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Music teachers

tanyaviola

Star Member
Sep 28, 2020
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Are there any other self-employed music teachers here? We were looking at various parts of Ontario, should we get a PR card. Coming from the U.S., it seems housing is quite a bit more expensive, especially in Ottawa or Toronto. But prices for music lessons are a lot less. Hmmmm. Doesn't make that much sense. Are there any areas of Southern Ontario that might be an especially good place to settle based on this information? Obviously we need a place with a lot of people, but the big cities are so much more expensive.
 
 

Naturgrl

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Apr 5, 2020
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Since you said Southern Ontario then London, Woodstock, Guelph, Kitchener are areas to consider. I am not a music teacher but know a few & they all deal with different instruments (piano, guitar, drums etc) & don’t just focus on one instrument. I don’t see in home lessons for a while.
 

tanyaviola

Star Member
Sep 28, 2020
127
15
Thanks. We teach violin/viola and our current studio is currently all online. But in the future we’ll have to be somewhere with a decent population for live lessons. Kitchener looks pretty expensive (I assume Guelph is too?) but London looks manageable and seems like a pretty good sized small city. But again, music teachers don’t make a lot there. Do you know anything about Kingston?
 

Naturgrl

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Apr 5, 2020
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What do you want to know? City is mid-size (130k) and known as a university town (Queens and Royal Military College). Lovely tourist city on the water but no close cities around it (Brockville one hour away and Belleville is 45 minutes). Expensive too. Housing probably averages $370-400k.

All places in Ontario are expensive. There are a lot music teachers in Ontario with average prices of $15-25 per 30 minutes. Music teachers are not hard to find & I live in a small town in Ontario. Are you RCM certified?
 

tanyaviola

Star Member
Sep 28, 2020
127
15
Thanks for the info about Kingston. My husband and I both have degrees from big music conservatories in the US and have been teaching for a long time. We perform a lot and have many recordings. We are more than qualified to teach our instruments. No, we are not “RCM certified”.
I see many teachers online that teach several instruments and many that have education degrees but not much in the way of performance experience. I’m not seeing too many that have similar experience to us (at least for violin/viola) but maybe they’re just not showing up online? I guess there’s a real range of qualifications anyway. It looks like Ottawa and Toronto are much more expensive than most other places in Ontario.
 
 

Naturgrl

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Apr 5, 2020
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Ottawa and Toronto & surrounding areas are expensive. However that is where your “market” is going to be especially if your niche is performance & violin/viola. In Ontario, you need to look at the secondary schools and see what instruments are in their music programs. Some secondary schools are only “band,” no strings. Some have full orchestras. Most full orchestra programs in schools are going to be in Ottawa and GTA. So that is where the private lessons are.
 
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scylla

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Jun 8, 2010
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Thanks for the info about Kingston. My husband and I both have degrees from big music conservatories in the US and have been teaching for a long time. We perform a lot and have many recordings. We are more than qualified to teach our instruments. No, we are not “RCM certified”.
I see many teachers online that teach several instruments and many that have education degrees but not much in the way of performance experience. I’m not seeing too many that have similar experience to us (at least for violin/viola) but maybe they’re just not showing up online? I guess there’s a real range of qualifications anyway. It looks like Ottawa and Toronto are much more expensive than most other places in Ontario.
Yes, Toronto and Ottawa are the more expensive cities since they are larger. That's the general rule. Larger city, more expensive to buy real estate. However you'll also have access to a larger student pool there.

IMO you'll want to either get RCM certified and/or be certified to teach the Suzuki method. There are many parents out there who will want you to follow one of these programs and this will give you access to a larger client base.
 

tanyaviola

Star Member
Sep 28, 2020
127
15
Ottawa and Toronto & surrounding areas are expensive. However that is where your “market” is going to be especially if your niche is performance & violin/viola. In Ontario, you need to look at the secondary schools and see what instruments are in their music programs. Some secondary schools are only “band,” no strings. Some have full orchestras. Most full orchestra programs in schools are going to be in Ottawa and GTA. So that is where the private lessons are.
Thanks. We’ll check out the school programs! I wonder how far out of a city we could be? I know in many cities in the US, some people will not want to drive very far for lessons. But some places they may not mind driving 30-45 minutes for lessons.
 

tanyaviola

Star Member
Sep 28, 2020
127
15
Yes, Toronto and Ottawa are the more expensive cities since they are larger. That's the general rule. Larger city, more expensive to buy real estate. However you'll also have access to a larger student pool there.

IMO you'll want to either get RCM certified and/or be certified to teach the Suzuki method. There are many parents out there who will want you to follow one of these programs and this will give you access to a larger client base.
We are not Suzuki certified. That is not our specialty. We actually have many adult students. Doesn’t seem like one needs to be RCM certified if they have degrees and a big career. Would make sense if a person does not have the qualifications. I’ll check it out though.
 
 

scylla

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Jun 8, 2010
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We are not Suzuki certified. That is not our specialty. We actually have many adult students. Doesn’t seem like one needs to be RCM certified if they have degrees and a big career. Would make sense if a person does not have the qualifications. I’ll check it out though.
I don't disagree on your thoughts regarding RCM certification. However then you'll want to get super familiar with the RCM curriculum, techniques taught at each level, theory at each level, exam structure, etc. There are many parents who will expect their children to be taught using this program and to progress through the RCM levels.

RCM is generally not required for adult students.

We are just trying to help you out here and tell you what the market looks like and what it expects. IMO you want to be positioning yourself to teach as broad a client base as possible given current economic conditions.
 

Naturgrl

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Apr 5, 2020
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Thanks. We’ll check out the school programs! I wonder how far out of a city we could be? I know in many cities in the US, some people will not want to drive very far for lessons. But some places they may not mind driving 30-45 minutes for lessons.
It depends on whether parents want to drive distances. Our music teacher comes to our home and is affiliated/endorsed with my son’s school.

If you are world renowned then people will drive but if they can get a music teacher in their local area then they will. If your market is adult students then you need to be in the biggest cities.

As for kids, look at RCM. To be part of music festivals like Kiwanis, students have to be in the program. And for some parents having their children completing RCM exams is very important.

Also as a note, I know no music teachers where this is their only employment. All (I know a lot) have main incomes & teaching is on the side. Some are musicians (& then still have other employment), some are teachers, some teach art or are directors of choirs/church musical program.
 
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canuck78

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Jun 18, 2017
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It seems as that you have only recently applied for PR as self-employed. Have you investigated what the likelihood of your application being accepted? You are doing quite a lot of planning but think you need to wait and see if you are granted PR first. In general music teaching is not a very lucrative job. Is there a reason you want to move to Canada? You also won’t have extended benefits so will have to factor in the cost of medication, dental care, vision care, etc. For music teachers you essentially need to be in an area where people have enough disposable income to pay for lessons. Many music teachers also supplement their income doing other things.
 
 

tanyaviola

Star Member
Sep 28, 2020
127
15
It seems as that you have only recently applied for PR as self-employed. Have you investigated what the likelihood of your application being accepted? You are doing quite a lot of planning but think you need to wait and see if you are granted PR first. In general music teaching is not a very lucrative job. Is there a reason you want to move to Canada? You also won’t have extended benefits so will have to factor in the cost of medication, dental care, vision care, etc. For music teachers you essentially need to be in an area where people have enough disposable income to pay for lessons. Many music teachers also supplement their income doing other things.
Well we’ve been teaching music for many many years. We know it will work. No need for “supplemental” income if you have enough students! It is actually a very lucrative job. We just wanted to know about how it works in different areas of Canada
 

canuck78

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Jun 18, 2017
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Well we’ve been teaching music for many many years. We know it will work. No need for “supplemental” income if you have enough students! It is actually a very lucrative job. We just wanted to know about how it works in different areas of Canada
Would suggest talking to other music teachers in Canada. Not sure where you are from in the US but your cost of living may have been lower in the US while salaries are also likely to be lower in Canada. The private music teachers I have known would not have considered their jobs as lucrative and any self employed person doesn’t hav3 the benefit of benefit plans, retirement savings or even access to unemployment. Access to unemployment may now change. Would be looking into your various costs. Real estate costs, insurance, telecom, utility costs, childcare, taxes (although you can set up your own business and pay yourself the minimum amount necessary to save taxes), etc. can be surprising to many coming from certain US states.