Since most “private music teachers” keep studio hours that are after school, pills evenings and weekends, sickness it makes sense that they will have all day, every day to read, watch TV, rent DVD’s and eat chocolate. HA HA HA!
There may be an exceptional individual who actually lives this fantasy, but I prefer to set the record straight with a full disclosure of my own daily activities. My 25 weekly teaching hours are a blessing. I adore teaching and every student I work with is my favorite one, ever. I chose this career and truly believe that it is my vocation. That being said, there are still occasional challenges, heartaches, and difficulties to explore and overcome (e.g. illness—teacher or student; scheduling around students’ sports, school, social, and family activities; tuition collection; etc.). But, overall, it is a dream profession and I am blessed with a successful, thriving studio.
Wendy’s day job:
Preparing for the day’s lessons begins the night before when I lay in bed and review all the students who will be coming the next day, what they are working on, their goals, expectations, and future assignments. I repeat this process every morning before rising. I visualize in as much detail as possible to keep my mind sharp and on task. This ensures a good flow and best practices in time management for each lesson. It also allows me to plan repertoire well in advance of seeing the student, saving time and energy for more teaching during the lesson.
Once up, I typically go to my computer and begin the arduous task of sorting through the 50 – 60 emails I receive daily. After deleting the spam, I answer the “lesson” correspondence, then move on to my volunteer areas. I serve several organizations in numerous capacities. Currently I am the newsletter editor and membership chairman of the Pittsburgh Flute Club (and immediate past president), I am on the faculty at a local college (West Liberty State College), and I am the Director of the Flute Academy (http://www.fluteacademy.com) with an enrollment of more than 60 students and a faculty of 4. This is in addition to my studio teaching. Email takes an average of 2.5 hours per day, 7 days per week.
Once the email is under control I move on to studio related activities:
- Creating monthly (12) studio newsletters
- Writing letters of recommendation (approximately 3 per week, all year long)
- Returning phone calls
- Recommending instruments for purchase
- Maintaining (or creating) websites
- Hiring substitutes teachers
- Rearranging the schedule to accommodate an upcoming trip (e.g. to judge a competition, to be a guest lecturer, teach a masterclass)
- Recruiting new students
- Scheduling makeup lessons
- Flute Academy business (meetings, payroll, scheduling, planning)
- Repertoire management (for 3 flute choirs and 35 students)
- Writing articles for publication
- Creating the 12 monthly E-newsletter for the Pittsburgh Flute Club (doing all the research, writing, and design)
- Data base management (keeping track of phone numbers, addresses, email addresses, cell phone numbers for students and both parents, home addresses, schools, etc.) for my studio and the Pittsburgh Flute Club
- Marketing the Flute Academy and studio
- Meetings (PFC and Flute Academy boards and staff)
- Reading professional journals: Flute Talk, Flutist Quarterly, American Music Teacher, Music Educator’s Journal
Once the “business” details are dealt with I squeeze out a bit of time for household activities:
- Bookkeeping (bill paying, account balancing, investments, insurance, retirement plans—you’re on your own when you are self-employed, taxes, etc.)
- Property maintenance (dusting, vacuuming, bathrooms, windows, snow removal, leaf raking, house painting, furnace, air conditioning, plumbing, electrical, painting, etc.)
- Life management (grocery shopping, meal preparation, recycling, garbage collection, laundry, prescription management, medical appointments, mail, caring for elderly relatives and their needs—which are many, keeping up with new technology—cell phones, computers, etc., being a good neighbor, etc.)
- Quality time with spouse and family (this becomes precious and limited when your studio is active in the evenings and on weekends)
When I have a FREE minute I like to sew, redecorate, read, and yes, eat bon-bons. But, these are the treats at the end of a fulfilling, rewarding, exhausting day or week. My life is PERFECT! Just the way I want it, filled with rewarding students, activities, music, and career satisfaction. I have no plans to quit my “day job.”