A Cellist’s Guide In Preparation For Teaching and Conducting Cello Lessons (Part 2 of 2)
When parents or students are searching for music teachers to enrol with, they look into several factors. These will help them decide which teacher best meets their needs and expectations. Your background, experience, and credentials as a teacher are your core competencies in conducting cello lessons. However, it is a fact that other factors may even outweigh your qualifications.
Therefore, be prepared not only on the lesson per se. Potential students will surely be asking a lot of questions. Here are the rest of the ‘teaching tools’ and frequently asked questions that you need to be ready with:
More often than not, this becomes the deal breaker. Given all other things being equal, a student may choose another teacher over you due to a lower fee. Here are some of the things to factor-in to determine how much you should charge.
• Experience: If you are a new cello teacher with little or no experience, research as to what is the going rate of a more experienced teacher. With that, you may want to reduce a certain percentage from it.
• Your Value: Strike the right balance between the going rate and ‘your value’. Evaluate yourself, making sure you don’t feel undervalued or short-changed, based on your skill and experience.
• Location and Travel cost: Should you decide to conduct cello lessons at your student’s home, include your travelling costs into your asking fee. You may not be able to quantify this entirely, but take into consideration the time and effort you will be exerting in doing this.
Lesson Plan and Monitoring Progress
• Set goals for each learning phase: Students learn in different ways and at different paces. Yet it would be helpful if you have a general lesson plan for each phase. For instance, first phase lessons for beginners should start with an orientation to ‘break the ice’ and getting to know the cello better.
• Teaching materials: Have a list of books you would require for your students to have. Research videos and other visual aids to present new methods in learning the cello.
• Monitoring: Have a record book or use a computer program like an excel sheet where you can have a record of your students’ lessons and progress.
Teaching to the best of your ability is your commitment. While the student should be committed to learning as well. To do this, there should be a student- teacher system of order and compliance. You could draft a written agreement to make your students aware of what is expected from him as a student. Likewise, what you commit to do as a teacher. It may contain the following:
• Observance of lesson schedule
• Commitment to practice
• Cancellation fees
• Make-up fees
• Special sessions for shows or exams
• Goal setting
• Lesson planning
• Tracking or rating of student’s progress
Teaching is a career and your bread and butter. Learn how to sell yourself. Lay down your cards. You are the authority in conducting cello lessons. Show your students what you could offer. Show them you are prepared. It is the first step on how you could gain their trust and confidence.