Meri’s Musical Musings

Tips for travel teaching music lessons

Posted on: June 18, 2014


  1. Always carry at least $30-$50 cash for cab fare or gas money, especially in outlying areas. Debit or credit is not always reliable.

  2. Have the phone number of a region wide cab company in your phone. (eg: in Toronto, it’s Beck Taxi, covers all of the 416 and almost all if not all the major 905 areas, and at least one for each of the outlying areas you travel to) Directly calling the cab company is usually a lot faster than using the Taxi function on your cellphone if you have one.

  3. Decide how far you are willing to travel teach for a student and stick to it. Generally 20-25 min by car, or up to about 45 min (but 60 may be okay) by transit is a good guideline from your home. Don’t forget to factor in extra time for the winter if your area gets snow, or the area you’re travelling to gets significantly more snow than yours! (in snow belt areas, you can be okay on the way in, but stuck with no way out or taking several hours because of bad weather!)

  4. Get paid adequately for your time, and factor in cab/gas money as well as time lost that you could be teaching other students. Generally at least 2-3 times what a lesson at your studio location would cost, or an additional travel fee per month per household, based on distance to the client’s place from your home.

  5. Be sure you like animals, especially dogs (since dogs sometimes will jump on people), or that you either not allergic to pet dander (in the fur of cats, dogs, and some other pets) or can tolerate it to teach.

  6. Don’t travel to neighbourhoods that are known to be unsafe or have high incidences of crime.

  7. Always carry a cellphone.

  8. NEVER accept a ride from a stranger, even in the worst of conditions. Most people are good people who will try to help you out, but there are some whose intentions are not good.

  9. Have a waterproof instrument case and bag for your music supplies, especially on the worst weather days.

  10. Keep an eye on the weather forecast, especially for severe weather. Weather tends to be more severe in outlying areas than the downtown core of major cities. Try to reschedule if the clouds look dark and threatening, either for a snowstorm or heavy rain or thunderstorms.

  11. Carry a high quality umbrella

  12. Carry an emergency poncho/raincoat

  13. Pack an extra pair of socks and underwear (for those rainy days, or if you get splashed or soaked because of deep snow or rain puddles)

  14. Carry a snack or two and a bottled drink, especially if you are teaching for more than an hour or two or are travelling a significant distance. If teaching for several hours, take at least a sandwich or something that you can easily eat for a meal that does not have to be heated.

  15. Don’t let clients bargain your travel teaching rates, or charge rates that you would make minimum wage or less after factoring in travel expenses and travel time.

  16. Try to put all students in the same or nearby areas in the same day.

  17. Make sure at least one parent or guardian is always present when teaching a minor, at least within earshot, and preferably that they can view the lesson clearly even if not directly observing.

  18. Collect payment at least one month in advance including travel charges.

  19. Try to avoid travelling during rush hours, if possible, arrive in the neighbourhood in a cafe or restaurant a bit early before you start teaching if there is one.

  20. Dress professionally! (especially teachers at the start of their careers) It will help establish that you are a professional and may help you get a higher fee for your services.

  21. Ask for as few disturbances as possible, turn off the radio or TV, and no shouting matches with other family members! (I’ve taught in a few places that were noisy not infrequently for various reasons!)


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  • None
  • V V: Wish I had read this before I fell for their scheme ! Oh well - have posted my experience on Yelp and N49 and hoping others can avoid the pain of fal
  • clariniano: Thanks for the additional information. It was actually Yelp that deleted my reviews, because of so-called bias. I too have seen the horrible technique
  • No Thanks: Former Teacher at the Ontario Conservatory of Music I took lessons at the Ontario Conservatory and when I left for private lessons from another tea
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