your case you’ve had the experience of bringing up children, which should give you an advantage when it comes to teaching youngsters.

      Which brings me to my second point: you’ve made a great start by choosing to teach your daughter. You don’t say how this is working out (maybe it’s not!) – it’s difficult teaching a son or daughter (see my page on teaching your own child) – but well worth doing if it doesn’t cause too many arguments.

      As for having ‘piles of beginners’ books’, I really think you need to make your mind up and stick with one piano course. Choose the one you feel most comfortable with. As I’ve explained, I chose the John W Schaum books because I was taught with these. However, I think a lot of teachers these days use Piano Adventures. Personally I feel it’s more about the way you teach and how well you interact with the pupil, rather than the books you choose – but don’t use too many – many parents don’t want to pay for more than one.

      Whether or not you take more theory exams or a diploma is up to you. I decided not to – and have never regretted this decision. I’ve never been asked to teach theory exams other than grade 5 and had no interest in doing grades 6 to 8 for my own sake. By all means do them if you want to – but there’s no need to put your teaching on hold for this. The same applies to a teaching diploma. You can learn and teach at the same time.

      If I was you, I would just ‘go for it’- there’s no time like the present, nothing ventured nothing gained (… and any other similarly annoying phrases for saying the same thing!).

      Also, if you have any concerns or questions, you can always go on the ABRSM teachers forum which is really helpful. You don’t need to join to read answers to questions from others but if you want to ask your own questions, the joining process is very straight-forward.

      Best wishes and good luck,

  8. Ailbhe says:

    Hi Jan,
    I’m 16 and I have just completed a grade 6 Abrsm piano exam and am doing a grade 7 exam next May. I would really like to teach piano and need a but of extra money. Do you think an Grade 6/7 with grade 5 Theory is sufficient to teach beginners ? Thanks so much

    • Jan says:

      Hi. First of all many congratulations on passing your grade 6 by the age of 16. As you know, I started teaching piano after passing my grade 5 (like you, I had grade 5 theory) so it would be very hypocritical of me if I said you weren’t sufficiently qualified! So yes, your qualifications are definitely sufficient to teach beginners.

      I think the main obstacle you will have to overcome is your lack of experience in dealing with people. Of course I don’t know you – or anything about you! – so I probably shouldn’t make assumptions. However, most teenagers (including my own two) have been in one-to-one situations with a relatively small number of people – and the majority of these have been people of their own age. I’m not saying this critically – it’s just obvious that the younger you are, the fewer life experiences you are likely to have had.

      Maybe you are already familiar with dealing with young children (as your beginners are likely to be). In any case, it may be a good idea to start by teaching a young family member to give you confidence before dealing with strangers. Perhaps you have a young cousin or the child of a family friend whose parents would be willing to pay you a small amount to get you started?

      I would advise you to be as organised as possible in advance of you first lesson – plan which book you intend to use and roughly what you expect to achieve. However, do bear in mind that some learners are surprisingly slow in understanding the basics. I would guess that – having achieved grade 6 by your age – you probably found piano relatively easy. Most don’t. Be prepared to say the same thing several times – and always make certain your learner has really taken it in by asking him/her to explain it back to you.

      I wish you all the very best. Feel free to ask me any further questions (or go on the ABRSM teachers’ forum which is always very helpful). – Jan

  9. Sophia says:

    Hi I am twelve and I am doing my grade 5 piano but I am considering about teaching and I want to know if I am able to start teaching after my grade 5 exam and was wondering if I am too young.

    Many thanks

    • Jan says:

      Hi Sophia,

      Well done for getting to grade 5 at the age of 12! That’s quite an achievement … and much better than I did!

      I have recently inherited a seven-year-old pupil who was initially taught by a 15-year-old girl (whom I happen to know). The 15-year-old is a pleasant, very bright girl and I have no reason to doubt her ability when it comes to playing the piano. However – from the seven-year-old’s point of view (and that of her mother), lessons with this 15-year-old teacher weren’t really a success. Obviously to some extent it depends on personality and life experience but, on the whole, I feel under-16s would be likely to struggle when it comes to gaining attention and respect from a young learner. It may seem unfair but older teachers have a natural air of authority which younger ones don’t.

      I don’t want to put you off all together though, so if you’re really keen to have a go at teaching, I would suggest limiting yourself to family members or friends to start with and see how you get on. You may decide to do this just for pleasure – and experience … but you never know, perhaps they’ll offer to give you a bit of pocket money as well. Either way, it will stand you in good stead if you wish to become a piano teacher in the future.

      Good luck!

  10. Wendy says:

    Hi Jan,

    I stumbled upon your very helpful website while doing some research about becoming a piano teacher. First off, I’d like to thank you for such a wealth of knowledge. I can personally relate to a lot of your writing, and I’ve already become much more confident in pursing this as a possible career.
    My biggest obstacle I’ve come across is formal education. I’m 29 and started playing piano when I was 5 with private lessons. In middle school, I picked up violin, and throughout high school was very engaged and competitive with both instruments. Then, college happened and my younger self thought it would be a good idea to drop music and get a degree in fashion.
    I’ve since learned that degree was a waste of time and have floundered from one part time job to another. I’ve picked up piano and violin again and was surprised at how much I remembered, and have even taken on guitar and taiko (Japanese drumming) over the past few years. I’ve always loved teaching other students but have never thought of myself as a teacher. After visiting your website, I felt confident enough to start researching how much to charge, and to be honest my confidence shrank again. I found tons of teachers in my area, and almost all of them have degrees in music.
    I feel like it’s too late and too costly for me to return to school, and personally I feel ready to teach. I’ve always accelerated very quickly in music classes, and my piano teacher in my youth was very adamant about music theory (she had me enrolled in yearly exams) – so I feel I have a lot to offer prospective students, but since I don’t have a degree in music I may not be up to par with other teachers. I’d hate to take a drastic cut in class fee because of this, and I’m already set on a price I’m comfortable with that is already lower than what I’ve seen. I’m worried I won’t get any students or parents may not feel confident I can teach without a degree. Any advice?

    • Jan says:

      Hi Wendy,

      Great to hear you found the site helpful. You sound very musical (a lot more so than me!) and – from what you tell me – I see no reason why you can’t start giving lessons – particularly as you actually say yourself: “personally I feel ready to teach” and “I feel I have a lot to offer prospective students”. Have faith in your own judgement!

      I’m not sure where you live but as you refer to “middle school” I’m guessing it’s not Britain. Maybe you’re in the States. My experience of piano-teaching is solely in Britain and I can’t comment on the qualifications needed to teach in other countries. However, you’re not suggesting that the law requires you to have a degree so I assume it’s purely your concern about the opinions of prospective students … or that of experienced piano teachers in your area.

      You may well come across people who feel you should be more qualified. I don’t know if you have looked at the reviews of my e-book (If I Can Teach Piano, So Can You!) on (The book contains very similar material to the website). Most of the reviews are very positive but the most recent one by a music teacher (I’m guessing female) who has a degree is less so. (To be honest, I’m not sure why she bought the book as she’s an experienced teacher who clearly didn’t need advice aimed at people just starting out). Referring to my lack of qualifications, she says: “It is almost like saying GCSE biology is enough to treat some illnesses; no need for a doctor”. I disagree. I’d say it’s more like saying GCSE biology (usually obtained at age 16) is enough to teach biology to primary school children. I am not aiming to teach my students to become prize-winning international concert pianists (and if any show a huge degree of talent I would refer them to a more suitable teacher) – I’m just giving them a skill which they can enjoy … and which in some cases may lead to further musical study or a career in music.

      So, as long as you recognise your limitations and are completely honest with prospective students, I can’t see any problem with you starting to teach. In my experience, new students are far more concerned about whether their teacher will be patient with them than they are about checking their qualifications. (Not one student has ever questioned mine). Of course, this is not to say that highly-qualified teachers can’t be patient as well! (I’m sure many of them are) – and if you have the ability, time, finance and desire to study for a degree then it could be a good idea. However, this doesn’t seem to be the case, as you say: “I feel like it’s too late and too costly for me to return to school”. So don’t. I see no reason why you shouldn’t start teaching now if that’s what you want to do. (And you may like to try my tip of ‘experimenting’ on a family member or friend to start with as this could give you the extra confidence you need).

      Good luck,

  11. Michael Szymanski says:

    I am just wondering if there are any legal problems to be had with regard to saftey and copyright issues.

    I would like to start up a business with the aim to help people excel at their piano skills but I don’t know how to get it rolling.

    I have an associate’s degree with music emphasis and I have been playing at church almost every weekend for 14 years.

    Any comments or feedback is appreciated.

    • Jan says:

      Hi Michael,

      Hopefully reading through the various sections on this website will give you some ideas of how to get started with your teaching plans.

      Your background is very different from mine: I have neither a music-related degree nor regular experience of playing in public. I’m sure these two things will be stand you in good stead. I imagine there will be many other gaps to fill (e.g. perhaps you have never actually taught anyone anything) – but everyone has to start somewhere. I would strongly advise you to find a ‘guinea pig’ to test out your teaching methods (e.g. friend or family member).

      Copying sheet music is against the law – without the express permission of the copyright owner. This applies to music teachers as it does to everyone else. The exception to this is older sheet music where the copyright has expired – in which case it is in the public domain and can be copied or performed by anyone.

      For information on safety please refer to my section on Preparation – Legalities and Paperwork (although I would advise you to check online for updates regarding the DBS checks).

      I hope it all works out for you.

      – Jan

  12. Liriana Dancja says:

    Hi, my name is Liriana and I am 19 years old and I am currently doing grade 8 ABRSM Practical exam and I did grade 5 music theory. My mum says that I need the qualifications such as music university in order to teach but I don’t want to go to university and would like to teach younger students on how to play piano. Is it possible to teach younger students without university qualifications or do you need it? Thank you

    • Jan says:

      Hi Liriana,
      I don’t know if you’re in the UK but – if so – I can’t see any reason why you wouldn’t be able to teach younger students to play piano. If you read through the pages of this website, you’ll see that I didn’t study music at university – and started teaching before taking my higher grade piano exams (in other words, you’re already more qualified than I was!) I was a lot older than you and had children so that probably made it easier for me in some ways – but hopefully reading through some of the tips I’ve given will help give you the confidence to start.
      – Jan

  13. Caroline Marie Thompson says:

    Hi Jan,
    I want to say that I’m really pleased I found your website. I am a grade 7 pianist with grade 5 theory and currently in the process of setting up my own business as a piano teacher, working from home. Up until now, I have been informally tutoring a relative and a friend, but I still find the whole process daunting and at times I find myself struggling with self-doubt. I was wondering how you found the early stages of teaching? I suppose it all comes down to preparation, and trying not to get flustered over the first enquiries!
    Thanks again, Caroline

    • Jan says:

      Hi Caroline,
      Firstly, let me apologise for taking so very long to respond to this! My business has grown much busier over the past few years so I have less time to spend checking my website.
      Yes the early stages of teaching can be daunting – and even after years of doing the job, I still feel a tinge of nerves every time I take on someone new (although of course each new person is generally far more nervous about meeting me/starting piano lessons).
      However, I very much hope that by now you will have settled down into teaching and feel more confident. I think we all doubt ourselves sometimes – but this can be a good thing as – no matter how experienced – I’m sure we can all benefit from questioning our methods and trying new approaches.
      If you have any specific questions, I thoroughly recommend joining the ABRSM teachers forum. There are so many experienced teachers who are supportive with their comments and very generous with advice.
      All the best,

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