I currently operate with a mobile teaching studio - this means I come to you and teach music lessons in your home. This also means I don't have a studio for you to come to at this time. Over the years I've taught in a variety of settings for various reasons, and there's sometimes a stigma attached to traveling teachers, so today's post is to shed some light on the different approaches to teaching location.
Teaching in Commercial Studios/Music Schools
I've taught lessons in rented office/studio spaces and music schools, and it's a popular option. Commercial studio locations are a neutral zone dedicated solely to learning music, so there are no distractions. If it's a large school or studio with multiple teachers, you can interact with other students and families while you wait for your student, and I can interact with other teachers. These types of studios tend to do best in a downtown area with lots of traffic, so families are often already nearby, and it's easy to park and wait in a designated waiting room inside or run errands during the lesson. Since I currently live and teach in a very rural area, this isn't the best option for me at this time!
Teaching in a Home Studio
I initially started teaching in a home studio. I had a spare room next to the front door that became my studio as it was easily accessible for students and didn't require moving around a bunch of furniture. My instruments were always set up and ready to play, and families could wait in the living room. I had plenty of parking available on the street or in my driveway. This is also how I always had lessons growing up - but it meant very long drives to my teachers' homes because of our rural location. I think I would have maybe 2-3 students tops if I taught in my home at the moment because of my location! I also currently have a very small, open-floor-plan home, so I don't have an easily accessible studio room for lessons.
Teaching in Student Homes
I've been teaching in student homes for about 4 years. It started as a hybrid option for a family that had studied with me for a while but was growing and it would have been difficult to bring the entire family to wait during lessons at the school I was teaching at. It ended up working out great - students were always prepared with their instruments and books. You can't forget a book if it stays at home! Mobile teaching is a great option for families with more than one child because it doesn't require a babysitter or packing all the kids into the car. It also eliminates commuting time and can make it easier to fit lessons into the day.
At the moment, teaching in student homes REALLY works for me because of my rural location. As a child, my family would have to drive at LEAST 20-25 minutes one way for my private music lessons. They would usually have to wait in the car, or just drive around back roads while my two younger siblings were in their car seats. Now that I'm teaching in student homes, I'm the one doing the driving, so nobody has to drive to my location. I group students in neighboring areas together and see them at consecutive times to reduce my drive time between students. Busy families have one less activity to drive to. And it also allows me to work with students on the instrument they're practicing with, which can be very helpful!
A Note on Lesson Quality
There's occasionally a stigma attached to traveling music teachers. Whether from fellow teachers or from families who've had a bad experience, some consider traveling teachers "hobby teachers" or beginner teachers. This is simply not the case - every teacher is different, and every learning experience is unique. It doesn't matter WHERE the lesson is held - that's not what ensures quality. How the teacher connects with the student and conveys the information is what determines a quality lesson. Whether you choose lessons at a school, in a commercial office, at a home studio, or with a traveling teacher, make sure you choose a teacher your student connects with and feels comfortable with. An inspirational teacher who gets kids excited to practice and learn is key!
It's also important to note that in-home lessons are just as important as activities and lessons that require a commute. In-home lessons aren't meant to be babysitting time or the only time during the week the student plays music. Ideally the area where we play music will be quiet and out of the way to reduce distractions during the lesson, and students should understand a music lesson is like going to school or sports practice - they're there to learn and grow. It's their time to ask questions and make sure they know what to work on during the coming week of practice. Connecting and communicating with their teacher is important, but we may need to gently redirect attention back to the lesson if the student gets distracted by something else going on during their lesson.