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Discussion Starter #1
I am thinking about private teaching locally with in-home lessons. I have good references, but I lack experience. I've taught a few saxophonists some stuff, but I've never actually taught. What I'm afraid of is the kids themselves. I'll probably end up teaching younger kids. Does anyone have any tips, things to look out for I wouldn't think of because I've never done it before, or simply any interesting stories? Thanks.
 

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I taught a few summer lessons a year ago. Only two people took me seriously since I was only 16. First off, have a lesson plan, but be prepared to adapt based on their respective skill levels. Be ready to address all issues related to their sound. I struggled because I was sometimes expexted to know how to fix leaks and various mechanical problems. That is pretty much all I have to offer. I only gave twelve lessons between the two of them. One of the mothers contacted shortly after school started and told me that her son got 1st chair. I felt very proud of both him and myself. It made me want to be a music teacher until I remembered how they are getting layed off left and right in my district.
 

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Referances from who? Kids?
Parents want referances from your private instructor, college professor, other respected 'professional' musicians.
They also want to know if you've done anything other than play in a high school concert band setting.
Playing experience beyond 'a few years' is REALLY important when taking on students.
Being able to clearly express and demonstrate 'ideas' in a way that is easily understood by a beginning player is also important.
You also have to have enough 'personal playing' experience to accuratly determine the level of the student and plan the lessons accordingly.
This may sound a little 'harsh', but I'm a private woodwind instructor and parent of 3 daughters who have all had private instruction.
Never once did I consider sending them to someone with only a few years experience. All were seasoned pros or Instrumental Ed students in their final year. And that was ONLY after being recommended by the head of their department.
Not all parents are as picky as I am, so you might get lucky and pick up a few students.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
When I say younger students, I am pretty much talking about middle school kids.

I've got references from my three high school teachers, I have one from my private teacher, and I have a few from my church. I have a lot of experience in all of these and of these, and if I hear you correctly, I believe I have enough personal playing as well.
 

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I am in middle school, but one thing I HATE is when private teachers show off, so try not to do that and you'll be good in my book.
 

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Well then I guess you're all set to start teaching the 'fart and giggle' set.
Start praying now that you don't get a parent like me! :)
 

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I suggested the idea to him, and he thinks that I should go through with it. He gave me a list of books I can use and just reminded me of the basics so I know exactly what I should teach. He also told me that I should be as good at motivation as I would be as actually teaching.
 

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I think the hardest part will be 1. to stay motivated when faced with an unmotivated student 2. adapt how and what you teach depending on your student's personality, aspirations and level. 3. keep it all fun both for you and your students.

But it should be fun, go for it!!!
 

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Tips from a student:
1) Stick with your set up, don't waste a whole lot of time switching your mouthpieces, etc.
2) Melodious and Progressive Studies by David Hite was/is awesome. We still sight read these in my senior year of high school.
http://www.amazon.com/Melodious-Progressive-Studies-Book-Saxophone/dp/B003XCGTH0
3) If your going to ask them to practice, don't expect them to practice hours. But, I find it effective to ask them to just PLAY something. Whether that's 15 minutes on a few things.

As a teacher:
1) Your going to have to be able to tell them how to form the correct embouchure. You might want to research the specifics, and different ways to demonstrate/illustrate.
2) Expect them to have little issues, like "throating" notes.
3) Break the bad habits early, but... obviously you don't want to come off too strong, especially with new (shy) students.

-Bubba-
 

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My students seemed to like playing around on some of my more professional gear. One had a yas-23 and the other had an older and rather used Jupiter student model tenor. Getting to use vintage horns for the first time was a good experience for them. Just don't let them try mouthpieces that they aren't ready for.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks for the advice. I have a question, though -

Do parents get mad if you go over the time limit as long as you don't charge more?
Also, how much in advance do the parents have to give notice of a cancellation before I would have to charge them anyway?
 

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Parents and kids have tight schedules. Try not to let the lesson go more than 5-10 minutes over. ESPECIALLY if you have another student waiting.
Usually parents don't cancel a lesson unless the student is ill or some other VERY good reason.
If you have a 'contract' for them to sign you can have it in there that they need to call you before a certian time or the lesson fee will not be refunded or carried over.
You will also have to do the same for the parent if you ever have to cancel a lesson.
You will also need to decide if the parent will pay you at the time of the lesson or at the beginning of the month.
Be sure to keep ACCURATE records of when you were paid, how much you were paid, and if it was by check or cash.
I kept a small reciept book in with my lesson material. If they paid by check I put the check number on it.
 

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Thanks for the advice. I have a question, though -

Do parents get mad if you go over the time limit as long as you don't charge more?
Also, how much in advance do the parents have to give notice of a cancellation before I would have to charge them anyway?
It depends on the person you're teaching. If they have a very busy schedule then stick to it, but if they have a little flexibility you can always stay a little later. The last thing a parent would want (and even think of yourself in that situation) is someone theoretically saying "All you have is 30min, as soon as 30min and 1 second have passed I'm gone" That's not what anyone would call good customer service. But it all depends on the parents as well.

And for the second part, make sure you set yourself up as a business for giving lessons. I don't know how old you are, but as a college student myself, there's a very slight chance that I could enforce those kind of cancellations. No matter how wrong it is, people are going to have a more care-free attitude towards a 'kid'/student who is a teacher, rather than someone they view as a professional who makes a living off these things. If you want to make sure they respect your time in a structured fashion, make sure to make them aware of what you expect.
 

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Thanks for the advice. I have a question, though -

Do parents get mad if you go over the time limit as long as you don't charge more?
Consider talking to them - parents are people too.

As far as cancellations: It will likely be easier to enforce from a standpoint of "Too many cancellations and we terminate the lessons." Beyond that, realize that Stuff happens. You can be flexible without being limp.

Communication is key - with students and parents.
 

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Thanks for the advice. I have a question, though -

Do parents get mad if you go over the time limit as long as you don't charge more?
Also, how much in advance do the parents have to give notice of a cancellation before I would have to charge them anyway?
1. Start on time and finish on time. If they're late, finish on time anyway. They'll soon get the message or leave. The latter is fine if they're a time waster.

2. Make the notice period as long as you think you can get away with. For me and you that might be as little as 24 hours. It's actually a tricky one to judge. Dr G is correct that you need to be flexible without being a pushover. If your star pupil who never missed a lesson before is involved in a car accident on the way to you it's a little tactless to bill the parents for a missed lesson.
 

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The reason I ask is because I don't want to end the lesson if I'm in the middle of an idea. I myself wouldn't mind going over 5 minutes, but I probably wouldn't go over for longer than that.
That's a great way to express your concern to the parents. Some may be on a tight soccer/tiger mom schedule and need to jet to the next appointment, others may appreciate your attention.
 

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The reason I ask is because I don't want to end the lesson if I'm in the middle of an idea. I myself wouldn't mind going over 5 minutes, but I probably wouldn't go over for longer than that.
That all seems very sensible. It's good you're thinking this stuff through because it does make a difference.
 
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